This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16
If you asked ten different people what love is you may very well receive ten different answers. Ask a three-year-old and his answer may be a simple “mom.” Ask a psychologist and you may have to settle in for a long and complicated response. The answer given by a fifteen-year-old girl will likely be very different than the one given by a sixty-year-old man who has been married to the same woman for 42 years.
Even though these answers may all be different, they likely all revolve around the same thing–emotion. Describing what love is usually involves describing how a person makes them feel or the committed feelings they have about a certain person.
God doesn’t talk about emotion when he describes love in his Word. He talks about action. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
Love is defined by the greatest act of self-sacrifice ever made. God’s own Son gave up his life for you. He didn’t do it because of the way you made him feel. He did it because he knew it was the only way for you to live with him forever. He shed his blood not because he saw some great potential within you. He shed his blood because the sin within you needed to be washed away.
Jesus Christ laid down his life for you because his desire to save you eternally was far greater than any desire to preserve his own life. That selfless, self-sacrificing action is the very definition of love.
Now that you know what love is, go and love others.