A bunch of primary aged children were asked about their thoughts on love and here is a sample of some of their responses:
· Glenn, age 7: If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.
· Regina, age 10: I’m not rushing into love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.
· Angie, age 10: Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.
· Dave, age 8: Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.
· Manuel, age 8: I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be painful.
Kids say the funniest things, don’t they? But jokes aside, love ranks very high on God’s agenda. No surprise because God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is not God. The apostle John goes on to define God’s love, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
To truly know what God’s love is, it needs to be experienced. Otherwise, it is just theory and no different from looking at stunning pictures of the Alps in Switzerland but never having seen it with your own eyes. As C.S. Lewis asserts in his classic, ‘Weight of Glory”, that we are far too easily pleased not only when we settle for anything less than God but also when we are content to see his splendour from a distance. God wants us to draw near to him and experience intimacy with him for ourselves. Have you ever prayed for this? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. I know from my own experience he will answer that prayer.
In response, we return God’s love by loving him AND others (4:19-21). It is very likely these are the love relationships that the church in Ephesus abandoned in Revelation 2:1-7 that Christ lovingly and firmly calls them back to. They happened to be two of the most important commandments as he taught.
While the Ephesians did the right things, it would seem they were just going through the motion or worse, they were being self-righteous. Let’s pray that God will continually renew our first love, so that our works for him do not become lifeless, loveless and self-righteous.