But, what is love? How can we know? This statement is bandied about by such a large majority of humanity that it has become nearly emptied from overuse. So, the question, then, is: "What is love?"
For some, love is an expression of emotion that grips the heart and fills the senses with all manner of stimuli. For others, love is that deep, self-satisfaction that comes from associating with another. But is that love?
God's word says: "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18). So, love must be more than "lip service" and emotional attraction. In fact, there is nowhere in the Scriptures where love is an emotional attraction. So the question is: what do you mean when you say "I love you?"
In asking this question, let's measure it against the quality of love that the Word of God expresses: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
When saying "I love you" is this what you mean? Perhaps a better question is: when saying "I love you" is this what others experience? Do they experience patience and kindness and forgiveness and truth and hope?
We have the command to love in truth--and the only means of knowing that we do love in truth is to measure our love against the truth. As believers in Christ, there is no other comparison available. Let me challenge you: learn to love in a manner that expresses the qualities that are listed above. In so doing, you will fulfill the command to love "with actions and in truth."
Can you remember a time when YOU were loved with the qualities listed in 1 Corinthians 13? Is there someone in your life that needs you to express this quality of love?