Am I Really in Love?
When I was 15, my mother went to America and bought me back an amazing Nike jacket and I just couldn't wait to show it off to all of my friends. As I walked into school I glided across the playground with my head held high. Everyone was clearly impressed because I was constantly asked: "Where did you get that jacket?"
After a few days I noticed that my almost new jacket didn't seem to be handling the normal wear and tear like my other articles of clothing, but I didn’t let this bother me because I felt really good in it. I finally had something that everyone around me seemed to admire.
After about a week, while I was in my art class, I made sure that everyone could see the Nike tick and the intricate design of the jacket as I carefully hung it over the back of my chair. Half way through the lesson I could hear the sound of giggling behind me and as I turned around to see what was happening, I noticed that the person sitting behind me had his arm stretched out towards my precious jacket! As he looked at me with a massive grin across his face, I noticed that he had a piece of black material flapping around in his hand.
Reality quickly slapped me in the face when I had worked out what had happened. I was horrified. Somehow, he managed to peel back the Nike symbol off my jacket!
It was a fake and everyone in the class now knew it. There was absolutely nowhere to hide as the lesson was far from over. I had to sit there and bare the shame for the last half of the lesson!
Remembering this story always makes me laugh even though I wasn't laughing back then! You may be thinking to yourself: "What exactly has this got to do with love?" Well, lately I have been praying to God about love. I know that a massive part of my walk is about loving others, but if I’m completely honest, I don't feel that meet God’s expectations, especially when it comes to loving people who aren't close to me.
On a number of occasions I've been to the altar to ask God to change my heart. I always expected Him to supernaturally zap me and give me a new heart which would automatically start loving everyone around me unconditionally and with out prejudice - but it never happened.
It took me a while, but God revealed to me that I completely misunderstood what He was trying to tell me about love in his Word.
I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (the well-known Love Chapter) and as I skimmed over the words, my light bulb moment finally came. God was showing me that love according to His word and the dictionary definition are both incomparable because one depicts real love and the other is a counterfeit.
Going back to my embarrassing Nike jacket moment proves that anything that is real will stand the test of time. My jacket looked great and it was even admired by others, but it was a counterfeit because it wasn’t made up of the same materials that a genuine Nike jacket would normally be made of. It was only a matter of time before it fell apart.
The dictionary definition of love is a strong feeling of affection or a combination sexual attraction and affection for someone. Here, love is not a word that describes an our actions (a verb). This description all depends on how you feel about the other person. However, the Bible mentions absolutely nothing about my feelings when it comes to love.
1 Corinthians 16:14 instructs us to do everything in love. The key word for me was is “do” as this confirms that my love is determined by my actions and is not based on how I feel about the other person.
My request to be put in some sort of trance where I ooze for love for everyone was a silly one. Every once in a while I’m guaranteed to be surrounded by people who are going to get on my nerves, hurt me, break my heart, dislike me and some may even hate me, but I have to make the choice as a child of God to love them. Jesus made the choice to love someone like me, therefore I have to do the same with others.
On my wedding day, during the speeches, a very wise family member stood up and said: "If you think you love your husband now, just wait until years down the line." I thought to myself: "How could she say that, of course I love him now, I can't love him anymore than I do today." But she was absolutely right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very attracted to my husband today, in fact, sometimes when he walks past me I still find myself saying: “Oh, thank you Lord.” But what she said, I've found to be true. After being married for a number of years, I can confirm that romance, attraction and affection are important components of a marriage but they aren’t the be all and end all of your relationship.
As I read 1 Corinthians 13 it listed everything I needed to judge if my love was real and this was a tough pill for me to swallow because it highlighted my short comings in my love towards my husband and children.
It's easier to love or work on loving someone who you have an emotional connection with but what about others who you don't have a close relationship with? Well, as the Nike slogan says: "Just do it." The tough reality is that not everyone will reciprocate Godly love back to us and this can cause us to feel hurt and rejected. We need to remember our love shouldn't be driven by how we feel, we should be have a passion and desire to reflect the perfect love that God has for us on to others so that they will be inspired to start a walk of their own.
Take the time out to judge the love you have for others by thinking about these few words from 1 Corinthians 13.
Are you patient and kind?
Are you jealous, boastful, proud or rude?
Do you demand your own way?
Are you irritable?
Do you keep a record of being wronged?
Are you happy with injustice or with truth?
Love doesn't give up, it never loses faith, it’s always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Love is eternal.
I know that this is a very wide topic and there's so much more that could be said about love. I just hope that this blog has encouraged you to make a start into researching biblical love for yourself to help you on your walk with God.
If you are in a abusive relationship or experiencing domestic violence. Yes, God requires us to love everyone, but the spirit of fear doesn't come from God. Please don't suffer in silence. Contact Breaking the Silence on 0121 2852277
Breaking the Silence is a Birmingham based project that aims to raise awareness around the untold impact of domestic abuse, forced marriages & human trafficking.