Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
The love that we hear about in popular songs is almost always portrayed as a feeling—usually involving unfulfilled desire.
Most love songs describe love as a longing, a passion, a craving that is never quite satisfied, a set of expectations that are never met.
Most love songs not only reduce love to an emotion, but also make it an involuntary one. People “fall” in love. They get swept off their feet by love. They can’t help themselves.
It may seem a nice romantic sentiment to characterize love as uncontrollable passion, but those who think carefully about it will realize that such “love” is both selfish and irrational.
It is far from the biblical concept of love. Love, according to Scripture, is not a helpless sensation of desire. Rather, it is a purposeful act of self-giving.
The one who genuinely loves is deliberately devoted to the one loved. True love arises from the will—not from blind emotion.
Consider, for example, this description of love from the pen of the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 13:4–7). That kind of love cannot possibly be an emotion that ebbs and flows involuntarily.
It is not a mere feeling. All the attributes that Paul lists involve the mind and the volition. In other words, the love he describes is a thoughtful, willing commitment.
If love is a giving of oneself, then the greatest love is shown by laying down one’s very life. And of course, such love is perfectly modeled by Christ.
What quality of love do you need to grow in most?
John MacArthur is a profound teacher of the word of God, a zealous preacher of Christian doctrine, a renowned writer and speaker, and Pastor and Teacher at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California