The Love That Satisfies
A mother holds her newborn son and senses a unique overwhelming love in her heart. A father applauds his teenage daughter’s gold medal for competition. "That’s my girl!" he says, his heart swelling with pride and affection. Everybody wants to love and to be loved. Everybody needs to love and be loved. But what is true love? And where can we find it?

by Jerry Gentry
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

A bridegroom stands proudly at the altar as he watches his new bride-to-be walk down the isle, smiling through her wedding vail to the stirring music of The Wedding March. Her heart pounds in her chest at the thought of saying "I do!" and receiving her first kiss. She knows is in love.

Meanwhile, Hollywood churns out romance-filled motion pictures by the month, selling love by the reel, taking in billions from box office receipts. Magazine covers at the grocery store display picture-perfect models flashing pretty faces along side of one line bullet cover lead-ins promising the reader love, romance and happiness. Appealing TV ads sell cars and coffee, cat food and cruises, and every other kind of product, all appealing to the need for and desire to have that mystical thing called love.

Falling in love is every teenage girl’s dream. Finding true love is every teenage boys secret desire. Keeping the love fires burning is every married couple’s challenge for a lifetime. Men move mountains for love. Women give their deepest emotions, their innermost being, in search of true love. It was reported that billionaire tycoon J. Paul Getty said at the end of his life after 5 failed marriages that he would give all his wealth to find the love of just one successful marriage. He died disappointed and unsatisfied. Marilyn Monroe, the Hollywood screenplay love goddess of a generation past, died after a drug overdose, looking for love in the wrong places, dying empty and unsatisfied.

People chase after love with all the zeal and strength of a lion pursuing it’s prey, pouncing on one love experience after another, running like the wind is pursuit of that mystical experience called love. Novelists churn out book after book of stories filled with love and steamy romance. Turn on the radio and you hear love songs from classical opera to modern Christian, from country to pop. The legendary Elvis tempted a generation of teens with his music of love and ushered in the rock ’n roll generation. Forty years later he is still worshiped as a sort of national icon.

Elvis confessed he was a Christian, saved at an early age, under his grandmother’s guidance. As his adult career was peaking, he was asked in a Dallas, Texas, hotel lobby why he lived the kind of unChristian life he did. He responded, "For two reasons. One, I wanted to be free. And two, I got away from the things my Grandmother taught me." He died at age , a slave to the drugs he thought would make him free. Millions heard him croon about his unsatisfying love affair with life, to the tune of "You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, crying all the time" and such like. But only a handful ever heard Elvis confess his love for Jesus Christ.

Love. We must have it, but how can we grasp it, understand it, find it and keep it. Is it a feeling? Is it a pursuit? Is it a state of mind or being? Is it a relationship? Ask a thousand people and you will get a thousand differing answers as to what love means to them.

With all this pursuit of love in our society, you would think that love is clearly defined and well understood by most people. In practice, however, how many people do you know who once thought they’d found true love, and then it was soon vaporized even quicker than it had appeared! How many people do you know who find love quite unsatisfying, greatly disappointing, even heart breaking and gut wrenching?

The word love appears in the Bible some 280 times. The New Testament speaks of the "love of God" thirteen times. The theme of one whole book of the Bible–Song of Solomon–is about that special love between husband and wife. One complete chapter in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13, is dedicated to charity, a particular kind of Christian love.

From a few simple verses in the Bible, we can know that being "in love" is something that brings us into a special connection with God. But can we also be "in love" in other ways apart from God?

The Bible teaches: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1John 4:8), "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (v. 16). It becomes obvious, then, that Hollywood love and the love of God, are not the same. No matter how many emotions screenplay love may stir, or how many passions of the heart captivate us, these most surely do not bring us into close connection with God.

The Bible teaches: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

And: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1John 4:11).

If this be true, then all the world is looking for love in all the wrong places. Love, then, is not about pursuing and getting something. It is not about a chase for some fleeting emotion or feeling. It is about giving something away. But give what away? How can this be? Is this why the whole world pursues, but seemingly never finds, true love? Love has been redefined by Hollywood and romance novels and advertising and television. What the world calls love is not really love at all. Whatever it is, it is not a giving love: it is a getting love.

True love, according to the Bible, brings us into a special connection and relationship both with God and with fellow man. And that connection is based on what we give, and how much we give and not at all about what we can get.
Looking further into the Bible, we find that this giving kind of love is clearly defined: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1John 5:3).

What a strange sounding definition! Who would ever think of defining love in terms of keeping God’s commandments? Certainly not one average person, indeed even very few professing Christians, are "in love" by this definition. The whole world is hell bent on finding true love, yet never satisfied, never fulfilled, because the whole world is running away from the love of God in pursuit of a love that never satisfies, never brings prolonged happiness, indeed cannot. The love Hollywood and TV and romance novels and advertising offers us requires a regular feeding frenzy. This love requires another thrill or a new car or another fantasy or the latest product. Hollywood’s love affair is a fruitless chase, a grasping for the wind, a pursuit that never ends in satisfaction. How can a man ever catch the wind in his fist?

No man can have Hollywood love and the love of God. These don’t mix, cannot be packaged together, will never become soul buddies. These two loves are in fact arch enemies. When you have one, you hate the other. And the more you get hold of one, the more you despise the other.

Brother and sister, are you looking for love in all the wrong places. Does your love require a regular feeding frenzy? Do you love the things of the world and all it’s pomp and glory? No? Then do you love just a little corner of the world, a little secret place you retreat to that’s there for nobody but you, not even God, and not even a very large place at that? Be honest. If you love the world at all, then you will never experience the love that satisfies.

The Bible says: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1John 2:15). Again, these two kinds of love are arch enemies, never to reach a common ground, never to find a place of cohabitation. The good news is that you can have the love that satisfies and never again need the other empty love, no matter how glamorous Hollywood or Detroit or Wall Street or the National Football League or Miami or romance novels or dirty magazines or money or things or Marilyn Monroe or Madonna make it. When you have the love that satisfies, you are free at last, never again to be enslaved by the pursuit of love in places where it cannot be found.

You say, "That’s the love I want, but I still don’t understand. Tell me how I can personally have the love that satisfies."

First you must be willing to give something very precious away for keeps, something you love more than anything else in the whole world. Then you must understand the connection between giving that something away for keeps, and keeping the commandments of God.

That very precious something you must be willing to give away for keeps is you. All of you. If you are already a Christian, then you know that Christ has bought you, paid for your life with a price, redeemed you with his precious blood. He died for you. He gave up all that he was, willingly laying down his own precious life, just for you, friend. You know that already. You thank him daily for his blood, that gift which paid sin’s price (eternal death) for you completely. You are grateful. But that is only the beginning, friend.

If you will have the same love Christ had for you (and he commands that you do–John 14:15) then you will express it. You will not keep your love a secret. Just as Christ made his love known for you by giving you something far more precious than anything you can ever give anyone, you too will make your love for him known to others. He did it publicly, not privately. So must you. In giving up his life, that you may have life more abundantly, he told you precisely with no room for doubt how that you too may have life abundantly and experience the true love that satisfies. He said: ". . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:17).

Most Christians do not believe this statement of Christ, as evidenced by the lives they live. Preachers have told them a big lie, that Christ did all the commandment keeping for them, and that they no longer need be concerned about keeping the commandments. These folks, no matter how saved and kingdom bound they think they are, will never experience in this life the one and only true love that satisfies. You see, Christian, in giving you life, God also requires something of you in return. He requires that you love him back freely as he first loved you (1John 4:19). He requires that you give him your all, just as he gave His all for you. And he has left no room for doubt about how to do just that.

He said: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (1John 5:3). Being "in love" cannot exist apart from God and his commandments. You see, it’s the vain, pompous love of the world that is grievous. Because it never fulfills, never satisfies. It only brings grief and heartache, because it is a big lie, designed to rob you of the love of God that satisfies and flows freely out to others through giving as defined by God’s commandments.

The love that satisfies. Now you understand it. Now you know how to get it. Now you have found the one true love. You will never again be satisfied with chasing the wind. You love God and fellow man. You love them enough to give up your own life and start living by the commandments of God by His help. Now you have found the love that satisfies. You’ll keep it and find satisfaction by giving it freely to others. Oh what love! The love that satisfies!

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