Yesterday we talked about the purity of agape love and how it can be easily contaminated by selfish desires. As we continue our discussion of what love looks like, I want to share with you two things that it is not.
First of all, love is not what you do, it’s who you become. I think we have a somewhat incorrect understanding of love that is often propagated by well-meaning churches. While it is true that love is demonstrated through action, simply willing yourself to do the right thing doesn’t make you a genuinely loving person. The fact is that love is a matter of the heart, and the ability to give agape love to others comes from within. The kind of love that Jesus demonstrated is one that is cultivated from a place of close fellowship with the Father. Like He did, spending time with the God of love is what changes us from the inside out and enables us to assume a heart posture that only wills the good of others.
The second thing that love is not is lust or desire. We talked about how the church often messes up love, but this is where the world messes it up. Obsession and infatuation with someone or something is not the same as loving them. If you are craving a piece of chocolate cake and all you can think about is consuming it, you might say that you love chocolate cake. I’m willing to bet, however, that the cake would disagree with you; after all, it’s going to get eaten! Just like that piece of cake is an object, “love” that is based solely on desire objectifies a person and puts its own needs first, thus damaging or “consuming” them.
Friend, don’t confuse love with a cheap counterfeit; it can’t be manufactured or willed, nor can it be based on your own desires. Though the love that Jesus gives always requires sacrifice and death to self, it is the most fulfilling, precious and beautiful part of life. Nothing displays the glory of God like being a conduit of His purely wondrous agape love!