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What Is REAL Love And Why Do We Settle For The Counterfeit Version?

(The link to a video of this devotional is Counterfeit Love)

Perhaps there is no greater desire we can have than—to be fully and completely loved. I’ll wager there are more songs written about love than any other subject! We pile up money—because we think it will buy us love. We slavishly make ourselves beautiful, strong, and healthy—because we think it will make us more lovable. We work like dogs to have the most glamorous career—because we think success will attract love. We prostrate ourselves in a relationship—because we think the other person will give us the unconditional love we seek. We have children—because we want someone to love us without reservation. But how often do we settle for the counterfeit version?

I sought love in each one of the ways I’ve listed here and—was crushed. In the words of the singer/songwriter, Johnny Lee, I was literally…

“Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places; 

Lookin’ for love in too many faces

Searchin’ their eyes

Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of

Hoping to find a friend and a lover…”

I searched for love in all the wrong places because I wanted love—without God. Even after I was born again I decided I didn’t want to live by His rules because I wanted to find love in my own way. So, God let me have it my own way and—it eventually crushed me. This counterfeit love was never enough. I sank lower and lower; further and further from obedience to God’s Word and—from His presence. But then, His goodness dawned into the dark hole of my existence like the sunshine after a tumultuous and frightening storm. His goodness led me to turn repent and return to Him. “Goodness” is one of the many qualities of God’s love.

So, what does the REAL LOVE that we so desperately seek—look like?

Is it to be the center of someone else’s world? Is it to have someone know our every flaw yet still desire us more than anyone? Is it to be someone else’s greatest desire? My friend, I get it—we think we can find the ultimate experience of love with another flawed human being! What I truly did not know was that the only way I could possess REAL love was through a relationship with God, because—He IS love. (1 John 4:7) He is the only one who can handle our crushing and exhausting need for love—without EVER running out. 

God IS love and He will never run out of love because He will never run out of Himself; No one loves like He does. 

After we are born again, we are adopted into His forever family and given the ability to experience the richest love. I honestly think most Christians have no idea what it is to experience God’s love flowing through them—I sure didn’t! The remarkable love of God is described in 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have NOT love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have NOT love, I am nothing. 

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have NOT love, it profits me nothing

[Unfortunately, the foregoing verses very likely describe most people’s “Christian” experience but thankfully…the chapter goes on to say…]

LOVE…

suffers long and is kind; 

love does not envy; 

love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 

does not behave rudely, 

does not seek its own, 

is not provoked, 

thinks no evil; 

does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 

bears all things, 

believes all things, 

hopes all things, 

endures all things. 

Love never fails. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

My friend, when the love of God flows through us, it is NOT simply a FEELING. Rather, it is an ACTION that is fueled by the love of God WITHIN us. We are NOT able to do REAL love without the REAL presence of GOD! Without God, love is impossibly exhausting. But when we are IN HIM, we are (by the definition of His Word): 

  • long-suffering and kind towards each other—not envious of each other, 
  • humbly serving each other—not rude, selfless with our time and resources, 
  • not easily angered towards each other, 
  • not judging and thinking evil of each other, 
  • rejoicing in the goodness of God for each other and saddened by the scourge of sin in the lives of each other, 
  • willing to bear other’s burdens—even if the cost is great to us, 
  • willing to believe in each other so much that we invest our time and resources, 
  • willing to hope for the VERY best for each other—even if it’s better than what we have, 
  • willing to endure hardship for each other, 

and…remarkably—because this love is from GOD—this love—NEVER fails.

At this point you may say, 

“Well, it sounds like REAL love is just about me GIVING a lot and not GETTING much and—that’s NOT really what I’m looking for. I want to GET love.” 

Ah, that’s where the “counterfeit love” sets a snare for our heart. The definition of REAL love is “selflessness” because the opposite of REAL love is not hate; rather, it is selfishness. We must do our “gettin'” from God; and then we always have plenty to give. So the only way we experience REAL love is to be constantly filled with the SOURCE of love—GOD. When His presence fills us, we overflow and never run out of all the best things in life that money can’t buy—the fruits of His Spirit like—love, joy, and peace. 

Once we experience the real love of God which is only found in His presence, we never want to go back to the experience of the counterfeit love of this world. We DESIRE to live in OBEDIENCE from the heart because it brings into the manifest experience of God’s love. Jesus promised:

“He who HAS My commandments and KEEPS them, it is he who LOVE Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:21

When we experience the manifestation of God’s love IN us—it NEVER stays bottled up inside—it bursts forth through us and into the lives of others. The essence of God’s love is GIVING—not TAKING. Remember John 3:16 says “God so LOVED the world that He GAVE…” He gave it all—paying the ultimate price for us with His life. When we have been made alive in Him, we long to GIVE, and for others to be blessed by the manifold benefits of the goodness of God’s love through us. 

When we have REAL LOVE, our desire is for others to have even more of God’s goodness than we do because—that is the way God’s love works—giving more than it ever takes, unlike the counterfeit version.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Kimberly Faith and the mission of Faith Strong, click HERE.

Out Now – Essential Faith, Volume II. Find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.

To learn more about Kimberly Faith’s ministry Fostering By Faith, click HERE.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

Whether you’re striving for clarity on a specific topic or aiming to deepen your understanding of God’s word, we offer a wealth of resources to support your journey.  Utilize our search engine to explore the topics that intrigue you and delve into the knowledge you seek.

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To learn more about Kimberly Faith and the mission of Faith Strong, click HERE.

Out Now – Essential Faith, Volume II. Find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.

To learn more about Kimberly Faith’s ministry Fostering By Faith, click HERE.

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