The pop media culture of our day seems to have absconded with any real concept of true love. They relentlessly promote their “me” generation perversion of love. Today it is some gushy feeling, some mysterious feeling that can be fallen in and out of regularly. The dominant character of this pseudo-love is receiving—“As long as I get what I want, I love you. Of course, when you no longer can or will give me what I want, I am done with you.”
The Bible, of course, paints love in a very different light. A perusal of 1 Corinthians 13 will be enough to convince anyone that what goes by the name of love today is a sorry impostor. The dominant character of biblical love is giving not receiving. It is not that love cannot receive, it certainly does receive; rather, love predominantly gives and does not have to receive, love “seeketh not her own” (1 Co 13:5).
Take, for instance, the love for a newborn baby. This love approaches very near the pure ideal. That baby can do nothing for you. In fact, that baby is very demanding and always requiring that you give. I realize the analogy breaks down very easily, but you do not love that baby for any direct benefit received by you. You love and give to that baby for their good and benefit and at a cost to you.
Love has most to do with doing (1 Jo 3:18). Therefore, love is work and, sometimes, hard work. Else, how could it be described as laying down your life for your friends (Jo 15:13)? It is the doing, giving love the world needs to see. It is by this love that the world will know we are the disciples of Christ, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jo 13:35).
Love biblical-style is the identifying mark of God’s people, and not the whimpering effeminacy that says, “We are all imperfect; can’t we all just get along.” This sentiment cannot be called love; it is a love without meaning, a love in word only. The problem with it is that love is not a philosophical idea or abstract expression. Love is real and alive and tangible. Love produces hard evidence that cannot be ignored. While it is possible to give without love (1 Co 13:3), it not possible to love without giving (Ep 5:2).