A profound need to love and be loved lies at the very center of the human heart. Yet despite this obvious fact, the world clearly suffers from a shortage of love. In fact, our world screams for love.
Just look around. Everywhere you turn, you see the effects of people seeking love, desperately trying to fill their lives with something. When they cannot find true love, they turn to substitutes: drugs, sex, fame, fortune—anything to fill the hole in their soul.
“Chuck,” you may say, “I disagree. I think there is plenty of love in the world. I love my kids. I love my spouse. I try to love my neighbor. I am full of love. And I know many other people who are just like me.”
I understand. We are all in the process of trying to love—and in many cases, we really do show love to those around us. But the point is not: Do we love? but rather, do we love as God wants us to love? In other words, do we love with the love of God in Christ? Sure, we love our family, yes, we love our friends; and at times, we might even love our neighbor. But many of us do not love as Jesus calls us to love—unconditionally, with grace, and influenced by the truth of God’s Word.
That is the kind of love our world craves. And that is the only kind of love that will satisfy our deepest longings.
Our core problem, I believe, is that we badly misunderstand love. We think it has its source in us. It does not. To truly understand and practice love, we need to begin by grasping the true source: God Himself. All true love depends on God as its Author and Conduit. Otherwise, true love will never flow.
Genuine love begins with God and His unchanging character. God is love. In fact, He loved us long before we loved anything. The very act of our loving begins with God—in both receiving His love and returning that love. Only then can we fully love others.
This means that if you truly want to love a person, you must first understand God’s love. Once you begin to grasp His love, you can begin to enthusiastically reflect it back to Him. And out of that delightful overflow, you can genuinely love others.
True love relies—at every point—upon God. Only then can love have its greatest effect in your life and in mine.
- excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith