I was reading an article by Peter D. Anders (here is the link). In it he argues that the modern idea of love is defined as opening yourself up to suffering – to make yourself vulnerable to another person emotionally.
This is not the biblical definition of love. Love is an act. It is an act of the will by which you give yourself for another. You lose your life for the sake of the object of your love. It is not an emotion, it is an act of the will. Christ said, “No greater love exists than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Often, this *feels terrible*. It is not pleasant to give oneself for another. Death is not fun, it is not fuzzy, and it is not warm. It is brutally real, cold and difficult. Yet to lay one’s life down is the ultimate expression of true love. To love is to give, not to open oneself up to the possibility of emotional suffering.
I think this is one of the great profundities of the Biblical teaching concerning eternal life. The promise of eternal life is not the promise of endless self-indulgences, but the promise of a never-ending opportunity to give our lives up forever. But this time, not the opportunity to give our life once in suffering and misery as we experience death – but with everlasting life and fullness of life, we will be equipped to mirror Christ’s image to the extreme – by giving and giving and giving again, a never-ending stream of ourselves for one another in reflection of who and what God is for us, pre-eminently seen in the death and resurrection and intercession of Christ. In this way we have communion with God – because we are of one mind with him, and our being, our thoughts, our selves will be taken up with the very thing that he is taken up with – love for those who believe in him trending toward the pure manifestation of the glory and bright majesty of his awesome name.
Therefore the most profound idea ever expressed by human tongues can likely be attributed to these: “God is love”. He is one, simple, pure act of almighty sovereign will whereby he freely chooses to give himself for the objects of his love.