“What’s love got to do with it?” These are the lyrics to Tina Turner’s 1984 hit song. There is nothing quite like love. You know it when you have it and you sense it when it’s gone. People will go to great lengths to capture love. Yet if you have to ask, “What’s love got to do with it,” then you may not fully understand what love is all about.
Without a proper understanding of what love is we will fall for anything that resembles it. A correct understanding of love is crucial to our fulfillment from it.
In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus is “tested” by a lawyer. This lawyer was also known as a scribe. He was a respected member of the religious society who had devoted his life to understanding and teaching God’s law. This lawyer asks Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
The question was less about an answer and more about testing Jesus’ understanding of the law of God. Jesus never backed down from a test. This lawyer was focused on rules but Jesus was centered on relationship. Jesus answers the question by redirecting the focus to love. Faith and love are inseparable.
“8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
Faith in God will always produce love. Now you cannot reverse engineer the process of faith. Being a loving person is no back door entrance to having faith. A relationship with God has always been by faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only means of having your sin debt erased and receiving eternal life.
In Genesis 1:26-27 God created man and woman in His image and love is one of the characteristics of God’s image. Love is not exclusively a Christian attribute but a human one. It’s a gift from God. If you are a Christian you have an edge on love because God is not only the inventor of love but He “is” love. He dwells in you and enhances your ability and capacity for love.
The question of eternal life is answered with, “to love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength.” This represents the totality of our being. Everything in us must be devoted to loving God. It’s not enough to love God on an intellectual level and not an emotional level but on every level.
Loving God was not a point of contention for the lawyer. He pressed Jesus to explain who his neighbor was. In other words, “What must someone do for me that would be deserving of me loving them?”
In Jesus’ parable we learn three practical truths about love.
#1 Love requires action.
When people are in need, stop sending “good thoughts” their way. The victim in Luke 10 did not need someone to wish him well or tell him how bad things look, he needed help. Also it’s not enough to say you love but to demonstrate love.
“8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8(NIV)
God did not simply say He loved us but He demonstrated His love for us. Genuine love is action not intention.
#2 Love will cost you something.
Love will always come at the expense of comfort or something preferred. The good Samaritan who stopped to help was on his way somewhere to do something. To demonstrate love meant a delay in his schedule. It was an inconvenience. He also had resources with him for another purpose, oil and wine, but the emergency diverted those resources to help. Genuine love will cost you something without promise of repayment.
#3 Our neighbor is the one in need closest to us.
In verse 31 Jesus said, “Now by chance…” This means the encounter was unplanned. It just happened to happen.
- What if the unplanned events in your life are God-given opportunities for you to show love to someone and in so doing reveal the character and nature of God to them?
- What if those inconveniences in your day were a divine appointment scheduled by God for you to demonstrate God’s love?
Often the people who seem least deserving of love are the ones who need it the most. Take time today to be inconvenienced so that God’s love can be experienced through you. It’s impossible to help everyone but each of us can help someone. Love is a pursuit that takes us through a process of becoming more like God.