It is my firm persuasion that people will avoid so many problems of life if only they took a little time to read the Holy Bible, the manual of Life. You will not get the best of any equipment if you do not consult its operational manual, in fact, you will eventually damage the equipment if you fail to consult and follow the instructions in the manual. It is the same with life; we will avoid so much pain and heartache if we only paid attention to reading and living our lives according to the directions that God, our maker, has put down for us in the Holy Bible. One of the critical issues of life that has brought so many people pain and heartache instead of the happiness and joy it should bring, has been the issue of love.
More often than not, the issues that develop out of the love relationship between people have come to show that not all that glitters is gold. There is a “love” which is not love, it is fake and cannot deliver the benefits that real love can give. A good study of our manual of life is what we need to clearly understand what real love is, and how to distinguish it from that which is fake and unreal. It would be possible for me to talk about all kinds of love relationships that we can have, but for the sake of limited time and space, let us only look at that which can exist between a man and a woman who feel attracted to each other and who desire a closeness other than that they could have with any other person on the street.
February 14th has been marked annually worldwide as Valentine ’s Day or Lovers day for very many centuries. This date was set aside to commemorate the work of Valentine, a Catholic priest who is said to have helped conduct weddings for persecuted Christians and soldiers who were forbidden to marry. It was a cause he vigorously pursued which brought him at loggerheads with the government institution and led to his death. This day comes with anticipation for a lot of young people who have it marked on their calendars. It is mostly at this time that lovers would go on dates and give gifts. Although this day draws a lot of fanfare, it is also true that the days, weeks and months following this date have been very disappointing and emotion shattering days for very many people, as they get to discover that the love they celebrated on February 14th was a farce after all. The occasion of this year’s Valentine’s day celebration must then afford us an opportunity to critically examine the issue of love. Would we avoid such let downs and nail biting regrets, let us give a little time here to study the essential nature of real love as it is described in the Holy Bible.
A foremost section of the manual of Life that focuses on love is the 13th chapter of Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It starts off by first disabusing the false concepts of love which we may have developed over time. The first verse of this chapter reads “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal”. Can you see it? You and I know that when we want to let the other person know the feelings of love we have for them, we would like to speak out and just express what is on our minds. However, speech itself is not only limited to what we say with our mouths, it includes the letters we write, the text messages, e-mails, chat parcels we forward electronically. In all cases, our goal is to get the other person to believe that what we are saying is a true reflection of what our minds feel. Notice then that it is this way that we also become susceptible to being influenced by a love which is other than real. Why is this so? It is because the false man or woman who does not really love us would come along with some “angelic tongues”, sugar coated and sweet speech in order to buy us in. They will never say that their intention is to have us for a night or two of sex and then dump us for another, no, they will say “Baby, I love you too much, you are my world, I cannot live without you, you are the only one I will ever have”; and with many such words many people have fallen like a pack of cards to men and women who only used them to dump them. Dear young lady and young man, know that speech could be deceptive, therefore look beyond the sweet speech and you will soon discover that they are nothing more than empty, noisy gongs and cymbals. You will never doubt that this is true when you consider that most of the musicians singing so much about love rarely have true love; they do not get married and whenever they do, it often ends in a divorce. Why would you sing or believe their songs?
A second caution that reveals the nature of fake love, applies more directly to the children of the covenant, the sons and daughters of God; Christians. Remember that the devil himself can disguise as the angel of light in order to deceive the children of the light. Know it that your professing lover will need to show a high level of spirituality in order to impress you and get your attention, hence pray for God’s gift of discernment and understand that with all the revelations they may claim to have about you, it is not a credence of the genuineness of their love. They could have prophetic powers, understanding of all mysteries, all knowledge and the faith that moves mountains, yet they may lack real love for you. It will be better you hear God before you commit your life and future to the one who may care for nothing about you other than your body.
