Study Materials

 

Pseudo-Love vs. Love

            One of the most misunderstood topics of the Bible is the major theme, love. So much is said today about love, but often, so little about love is correct. It is important to properly understand love because God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). Furthermore, we must understand love in order to enter into Heaven. Now, love is one of the most powerful forces at work in the world today and needs to be in the life of every person. When looking within the Bible, we read that it contains all things for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3) and that it is here that one can find the wonderful explanation and comprehension of love.

            Love is difficult for so many to grasp because of its selfless nature. Oftentimes, man’s tendencies, is to be selfish and self seeking. However, Love is not this way. Love focuses on others and places others even ahead of itself. Yet, so much of what is labeled as love is actually the showmanship of selfishness. For example, when a young man seeks to compromise a young woman sexually all in the name of “love”, he is actually only pursuing his own selfish gratification. This is not love. Another example, is when a person “looks the other way” by ignoring public sin. This again is not love. Sure, such tolerance and compromise are often styled as love, but they are actually the products of a selfish will seeking the “easy way out.” These things are called pseudo loves, meaning fake love. What people forget is that love seeks the good and welfare of another and anything short of this virtue is not love.
            Notice that Paul stated in regards to love, that it “seeketh not its own” (1 Cor. 13:5). Yet, we can hear loud and clear, the voice of Satan and the world which shouts, “Look out for number one!” The Devil argues to serve yourself, your needs and your desires. However, the Bible clarifies that we are to serve Christ (Jam. 1:1) and to serve others (Gal. 5:13). Love is one of many areas that has been attacked over and over because the Devil knows that if he can distort one’s understanding of love, he can undermine that person, spiritually. And with all sin, selfishness is at the heart of Satan’s scheme.
            Now, one can see the perfect examples of love in the life of Christ. We know that Christ did not come from Heaven to seek his own will, neither did he become God in the flesh (Jn. 1:14) because he did not want to be in the glory of his Father (Phil. 2:5-8; Jn. 17:5). Jesus did all these things because he loved man and sought his eternal well being. So, Christ laid down his life willingly (Jn. 10:18) because he came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Such love should never be taken for granted. 
            Today, as one understands the focus of love with its selfless attitude toward others, it is further necessary that one realize that love is not static or motionless, it is dynamic!! This is contrary to the pseudo love being paraded today in the streets and sadly, in the church. Many are caused to think that love is this “warm, fuzzy feeling” which is an attitude of the inward mind. But, while love does begin inward, it must be manifested outwardly otherwise there is no love. For example, if one says that they love their family, but never spends time with them, never is involved with them, never expresses themselves to their family, never helps them, is always “short spoken” with them, then how can their be any love? You see, true love will not be contained and cannot be concealed. True love will expose itself outwardly toward God and fellow man.
            The Bible tells us that we are to love God with all our being (Matt. 22:37). Yet, when we love God, as the apostle John said, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 Jn. 5:3). We are to simply do what God commands to do. Does this sound too simple? If the answer is no, then why are there so many who violate the commands of God? People violate his commands because of selfishness. But selflessness, focuses on love, involves obedience and setting aside one’s will in favor of another. Now, there may be some that boast all day long about their love for God, but until their love is expressed in obedient actions, it is not true love at all.
            The Bible also makes it clear that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:39) and, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them . . . “ (Matt. 7:12). You must love your neighbor (not just the one next door) and treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated. This is often called the “Golden Rule.” Yet while there are many who know this, there are those who never follow it because love, moves! Considering Christianity, if one loves, they will not want to see another perish. So why do we not prevent our neighbors from perishing in hell? Is this not what Christ did (2 Pet. 3:9; Jn. 3:16)? As God has loved man and acted on his eternal good, so man must love fellow-man and act on his eternal good. We know that God knows the value of the human soul (Matt. 16:26), but so should his faithful children (Prov. 11:30). Remember, pseudo love is passive, squandering opportunities in favor of selfish endeavors. Yet, true love is active, working to bring others to Christ. True love, “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1 Cor. 13:6)
Robert Notgrass

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