Crescendo of Love
How can love be measured in a relationship? How is faith related to hope?
Love is often a leitmotif in music and literary compositions. The silver screen ensnares the attention of audiences with idealistic portrayals of love. But how accurate are those depictions of love? In 1982, the song “Every Breath You Take” was recorded. However, the lyricist later admitted the song had been misinterpreted and was describing a stalking situation. The mass media often skews the concept of love. Love is not ownership or worship of another person. It is more than the ebb and flow of affection or duty-bound kindnesses; love is unconditional and deeply spiritual.
The ancient poet Jelaluddin Rumi said of his love for God,“… I would die into the love I have for you: As pieces of a cloud dissolve in sunlight.” As we surrender to God's love, we find our true identity. This article will examine the measure of love and the importance of faith.
The Measure of Love
Does everyone have a measure of love? Everyone has the ability to love because we are all made in the image of God. The depth of our love affects how we treat everyone in our sphere of influence. We sometimes love in the way we have experienced it. An experience of unconditional love helps us to better understand God’s love. But still, there will never be an equivalence to God’s love because he is the Source.
Every human being chooses to open or close themselves to love. Believers who choose to grow in God’s love are highly favored. In contrast, nurturing self-interest reveals itself as excessive pride. There is no egocentrism in love. If we can’t love someone because of their appearance, we have to ask ourselves if we can love like Christ. However, loving someone unconditionally does not require a person to tolerate abuse. Sometimes it is necessary to leave a relationship when it is not aligned with God’s will for our life. When there is relationship trauma, we are still called to transcend our pain with love or we may become hardened by bitterness. God empowers us to impart unmerited grace to the offender and that, too, is love.
Love is a gift from God. Here are some of its altruistic behaviors that bloom as we grow in love. The following passage is excerpted from The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English.
I Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient.”
“Love is kind."
“Love is not envious."
“Love is not vain, is not puffed up”
I Corinthians 13:5
“Love does not behave indecently.”
“Love does not pursue its own things.”
“Love is not easily provoked”
“Love thinks no evil.”
I Corinthians 13:6
“Love does not rejoice over wrong but rejoices with the truth.”
I Corinthians 13:7
“Love quietly covers all things.”
“Love believes all things.”
“Love hopes all things.”
“Love endures all things.”
I Corinthians 13:8
“Love never fails.”
According to the Apostle Paul, some actions may appear to be motivated by love but are instead motivated by self-interest. As Christians, we have to examine our motivations and be open to God’s revelations of truth. The scriptures affirm that as we abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit teaches us all truth (I John 2:27 KJV). Paul reveals how some deceptively claim to be Christians but are without love. (I Cor. 13:1-4). Examine how he describes some of their behaviors.
¨ An individual that is a charismatic speaker,
¨ A person with the gift of prophecy,
¨ Someone who understands all mysteries and knowledge,
¨ An individual with faith strong enough to move mountains,
¨ A person who gives everything they have to feed the poor, and
¨ Someone who suffers martyrdom.
Because our perceptions are not always accurate, we have to ask God for discernment about what is and isn’t love. Christ was love and anyone who says they love God but hates his brother the truth is not in him (I John 4:20). We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).
The Importance of Faith
Faith plays a major role in our ability to love someone. Love is built on trust. Faith is a belief or trust in something or someone. When there is faith in another, we see them as trustworthy and credible. But that confident belief is founded on evidence. Sometimes fear or self-interest keeps us from trusting in the goodness of God. We have to trust in him wholeheartedly and rely on his wisdom and knowledge. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Did you know that “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6)?
According to the scriptures, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So what is hope? “Hope, we could say makes the other two, (faith and love), fly. It gives impetus to them. We can believe that is the right thing to do, but we will never take action on it unless we hope, unless we have a solid expectation of the fulfillment of whatever we love” (John Ritenbaugh). God gives us that solid expectation of fulfillment through his promises and revelations.
In Conclusion, Rumi wondered about those who fail to love. He said, “Why do you stay in prison, when the door is wide open?” Christ offers each of us the opportunity to love as he did. So, “Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (Rumi). Pray for those barriers to be removed. And when believers love God and each other with all their heart and soul, separation no longer exists; we become one in the spirit. Paul concluded, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13).
*All Biblical references are from the KJV Bible unless otherwise noted.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). New York: American Bible Society.
The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew - Greek - English. (2008). London: Hendrickson Publ.
Shaw, D. (2021, January 13). The Crucible of Love. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from https://wikiexpert.com/articles/2635/1644/the-crucible-of-love
Shaw, D. (2021, January 21). Designed to Love. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://wikiexpert.com/articles/2635/1629/designed-to-love