What Is Love?

Posted on: 2012-08-09 11:15:38

A few weeks ago, I attended the Call to Discernment conference in Tulsa. While I was there, I managed to get a couple of Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham. Judging from the title and cover, it seemed like it was going to be a great book. After reading about five chapters, I'm definitely glad to have gotten a copy of it. There are actually many reasons why this book has been great so far, but there is one reason that has affected me more than the others so far: he spends quite a bit of his time talking about love.

Learning to Love

That is what chapter three is titled. The first two chapters pretty much contain an overview of the current state of the family and some of the direct biblical applications of Ephesians 5 & 6. I skip over this not because it isn't interesting, but simply because this chapter makes an assumption that people probably don't want to consider: that their definition of love is wrong.

but simply because the definition and application of love as discussed in this book was convicting, biblical, and caused a complete rethinking of how I view and understand love. I, like many others, have talked about and believe in the four loves: affection, friendship, romance, and unconditional love. While I can't say that this is absolutely key to my life, how I understand love has a major affect in how I discuss it with other people and think about it in relation to other things.

(Understand that I'm probably going to butcher some of what was said, but there is a point, I promise.)

This chapter convicted me because it exposed how I had swallowed (and figuratively bet the farm on) the worldly, Greco-Roman concept of love. It scared me because it revealed how fickle and how unlike true love this wordly love can be. But it consoled me to understand what true, biblical, God-ordained love is. It is not fickle, but it is something that, by God's wonderful grace, we can put into practice with the people around us.

Love is an act of will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object.

This is an answer to the myths about love that:

  1. Love is random
  2. Love is overwhelming
  3. Love is uncontrollable
  4. Love is sensual

Isn't it wonderful to know that love isn't just this wild, unpredictable force that can make you fall into (and subsequently out) of love? What joy it is that there is a love that is transferrable... that is... it is equally applicable to spouses, siblings, parents, and complete strangers! What security do we have to know that biblical love won't desert us or leave us empty! That it neither leaves us desiring bigger and loftier highs nor leaves us starving and struggling for air. This is tied to the idea that God loves (phileo) the son in the same why that we are called to love one another.

The picture that is painted is effectually the biblical portrait of love. It is one that we, as Christians, should champion and rally behind: a love that is controlled, effective, volitional, and is applicable to man, woman, boy, girl, family, stranger, young, and old.

The Bigger Picture

Okay. So if you follow what I'm saying above and if you are like me, you might start questioning what our society and culture actually mean when they use the word "love."

Let's not beat around the bush. I want to talk about this: Legalize Love

Okay. There is are two possible responses. You either agree or disagree. On what basis might you agree or disagree? Probably on the definition of love, since that is what they are talking about legalizing.

What exactly is being legalized? Is it love? Biblically speaking, no, it would be lust. Where in the bible is the concept of love tied to sex or sexuality? I haven't been able to find anything. I've found Dr. Baucham's words to prove true in scripture: love is an act of will. What this particular website seems to be asking to legalize is not love, but something else.

This sort of misleading stuff really gets on my nerves.