It is quite apparent that the main theme of the popular entertainment media, both print and electronic, is love. It is also quite apparent to any who will take the trouble to read the Bible that its main theme is love, too.
But as we look about us we are confronted with the painful truth that true love is in short supply.
The longing of our culture is well expressed in the song What the world needs now, is love sweet love.
The problem is we are Looking for love in all the wrong places (Waylon Jennings) and the love we are finding does not ultimately satisfy our needs - is indeed but a pale or even distorted reflection of the genuine article.
Genuine love has fallen on hard times. If we are to believe the contemporary versions of love set forth in the movies, in popular music and as portrayed in the soaps and the sitcoms, love is mainly about emotional and physical thrills - romantic feelings, embracing, kissing, caressing and of course, physical intimacy.
We have been conned into believing that pleasure and love are synonymous.
The very idea of love has become so sexualized as to become a mere caricature of its original self, and as well, a stumbling block to those who seek the real thing.
The kind of love we really need is found only in God, for God is love. It is epitomized in God's gift of his Son for our salvation: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life." It is encapsulated in a cluster of verses from the book of 1 Corinthians 13; 4-8a:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Wow, that's a big order, you say. I agree. But I assure you of this: If you seek God first for love's sake, rather than seeking love first for its own sake, you will find both. If you reverse the order, you are unlikely to find either.
God's commands are that we love Him with all our heart and mind and soul and strength and love our neighbour as ourselves, and that we seek first His kingdom and righteousness.
His promise is that if we seek Him with all our hearts we will find Him and also find fulfillment. Jesus said, "I come that (you) may have life and have it more abundantly."
My prayer for us all could not be expressed more beautifully than by these words from this hymn by Charles Wesley:
"Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling, All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus thou art all compassion, Pure, unbounded love thou art,
Visit us with thy salvation, Enter every trembling heart."
Simply put, the choice is yours.
? Bert Warden is a freelance writer and erstwhile missionary and C&MA pastor. He is a member of Sevenoaks Alliance Church.