What is Real Love?

1 John 3:16-17 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”


Love is another word that is used quite frequently, but that I believe has lost its meaning. We say that we love so many things like our dog, cat, car, and the list could go on. We also say how we love our wives and children, but what does ‘love’ really mean?


This is where God’s language is so important in defining this word ‘love.’ Rabbi Daniel Lapin brings out that the word for love goes with giving, they go together. In other words, when I say that I love my wife it means I will give to my wife, having an overwhelming desire to give to her, and by doing so I am more fulfilled by her acceptance of my giving.


What did Paul have to say about this in Ephesians 5:25-29? “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; to sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”


How did Christ love the church? He gave His life for them. So, it is with husbands in regard to their wives. If a man says that he loves his wife – will he willingly and unselfishly give to her?


We see this coming out with Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29:20-21. “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, ‘Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.”


Rabbi Lapin brings out that the second part of the Hebrew word for love is the word ‘give.’ Paul is bringing this out in Ephesians 5 where if we love our wives we will give to them.


This has been a lesson for me since my wife had an aneurysm and has been unable to do the duties that she used to do. In order for me to meet my obligation (again another word that goes along with love) I had to ‘give up’ certain things, or duties, so that I might ‘give’ to my wife according to what she needs.


One of the great verses of the Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”





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