Back in 1984, the rock band Foreigner came out with a huge hit entitled I Want to Know what Love Is.” I think everyone wants to know and experience love. Unfortunately, many people do what the old country song said: we look for love in all the wrong places…in too many faces. We have fallen for the false idea of love that Hollywood portrays. And it, more often than not, leaves us wanting to know love even more. Or perhaps many give up on knowing love altogether.
So, the question is “what is love” and “how do I find it?” Well, God has told us we need to look to none other than Himself. 1 John 4:8 and 16 state that “God is love.” In other words, God defines love. Think about that…God does not just show love; He IS love. Love is the essence of His nature and character. His love is not based on your worthiness. It’s based on His nature and a decisive act of His will. He wants to love and He has chosen to love you. So, it is impossible to fully understand and experience love without Him.
God does not merely talk about love; He proves it. Love is the act of thinking of others and wanting what is best for them. We see this in the most famous Bible verse… “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16). God wanted what was best for us (salvation in Him). So, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We see His love in the cross. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life FOR US” (1 John 3:16). Love is thinking of others. When you love someone, you are for them. John Stott n his book “The Cross of Christ” that “only one act of pure love, unsullied by any taint of ulterior motive, has ever been performed in the history of the world, namely the self-giving of God in Christ on the cross for undeserving sinners. That is why, if we are looking for a definition of love, we should look not in a dictionary, but at Calvary.”
So, if you ever doubt God’s love, remember the cross.
In closing, let me encourage you to read the lyrics to the hymn “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” (lyrics below video)
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.*