"Love is Action" by Beth Gianopulos
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)
February is the month of love. As we all prepare for Valentine’s Day, our minds often jump to our current ideas of romantic love. In movies, love is often portrayed as passionate and overwhelming emotion.
Couples in love tend to make grand romantic gestures to convey the depth of their emotion. In books, love tends to be about intense feelings. Couples often poetically speak about the deep love they feel. In fairy tales, a handsome prince usually steps in to save the beautiful princess with true love’s kiss.
However, reality is often much different. In real life, passion fades. In the day to day chaos of working, raising a family, and living life, we are often lucky to have time to murmur the words, “I love you.”
One of the best examples of Christ-like love I ever witnessed was between my grandfather and grandmother. My grandmother was a fiercely independent woman. When she had a stroke and was completely paralyzed on one side of her body, she required constant care and supervision. My grandfather worked tirelessly to feed her, bathe her, and comfort her.
He worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with almost no time to rest. Because my grandmother had lost her independence, she was often sad. Yet my grandfather continued to care for her and love her, even though he knew that she had little that she could give in return.
Three years after my grandmother’s stroke, we noticed that my grandfather seemed to be wasting away. When he was so sick that he could barely stand, we insisted that he go to the doctor. We learned that he had stomach cancer. My grandfather had suffered horrible sickness and intense, constant pain for nearly a year.
He suffered in silence because he knew that he was sick, and he knew once he received a diagnosis, he would no longer be able to care for my grandmother. Three days after he was diagnosed with cancer, he died.
My grandfather and grandmother rarely, if ever, spoke the words, “I love you.” I never witnessed a hug or a kiss between them. However, my grandfather sacrificed his health, wellbeing, and comfort to serve and care for my grandmother even though he knew that she would never be able to repay him. My grandfather’s love for my grandmother was more than a feeling. He loved her with all of his being, and he ultimately laid down his life for her.
In John 15:13, true love is defined. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
As you think about love, remember that love is much more than a feeling. Love is action. In John 13:34 (NIV), Jesus commands us to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Jesus is not instructing us to simply feel love as an emotion, but instead Jesus uses love as a verb – we are to love one another with our actions.
Jesus, Thank You for loving us with a selfless love that is beyond understanding. Show me how to love as You have loved me. Help me love with more than my feelings, and show me how to love with my actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos. All rights reserved.