What is Love?

Welcome to Real Life. The Beatles sang, “Love, love, love. It’s easy.” Maybe not. 

What is love? I tried to define it today. It wasn't as easy as I thought. It's easier to describe what love is not: 
  • Love is much more than affection. 
  • Love is more than physical attraction; though strong chemistry can be mistaken for love.
  • Love is more than compassion; though it makes me more compassionate.
  • Love is more than generosity; though it expands my capacity to give.
  • Love is more than sexual intimacy; though this is a beautiful expression of love in marriage.
  • Love is more than sacrifice; though it inspires immense sacrifice.[1]
  • Love is impossible to buy or sell. Can it be earned? 
A person can never receive too much love. Yet, a person can die from lack of it. 

What is love? A child knows. Yet, I struggle to comprehend it fully. I know when I am loved. I see love in eyes, words, and actions. I hear love in songs, poems, and stories. But, what exactly is it? 

Love is a mystery. It is the highest calling, the purest motive, and the strongest force in the universe. It cannot be overcome by evil. It is so purely good that it is the greatest commandment.[2] Love fulfills every law of God.[3] 

“God is love.”[4]  Love is evidence of God. In this world, with my finite mind, I will never fully comprehend God. Therefore, in this world, I will never fully comprehend love. As I wrestled with this, I cried in frustration, “How can I love without knowing what it is? How can I fulfill my highest calling? Please reveal an image of love, Lord.” He did. 

I love you. My love is a pure stream –
  cleansing, freeing, and refreshing.[5]
Simply receive it. Don’t try to understand it. 

Live in my presence, the presence of love. Know it. Receive it. Experience it. As you do, it will teach you how to love others well.
I sat quietly, enveloped in the beauty and wonder of God’s love. My heart filled with joy as I realized this was only a foretaste of what is to come. In this world, I struggle to know, understand, and experience God and love. Like muddied water, the love I know here is only a poor representation of its perfect form. In his kingdom, I will know love completely. One day, this world and all its imperfections will pass away.

Three things will last forever
—faith, hope, and love—
and the greatest of these is love.[6]

Taking it further …
  • What is love? Can you define it? (I’d like to hear your thoughts.) 
  • What enables you to love others well?
  • Do you know God’s love? When asked to share his most profound thought, theologian Karl Barth quoted the lyrics of a children's song, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” 
  • The apostle John knew God’s love. Throughout his gospel, he refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loves.” In his epistle, John states, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (I John 4:10 NIV). Read more about God’s love in 1 John 4

[1] “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV). Jesus’ love was displayed on the cross.
[2] Mark 12:28-31
[3] Romans 13:8-10
[4] 1 John 4:8 and 16
[5] Revelation 22:1
[6] 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
Image from:  


  1. My Dear Peggi, Good morning and Happy Mother's Day,
    I so enjoyed your blog posting over love. I Corinthians 13 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible. I have memorized it in my heart and often when I am torn between doing the right thing or doing something that benefits only me, a verse of scripture from this chapter in Corinthians will come up out of my heart.
    It is so reassuring to know that before I was even conceived in my mother's womb, that my God loved me.
    Thank once again for strengthing the truths about love that I myself also believe.

  2. Hi Patricia,
    Thank you. So glad you enjoyed it. Even though I've known Christ for many years and knew (in my head) He loved me, I struggled for a long time to experience His love. Now that I know it and experience it, I've never gotten over how wonderful His love is.
    It's beautiful how God's Spirit speaks to you through 1 Cor. 13.
    Thanks again for your comments, Patricia!

  3. Hi Peggi,
    I have just noinated your blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award. If you decide to accept, please stop by blog WordPress blog on Apple Technology and read the instructions.
    Have a great day.

  4. Wow! Thank you, Patricia. So kind of you. I will check it out.

  5. Thank you for your thought-provoking post! 1 Cor. 13 was the first thing my father taught me from the Bible. I find myself pondering similar things and then remember '...now we see through a glass darkly'. We all have a rather magnificent 'Aha!' moment coming one day but until then, faith and hope are my signposts. :)

  6. Beautifully said, Alexandra. There is a natural poetry in your words. Your gift is evident. :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting.


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