What is Love?

Anyone who has hung around here for any length of time, and read my book knows that I talk a lot about Love.  More specifically I talk about living life with a Love Based Mentality.  So I figured it was high time I took a few minutes here to define what exactly I mean by that.

I’m obviously not talking about romance or sex or any other emotional response our culture might mistakenly equate with love.  I’m talking about something a lot less emotional and a lot more practical.  I’m talking about behaviour, not a feeling.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. [1 John 3:16]

Dr. Greg Boyd, author of the bestselling book “Myth of a Christian Nation” and lead pastor of Woodland Hills Community Church in St. Paul Minnesota once said that 1 John 3:16 is the ultimate definition of orthodoxy.   You see if God is Love, as we are told in 1 John 4:8 then in order to be orthodox we must manifest His love.  And how do we do that? By laying down our lives for our brothers and sisters, that’s how.

Now a lot of people balk at that definition and to be honest I don’t blame them.  I don’t blame them because when someone says that you must be prepared to “lay down your life” people automatically think that they have to be prepared to physically die.  And while in some extreme circumstances that may be true most of us in the west will never be put in a position where we have to make a choice between our own physical life and someone else’s.  No, more likely, and more practically in our modern culture the act of laying down our lives for someone is much more subtle.  But just because it’s subtle doesn’t make it any less impactful.

I call this blog The Meekonomics Project because being meek and laying down your life is one and the same thing.  In today’s vernacular “Blessed are the Meek” could be just as powerfully stated as “blessed are those who submit their power to others”.  Or “blessed are those who lay down their lives in service.”  Do you see the connection?

Now here’s where this gets hard, and I contend harder even than physically dying.  Laying down your life or releasing your grip on personal power is a recurring lifestyle choice.  Our culture tells us to get after it, self promote, reach for the top, go, go, go.  We are bombarded with messages from the media and surrounding culture that laying down our lives is foolish [Romans 1:22, 1 Corinthians 3:19].

But as Paul put it, we must become “living sacrifices”.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. [Romans 12:1-2]

When we live that way we begin to manifest a Christ-like Love.  We may never get it exactly right, we are a fallen people after all, but perfect love always looks like Jesus hanging on a cross.  Jesus was so committed to this kind of love that he not only laid down his life and was meek while he lived, in the end he wasn’t afraid to lay down his physical life as well.  And that, as John tells us is how we know what love is.

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