Love is a verb. An action-word, if you will. It’s all well and good to say I love someone; it’s nice that I feel love for someone, but the rubber meets the road when love requires more of me than my mouth and emotions can deliver.
People say many things that they don’t mean. We say things we mean right now but won’t necessarily mean in an hour. We say things thoughtlessly, fully knowing that words themselves take flight and disappear, even while the fires they started burn on.
Feelings, both negative and positive, come from an emotional place that is altered by bad drivers, hormone fluctuations, sleep deprivation. This love of our feelings is a fleeting thing, shimmering in the distance and impossible to hold.
Action-word love, though? That’s a different thing entirely. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love
While I’m certain that I am not capable of these “always” statements, at least not on my own power, I John 4:8 says that God is love.
God. Is. Love.
Think about the verb-ness of that statement. It gives me goosebumps. Grammar nerd that I am, I feel compelled to point out that it’s written in the present perfect tense. What on earth does that mean, you ask? It means just this:
Present perfect tense is used when an action began in the past and continues in the present.
God loved you in the past. God continues to love you in the present.
Paul, in Romans 8:37, is convinced that
not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you are in Christ Jesus, that is , if you believe He is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, that He rose on the third day having conquered death so that through Him you can have life forever with Him, then there is nothing that can separate you from His love.
The present perfect tense is also used when an activity has an effect on the present moment.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”*
Now let me wrap this up and tie it neatly with a pretty Valentine’s Day bow:
Real love is a verb. It requires action. True love acts in ways that are beyond our feeble capabilities. God is that love we need so badly. Not only does He offer it freely to us, but His love allows us, in return, to Do Love.
*Some early manuscripts say “we love Him because He first loved us,” others do not.