What makes you feel most alive? What makes life worth living?
There can be varied answers to these questions, but when it comes right down to it… it’s a pretty short list. ‘Love’ is usually on that short list. The relationships we have with family, friends, and loved-ones throughout our lives count among the most cherished of life’s blessings.We might even go so far as to say life, without love, might not even really be life at all.
Love is risky though, isn’t it? We have to really let our guard down and be vulnerable to one another if we are to really share in love. We have to trust one another, depend on one another, and rely on one another. When we do, we risk being hurt, betrayed, or having our hearts broken. But, as scary as it is, most of us are compelled to love and be loved throughout our lives. It’s worth the risk! In the words of Tennyson, “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”.
‘Love’, not just the feeling in our hearts or the concept in our heads, as an active lifestyle, is what Jesus taught and exampled:
a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, the lawyer asks. And Jesus guides him to the answer that the whole of the Law (in its holiness, history, and volumes of commentaries), all of it, can be distilled into LOVE, love for God and love for neighbor.
“Do this and you will live”, Jesus says. The really awesome thing about eternal life is that we don’t have to wait until we die to experience it. Our lives now are part of this eternal life. When we love we not only ensure our compliance with God’s law, we also participate in this beautiful, awesome, powerful lifestyle of love available to us right now.
Yes, it can be scary because to love is to truly be ourselves in relationship with another but, in 1 John 4:18 we read, “ There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”.