The Beatles weren’t far from mark when they declared, “All You Need Is Love.” The apostle Paul said practically the same thing in Romans 13:10, saying that “love is the fulfillment of the law.”
So, are YOU in love? That’s an important question, and not just in the days surrounding Valentine’s Day. If you’re married, I certainly hope you can say yes to this question, but I’m referring to a love that goes even beyond that—an “in love” state of mind that every follower of Jesus is supposed to experience, whether married or single.
My curiosity about being “in love” was sparked recently when I found myself humming an old song originally introduced in the musical Brigadoon:
What a day this has been
What a rare mood I’m in
Why, it’s almost like being in love.
There’s a smile on my face
For the whole human race
Why, it’s almost like being in love.
As this song suggests, love will cause you to see “the whole human race” differently, not just the person you’re in love with. This should be a real challenge to us who claim we’re in love with Jesus. If our love for Him is genuine, there should be a smile on our face for people too.
But how can we go deeper than the world’s superficial concept of being “in love”—typically a phrase used just in the context of romantic or emotional love?
I decided to do a search on BibleGateway.com and found some fantastic “in love” passages. Here’s a small sample, including my observations about how the principles apply to our lives today:
“Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
- Love is not just a feeling or even just a matter of words—it’s something we’re called to walk in and live out. When we do this, our lives will emit the sweet fragrance of Christ instead of less-appealing odors.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
- Since God is love, there’s no way to maintain an intimate relationship with Him without abiding in love. And the word “abide” means that love is not meant to be a sporadic series of emotional, spiritual, or physical encounters, but rather a continual, unending connection.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
- Fear and love are mortal enemies. Fear tries to undercut love, but God’s love can destroy our fears. Let’s not allow fear to hold us back from reaching out in love to others.
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
- Our love is not supposed to diminish over time—it’s supposed to “increase and abound.” Is that happening with your love?
Of course, there are many other Bible passages about love. I even noticed this verse saying that “older men” (like me!) are supposed to be in love: “…that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience” (Titus 2:2).
So let me ask you again…
Are you in love? If you still aren’t sure how to answer, I encourage you to take the LOVE TEST in 1 Corinthians 13 (MSG paraphrase). From what we read in the book of Acts, walking “in love” doesn’t seem to have been easy for the apostle Paul. But he realized its importance nevertheless: “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love” (v. 3).
What an incredible statement: Without love, our lives are surely “bankrupt.”
Paul goes on to give us a very detailed description of love’s characteristics:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies (vs. 4-8).
How did you do on this LOVE TEST? If you’re like me, you still fall short in many ways. But that’s another thing I like about the song from Brigadoon. Instead of saying we’ve fully mastered this thing called love, it only describes our experience as “almost” like being in love.
The LOVE TEST ends with Paul’s conclusion at the beginning of the next chapter: “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” So true, Paul. So true.