I love ice cream. Seriously, I do. You know what else I love? Chocolate.

Almost as much as I love my high-heeled peep-toe Oxford pumps.

I love the smell of wet pavement in the summer.

I love sweatpants. I also love watching The Office.

I love my friends.

I love lamp.

I love my parents.

I love Jesus.

…Ahem.

After reading back through my list, I can’t help but feel a little bit uncomfortable that I use the same word to describe how I feel about tacos and sweatpants as I do about my Savior, or even about the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with… It just seems wrong.

The Greeks were on to something when they came up with five different words to explain the phenomenon we call love. No one in ancient Greece would have used the same word to express emotion to their cat as they would the woman of their dreams. At least I hope not.

Unfortunately, the English language only has one word: Love.

Perhaps even more unfortunate, is that a word that carries so much weight can slip off the tongue so easily…so casually.

So what is love, really?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

Every time I read the definition of what God actually intended love to be it knocks me on my face. I know that I am not capable of that kind of love. But at the same time, I know that is the kind of love that God has called me to by the power of His Spirit.

Because He first loved us…

Because God IS love.

With that understanding, every time I speak the words, “I love you,” I’m no longer merely proclaiming an emotional feeling. “I love you” does not just mean “I really, really think you’re hot and like you. A lot. And ‘I love you’ sounds more romantic… And I like hearing you say it back to me.”

“I love you” is a promise. Every time love is spoken, it’s a promise that no matter what the state of the relationship, or what circumstances life brings, that I will put you first. It’s a promise that the other’s emotional state is more important than my own. That I will tend to their needs, and that I will attempt to serve them every chance I get.

Humor me for a second. Change the word “love” in the above verse to the word “I.”

I will be patient and kind. I will not be jealous or boastful or proud or rude. I will not demand my own way. I will not be irritable, and I will keep no record of being wronged. I will not rejoice about injustice but will rejoice whenever the truth wins out. I will never give up, never lose faith, and will always be hopeful, and endure through every circumstance.”

That is the weight and the reality of the word love. It’s a hefty order. Imagine if we had that in mind every time we spoke the words “I love you.”  Imagine if this was the daily pledge, promise, and prayer of couples.  Imagine if this is what we thought of before we spoke “I love you” to our boyfriends or girlfriends for the first time.

No, this kind of love is not possible without the Holy Spirit constantly guiding and refining our lives and relationships.

But we love because HE loves. And I want to love the way HE does in every type of relationship…otherwise it’s just a cheap counterfeit.

Jesus gave up His life because He LOVES us…

There is nothing casual about His love. There should be nothing casual about the way we love.

 

-Coleen York

Coleen York

Coleen York is the founder and editor of She Has Worth. She works as a freelance copywriter and editor, so feel free to hire her so she has employment. Additionally, she enjoys being outside, traveling, dinosaurs, art, Oreos, slurpees, and coffee (but not all together, that would probably be gross). Read more about Coleen in the "Our Team" section of She Has Worth.

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