True Love Isn't Something ... It's Someone!


What exactly is the definition of true love? Actually, the definition is not "what," but "Who."

When I type the word “love” into my search bar, there are, it seems, a million different ways to define that complex, four-letter word. You might think love equals butterflies in your stomach, red hearts, and all the feels. I might think it means service and loyalty. Your best friend could say it’s some of both. See, we’ve only talked to three people and already we’ve come up with three different definitions!

I’m not going to give you the world’s definition of love (which is varied and vague). I see no reason to study the counterfeit when we have the original. But what exactly is the real definition of true love? Actually, it’s not what, but who.

Jesus is the definition of true love.

First John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” Back up to the book of John, and in chapter 15 verse 13, the author writes “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Wow! That’s some sacrifice. Dying for someone else? We don’t tend to think of love in those terms. You know what one word sums up those two verses we just talked about? Jesus. He is the who we’re talking about.

You may have known where I was going with this post. (Our readers are smart!) Jesus is the definition of true love. But let’s flesh that out a little bit. I’m going to lay out a few principles from Jesus’ life to help you better love those around you, whether that’s a sibling, boyfriend, or husband.

Jesus was considerate.

Jesus put other people first. No arguing, no complaining, no occasional instances where He put Himself first. He just did it. Paul gives wise words in Philippians 2:3: “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Do you want to really show someone you love them? Put them first, all the time.

Jesus was deliberate.

Love doesn’t just “happen.” I hate being Johnny Raincloud, but knowing this early on is going to save us a lot of confusion, pain, and wondering where the fluttery feelings went when they wear off.

In John 6:1–3, Jesus goes to a mountain with His disciples to talk and pray. I want you to imagine this for just a moment: a man in the thick of His ministry, always surrounded by people, took time out of His day to be alone with the disciples (they weren’t alone for long, but I’ll let you read that yourself). When we take time out of our busy lives and spend it with someone, we’re demonstrating love to them. That tells them “yes, I’ve got a lot going on, but you’re important enough to me that I will change my schedule for time with you.” That says “I love you!” like little else.

Jesus was caring.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus gave of Himself to those who least deserved it? Many times He focused on the person who could give nothing back: the poor, the demon-possessed, the sick, and those society had cast out. In modern terms, these people didn’t have anything going for them. You see, love stems from the joy of giving ourselves to others. Through sacrifice of our time, gifts, money, even our lives, others are shown love. And that love points back to the One who gave love’s ultimate sacrifice of death for us, the outcasts, so we could have eternal life with Him.

Love is an action, an attitude we take toward others.

Is love all the feels, the emotions, the shaking knees, and blushing faces? Sure, that’s a type of love. But real love goes so much deeper, beyond just the feelings. Love is an action, an attitude we take toward others, giving others a small taste of Him who has loved us perfectly and loves us still.

What do you think?

  • What am I missing that we should all consider when loving others like Jesus?
  • Have you experienced giving of yourself to someone and seen them realize your love to them?

By Beecher Proch

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