What is love?

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It’s not the fluttery feelings we so often associate with popular movies. It’s not the linking of eyes across a crowded room. It’s not the embrace of a mother and long-lost daughter for the first time. Love is much more.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16).

This love is not identified by feelings, rather it’s a perfect example of sacrifice. John explains further:

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (3:17-18).

Love is choosing to have burgers for dinner because it’s what your spouse wants, even if you wanted sandwiches. It’s waking up in the middle of the night to embrace your sick child instead of getting those extra hours of sleep.

It’s choosing to set aside your own desires in order to serve the other.

Yet in this example that John shares with us, it’s not limited to the confines of family, not in the marriage and blood-related sense. We are called to share our material possessions with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not called to question their motives or even their true faith. We are simply called to action.

We aim to please God in sacrificing our own wants. In sharing our material possessions we choose to trust God, to give up control, in order to demonstrate the very love of Christ to others.

Love – sacrifice – is not about the other person as much as it is about our own heart in relationship to God. We can only hold ourselves accountable to love just as God has called us to love.

So when is the last time you saw your own excess and gave to your brother or sister in need? God’s love is in you, and so we are called to sacrifice.

When we sacrifice, we harvest the fruits of true love. It is only following that love that we experience the feelings of love, the joy in our hearts and the flutter of a close embrace. We cannot experience lasting feelings of love without the action of love.

Originally posted on RochesterSA.org.

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We are Haley and James Earley, a family of two established on October 11, 2014 in our hometown of Rochester, MN and now living in St. Paul, MN. We are dog-lovers, coffee addicts, tree-huggers, balance-seekers, community-livers, and new foster parents. We live in a house of three adults, three dogs, and our sweet foster kiddos. We desire to slow down in this fast-paced world in order to pursue intentional community as we seek after the heart of God. We're just one couple trying to figure out this whole living life thing.

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