Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Saying and Meaning “I Love You”

Saying and Meaning “I Love You”

On the other hand, Christians understand love in a completely different way. Love is a gospel-calibrated love.

The world says “love for the purpose of self,” but the gospel says “love at the expense of self.”

The world says “what can I gain from you,” but the gospel says “what can I give to you?”

The world pursues love for the fulfillment of self, and is left empty. Christians pursue love at the expense of self and are made full.

I enjoyed the contrast established by C.S. Lewis here in Mere Christianity:

“Ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense—love as distinct from ‘being in love’—is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.

Whether we are talking about the love of friendship, sacrifice or romantic love, it is always informed by and calibrated to the gospel. We are never out to gain personal meaning or identity by means of love because we have already gained this by being loved in Christ. Our love, like the gospel, is other-orientated, God-glorifying and therefore personally gratifying and joy producing.

So as you say “I love you” today and every day, make sure to remember what it means. It is a weighty and wonderful phrase. It should be known, felt and said in truth!