Love is in the air, it's February after all.
the word that changes lives,
mends and bends relationships,
starts wars and stops them;
love makes the world go round in Ollie Jones’ song.
Everybody wants to love and be loved, and all around there are so many examples of it.
A boy and girl in their teen who fall in “love”, a mother who gazes at her newborn baby the first time, a husband returning from a long day at work into the arms of his wife, a child that recognizes his/her parents from a crowd and runs to them. All these are instances of “love”, yet each of these experience feels different.
So what is love?
· As per the singer Fat Joe,
What is love? It should be about us, It should be about trust babe
· As per the singer Haddaway,
What is love? Baby don't hurt me, Don't hurt me, No more
· As per google,
Love is a strong feeling of affection or a great interest and pleasure in something.
· As per psychologist Robert Sternberg,
Love is explained by a triangular theory suggesting that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love.
So it is established, that we experience love in one form or another at every stage of our life and so many have tried to explain what love is. However, I believe the bigger question to be asked today is, what is the greatest love of all?
It might seem like a question with no definite answer but hold on, actually there is an answer. To quote “The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends” and it is true when you think about it. If a person lays down his life for his family that can still be counted as a selfish motive. But when a person chooses to die for his friends, for instance, a patriot who dies for his countrymen is truly choosing to die on selfless grounds.
But again I ask, is there a greater love than this?
Yes, there is, and let me share a story, an excerpt from a wonderful study I found.
It is the story of a young man who is directed to marry a woman from among the prostitutes of his city. Whatever her past, there may have been some evidence of genuine repentance and he found his heart drawn to her in deep and unselfish love. Thus begins an unlikely love story.
The early days of their marriage were beautiful as their love began to blossom. And they were blessed with a son. How the young man’s heart must have swelled with joy. He was convinced that his marriage would be better than ever with this little one to brighten their home. They named the baby, Jezreel.
It was after the birth of Jezreel that the young man noticed a change in his wife. She became restless and unhappy, like a bird trapped in a cage. He went on doing what he did, he was a counselor and encouraged people from his wife’s old life to make the right decisions in life. But wife seemed less and less interested in his work, in fact, she may have grown to resent it. She probably even accused her husband of thinking more about his work than he did of her. She began to find other interests to occupy herself, and spent more and more time away from home.
The wife’s absences from home probably grew more frequent and prolonged and soon the husband was feeling the pangs of suspicion about her faithfulness to him. He lay awake at night and wrestled with his fears and worked with a heavy heart during the day. His suspicions were confirmed when his wife got pregnant again. It was a girl this time, and the husband was convinced that the child was not his. He called her Loruhamah, which means “unloved,” implying the lack of her true father’s love.
No sooner had little Loruhamah been weaned that the wife conceived again. It was another boy and the husband called him Lo-ammi, which meant “not my people”.
It was all out in the open now, everyone knew about the wife’s affairs. He pleaded with her, even threatened to disinherit her. But still she ran off with her lovers because they promised her lavish material things. He tried to stop her on occasion, but she continued to seek her companions in sin. The young man would take her back in loving forgiveness and they would try again. But her repentance would be short-lived and soon she would be off again with another new lover.
Then the final blow fell. Maybe it was a note, maybe word sent by a friend, but the essence of it seems to have been, “I’m leaving for good this time. I’ve found my true love. I’ll never come back again.” How he must have suffered! He loved her deeply and grieved for her as though she had been taken in death. His heart ached that she chose a life that would surely bring her to ruin. His friends were probably saying, “Good riddance to her, now you’ll be through with her adulterous ways once and for all.”
But the husband did not feel that way, he longed for her to come home. We cannot escape the message of his undying love.
This young man was Hosea, his wife was Gomer and this entire story is in the book of Hosea. Here God directs Hosea to love Gomer in spite of her past and present wrongs, to symbolize God’s love for his people.
The story though does not end there, just as God’s love does not end.
Hosea wanted to see Gomer restored to his side as his faithful wife. And he believed that God was great enough to do it. One day word came by way of the grapevine gossips that Gomer had been deserted by her lover. She had sold herself into slavery and had hit bottom. This was the last straw. Certainly now Hosea would forget her. But his heart said “No.” He could not give her up. And then God spoke to him: “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves” (Hos. 3:1).
Gomer was still beloved of Hosea even though she was an adulteress, and God wanted him to seek her out and prove his love to her. How could anyone love that deeply? The answer was right there in God’s instructions to Hosea, “even as the Lord loves.” Only one who knows the love and forgiveness of God can ever love and be loved this perfectly.
So he began his search, driven by that indestructible divine love, love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things, love that never ends. And he found her, ragged, torn, sick, dirty, disheveled, destitute, chained to an auction block in a filthy slave market, a repulsive shadow of the woman she once was. We wonder how anyone could love her now. But Hosea bought her from her slavery for fifteen shekels of silver and thirteen bushels of barley (Hos. 3:2). Then he said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you” (Hos. 3:3). He actually paid for her, brought her home, and eventually restored her to her position as his wife. While we do not find anything else in Scripture about their relationship with each other, we assume that God used Hosea’s supreme act of forgiving love to melt her heart and change her life.
So is the love of a man ready to lay down his life for his family the greatest?
No, the love of man ready to lay down his life for his friends is greater.
But the greatest love of all is when a man ready to lay down his life for his enemies to be saved.
And there was a man such as this, he did not lay down his life for those who were his enemies in the past, but for those who were still his enemies.
The bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And again in John 3:16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
When Jesus chose to die for you and me he knew what he was doing. He chose death so that we who were in sin might live. It is because the wages of sin is death and he took out punishment on to him.
The bible teaches us God is love. He the embodiment of love and he loves as a default setting, unconditionally and without any expectations in return. God loved us so much, that he gave up his son for you and me.
So this Valentine when love is in the air, would you like to experience the greatest love of all. A love that has no limits, a love with no conditions, a love that comes searching for you, a love that will never run out, a love that will last for eternity.
And imagine if God’s love loved us when we were still enemies, how much more the love when we become the children of God.
The best part of this love is that it patiently waits for you, the scripture says in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
God waits for you to open your heart to his love, how about you?
It is February, love in the air, but are you ready to experience the greatest love of all?