What is Love? A Guide on How to Love

Love Doctor KP coming to you with some advice on love!

Of all the people to give advice on love, it can be well argued that I am near the bottom half. However, through my biblical studies, and through deep reflection, I have a point on love that I want to share, and one I hope will impact the way you love.

Stay with me through this blog. We’re going to head one way, then go a different direction at the end.

What is Love?

There is a correct and complete answer to this question, for Christians.

Good ole Billy Shakespeare said that love is, “an utput of human affection, doomed to perish along with those who hold endearment to a high importance.” Well, that is depressing. He would go on to describe love as unfair, confusing, crazy, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. He did also have some more positive things to say, such as love never alters or bends, it is more constant than a star in the sky. I suppose now is a good time to remind you all that Shakespeare was a romantic trapped in tragedy. Let’s move on from him.

By far the most quoted and accepted defintion of what love is comes from Paul in the 13th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul writes:

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails.

Please, pause, and read that again.

Now if you believe like I do, that the Bible is God breathed, then you believe that this is what God believes love is. Furthermore, God tells us, the he IS love. He IS love. If you want to know what God is like, you can read the passage again, and replace love with “God,” and it is all true.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is the answer to, “what is love?”

You’ll almost never go to a wedding in which this passage is not read. The Bride and Groom will look at each other, in complete bliss in the joy of the moment, and with the utmost sincerity, pledge to love in such a way. They’ll invevitable fall short, we all do. But this is it people, this is the blue print, this is how to love, this is what love is.

We like to add all the emotion and talk about the heart to love. We add lust and desire to it. We consider getting goosebumps around the person and feeling all the warm fuzzies to be part of love. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to feel all of that, but that is only a component of love at best, and if a component at all, one that does not make Pauls list of what love is. Yes, the Bible talks about attraction and the Bible talks about sex for pleasure, and God designed us to be wired that way, but do not confuse that with being love, at least with being a fundamental part of love. It is more so a fundamental part of a healthy romantic relationship with one significant other.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is what love is.

In the original language of the Bible, Greek, the word “ἀγάπη,” translated as Agape, was used. It is a word to mean complete love. To love completley and unconditionally in all of the ways Paul outlines above.

Before you click off this blog to rush to your significant other to say to them, “I agape you,” first, don’t be weird like that, second, take a moment to really contemplate again, what is love? Think through each line of that passage.

Are you patient with your signifcant other? Are you always patient with them?

Do you truly keep no record of wrongs with them? That is a tough one, isn’t it?

Do you love in a way that is not self-seeking? In a selfish world, this can be tough. Are you truly putting your significant other above yourself, and seeking their joy and their well-being above your own?

Do you always protect? Do you always trust? Do you always hope and always preserve?

I am asking you, look at yourself, deeply and honestly. Where do you fail? Where do you fall short? We will all fall short, at some point, in many of these. Some will come more naturally to you. But, if one of these is completly missing in your relationship or is absent far more than it is there, is that love? It’s not complete unconditional love. It is not agape. That does not mean a relationship must end, but, you need to be honest with yourself, it is not complete love, it is not biblical love, no matter how many warm fuzzies might be there. Furthermore, it is a love that falls short of the love God wants for you, a love that falls short of how God loves you, and a love that falls short of what you deserve and what your signfiicant other deserves.

Looking for Love?

Are you out there in the dating world, swiping left and right trying to find your one? Think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Think about what love is. Replace the word love with that persons name. Let’s say you’re dating a guy names John. Put his name in there. John is patient. John is kind. John is not easily angered. Do they all fit? Do at least most of them fit? If not, he is not the one, at least, not the one God wants for you, and not someone you’ll ever experience complete and unconditional love with, no matter how emotionally warm they might make you feel.

Are you Loving?

We took a good look at a relationship with a significant other in relation to what love is. That is the first thing we all tend to think of when reading this passage. But, lets get more personal. Are you loving?

Put your own name in there in place of Love. Now, don’t read it as just how you relate to your significant other, or if you’re single how it related to the future Mr. or Mrs. The One. Think about it in how you relate to the people in your life that you say you love. The people you say those three magic words to, “I love you.”

Are you patient? Are you kind? Do you not envy? Are you not prideful? Are you not fast to anger? Do you not keep records of wrongs? Do you rejoice and truth and not delight in evil?

Do you always trust? That is a tough one. This is not to say to be blind to warning signs, but are you trusting? Trusting of God? Trusting of those you loves a default setting? Then ask yourself, are you someone your loved ones trust? Do you value and protect that trust?

Do you always hope? Are you looking for the negative, do you dwell in negativity or are you hopeful?

Do you always preserve? This is another tough one in todays society. The life coaches and gurus out there will tell you to remove anyone from your life who no longer benefit you or fit your purpose. Whatever that means. But, if you love them, complete love, you’ll do everything to preserve that and preserve the relationship. There is no unfriend or unfollow button for loved ones.

Harsh Truths of Love

When you read what Love is, what Paul says love is, you’ll likely realize that many of the people you say you love, you do not love completely, not in the agape way that Paul outlines. That is okay. God most certainly wants us to be loving towards everyone, and he’d like us to all be in a place in which we can insert our own name in that passage where “love” is and have it all be true of us, but God does not command you to completely and undconditionally love all people in this lifetime in this way.

Think of the people you love in this complete undoncidtional way. Think of those that love you in such a way. That list might be small, and I hope you all have at least one name on there, but be it 10 names or 0 names, know that God loves you in that way, always, unconditionally, eternally.

To Love

I rarely say, “I love you.” I think I’ve said it to less than 10 people in my life, but I’ll say “love ya,” as a way of socially acceptable sharing of some lesser version of love. I’ve got issues people. Getting into my inner shell is something only a few have ever done. But, I know that I can love completely. It may only be a few people, but I know I can read each one of those passages and think about my relationship with the people I do love completely and unconditionally and say that KP is patient. KP is Kind. KP does not envy… There may be all sorts of areas within me that need development, and places in life that I fall short, but I can love. I can love completely. It was not always the case. It took some maturing. But, I can love. Completely. Unconditionally. I can love.

Accepting love? Hey that is another story for another blog!

Can you love, completely, unconditionally? Work on it. Work on being loving. Especially with those you know love you in such a way. Always preserve that. Fight like a lion for that love.

And most importantly, be love. Be the love you wish to receive. Be the love that Paul describes.

Love completely.

– KP Kelly

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