You might say, “I love food,” in the same breath as you say, “I love you, Mom.”
This is especially true if your mom makes a delicious dinner. But do you really feel the same way about pizza as you do about your parents?
No matter how good the pizza is, hopefully the answer is no. We don’t love food in the same way we love our family and friends.
So what is love? Is it an emotion, a feeling, a decision?
The shape of a heart is a symbol for love. Out of everyone in the Bible, King David was said to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, ESV). By looking at some of David’s writing, we can learn a lot about the true qualities of love.
David wrote many heartfelt poems and songs to God. These psalms give us a glimpse of David’s heart in good times and bad. When David wrote Psalm 63, he was hiding from his son Absalom in the wilderness. Absalom wanted to be king. He convinced the people to get rid of David and then tried to kill his own father.
This broke David’s heart. But instead of becoming despondent, David showed his dependence on God.
LONGING for Love
In verse 1, David says he thirsts for God. We can’t make thirst go away. Only water satisfies. Similarly, we can’t make our need for love go away. We need Jesus because He’s our living water (John 4:14).
Notice that David didn’t say he thirsted for God’s blessings, promises or help. He simply sought God’s presence. The closer we draw to God, the closer we are to true love, because God is love (1 John 4:8).
LIVING in Love
Verse 2 shows how David went to the sanctuary to see God’s strength and glory. The sanctuary was a house of worship, sort of like a church. Worshipping God is one way we can show Him our love and feel His love for us. Sometimes worship is emotional. For example, we can feel guilty about our sinful actions in light of His perfection or happy that He forgives us of our sins. However, worship is also based on the knowledge of God’s strength, glory and love.
God’s faithful love was the most important thing in David’s life, so he glorifies God with his words (verse 3). Faithful love isn’t based on certain conditions. It’s always there. We can always rely on it. That’s why God’s love is often called unconditional love.
No matter how much bad stuff we have done—or how much good stuff we do—Jesus loves us the same. That kind of love is better than anything this world has to offer. Life on earth can be hard, but God’s love is always with us, giving us peace. Life can also be great, but even popularity, good grades and lots of money are worthless compared to God’s love, mercy and grace.
David committed to praising God for as long as he lived (verse 4). Commitment means being dedicated to a cause. Many people don’t like commitment, because it means they may have to do things that aren’t fun.
God showed His committed love by sending His Son to die for our sins. He continues to display that kind of love by forgiving us when we fail to follow Him. He never gives up on us. Like it says in Philippians 1:6, “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”
God endures with us, so we should endure for Him, even if it means doing things that aren’t “fun.” When we skip seeing a popular movie (with inappropriate content), talk differently than our friends or miss a party to go to church, we show our commitment to Christ.
What happens when we don’t eat food? We can get grumpy and hangry. In verse 5, David says God satisfies his spirit like good food satisfies his body. As we understand and accept what it means to be loved by God, He satisfies our soul. By being content with who we are in Jesus, we don’t need to look for love in potentially harmful places, such as online gaming or dangerous friendships.
Love is complex. To answer the question from the beginning, it’s a feeling, an emotion, a decision and much more. As King David shows us, God satisfies our deep longing to be loved by surrounding us with His unconditional love.
So be like David. Live in Jesus’ love. He fully satisfies our need for love and helps us understand more and more about true love. And that makes His love better than a never-ending, personal pizza!