There is Not Much Time Left to love

When are people happiest? When, they love and are loved. Love makes both the giver and receiver happy. In this regard, love is on a different level from wealth, success, and power. There are four Greek words for love: Eros referring to love between man and woman, Philia referring to love between friends, Storge referring to love of parents for their children, and Agape referring to God’s unconditional love for mankind. It must be noted Agape share some common characteristics with Eros. God’s love causes our emotions to fire up (Song of Songs 5:10). Jesus Christ is our constant companion and the most loving and compassionate bridegroom. Agape also has the characteristics of Philia. There exist no secrets between two intimate friends. Jesus Christ is our best friend (John15:13). Lastly, Agape shares common traits also with Storge. The Bible says God’s love for us is greater than the parents’ love for their children (Acts 49:15-16).

All forms of human love are derived from God’s love but they are mere shadows of God’s love. Why? Because Man’s self-love and sinfulness corrupt true love.The Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Therefore, loving God is getting to know Him. To get to know Him, we must explore the true nature of true love, Agape. One of the most prominent British apologists of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis said “We shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God.” We cannot be complete and mature without first loving God.

We must continually learn about God’s love for the remainder of our lives. We must be determined to become the people of God and pray. We must pray that God’s love will be poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Apostle Paul frequently prayed for abundance of love (Philippians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Ephesians 3:17-19). As we grow older, we do not have much time left to love. How fast time flies as we age. I read an interesting story from the editorial section in the Chosun Ilbo. In 1995, an American psychologist named Peter Mangan conducted a study in which subjects were asked to estimate when three minutes had passed by counting “1,1000, 2,1000” and so on. Younger subjects were relatively accurate in their estimation, the subjects in their 60s were off by 40 seconds, and the middle aged subjects fell in between. The study proved that as we grow older we tend to underestimate the passage of time. This explains why many people say “In your 20s time passes at 20 mph and in your 60s time passes at 60 mph.”

Neuroscience places much emphasis on dopamine, a neurotransmitter. For those with high levels of dopamine, the world seems to move slowly. For example, everything looks interesting and wondrous for children. The decrease in dopamine, however, creates the impression that the world is moving at the speed of light. Because life is repetitive and monotonous for older people, time seems to fly. It is said that joy, happiness, new experiences, and mentally stimulating activities enhance dopamine release. Let us think of the rest of our lives as God’s gift and live a dopamine-rich life. To do so, we must love more.  Someone said “I wanted to be smart when I was young. I wanted to be a man of wisdom. I wanted to be brave and achieve success in my career. I wanted to be powerful and influential. There is an important lesson I have learned in my not-so-short life. What made me happiest in life was love and we must focus more on love as we grow older.” How true that is. Let us not waste the remainder of our lives. Instead, let us learn to love and focus on practicing it.

The Bible says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”(John 4:8). At church, pastors, elders, and deacons alike must be well-equipped. This equipment is made possible by service and love. Those who love and sacrifice more are the strong.  It is for this reason that in the family the wife’s power gradually exceeds that of the husband as time passes. Jesus Christ became the Lord of Lords by voluntarily giving Himself up on the Cross. As we willingly embrace surrender and self-sacrifice, we will attain God-given authority. There is not much time left till the Lord’s coming. The Bible says two of the most important responsibilities for us Christians in the end times are to be alert and of sober mind for prayer and to love deeply (1 Peter 4:7-8). We must not let our love for God in our hearts grow dim and die. Instead, we must fire it up through God’s love. Time is short. There is not much time left to love. In the New Year, let us love more deeply and fervently.

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