John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
William Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” I stand in agreement with Mr. Shakespeare. Without being tested, how does one ever know that the love they have is valid, real and credible? It is the test of time that measures best as the winds of change come and go but the constant that remains is love. This is not always the case. The love stories that draw the greatest attention are those that contain a mix of tragedy. The struggle is real to that place called love but for those who ever really find it – there is nothing like it. I have found true love in my partner. My husband is my best friend. Love indeed covers a multitude of sins. It is the one thing that remains when everything else falls apart in our life. Faith, hope AND love are all that will remain. We must be sure that these things are in us to ever learn to depend on them. I can never love another until I truly discover that I am loved. God loves me. I am His Child. He created me to be this although I chose something else. Jesus loves me. He demonstrated His Love when He laid down His Life to die for my sins. The Word of God says that this is the greatest love of all. In His Desperate Need to be one with me, the Lord has given me His Spirit. He now lives inside of me. But is it true love?
In an effort to find the definition of true love, I “Googled” it. I came across an article that listed “21 Ways You Can Know What You Are Feeling is True Love.” I will not cover all 21 that were delineated but a few caught my attention:
- You see something and instead of thinking how happy it would make you, you think about how happy it would make them.
- You do not desire other people.
- Their happiness means more than your own.
- You are willing to give in on things that you would normally not compromise on.
- You always want to listen to them.
- Even when you do disagree or even fight, you don’t want to be mad at them.
- They can come at you with anything and you won’t judge or condemn them.
- You wake up happy just because you get to see them that day.
My husband makes me feel that way. My children make me feel that way, too. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. I have a few friends that I feel the same way about too. It’s sad to think that the Lord intends all of our relationships to be true love yet we settle for just a few.
I John 4:18-19 (NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.
Three years ago, I was wrapped up in my life. Stressed out and overcome by all the minute, insignificant details of life – I was a ticking time bomb. My priorities were out of place and I didn’t even know it. A friend of mine who coincidentally is a co-worker and I were discussing the first day that we met. It is so sad. I was completely consumed by my job and totally disappointed that the “new hire” was not one of the qualified candidate that had been interviewed and carefully selected. Instead, her department had been closed and at the last minute her position changed so that she would not lose her job altogether. There was no easy letdown. I was buried in work and now the light at the end of the tunnel blocked by this textbook editor who would now be immersed in the darkness of federal funding that loomed over my head. I didn’t even know if she could count and quite frankly didn’t care lost in my own world. Over the years, she not only has become my right hand at work, but one of my very best, closest and dearest friends in life. Long after I employment ends, we will still be friends. To hear her talk about how awful I treated her in the beginning breaks my heart. I am not the same person she met that day and she has been with me through the transition as ugly as it has been at times. She was there when our son was diagnosed and my world fell apart. It was her who has helped me keep my job even with prolonged absences due to our son’s illness. I truly love this person and I know she loves me. How does this happen when people can be such unlovable and selfish people?
I changed the day that I discovered perfect love. It wasn’t at the altar or even in a church. It wasn’t when I fell in love and got married. Even when I have fallen in love five times over with my precious children, my love for them is not perfect. I found perfect love in the greatest tragedy of my life and it has rebuilt my life into a beautiful love affair. When everything fell apart? Only faith, hope and perfect love remained. No one else could help me. No one else could fill that void of fear. No one else could soothe my pain or hold all the pieces of my broken heart. No one else could heal our son or heal me. Perfect love expels all fear. This will never happen until we discover how perfect the Lord’s Love for us really is. Many times it is in the revelation that no matter how much love we have in life, it means nothing until we find the true perfection of His Love for us. This is the kind of love that completes us so when natural love that we call true falls short, it will always remain.
This love that is called perfect can and will reshape every other relationship in our life. It is through this love that I see the potential of all other relationships in my life even those that my sinful nature could have driven apart, but perfect love kept its place until I was ready to allow the Lord to change my heart forever. Looking back, I cannot believe who I was back then or the validation I felt as that person when all along perfect love was calling me to greater relationships and friendships that my pride and ignorance almost wasted.
