Just about everyone loves a love story. Perhaps it’s because love seems so warm, accepting, admiring, and non-threatening to us. We feel comfortable about pure love, whether it is a romantic love, friendly love, family love, or God’s love to us because we believe love will do what’s best for us. That is certainly the thought in the following verse:
1John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (KJV)
We tend to think of the carefree, cozy aspects of love that is lavished UPON US and that makes us feel good. But God’s Word has some responsibilities attached to love that turn it into WORK if we want it to flourish and endure. Love is not just about getting our own needs met, but about working to see that those we love get THEIR needs met. Biblical love is not selfish!
For instance, in marriage we can quickly see that God puts us on the GIVING end of the action:
Eph 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (KJV)
The husband is to LOVE (action verb performed by the husband) his wife. His love must be planned and carried out toward his wife. His job is not to seek to be loved, but rather to dispense love! The wife is to show her love by the way she acts toward her husband in submission and respect. Her love, like that of the husband, is a responsibility to be carried out, not a warm, fuzzy feeling she gets from the action of her spouse. A successful, loving marriage is the result of each partner going the extra mile in order to please the other. When one or the other gets self-centered and focuses on being a receiver of love instead of a giver of love, that marriage is in trouble. When both are giving, both are getting!
Now let me burst your bubble about love in connection with God. The prevailing philosophy today is that God’s love is unconditional, He’s gonna love me no matter how I act, and I can just call on Him when I need Him to show love to me. Wow! How would you like to be God and have your people just treat you like you’re a machine that exists to dispense love when you want it with no responsibility to reciprocate? Much of contemporary Christianity today seems to think they can think, speak, and behave any old way they please no matter what God says about it, and then push the “Love Button” on God and get what they want. They reject the preaching about obedience to God and respond to His commandments as “legalism” and “Phariseeism” and say “don’t judge me, God loves me unconditionally.” That, my friend, is a cheap grace that did not come from the Bible! Loving God is more than just receiving. He wants us to love Him back in more than just words—He wants our obedience.
Deut 5:10 “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” (KJV)
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (KJV)
1John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”