God had me thinking about the concept of love recently. I don’t know if He used last week’s date of February 14th to peek my interest in the topic or if it was just time for me to reflect on how His abounding love has transformed my life. Regardless, as the hoopla of Valentine’s Day came and went, I realized just how much my image of love has changed. Believe me, it’s been a long, hard lesson for a self-confessed “love junkie” like me to learn. Let me explain.
For many years, I looked to those around me to fill my need for love. I would crave the attention, adoration, or affection of my family and friends; then, however much I received, or didn’t receive, of this love would determine my emotions and subsequent actions. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it was like an addiction – one that left me looking to anyone for my next “fix.” I found myself in a self-centered cycle of sin which, looking back, brought with it many self-inflicted scars. You see, the pressure I put on those around me (in particular my spouse) to satisfy a need only my Heavenly Father could fill was like putting a square in a round hole – as much as I tried to make it fit, as much as I wanted the love of those around me to fill me up, I was always left with some empty space. This emptiness would inevitably leave me looking for someone to blame. Praise God, after much soul searching and mis-guided finger pointing, I found who the guilty party was – me! I had placed myself in a position where my so-called “love tank” would never get filled, and I knew I needed to make some changes. Our compassionate God gently spoke those changes to me through His precious Holy Word.
As Believers, we know God is love (1 John 4:8), and we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, to experience love is an essential component to our being. In fact, even a study in Forbes magazine called “The Science of Love” concluded love was more of a “primal drive akin to hunger, than it was an emotion.” Knowing this, what happens when we run on empty in that department? I mean, let’s face it, we are sinful people having relationships with other sinful people, and, on top of that, we live in a sinful world – most likely, no one is getting their fill of love purely from those around us. The fact is, while we were made for love, we were made specifically for God’s love, and only He can fill our alleged love tank. Don’t get me wrong, as humans, we can enjoy, esteem, and cherish the love of our family and friends, but we are not to rely on it. We must, as our Father tells us through the disciple John, “rely on God’s love” (1 John 4:16) alone, and trust me, it’s an incredible, unconditional, individual type of love!
But, there’s even better news – the only prerequisite God requires of His children to experience His amazing love is for us to open up our hearts to Him through our time and cultivate a more intimate relationship. After all, we can’t truly receive the love of someone without knowing who they are. The apostle Paul tells us we must “be rooted and established in love (or God) so that we may have the power to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18). We can’t grasp the love of our Savior without developing roots where it can grow. Rest assured, when it grows, you are blessed with the most incredible taste of true love – a love which surpasses this life into eternity.
How is your love tank these days? Are you trying desperately to fill it with the love of those around you? Or have you found, the only true spiritual gas station for your tank? I have to be honest, while my image of love has changed over the years, it continues to be a daily struggle for me to look only to God to fill me. My flesh can be strong. Without consistent redirection, it can guide me to the wrong fueling station, leaving me with that familiar feeling of emptiness. Where are you fueling up? Do you need redirection? Have no doubt, there is a station close by where your love tank can be filled, and its Attendant is always waiting with a surplus of fuel!
Until next week, making my way to His station and standing at His pump…Katie