The Bible is a practical book. One reason it’s practical is because it takes abstract concepts and makes them concrete. It makes what is incomprehensible understandable and what is elusive usable.
Take love, for instance. For all the poems and songs that have been written about love, few get at the real substance of it. For all their praise of love and yearning for it, few of them will tell you what love is and show you what it looks like.
But the Bible does.
Remember back when you learned how to do story problems in math, that whenever you saw the word is it meant equals. In this way, what’s on one side of the word is can be defined by what’s on the other side.
We see this worked out in the Bible with regard to love. The Bible tells us that love is patient, is kind, and is not jealous. It also tells us that love is not arrogant and is not provoked. In these words you will not find a better definition of love (read more in 1 Corinthians 13).
But the Bible does not just define love. It also shows us what it looks like.
Jesus tells us that “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn.15:13). What a picture! It evokes the image of someone literally giving up his or her own life for the sake of others, much like a fireman would to rescue others from a burning building.
But this picture need not be so extreme. We do not come across burning buildings everyday. But we do have opportunities to lay down our lives for others everyday. It happens every time you have the opportunity to give up your own wishes for the best interests of another.
The Bible gives us a further picture of this when it says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph.5:25). Since Christ loved the church by dying for her, this certainly means that a husband ought to love his wife by being willing to die for her.
But it also means more than that. It means that a husband loving his wife includes everything short of dying for her as well. Like picking up his socks, watching over his tone, and following through on his commitments.
Our thoughts about love are often abstract or extreme. We are inclined to think about inexpressible feelings or heroic gestures. There’s a place for this.
But for most of us, we need help making love practical.
And for this we can thank the Bible. Because it’s in the Bible we have revealed to us what love is and what it looks like. And it’s revealed most of all in Jesus Christ giving up His life for the lost.
What’s love about? It’s about giving up your life for those in your midst as you see that Christ has given up His life for you.