Microsoft Sans Serif – Just what is the proper definition of love? We see a form of it almost everywhere. It’s on television, in books, and the theme of many a song. It’s the sort of love that lasts as long as the feeling is reciprocated. It’s the sort of love that says, “I love you because you love me.” It’s the love that we think will last.
In the movie Fireproof, Caleb and Catherine have lost their love and are about to lose their marriage. Caleb’s father sends him a book, The Love Dare. It takes him on a fourty day journey that changes the way he treats his wife and his marriage to her. More than once Caleb gets frustrated with the process, but he sticks with it. Catherine doesn’t know about The Love Dare and is led to believe that Caleb is out for more money out of the impending divorce settlement. She rejects every attempt he makes at first, however once she sees that he has given up pornography, she begins to trust him again. Believing that another love interest has done her a great favor, she is all set to see the divorce through until she learns the truth.
It is a surprisingly good movie, even though I’m single. Love is difficult concept, even in the Bible. We all know that 1 Corinthians 13 is dedicated to the subject of love, but the Bible has more than just that to say. 1 John 4:7-21 is about God’s love. 1 John 3:11-24 tells us that we should love one another.
Paul told Timothy that people would be capable of love in the last days, but they would love themselves, that they would love money, and that they would love pleasure, but that they would also be without love, would not love the good, and they wouldn’t love God either. God is love. If you don’t have God, how can you give love? If you don’t have love, how can you give God? So you see, that selfish sort of love isn’t love at all, especially if you don’t have God.
The Bible doesn’t just talk about love, but it carries many examples of it. The Ruth sort of love that caused her to leave her people to tend to her mother-in-law. The Esther sort of love that caused her to risk her life for her people. The Elisha sort of love that wouldn’t allow him to leave Elijah even though he knew Elijah would soon go. The Peter sort of love who wouldn’t give up on Jesus so easily. The sort of love that Jesus lived out every day. When he was tired from the day’s work and the crowd showed up, he loved them and healed them and cured them and taught them and fed them.
True love has been polluted by the popular media of the world. I’m not talking about the husband and wife sort of love that seems to be falling by the wayside even in churches, but the sort of love that causes a person to check on an ailing neighbor, to shelf their pride and make wrongs right, and to intervene on a stranger’s behalf among other things, should be the mark of a Christian.
So I want to know, is there another version of The Love Dare that teaches me to not only unconditionally love God, but to also unconditionally love everybody else? I sometimes think I’m like Catherine, the world is vying for my heart when it should already belong to God. I’m like Paul, in that being single allows me to devote that much more of my love to Him. Or, it should allow me. I can’t help but wonder – if I spent fourty days relearning to love God – just what the results would be. Oh, and the proper definition of love is God.