If you look up a definition for the word love, you will probably find something that includes the word feeling. You will find definitions such as an intense feeling of affection or liking something very much.
But God does not define love as a feeling. He defines love as an action. And he defines love with his own actions.
John 3:16 might be the best-known verse in the whole Bible, and it shows us exactly how God defines love...
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
How did God love? He gave. He gave us the most precious gift ever given. He gave us Jesus. But the giving didn't stop there. Jesus gave, too. He gave us his life.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
These verses define love as something much more powerful than a feeling. Real love is giving up something for someone else. Real love is action taken for the good of others. Real love comes at a cost.
Real love involves a lot of feelings. It can make us happy, but it can also make us sad or scared. Just imagine what Jesus felt as he went to the cross. Those feelings show us just how much Jesus loves us. He was willing to feel the pain and rejection, the hurt and the fear...all BECAUSE he loved us.
That's real love.
Read 1 John 4:7-21
Where do you see John repeat his words from John 3:16 or 1 John 3:16?
What else does John say about love in this passage?
What word or phrase stands out to you the most?
Draw or paint a picture that shows the meaning of real love. If you like, you can add a verse to the picture and make it a verse image. You can use John 3:16, 1 John 3:16 or a verse of your choosing from 1 John 4:7-21.
Think about one way you can show real love to someone this week. It might be using money you have saved up to give someone a gift instead of spending it on yourself. It might be giving up doing something you want to do so you can do what someone else wants to do. It might giving up your free time to do something for someone else. Choose one thing, make a plan, and love someone like Jesus this week!