Yesterday, was the second message in a series we’re calling Crazy Love. The series was inspired by Francis Chan’s book of the same name: Crazy Love.
We want to be crazy in love with God, each other, and our community.
Yesterday I took some time to define love.
Here’s an excerpt of my message.
What is love?
People have wrestled with this question forever.
A group of children were asked, “What is love?” Here are some of my favorite answers.
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired. ”Terri – age 4
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby – age 7
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7
“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine-age 5
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.” Chris – age 7
“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” (what an image)Karen – age 7
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica – age 8
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8
Here’s what some adults have answered when asked about love:
“Love is friendship set on fire.” – unknown
“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Love is like war: Easy to begin but hard to end.” – Anonymous
“Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” – Mark Twain
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” – Peter Ustinov
“Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever.” – unknown
“Love is like an earthquake-unpredictable, a little scary, but when the hard part is over you realize how lucky you truly are.”
“Love is just love, it can never be explained.”
“Love is temporary insanity curable by marriage.”–Ambrose Bierce
“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.”–Woody Allen
“Love is being stupid together.”—Paul Valery
“You call it madness, but I call it love.”—Don Byas
For the purpose of this sermon series, I really like that last definition: “Love as madness.”
I want us to be so in love with Jesus that people think we’re out of our minds.
I want us to be crazy in love with God, because He’s crazy in love with us.
But, before we can talk about crazy love, we need to answer the question of the day: What is love?
There are some misconceptions when it comes to love.
1) Love is a feeling.
This causes problems in our relationships because, if we don’t feel “warm fuzzy” feelings anymore, then we think that we must not be in love and that the other person must not love us either. Hogwash! Too many relationships have ended prematurely because of this improper definition of love. Love is so much more than a feeling. Love is a decision; it’s a commitment. Love is an act of will. Rhonda and I have been married for 20 years and have been in love for longer than that and—trust me—there are days when we don’t feel “warm fuzzies” for each other, but that changes nothing. We know that we know that we know we are in love.
This misconception creates problems in our relationship with God, too. If we don’t feel “warm fuzzy” feelings then we start to doubt whether we really love God and whether He really loves us. There are going to be days when we don’t feel “warm fuzzies” for God, but that changes nothing. We must know that we know that we know that God loves us because—for God—love is not a feeling.
He defines love beautifully in I Corinthians 13
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Love is so much more than a feeling. This is so important for teens to remember, for newlyweds to remember, and for all of us to remember.
How do I know that love is not a feeling? Because of verses like these in the book we’re studying for this series.
I John 4:8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
God is love and He’s more than a feeling isn’t He?
Is your relationship with God based solely on your feelings? If so, you’re going to experience a lot of insecurity in your relationship with God.
2) Love is controllable.
“Mathematicians go mad, not poets, because mathematicians try to build a bridge across the infinite, while poets swim in the sea.” – G.K. Chesterton
Love is something we experience, but don’t always understand.
If we start to believe that we can control love, we are going to be really hard to live with. How does it feel when someone else tries to control you—in the name of love? Not fun, is it?
True love doesn’t control; it lets you go.
Delusional Christians believe that they can control God’s love.
Delusional Christians believe that, because He “loves us,” He will hate the people we hate.
Delusional Christians believe that, because He “loves us,” He will bless everything we do.
God’s love for us is not controllable.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s love for us is not controllable.
We can’t contain it.
We can’t stop it.
Crazy love for God is not controllable, which is why it’s so much fun!
When you are crazy in love with God…you sing like crazy, serve like crazy, worship like crazy, give like crazy, and follow Him like crazy.
3) Love is perfect.
A young couple, very much in love, were getting married in church. However, Sue the wife was very nervous about the big occasion and so the preacher chose one verse that he felt would be a great encouragement to them. The verse was 1 Jn 4:18 which says: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Rather unwisely, the preacher asked the best man to read it out and to say that the preacher had felt that this was a very apt verse for Sue and that he would be preaching on it later in the service. However the best man was not a regular churchgoer. And so he did not know the difference between John’s Gospel and the first letter of John. So he introduced his reading by saying that the preacher felt was a very apt verse for Sue. But he read John 4:18, which says “You have five husbands and the one that you now have is not your husband.”
Our love is not perfect, so we sometimes hurt each other.
We sometimes walk away too soon.
We sometimes give up too quickly.
We sometimes say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do.
C.S. Lewis once wrote a poem that expresses how imperfect our love can be and how perfect God’s love always is.
As the Ruin Falls
All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.
Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.
For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.
But, God’s love is perfect.
It’s like true north.
True north is always there.
We can depend on it.
If you get lost, you can always follow God’s love and find your way home.
4) Love is easy.
A college man walked into a photography studio with a picture of his girlfriend… He wanted the picture duplicated… The owner of the store noticed the inscription on the back of the picture, it said, “My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart… I love you more & more each day… I will love you forever & ever… I am yours for all eternity…” It was signed “Diane,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back…”
Sometimes love is complicated and—at times—very difficult.
If you believe love is easy and you will bail out when love gets hard do yourself and your future spouse a favor…don’t get married!
Love is sometimes hard.
Sometimes our love for God can be very difficult, too.
When we win people with a false gospel that tells them that loving God and being loved by God is easy, we set them up for colossal disappointment.
Being loved by God sometimes looks like…being led into the wilderness, being sold into slavery by your brothers, being thrown into a pit of lions, losing everything and being infected with boils, being sent to Nineveh, being told that you’re going to be a teenaged virgin mother, being crucified upside down, having to be faithful in a fallen world.
Being loved by God always looks like… the Promised Land, release from bondage, deliverance, getting your health and family back, being the mother of Jesus, being delivered from a fallen world, and eternal life.
So, what is love?
I’ll let God answer the question of the day.
I John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
What is love?
1) Jesus sacrificing his life for us.
2) Us sacrificing our lives for others.
You may say, “That’s crazy!” Exactly.