There’s a popular myth about love that goes something like this: “Love is all you need. Love overlooks all wrongs. Love means never having to say I’m Sorry. If two people love each other that’s all they need to have a happy marriage. The reality that God loves you makes anything and everything OK.”
There are lots of things you need besides love. You need food, shelter, information, and friendship. You may need a job, money, medication, faithfulness, or a safe place to rest. Mushy feelings and an “I love you,” no matter where they come from, won’t be enough. No, love is not all you need.
But then maybe it’s the way we look at love. If love is just those mushy feelings, then it’s not much good until many of your other needs are met. But what if love is the way those other needs do get met? What if love is the reason you take action to meet your own needs and those of others? Then maybe love would be all you need, or at least be the means of getting all you need.
If you really loved your spouse, your children, your family, or others, here are some things you might do:
- Miss out on a night with friends so you can work through an important problem with your spouse
- Drastically change your eating habits so you can become healthier and be there for your children as they grow up
- Work long hours to provide the material things your family needs
- Do the seriously difficult work to give up smoking, or alcohol, or some other addiction because otherwise you’d continue to hurt those you love
- Go shopping, or fishing, or something else you’d never do yourself simply because your spouse enjoys it
- Apologize when you hurt someone you love, and honestly change your behavior so as to not cause that harm again
- Be there to care for an aging parent or disabled spouse when you’d rather be somewhere else
Some of those things you might also do for other reasons. But when love is the true motivation you find yourself doing things you ever thought you could do. What you receive in return is great, but the point is you’re taking action because you love.
God’s Love For You
Even God’s love is not enough in itself. By that I mean that His love only becomes enough when it results in action. Think of some of the things God has done for you out of love. And imagine what your life would be if He had NOT done these things:
- Provided for your forgiveness
- Created a heavenly future for you
- Provided for you to be changed from the miserable, broken person you were into a mature, glorious participant in God’s kingdom
- Gave you a purpose for your life
- Allowed you to experience free will, creativity, joy, and love yourself
And when you love God in return, it’s only real when that love results in action as well. Here’s what that looks like:
- You allow God to change your inner being and your outward behavior
- You align your allegiance with Him rather than with anyone or anything else
- You spend time getting to know Him better
- You tell others about Him
- You work together with Him to fulfill His purpose for your life
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Love must result in action.
When you consider that true love always expresses itself in action, then you really can say “Love is all you need.”
Your Turn: Do you think love is really all you need? Has love moved you to action? Leave a comment below.
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