Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Book of Ruth: Finding #Love The Biblical Way {Definition of Love}

Previous Post :”Why Ruth?”
I am a romantic at heart. No, I am not a romance novelist. However, every book that I have written has a romantic element. I am a fan of love. I love seeing happy couples together and cringe when I see unhappy couples tolerating one another—I see that a lot. When I read the book of Ruth, I was fascinated. They actually dated in biblical times. Who knew? Seriously, I read it and I want to share what I learned. I don’t know how long this series will last, but I will keep going until it is done.

We need a general definition of love.

That is a bigger task than you would expect. We often associate romantic love with ideas given to us by our peers and even the media. And love is portrayed as a magical occurrence that has no rhyme or reason. But the bible makes it clear that it is more than that. The bible tells us that God is Love. Truth be told, without the bible we could only define God from a limited perspective. The same is true with love. Without some source of knowledge and wisdom, we can only define love from a limited perspective.

In short, we have to turn to the bible.
Just like when Moses asked for God’s name. Modern man asked “what is love.” And for an answer, I would like to direct your attention to 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 where it says: love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

In my study of Ruth, I saw that Ruth had that kind of love for Naomi. She would eventually have that kind of love for Boaz. As a side note, you can’t hide what kind of lover you are. Sure, you will love your children differently than you love your future spouse, but if you have a "me first" attitude with one, it will sooner or later show with the other.

But I digress.

This scripture had a powerful effect on me. It was liberating. I saw that the entire time, I was seeking escape from my prison; I missed the key that was placed between Genesis and Revelation. I was imprisoned by loneliness. It was the kind of loneliness that afflicts you even though you are surrounded by hundreds of people. The saddest prison—the kind that doesn’t have walls.
The problem with prisons without walls is that you don’t know you are in one, until you try to walk out of it and something comes along and knocks you back.

But there is an escape from this prison. Love, the action verb, is the way out. We will learn more about love as we study Ruth, but once you fully understand love, and fill your heart with love, there will not be any room for loneliness.
In the coming weeks, we will refer to the biblical definition of love and apply it to romantic love, because believe it or not, this is the kind of love that we want and need.

Next: The importance of loving yourself, part 1