How many times have we heard that - seems like forever to me - BUT have you really stopped to consider what that REALLY means?
First let's look at what a typical 'world-type' view of love could be:-
I Googled "what is love" and searching through the countless answers, and ignoring all the sexual gratification answers about so-called 'true' love, the following ones just about summed up what generally the world defines as LOVE.
"The strength and depth of Love is the level of self-acceptance each person has for themselves"
"Love is being able to compromise - learn to love yourself then you can love someone else"
Then there were these little pearlers:
"Love depends on how open, honest and exposed each individual is willing to be"
"Love is 50/50 - we are joined together as a team and we pull the load together - it's all about give and take"
I can certainly see where they are coming from but true love is so much more than "self acceptance" or "learning to love yourself".
In good solid marriages, openness and honesty are great attributes as is compromising in sticky situations, but LOVE certainly doesn't depend on them alone.
Let's look at what God defines as pure love and then we may be able to get a picture of what REAL love is.
God's love is an "all-sacrificing" love - There is no compromising with God - He loves us just how we are. He wants us to love as He does.
God's love to us doesn't depend on my ability to 'love' myself before I can love Him back nor does it depend on my openness and honesty before He will love me.
God's love isn't a 50/50 deal - giving and taking - I give to you and you give to me sort of arrangement. His love is unconditional - He gave His everything even before we even knew Him - He loves us THAT much.
God gives us 100% love - pure love - and that's how He wants us to be - 100% committed to Him and 100% committed to our marriages not just on a 'give and take' arrangement.
To love like God is being totally committed to Him and to our loved ones here on earth - no compromising, no asking "what do I get out of this". Putting ourselves last always thinking others better than ourselves, no slacking off - always putting them first.
God sent His only son to die for you! That in itself is such an amazing show or sign of one hundred percent love - God gave us that much while we gave him nothing in return.
God never stops loving us - we often try to run from God - Jonah did and we all know how he ended up - Gods love will never give up on us - not ever!
I know I personally tried running from God in a way - I liked the idea of a God who forgave and loved no matter what - so I figured I could do as I please, so I did. With disastrous effect. That's not giving Him one hundred percent love - That's "I'll do as I please and you will love me anyway" type of love.
We have to come to the point in our lives where we hand everything over to God - holding nothing back just as he did for us, trusting Him with our lives - God is pure love. He will not let us go and He will never leave us.
So how do we react to that type of love?
We can react with APATHY - "Thanks mate - that was great - I will give you a call next time I want something"
We can react with GUILT "I can never repay that gift - I am such an unworthy person"
God doesn't want us to love Him when we 'need' Him or feel 'obliged' to love Him back. He wants us to trust Him to obey Him - to tell others about Him and to reverence Him.
A love for God and a true reverence/fear of God go hand in hand - you really can't have one without the other.
Isaiah 33:6 says "He (God) will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure"
We can see here that the very 'key' to salvation is a healthy fear of God - a reverence in acknowledging his awesomeness, might and power.
God's love is pure love - He gives us one hundred percent love. A love like that demands a response from us - a reverent and awe-inspiring response - a "TRUE-LOVE" response.
What's going to be your response to the great and wonderful love of God?