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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Active Love

I previously wrote a post that suggested  something along the lines of 'love should be active'. I think I was a little mistaken in my phrasing because here is what I have been reflecting on this past night: love shouldn't be active, love is active. And even if that is a minor semantics argument I think it's an important distinction to make: to say that love is active rather than that it should be is to talk about love as a current force, rather than a passive, potentially active force.

Why is this so important to distinguish? Because as 1 John 4:8 says "8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV) God is love: so if love is active, then God is active and vice versa. It's an important distinction for me to think about in terms of serving a God who is always doing something new or different - or possibly rebirthing something old. It would be tough to serve a passive or dead God in my opinion.

I have often heard of people talking about 'falling in love' or particularly that they couldn't 'help but fall in love.' I know that romantic love - eros - is a different type of love, yet I think the entire metaphor isn't entirely correct. To say that anyone just 'falls in love' denies one crucial element - and it is that element that to me makes love so very active. The element of choice.

Sure, with romantic love there are passions and desires that are hard to overcome but at the end of the day human choice plays a key role in everything: how you choose to act on your passions determines whether you truly act in loving manner, or merely a shallow lusty way.

God however is not a man that he should ever be ruled by passion and that is what makes his love so powerfully active: he chooses the un-chooseable. As Romans 5:8 points out: "8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

I was thinking last night about the power of celebrity and how so many people in society want the fame, money or lifestyle of a celebrity. However, they don't want the cost - the paparazi, the hours of public appearances or the various signings and fan favours/requests. The same goes for modern love: so many people want the euphoria and energy that comes from being in love or from having friends and family to love - the acceptance - but they don't want to put in the hard work. They don't want to make the tough choices.

Fortunately for all of us the love of God is so much greater and lasting than any romantic love - which is why I need it. All the other forms of love are great to have in my life but true agape - Godly - love is what binds them all together in my life. Following Christ is a tough choice to make, it costs nothing but everything in a divine paradox, but when you do, as with how Godly love binds together all other kinds of love, it binds all your life together with purpose.

Colossians 3:14 "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (ESV)