1 John 4:8 wonderfully teaches, “God is love.” Many folks have taken this verse and have run with it in all kinds of directions; a lot of them not good. One direction this profound text has been taken is to change it from saying, “God is love” to meaning “Love is god.” In this way, the ultimate thing to cherish, adore, praise, and worship is not the God who is love, but the Love (as we define it) that is god.
Jonathan Leeman describes it perfectly:
We assume not that God is love but that love is God. In other words, we don’t go before the real Creator of the universe and say to Him, “Please tell us what you are like and therefore how you define love.” Rather, we begin with our own self-defined concept of love and allow this self-defined concept to play god. When I say it, “plays god,” I mean that we let it define right and wrong, good and bad, glory-worthy and glory-less, even though such valuations belong to God alone. Love becomes an ultimate idol. (Taken from The Church & the Surprising Offense of the Love of God, p. 24).
So, as Christmas day comes tomorrow and as we all sing about “the wonders of His love, the wonders of His love, the wonders of His love,” take a moment to think about what His love looks like and how it is different than the love our world produces and praises. God’s love isn’t a vapid, sentimental, and always changing feeling of passion, it is a committed choice to do good for those He loves at great cost to Himself. It is a love that chooses to humble itself. It is a love that chooses to suffer. It is a love that chooses to pursue. It is a love that doesn’t give up. It is a patient love. It is a faithful love. It is a saving love. It is an uncompromising love. It is a righteous and pure love. It is not a love that He is today and possibly gone tomorrow; it is an eternal love. Take a moment and remember that God is indeed love, but that love is not God. He is so much more than mere love and He is so much better because of it.
Love is not God, thankfully.