I remember studying for tests in college, spending long hours in the science library involved in intense academic rigor, but this week has challenged my “chops” as a student in a way I haven’t experienced in quite some time.

It might seem elementary, but I have been working on what it looks like to be a man of God, and in that context, what does it look like to love. I actually had the intention of posting my thoughts on this nearly ten days ago, to sit down at the computer type out my thoughts and be done with it. The crazy thing is that I am have been stuck for days at the starting gate:

What is love?

Its seems like a simple question, but it has lead me to read through 1 Corinthians, Song of Solomon, 1 John and a good deal of Psalms.  Past that I have read seven other books this week trying to answer this simple question, books on marriage, books on theology, books on worship and I still am digesting what love means.

We talk about love all the time, how is it that I don’t get the depth and the breadth of the meaning? 

I am beginning to feel as though my use of the word love, is akin to me saying the Pacific Ocean… I have an idea of what it covers, I have spent many a day swimming on its shores but to say that I intimately know the depth or breath of this body of water is near laughable. Am I daunted? No. Am I over my head? Yep.

Not knowing where to go, I wrote to a number of good friends to get their take and this is what I asked:

Do you have any resources that might help me out? I am in the midst of a writing project and I am incredibly stuck. I’m writing about Love in the context of it being a Godly attribute, that would present itself in a man of God.

When I think about Love, it doesn’t often present itself as a manly characteristic. Adorned with lace and frosting and delicate pink hearts, it almost seems like Love is the wrong place to begin exploring the attributes of a man of God.

This topic has perplexed me this week on multiple fronts.

First of all I have already stated, love seems to fall in a category that isn’t manly – so much in fact that the actual declaration of love is such a taboo for men that the “l-word” ends up a staple of hollywood humor.  If you have any doubts to this, tell me if any hollywood producer would market a movie to men by calling it: “a love story.”

Secondly, everytime I try to define love it ends up being a deep affection and appreciation, a sort of “like” on steroids, but to say that God’s love for us is that he really, really, really, really likes us, or that he is calling us to really, really, really, really like one another seems to fall short.

Thirdly, even the dictionary’s definition of “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” seems rather self-serving and froofy especially when used in the “greatest commandment”:

“Have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind & strength and likewise have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for your neighbor as you would for yourself?”  Additionally it doesn’t feel like “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” leads to being patient and kind; not envying or boasting… You would think I could define the word love, but I keep failing.

Any thoughts, or resources I should go to?

Wow.

Mike

 Last night I ended up hitting two points of breakthrough. The first of which was in 1 John which I will write about later, but the second was in a chapter, aptly named “Love,” in a book Desiring God by a pastor by the name of John Piper.

While it didn’t provide me with all of the answers I was looking for, it also did a great job and helping me understand why it was so difficult for me to grasp what I thought should be simple. This morning while I was mulling through my morning thoughts I ran across the following clips from a couple of sermons by the same pastor. It summarizes it better than I could.  

The passages he is referring to are out of 1 John 4 & Matthew 22:36-40, respectively.

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Comments
  1. So, by wrestling with the definition of love, you are trying to describe a part of God, an attribute that he pours out of himself, emanates from him to us and through us to others.

    He is not even able to do that fully, or we would be overwhelmed.

    I think about how many actions around me are actually part of God’s love for me. Like a parent spanking their kid is an outpouring of love for the child’s future, to teach their child and help them learn from their mistakes. Or just a parent holding their kids hand as they walk across the street. How often do I stop to reflect on what God is doing for me and around me, and recognize his hand in the matter?

    God, show me your love, in the areas I have not been expecting to see it.

    And the snl video was hilarious.

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