All you need is love... and a 2:1?
Upon first hearing the Beatles’ hit All You Need is Love, I rolled my eyes. It was a seemingly hippy-ish ode. Love isn’t really all you need – do they even live in the real world?
It’s alright for John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with their bags of money, fame, and women chasing after them. All they need now is love – but I need that stuff they’ve got first!
I need a degree to prove my success, I need 2,000 Instagram followers to prove my worth and I need Netflix to placate my mind when life gets hard.Love would be nice as well as all those things, but it’s not all I need – is it?
But I came to realise that the Beatles, bless them, were right.
Looking in the wrong place
I realised that I’d actually been looking to those other things for love.
My main motivation for academic success was really so that others would love me. The reason I wanted to feel worthy on Instagram, was so I could be widely accepted. And that respite and distraction I craved through Netflix, was so I could forget the times when I often did not feel loved.
Love is, was, always will be, all I need, because we are created to be loved.
But the love I get through Instagram followers and my degree is so changeable and fails to satisfy me. They prop me up, give me just enough to scrape but life then becomes about surviving, not at all like what Jesus offers:
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full - John 10:10
If we’re created to be loved, then why couldn’t I find it?
Looking in the right place
What we need is the love we were created for: a divine fatherly love.
There is (forgive the cliché) a ‘God shaped hole’ in each of us that can only be filled by God’s love. He made us to be loved deeply by Him, and so all other shallow loves will never be enough. And unlike those other, lesser, counterfeit sources of love, His love is unconditional and everlasting; it removes shame and even generates in us a love of others:
Let us love one another, for love comes from God- 1 John 4:7
It is the only way to have life to the full.
All you need
I’d like to share three steps that God has used to help me break free from slavery to counterfeit loves, and move into reliance on His true love:
- Recognise. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you where you’re trusting in a counterfeit love. Don’t try to suppress or be afraid of admitting it; God loves you no matter what!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8
- Repent & forgive. Ask God to forgive you for the times you’ve looked to other things for His love, and then receive His forgiveness in the death of Jesus Christ for you.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9
- Renounce & announce. Ask God to help you weed out the lies and replace them with biblical truth instead.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world... they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Listen to Hatty's spoken word poem about love
Hatty El-Khazen is a former Relay Worker (2017–2018), who worked to train and equip the CUs in London. Here she reflects on how her understanding of God as Love has impacted her personal faith.