WHAT IS LOVE?
Our first love is magical and wondrous, goose-bump material. My first love was an exploration of romance. We were both fourteen. He was short and tubby, I was tall, slim and gawky. He was not a prince on a white charger, I was no Barby doll, but we were attracted to each other.
Our first kiss was heart-stopping, a stolen moment at the primary school Christmas break-up party. Not the practised film-star passion but a wet fumbling. Our relationship never grew, my parents moved to another district and we never met again.
MY SECOND LOVE
was my prince on an iron horse or bicycle. He was too poor to own a car, the car would come later. Dark, handsome, average height. The chemistry was there from the start. Cupid’s arrow found its target and we married. Sixty-six years later we still fizz with the magic, though age has taken its toll.
MY THIRD LOVE
Is Christ, Son of God. This is not an Eros or romantic love but an agape love. The love of God for man and of man for God, a self-less, sacrificial love.
God’s love for us is beyond magical, it is jealous, possessive, transforming, redeeming, healing and freeing. There is no end to his love for us, no bottom, no height or width. We are the apple of his eye. D L Moody once said, ‘If you ask me why God should love us, I cannot tell. I suppose it is because he is a true Father.’
Such unconditional love is known as the grace of God, the unearned favour of God given to us not for what we have done or haven’t done, not for who we are or aren’t. Philip Yancey wrote, ‘Grace means there is nothing I can add to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make him love me less.’ Such love is the sacrificial love of agape. ‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life… There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him (Jesus) to save them.’ I have no concept of such love, it is beyond my understanding that anyone could love me so much.
MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME
When this wonderful truth of God’s unearned favour dawned on me the colours became brighter and prettier, I felt clean and new, I had a purpose to live. I felt I wanted to dance for a million years. I had been floundering, searching for what? Suddenly I was found and I had found Jesus, my third love, a self-sacrificing, agape love. This Agape love, this unmerited favour of God, does wonders for the self-esteem.
I want to close with this thought expressed by Paul Ellis, ‘he who has Christ lacks no good thing. In him we are fully, completely, and totally sanctified.’ Another quote from a letter by an early believer, ‘So you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ.’ (Colossians 2: 10)