By Jennifer Moreno and Jeremiah Model
What is your definition of love? Do you think you have it figured out? Is love just an emotion?
In Hebrew “Ahava” is the root definition of love. Is there a difference between G-D’s love and human love? The answer is yes. But the Hebrew meaning is much deeper. The verb (le’ehov) defines “to protect and provide for” as well as to have “an intimacy of emotion and action”. Jesus said the Torah is summed up by “LOVING G-D and your neighbor” (Mt 22: 36-40), not in a simple emotional sense, but in action as well.
This is the secular definition of love – to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). An intense feeling of deep affection.
As you can see it refers to love as a feeling, but the definition of love in G-D’s eyes is completely different.
The definition of love in the Bible is the following- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Do you see the contrast? Did you see anything written about feelings in there? Or deep sexual attachments? The answer is a straight no.
What we can gather from the definition of the Bible is that G-D’s love is based on action, love is a verb.
These two versus exemplify love as an action, sacrificial, selfless and full of grace:
John 3:16 For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
That is the true meaning of love in G-d’s eyes. So how do we experience this kind of love and how do we give it? To be able to do that you first have to come to G-d and know him, understand how he works and through him you’ll be able to love others the way he loves us.
For example marriage is a great example of G-D’s love, in marriage a wife and a husband have to continuously show each other grace, sacrifice for one another and love. Marriage reflects the holiness of G-d and in turn you become holy in marriage. You are reflecting the love of G-d in a good marriage.
The apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” G-D does not merely love; He is love itself. And because it is in G-D’s nature and character to love, he loves the unlovable and lovable. Human beings have trouble doing that because of our fallen nature, but through the Holy Spirit, we’re able to love like G-D does because we are getting it directly from the source.
Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34).
So which love are you experiencing, “Ahava” or the Webster’s dictionary version of love? Take a moment to ponder on that and remember that you can experience the love G-D speaks about by simply getting closer to him and embracing what he has to offer.