John 3:16-17 (NLT)
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
The concept of Eternal Life is based on three things – faith, hope and love. We have faith in Jesus Christ. We put all of our hope in Him and therefore live for the Lord. His Love encompasses our life completely perfecting every other relationship we have. God loved us so much that He gave His Only Son for us to have His Love. He wants us to live forever not limited. We are limited by our lack of love because His Love for us is unfathomable. This passage is not about escape but entrance. To simply use our salvation to escape death is pointless, when the potential is entrance to the Presence of God where perfect love really does exist. I cannot explain how it will change you because words cannot give it proper due. You have to experience the kind of faith, hope and love that exist forever to understand its true potential. However, we must lay down our own life to discover it.
Romans 8:28-29 (NLT)
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is a teenage girl who is currently undergoing treatment for the same kind of cancer that my son has been battling. Her family was already experiencing hardship as her mother was ending an abusive relationship with her father when she was diagnosed. When I first contacted her mom, the woman seemed so fragile and broken not just because of her child’s diagnosis but with life in general. But since that time, I am sensing a transformation. In the midst of what should be a vast wasteland a desert bloom is rising from the cracked hard ground of disappointment and devastation as a new confident and transformed creation blossoms in the Love of God by faith and confident hope that comes along with it. I recently have been in contact with another couple who are facing disastrous natural odds but choose to live in the supernatural. Newly married, the husband has been battling a brain tumor that in man’s eyes is winning. However, never before have I seen two people more confident in God’s Love for them even in the possibility that he may be going home soon. Their faith is God and His Plan not their own. It is amazing. It is love. It is true love convinced that nothing will ever separate them from God’s Love. What about the young couple whose bucket list for the baby gained national attention? Baby Shane came in this world for only a few hours. His entire life on the earth celebrated by loved ones. Due to anencephalic state, he probably never was able to process sensory perceptions of pain or the like, but this baby knew love! His family never put him down in the four hours that he lived loved ones poured constant love over this tiny baby. He came into this world surrounded by love and left it the very same way. Tragedy turned triumphant in love. I get it. I have experienced it the moment that I discovered the Love of God and its true potential and genuine reality in my life. It has changed me forever. I am convinced that nothing can every separate me from God’s Love. Death, life, fear and worry have no hold on my heart because the Love of God has consumed it entirely. I do not expect the circumstances of my life to change but I expect His Love to change me in my circumstances to move me closer, deeper and more aware of His Amazing Love.
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
What will it take to find true love? Rest assured you will never find it in another person until you understand the perfect love that has been given to you by Jesus Christ as a Gift from God. When will I know it that I have found true love? I guess that really depends on you. I am a stubborn and prideful person who is intent on doing it all myself. It took a situation where I became powerless for His Grace to finally reach me. Once I discovered that there was more to His Love than I was experiencing – it became the ocean that Hillsong sings about. It is wider, longer, higher and deeper than anything that I could have ever imagined. Just when I think I have figured it out, His Love overwhelms me all over again. When I lost myself, His Love began to perfect my life. I am more satisfied now than ever before. I am happier than I have ever been. I am at peace even in the midst of great uncertainty and it is all because of His Love. Yesterday was our midweek church service, I didn’t go. I went to the gym instead. Don’t judge me. Sometimes you have to clear it out before you can clean it up. I usually listen to Pandora and some fast beat workout jam but “for some reason” the station would not load. After repeatedly trying, I laughed oh I get it now. I changed over to my playlist and found my favorite worship music. I realized in that moment that the Lord wanted some alone time with His Beloved (that’s me). My true love wanted to reaffirm His Great Love for me. He wanted to wipe away all those worries and fears that were accumulating on the doorstep of my mind pressing to come in. An hour seemed like minutes as faith, hope and love surrounded me. I am loved. I have found perfect love. It is true love.
I John 4:7-8 (NLT)
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.