What Love Isn’t

hearts in sandLove. It’s makes the world go round, right? But what is love exactly? And what does God’s Word say about the kind of love we should be looking for and living out?

These are important questions. Here’s what we wrote about what love is (and isn’t) in the book The Bare Facts.

In order to fully understand what love is, lets take a look at what it isn’t.

Love isn’t a feeling.

When you were little, your mother could command you to eat your vegetables (that’s an action), but she couldn’t command you to like them (that’s a feeling). When I ask people to define love for me, most of them tell me it’s a feeling. But love cannot be a feeling because you cannot command an emotion. You can only command an action or a decision.

Who can command us to love? God can and does!

John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Clearly, love is more than a feeling. It is a series of choices. When we choose to love, our emotions can be transformed, but love is expressed by acts of the will.

Love isn’t sex.

Our culture teaches that “love” and “sex” are interchangeable words, and that sex is a measuring tool to gauge whether or not you are in love. It further teaches that sex is a necessary component for a loving relationship. But God’s Word gives us a definition of love that has nothing to do with sex. Unmistakably, sex and love are not the same.

What is it about sex and love that makes them so easy to mix up?… During sexual activity the brain releases oxytocin, a “cuddle hormone” that produces feelings of caring, trust, and deep affection. That “feeling” combined with pop-culture’s attempt to sell sex and love as one package can lead many to think that sex equals love. Since we already know that love isn’t a feeling and we can determine that the world’s definition of love is inconsistent at best, undeniably sex is not love (The Bare Facts, 21–22).

The Bible gives us other indicators of what sex is not. Here are a few.

Love is not the source of our happiness.  

This is part of my problem with the Twilight series and why I dedicated several posts to it last week. When Edward and Bella were together, Bella was happy. When they were apart, she was sad, lonely, and withdrawn. The subtle message that I watched take hold of too many hearts was having a boyfriend will make you happy, being alone will lead to a lifetime of misery.

It’s the same lie that Nancy and Dannah addressed in Lies Young Women Believe. Here’s a rapid-fire reminder of God’s truth.

  • God did not make marriage to make you happy, but to glorify Himself (Eph. 5:31–32).
  • When you look to a relationship with a guy to make you happy, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and potentially for disaster.
  • God does not want you to “awaken love” until the time is right (Song of Sol. 2:7, 3:5, 8:4).

Love does not require sin.

There was a lot of sneaking going on in the Twlight books, chased by frequent disregards for authority. That’s a red flag to me that this isn’t a romantic story that any of us should be filling our minds with.

God’s Word is clear here: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Col. 3:20).

A plot line that celebrates rebellion and alludes that love at all costs is right and romantic will never have my thumbs up.

Whew! That’s a lot of don’ts. But don’t get discouraged. God’s Word gives us a definition of love that is exciting and possible. Be sure to hop back on the blog on Monday where we will trace the world “love” through several passages to find a definition with the power to radically impact how we live.

You’re gonna love it!

About Author

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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