A third red flag we see flying sky high in the third verse of 1st Corinthians 13, relates to everyone. Who does not know that there is love in sharing and that a gift is one of the big indices of love? From flower bouquets to Ferraris, from the carefully wrapped small jewel bearing boxes to the skillfully built Taj Mahal, a gift will do more than words in conveying our emotions of love to the other person. Here then also lies the danger of getting something other than real love. A man or woman may give you the ‘whole world’ and yet not love you a bit. Look at that Scripture once again, it says “If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing”. Know this, young woman and young man, that your professing lover is ready to give his or her body to you for sex does not show how much he loves you; it is no credence to the fact that he really loves you. In fact, it may be that they really hate you and will like to infect you with the STD or HIV they are already carrying. Why would you not at least wait to get a formal pronouncement of you both as husband and wife before you give him or her your body? Indeed you will gain nothing but you will have been robbed of your virtues and left emotionally shattered if you get bought in with those “Greek” gifts.
Well then, having examined these red flags on the abused perceptions of love, let us now consider the characteristics of real love outlined here in 1 Corinthians 13. Real love is patient, 2 Corinthians 13:4 tells us. Real love is in no hurry to be expressed today or never. If you really love the person you have affection for, you will be willing to wait for him or her to have the same persuasions about you. Too many relationships are breaking up because people are not patient with the persons they claim to love. Real love will make lovers to wait until a formal marriage solemnization is done before sexual relations could be practiced. Never forget this, real love is patient. Another quality of real love is that it is kind in nature. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. These qualities are conspicuously absent in some professing lovers, they are neither friendly in disposition or speech with the ones they claim to love. In as much as gifts must not be the basis to assess the genuineness of love, yet a real lover will care enough to generously supply what his beloved needs. A real lover is kind and shows consideration to the weakness and shortcomings of his or her beloved. Note it well enough that real love is kind. Thirdly, love is not jealous, or conceited or proud. We have too many people today who are too jealous of the ones they claim to love that they probably constrict or even detain them in total seclusion. They cut off the family ties of their lovers and cannot bear to see them have any other forms of interactions other than with themselves. Again, real love is not boastful and proud, it will not go about telling everyone around how much it has done to the other person. Have you ever wondered why celebrities like to marry other celebrities? Of course it is often to further their conceit. But do you then wonder why their love soon hits the rocks just as soon as it had started? You now know that it is because it was not real love after all. Are you making the same mistakes in loving another because their place in society will afford you fame and financial benefits? Beware!
Other defining characteristics of real love listed in verses 5 – 7 of this scripture are these: Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable. Real love is not rude but respectful; it will respect the opinion and wishes of the other person. It will not insist on its own way. Real love is not resentful towards the other, nor does it get easily provoked. Real love does not keep a record of wrongs. It forgives easily and almost immediately when offended by the beloved.
Why do relationships fail and marriages get split by divorce? It is mostly because people who claim to love themselves fail to forgive one another. Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Is your love real? Will you endure in times of trials with the one you love? Will you leave him or her when they no longer have a job or money as they now do? Real love hopes for the best in the beloved in the future, though he or she may not be affluent in the present. These are certainly characteristics that will show in the attitude of the man or woman who truly loves another. And now I ask you; do you have real love? Is your professed lover real? Consider this.
Finally, 2 Corinthians 13:8 tells us love never ends, it never fails, it is eternal. Why is this so? It is because love is more than us. It is not just what we can have on our own. With our best emotions and affections, we fall short of being the real lovers we would want to be. Love is eternal because it is of God. God is the author and the origin of real love. God is love, so Apostle John tells us in the book of 1 John 4: 16, and real love is only possible with Him.
When God is the author of your love relationship, you will be sure that it will have an heavenly bliss and last for the rest of your lives and even after you have gone, it will inspire your children and generations unborn. How do you get to have this real love? Commit yourself completely God, the author of love, and receive the unmerited love he shows to sinners by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His only begotten son. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be born again. Having taken the first step of committing yourself to God, study your Bible and listen to the teaching of God’s word. You will begin to have changed values and you will no longer judge things or people by your own carnal reasoning and feelings. You will learn to make a distinction between lust (Infatuation) and real love and in God’s time and season for your getting united in the bond of marriage, you will have that bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh who will really love you and be your beloved above all others. I pray for you that you will not be a victim of the abuse of love which is fake and unreal. Take these words into consideration, give it a trial and you will thank God you read this.
God bless you.
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