Day 1: God's Kind of Love
If you didn't read yesterday's introduction post, click here.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
This world does its best every day to convince us that love is about feeling happy. Thing is, “happy” evaporates fast when someone does or says something that doesn’t make us happy.
Real love, God’s love, is not about emotions. We might experience emotions along with God’s kind of love, but God’s love isn’t about feeling happy. His love squares its shoulders and does what it needs to do, no matter what emotions may be crowding around for attention at the moment.
Since the point of this book is to come away from the world’s way of thinking and get your mind renewed (Romans 12:2) to how God thinks, we really should go over God’s definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
These verses stand in stark contrast to the definition of love that the enemy has pawned off on the world. Let’s look at it this way:
God’s love: Patient.
World’s “love”: Patient until you tick me off.
God’s love: Kind.
World’s “love”: Kind until you tick me off.
God’s love: Forgive.
World’s “love”: Forgive until you do something to tick me off again, then I throw the thing I had supposedly forgiven you for back in your face.
I think you get the point.
When our idea of love is based on how we feel, it isn’t really love. As you know, feelings change and flop all over the place, but God’s love remains steadfast. The more we get our minds changed to think like He does about love, the more solid and stable we will be as people. We’ll get to a place where we aren’t tossed into mental and emotional torment when someone acts imperfectly in our direction.
Please note that I am not suggesting we become a bunch of doormats. God isn’t a doormat, is He? His love for us is so strong, that He gave the most precious gift He could offer: His Son (John 3:16, Romans 8:32). But yet, He has to say some pretty hard stuff to us now and then. There will be times when we have to say hard things to others as well. It’s called “speaking the truth in love,” and we’ll get more into that later on. For now, just get a grip on the idea that your vision of love has been warped and skewed, and it’s time to get it straight.
As you read at the beginning of today’s devotion, the Bible says that God is love. With that in mind, I want you to read over 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 a little differently than you may have in the past. Read it out loud, and wherever it says “love,” say “God” instead. “God is patient… God is kind…” Realize as you read that this is how God is toward you.