How Do You Know It’s True Love?
by Ryan Escobar
I’ve often been asked, “How do you know it’s true love?” by people who want to know if what they’re feeling for someone is real.
Because of the many Disney films and romance movies out there, people often connect true love with the romantic feelings another person makes them feel. But is that all there is to true love?
True Love is measured by the one standard that Jesus gives:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
We must love the same way He loved us. That’s a pretty high standard and to do it takes a lot of humility.
Here are some characteristics of T.R.U.E. love based on His standards.
1. (T) Total Sacrifice (not based on Comfort)
Jesus was physically beaten up from head to toe. Worse, he was mocked by people and abandoned by His closest friends. He gave up the comforts of heaven, His rights, and His life. True love was demonstrated through his total sacrifice.
Similarly, we must go beyond our comfort zones. It may mean being willing to give up our time, effort, egos, or our resources for the sake of another. We should be willing to change our plans for someone else’s benefit.
2. (R) Radical (not based on Human Standard)
Jesus said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)
It’s incredible how radical this verse is. Usually, we’d rather avoid those who’ve hurt us. At most, we’ll be civil with them. But true love means showing kindness and grace to people who have caused us pain. It’s taking initiative to forgive, bless them, and pray for God to work wonderfully in their lives.
3. (U) Unconditional (not based on Past, Present, or Future Behavior)
Jesus didn’t wait for us to change before He showed His love for us. He accepted us for who we are. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
We shouldn’t wait for people to change before we start loving them.
We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people like you and me. So for sure, we will disappoint people, and people will disappoint us. That shouldn’t stop us from loving people right now.
4. (E) Enduring (not based on a Time Limit)
The bible described Jesus’ true love: “…He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1). It wasn’t for moment, or for a year, or for a decade. It was for the rest of eternity.
It’s easy to show love to someone for a season. But true love is seen when the relationship goes through the ups and downs of life, and yet still remains until the end.
We can only love this way IF we ourselves have experienced the love of Jesus. He has forgiven us, accepted us and made us worthy to receive His love.
The more we reflect on the love of Jesus for us, the more we’re encouraged to display the same kind of love for others.
Once we get to a point that we’re showing these characteristics more consistently, then it might be true love. And this isn’t just about romantic relationships. We can show true love to our spouses, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers and church mates. The world is searching for true love.
What aspect of T.R.U.E. love do you need to demonstrate more in your own life?
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