(Guest Post By Kristen Clark)
Somehow she knew he was looking her way. She slowly glanced in his direction to find out. His handsome face smiled at her. Their eyes locked for several long seconds. She shyly smiled back. Invisible sparks flew as butterflies erupted in both of their stomachs.
True love just hit the scene.
Or did it?
The word love comes in all shapes and sizes today.
We, as a culture, use it in a casual moment after we bite into a hot slice of pizza, or a monumental moment as we stand at the altar on our wedding day. Love. Such a short, but powerful word. Most of us say the word love in the moments when we’re feeling happy. When the object or person in front of us is making our life better.
Romantic love takes things a step further.
It’s usually portrayed as a powerful emotion that overtakes you and hijacks your brain. Sparks fly and fireworks explode. True love has arrived.
Is this really what love is though? The result of a happy emotion? The tingly feeling in our stomach? An object that satisfies us?
While those things are great and can be a result of love, they’re not the definition of love. And that’s right where mainstream society gets confused.
Most romantic relationships and marriages are built upon the belief that true love should always create happy feelings. Once the happy feelings are gone, love must be gone too. Right? So what happens? They break up or get divorced.
If we, as Christian women, want better results for our romantic relationships, we have to get to the root of what real, true love is.
We have to build our relationships on a strong foundation of God defined love.
God defined love is the polar opposite of most everything we see in our secular society. Why? Because it goes against every fibre of our being.
It runs completely contrary to our self-centered hearts.
Do you know what the most commonly used Greek word for love is in the Bible? Pop quiz time!
Did you pick agape? If so, nice job! The Greek word, agape, is mentioned 259 times in the Bible. If the Bible repeats something 259 times, we should pay attention.
When we break down the original meaning of this word, its definition is earth shattering.
Are you ready for it? Here it is: “The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice.” Did you catch that last part? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Ouch.
Isn’t it interesting how much we like the word self when it stands alone, but when it’s tacked onto a word like sacrifice we begin to cringe?
God defined love isn’t built on self, but on a foundation of sacrifice. Love is an action, not an emotional feeling. Self-sacrifice is the action that best displays true biblical love.
The real life story of Ian and Larissa Murphy displays agape love in a powerful way.
They were young and in love.
Their entire future was ahead of them. Everything seemed perfect in their lives and Ian couldn’t wait to propose to Larissa. Then suddenly, without any warning, something drastic changed their lives forever. Ian was involved in a head on vehicle collision. His body was crushed. His brain was damaged.
Against all odds, Ian pulled through and survived the terrible accident, but his brain would never be the same. Ian could no longer function independently. This is where the power of agape love hits the scene with full force.
Instead of abandoning Ian because of his serious brain injury, Larissa did the unimaginable.
She married him.
She abandoned her dreams of a “perfect life” and instead chose to sacrificially serve the man she loved.
True love. That’s it. Right there.
Larissa chose self-sacrifice over self-pleasure. She put true love into action. Sure, it was really hard at times. Sure, she wasn’t always “happy,” but she was devoted. True love doesn’t crumble when life gets tough, it perseveres.
I love how this quote describes it. “Love is best seen as devotion and action, not an emotion. Love is not exclusively based on how we feel. Certainly our emotions are involved, but they cannot be our only criteria for love. True devotion will always lead to action—true love.”
We, as Christian women, must allow God to define our view of love.
Christ was the ultimate example of sacrificial love and He calls us to love others in the same way.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love [agape], as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV).
Whether married or single, agape love is God’s solution to vibrant, lasting relationships.
True love is agape love.
Okay – I have a question for my single sisters out there! Please share your thoughts with me below: In what ways has our culture’s “fireworks version” of true love influenced your personal view of love?
Now I have two questions for my married sisters! In what ways have you put true (sacrificial) love into action in your marriage? What advice do you have for single girls on how they can practice showing agape love now?
Let’s chat below!