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"This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us." - 1 John 4:10, NLTLove is a powerful emotion, perhaps the strongest of human emotions.
People will go to great lengths to express love, and they will do almost anything to get love.
So if love is in such demand, why does it seem in such short supply? To paraphrase the song, "Why is love the only thing that there's just too little of?"
The problem with human love is that it's usually self-centered.
Much of the so-called love we feel could be summarized by the phrase, "What's in it for me?" We may think we love someone, but in reality we may simply love what he or she does for us.
The great writer C.S. Lewis identified four different kinds of love, all but one of which are basically self-centered.
First, there's affection, which is the kind of love we can have for something other than people, such as a dog or a home or a car.
Then there's friendship, a valuable love in the sense that it's the basis of most human relationships.
And there's erotic love, which is beautiful between a husband and wife but a mess outside of married love.
All of these are wonderful and necessary loves, but each of them depends on the object of our affection for complete fulfillment.
The only love that is completely other-centered is called agape love. This is love of the highest order.
It's what Lewis called "Divine Gift-Love."
When we love with agape love we desire the best for the people we love. We are even able to love those who are unlovable.
We are capable of agape love only to the extent that we give the details of our lives over to God and allow Him to work in us.
But even before that can happen, we must realize that God loves us, and that He can only love us with this kind of love.
God's love is never self-centered, and God's love is always sacrificial.
While we were enemies of God, He loved us. When we ran from God, He loved us. And He loved us so much that He sacrificed the Son He loved most so that we could experience eternal life.
Love is the essence of God. Live is what motivates Him to do what He does for us - down to the last detail - even when we don't love Him in return. Knowing that should give tremendous meaning to our lives.