I Want to Know What Love Is

God speaks to us in a way we can understand. He builds on our individual likes, experiences, and giftings. He communicates with us individually, and He uses our interests to reveal His nature to His children. If we look and listen discerningly, we can see that He is in constant communication with us. He is a loving Father who never misses an opportunity to speak into our lives. He has a direct connection to our hearts. 

I had a moment of connection with Him recently. As I was listening to the Oldies station, my mind was on auto pilot, mindlessly singing along. But suddenly auto pilot switched off, and I heard every word clearly, as if the song was speaking directly to me. The song is by Foreigner, written by Mick Jones: “I Want to Know What Love Is.” 

Thinking about love can take you down a path you no longer want to walk. Memories of love can remind us of the hard lessons of life that we are determined never to repeat. I looked up the lyrics and read them aloud as if hearing them for the first time. There was a message here that I wanted to hear with my heart, not just my ears. “I want to know what love is. I better read between the lines; in case I need it when I’m older.”  

Our first teachers of love – as wonderful as we may believe they are – are other broken, incomplete folks. As the Book of Romans states, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But the God who created this complex universe is the designer of true love. And we were created to connect our heart to His; we are created to love and be loved by Him. There is no greater love than the love He has for us, His children. 

One of the most profound lessons I have learned about love is that other broken folks can’t fix our lives or heal our hearts! Only the master Creator, the Designer, knows what love truly is. Only He is fully capable of reviving our hearts and healing all the broken places and pieces.

But what is love? It has been redefined by the world to be all about self.  How many relationships are based on how the other person makes us feel, or what they do or give to us? However, our greatest living example of love is selfless: Jesus. As he walked through His life both on and off the cross, He died to self.  

Receiving God’s love is rooted in knowing who we are and what we are created for. Mick Jones, in writing this hit song, was looking for truth.  He obviously had been through relationships that failed. He had been through experiences that left him disillusioned and feeling empty. The lyrics tell us that he was still trying to understand love!  

As Christ-followers, understanding true love – God’s love – gives us strength to make choices out of His love, not our own selfishness. His true love, which never fails, has the power to restore our broken hearts and lives. We live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, so our love outside of God will fail, but the love that God has for us doesn’t fail. 

Our circumstances can be devastating at times, but if we know that our identity is found and rooted in the God who created us, and if we carry understanding of the love of Christ for each of us, then we are equipped to keep on keeping on. When we face defeat in body and soul, and when the enemy says there is no hope, His love holds us steady. 

Mick Jones said the following in an interview about this song: “Don’t know where this song came from…probably written by a higher force” (2014).  I think one line of the song reflects that: “Through the clouds, I see love shine; it keeps me warm as life grows colder.”We serve a mighty God, and He is all around us, speaking to our hearts.  He is not limited to a particular person or place – only to the condition of our hearts. Are our hearts open or closed?  Listen! He is speaking.  Believe! For it is out of our relationship with our Creator that we find love as it is meant to be: freeing and strengthening. Love is not a burden that we place on the shoulders of another broken soul; it is found in Him. His love never disappoints, never fails. He will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). When we “know what love is” and that knowledge is firmly planted in our beings, then we can truly love and receive love, and we will never lack. “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again’” (John 4:13

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