I have probably asked this question like a million times already; What is love? I have heard several explanations…love is a feeling or love is a decision. I have also heard several descriptions of love like ‘love is blind’ or ‘love is not blind, it can see what others cannot see.’
Sometimes it gets a little frustrating…
Looking at first Corinthians chapter thirteen, I am shocked by verse three. It says “… and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but I have not love, it profits me nothing.”
This verse just seems to complicate matters. Here is my dilemma: Why would anyone want to give away everything he has and even go as far as giving his body to be burned if not for the sake of love??
If someone were to give away everything he had for my sake, I might assume, perhaps wrongfully that it was done because of love, but apparently, from this scripture, it is not always so. People do things for different reasons, including “acts of love”.
What other reason could there be to give up your body to be burned?
Well, first, for self-approval or approval from other people. Doing “good things” affects the way that we think about ourselves. It makes us feel “worthy” and people can go to great lengths just to get this. This was the issue that Jesus had with the Pharisees; they always did “good works” just to be seen by men. But before we go off on the Pharisees, are we not guilty of the same thing…sometimes? A lot of the stuff we do may not really be about the people we are doing them for, but for approval.
Think about all the “good works” that you do. Why do you really do what you do? Because you love or because of the idea that that can earn you approval from yourself, from others or even from God…
Jesus has already paid the price. You are already saved if you accept Jesus as your LORD and savior. It is not because of any “good work” that you are doing or that you did. Jesus saved us by His blood. It was a FREE gift of salvation and not something that we have to earn!
Sometimes, we are so consumed with “acts of love” (even if these acts are in church) that we forget why we do them. Here is a reminder. We do them because we love God and we love God because He first loved us. We are responding to His love by loving in return. That is why we do what we do. So, stop trying to earn your approval, you have already been approved. You can now share God’s love freely, even if it is not seen or acknowledged by men.
Remember Mary and Martha? Jesus came to visit Mary and Martha. Martha was busy with chores and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him. Martha got upset and told Jesus to get Mary to help her out. Jesus instead, told her that she was worried about so many things, while only one thing was needful, and that was what Mary had chosen.
I think perhaps what Martha was doing was for Jesus. Perhaps she was cooking for Him or something. She was so consumed with it that she did not think to come sit with Jesus Himself. She did what was ‘expected’ by most people, and usually doing the ‘expected’ makes us feel good about ourselves. Jesus really wanted her to sit with Him… and talk. It does not make us more loving to do good works but it makes us more loving to sit with Jesus.