Love is more than emotions, and it is much more than a good feeling. But our society has taken what God has said about love, sex and intimacy and changed it into simply emotions and feelings. God describes love in great detail in the Bible, especially in the Book of First Corinthians, chapter 13. So that you catch the full weight of God’s definition of love, let me present verses four through seven (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) to you this way. How much would it meet your needs if a person loved you as God says we should be loved:
- if this person responded to you with patience, kindness, and was not envious of you?
- if this person was not boastful or prideful?
- how about if this person wasn’t rude toward you or self-seeking or easily angered?
- what if this person didn’t keep a record of your wrongs?
- how about if they refused to be deceitful, but always were truthful with you?
- what if this person protected you, trusted you, always hoped for your good, and persevered through conflicts with you?
This is how God defines the love He wants us to experience in relationships. You’ll notice that this kind of love is “other-person” focused. It is giving, rather than self-seeking. And there’s the problem. Who can live up to this?
For real intimacy, we first need to feel loved
For us to experience this kind of love in relationships we need to first experience God’s love for us. You can’t consistently demonstrate this kind of love toward someone if you’ve never experienced being loved in this way. God, who knows you, who knows everything about you, loves you perfectly.
God tells us through the ancient prophet, Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; and I have drawn you unto Myself” (Jeremiah 31:3). So God’s love for you is never going to change.
God loved us so much that He allowed for Jesus Christ to be crucified (an ancient form of execution) for our sins so that we might be made clean. We read in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When we turn to God and accept His forgiveness, then we begin to experience His love.
God tells us, “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Not only does God forgive our sins, but He forgets them and cleanses us.
What would it be like to be loved like this?
God continues to love us no matter what. Often, relationships end when something in them is altered, such as a damaging accident or the loss of financial position. But God’s love is not based on our physical appearance or who or what we are.
As you can see, God’s view of love is totally different from what society tells us love is. Can you imagine a relationship with this kind of love? God simply tells us that His forgiveness and love is ours for the asking. It is His gift to us. But if we refuse the gift, we are the ones who cut ourselves off from finding true fulfillment, true intimacy and true purpose in life.
God’s love provides the answer. All we have to do is respond in faith and commitment. The Bible says about Jesus: “That as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those that believe on His name” (John 1:12). God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place. But that is not where the story ends. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. As God, He is alive today and wants to put His love in your heart. Once you accept Him, you will be amazed at what He can do in your life and in your relationships.
God’s word tells us, “He who believes in the Son (Jesus Christ) has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). What God wants for us is to have life, not only for today, but for eternity. If we choose to reject Him, then we have chosen sin’s consequence which is death and eternal separation from Him.
It is the reception of Jesus Christ, receiving Him into our lives and trusting in Him, that brings our lives into balance. Faith in God unleashes the forgiveness of God. No more hiding, and no more going our own way. He is right there with us. We have peace with Him.
After we place our faith and dependence on Him, He takes up residence within our lives and we have intimacy with Him. His forgiveness is there to cleanse us from the deepest sin, the deepest self-centeredness, the deepest problem or struggle we ever had or will have.
Throughout the Bible, God’s attitude toward sex is very clear. God has reserved sex for marriage and marriage only. Not because He wants to make us miserable, but because He wants to protect our hearts. He wants to build a security base for us, so that when we enter into a marriage, its intimacy can be based upon the security of God’s love and wisdom.