Truly, Madly, Deeply?

Ephesians 5:1-2
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Imitate God.

Does that sound difficult to anybody else?

God has so many characteristics that are well above and beyond our comprehension as little human types. He does, however, have a lot of characteristics that we can apply in our own lives. Love. Joy. Wisdom. Patience. Kindness. Forgiveness. And so on and so forth.  There are so many we could focus on, but this verse brings up love first. That makes sense since love is the greatest virtue there is–it’s the one reality that will exist long after all the others have faded away or become irrelevant.

So how do you live a life of love? What does it even mean to do that?

Our culture would have us believe that love is entirely physical and emotional. It’s funny. When I realized that my computer wasn’t going to allow me to get this done this morning, I fetched my Bible (on my Kindle, of course, techie geek that I am) and read some Proverbs instead (specifically chapters 7,8 and 9 . . . they’re short). Unsurprisingly, they’re about Wisdom; not shocking because Proverbs is all wisdom all the time. But Proverbs 7 focuses on a fool who gets involved with a prostitute.

That’s what a lot of people in our world identify as love. The physicality of a relationship with another person. The feeling of being connected to another person.

But that’s not love at all. How sad that we have reduced the most important gift God has given us to a mere emotion or sensation. It goes beyond that, so far beyond that.

The thing that amazes me about Love is that it’s not always fun or happy. I’ve experienced some of the blackest days in my life as a result of love, some of the deepest sadness too. People would have you think that love makes you feel giddy all the time, and that’s just not true.

You don’t even have to look very far in this verse today to realize that. Christ showed His love for us by sacrificing Himself. Where’s the giddy feeling there? How does sacrificing make anybody happy? I suppose that’s where patience, another important quality, comes in. You can sacrifice for love but it’s rare that you see the results right away; there’s usually a waiting time associated with that sacrifice.

I’m kind of rambling.

I guess what I’m thinking about today is what it means to truly love someone else — and not in the romantic sense of the word. Love transcends that. To rejoice in someone else’s accomplishments. To hope for someone else. To invest in other people even though you know it won’t benefit you in any way. To give yourself away to help others when you can barely help yourself.

That kind of love is difficult — but if it were easy, would it really be worth it?