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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - What Is Real Love?

James Meehan - What Is Real Love?

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    James Meehan - What Is Real Love?

Most people's ideas of love are really messed up. Like just to be frank, most of the time when people say I love you to someone else, it's because that other person did something that made them feel special. Let me give you an example: how many of you have ever had a delicious, juicy, perfectly cooked, and seasoned bacon cheeseburger, and afterwards thought, or maybe even said out loud, "I love bacon cheeseburgers"? I know that I certainly have, but there's a problem, the type of love that I have for a bacon cheeseburger isn't really love, at least not the way the Bible defines love. Because when I say I love a bacon cheeseburger, really, what I'm doing is expressing how much I appreciate the way this food made me feel. I'm saying I have a strong desire for bacon cheeseburgers because they make me feel good and they meet my hunger needs.

And often, when we talk about loving people we're actually communicating the exact same thing, we're saying some version of: I have a strong desire for you because of the way that you make me feel and the way that you meet my relational needs. But that's not what real love is. When Jesus was asked what the most important command in the entire Jewish Bible was, here's what He said, in Mark 12:30-31, Jesus says: "Love the Lord your God with all of your hearts, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind, and all of your strength. And the second is this: love your neighbor as yourself, there is no commandment greater than these". So when Jesus said, "The greatest command is to love God and love others".

Did He mean that we should strongly desire God in people because they meet our needs and make us feel good? Of course not, because a relationship built on what other people can do for us isn't actually loving, it's just self-serving. So what is real love? We're gonna start with what it's not: love is not simply having strong desires, positive thoughts, or romantic feelings for another person. Those things will almost always be a part of a loving relationship but they're never the heart of a loving relationship. So what is real love? Love is a choice to sacrifice yourself for the good of another. Now, don't just take my word for it, look at what the Bible says in 1 John 3:16-19: 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. If someone has enough money to live well and they see a brother or sister in need but they show no compassion, how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions, our actions will show that we belong to the truth so that we will be confident when we stand before God. So what is real love? It's a choice to sacrifice yourself for the good of another. It's not just what we think and how we feel, it's what we do and how we live, and we know it because Jesus showed it.

And according to Jesus the most important thing is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength: that means desiring God more than we desire the things of this world; it means trusting God more than we trust even ourselves; it means knowing God deeply, intimately, and personally; and it means serving God with our very best. In a word, loving God looks like obeying His commands. As a matter of fact, it's 1 John chapter 5:3 where we read that loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. That's the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. And even more than that, it looks like loving others the same way that Jesus has loved us.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul writes this: "Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude, it does not demand its own way, it is not irritable, it keeps no record of being wronged, it does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance". So are you those things? Is that how you treat other people? Do you treat them with kindness and with patience? Do you celebrate when good things happen to them? Or do you keep a record of all the wrong things they've done to you?

Today, what I wanna invite you to do is read over that passage slowly, and the first time, I want you to think of the way that God has shown this kind of love to you: the kind of love that never gives up and never loses faith. And then, I want you to read through that passage a second time, but this time, instead of thinking about the way God has shown that kind of love to you, I want you to think about who you can show this kind of love to today. Because this entire journey of following Jesus is really about us being transformed from the inside out so that we can love God with all that we are, and love others the same way that He has loved us. So, let us become people who are shaped by God's love for us and moved by a real love for others. Because love is just not what we think or how we feel, it's what we do, and it's how we live, it's a choice to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. So today, take care, show some love, and stay nerdy.
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