Galatians 5:22-23 Says “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Love. A word with vast meanings. Even in the Bible there are multiple meanings of love. At the time the Bible was written, and in the various languages of the authors, the word love could mean different things. Love of a brother. Love of a friend. Love of a parent. Love of a spouse. Love of the Lord. When the Bible was translated to English we dumbed down all of the different uses of the word LOVE. The writers of the Bible used careful consideration when choosing the words for the type of LOVE they meant.
The English language has just one common word for love and we apply it to all kinds of love. I think we sometimes overuse it and it begins to lose its true meaning. It is like when you repeat a word over and over and the word stops sounding like the word you said in the first place. We say we love a pair of shoes. We say we love television shows. We say we love celebrities. Jesus said there’s no greater love than to lay one’s life down for his friends. (John 15:13) I don’t think I’d lay down my life for a pair of shoes.
A big problem today with our perception of love is that we don’t have many great examples. Of course, we have the Bible, but we make plenty of excuses as busy people of the 21st century not to read it. Many of us don’t even have an example of true love in our own homes. Divorce has ruined many people’s ideas about love causing them to think love is temporary and incomplete. People start to associate what happened in their homes as children with how God sees them; how the world sees them and how they view God and the world.
My parents just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary and have been together for over 40 years. They met in high school in the seventies. Having a very cinematic imagination, I probably over romanticize their meet-cute. My dad played dumb so he could get my mom to be his math tutor. He had long fluffy blonde hair and an affinity for Jim Croce. More importantly, an affinity for my mom. My mother was popular (sorry for the disappointment that I couldn’t follow in your footsteps) she was the school mascot and wore bell bottoms; however, she was not easily impressed. When my dad eventually asked her to go steady, her response was literally, “fine, can I go to my locker now?”
After six years of dating and basically raising each other they got married! They finished college and got jobs. My dad had been in the Army Reserve and then went full-time to the Air Force. They got stationed in a new state, uprooting their whole lives. Moving to a place where they were the only two people they knew. Even in my dad’s civilian career, this became a trend in their lives, ultimately in my life as well. Throughout the years, jobs and life’s twists and turns had us moving all over the country. I’ve never seen them complain, though. They pray and make an action plan.
You see I’ve always had a great example of all kinds of love in my household. My parents not only loved each other as spouses, but as best friends. They’ve cared for each other as parents. They’ve stuck together like siblings. They’ve loved the Lord with all their heart. Although not always actively teaching me what love really means or how to love well, they showed me what love really means. When Jesus talks about laying down one’s life, of course he refers to Him laying His life down for us, who he calls friends. For us, sacrifice doesn’t have to be literally laying down your life; my parents have certainly laid down everything they knew as their life for each other. Every day they make sacrifices. Every day, I see them living out the true purpose of marriage. They are an example of how Christ loves His church. My mom is a true Proverbs 31 woman and my dad is a true Ephesians 5 husband.
Mom and Dad, thank you for insuring that I would never have a distorted definition of love. Happy Anniversary.