by Ken Cooper
In recent weeks we have been looking at what the Bible says about walking with Jesus. Our life in Christ is not just a set of values or beliefs, it is a journey where we choose to walk with Him. We’ve looked at what it means to walk I newness of life after we are forgiven and saved and what it means to walk by faith. This week we are going to look at what the Bible says about walking in love.
In Ephesians 5:2 we read “…and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.” (ASV) Oh how we love, love. We are such romantics. Our nation is infatuated with love. Just listen to our music, love leaves us giddy and disoriented. But what is love, really? There are obviously different kinds of love, or perhaps different levels of love. Erich Fromm was, among other things, a German social psychologist who described mature and immature love as follows:
Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.”
Mature love follows the principle: “I am loved because I love.”
Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.”
Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”
Fromm was on a better track but I think he still missed the mark. Godly love follows the principle: “I love” without a “because”. Contrary to the teaching of the world, genuine love, Godly love, is more than an emotion of giddiness or well-being, it is something that lasts through anger and pain and disappointment. It is a self-sacrificing commitment to seek the good of the one who is loved. We choose to love.
A 36-year-old mother was discovered to be in the advanced stages of terminal cancer. One doctor advised her to spend her remaining days enjoying herself on a beach in Acapulco. A second physician offered her the hope of living two to four years with the grueling side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She penned these words to her three small children: “I’ve chosen to try to survive for you. This has some horrible costs, including pain, loss of my good humor, and moods I won’t be able to control. But I must try this, if only on the outside chance that I might live one minute longer. And that minute could be the one you might need me when no one else will do. For this I intend to struggle, tooth and nail, so help me God.”
Love… it’s more than romance, it’s more than emotion and hearts and lace. It’s a decision, a commitment and a determination to seek the best for others regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Jesus chose to love us in spite of strong opposition from religious leaders and in spite of the fact that he knew it would result in his crucifixion. When we express genuine love we are most like Jesus Christ because, “God is love.” 1 John 4:16