‘Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give myself over to a difficult life so I can brag. If I don’t have love, I get nothing at all.’ (NIV Readers edition)
Is ‘love’ just an emotional response to a particular person which comes about when a sufficient number of the right kind of stimuli have been received by the brain, which is are then collated and analyzed and ‘love’ is the conclusion?
Thus, is love basically the ‘heart’ and brain acting as some kind of passive receptor waiting for the right ‘signals’ to arrive from another?
Or is love active and the motivation behind our thoughts and actions?
If left to our own devices and worldly influences, what might be classified as love can be manipulative and self-serving and is more about loving oneself than loving the other.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
“But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31)
The ‘still more excellent way’ that Paul is referring to is to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in love so that others are built up – spiritual gifts without love are worthless and love is supreme because it lasts forever.
How do we know, or learn, how to love?
- We learn from the examples of others, good and bad.
- We learn from formal instruction on the theory.
- – We learn from our experience of the unconditional and never-ending love of God. And this is matured in us as we search the Scriptures and see the manifestations of God’s love.
- -We learn by accepting the Holy Spirit and the gift of love which both affects us from within and enables the use of other gifts in love so that the church may be built up.
Love cannot be measured solely on actions – motives must also be assessed to determine what is loving.
Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings or of angels. If I don’t have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. 2 Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don’t have love, I am nothing at all. 3 Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give myself over to a difficult life so I can brag. If I don’t have love, I get nothing at all.4 Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor other people. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. 6 Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. 7 It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.8 Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a NIV Readers Edition).
But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 NIV Readers Edition )
Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. (1 John 4:9 NIV Readers Edition)
Coretta Scott King “Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace-that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
Eric Fromm. Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.”