This week in America many are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sunday on which the British rock band, the Beatles, first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. That variety program played a large part in what became known as Beatlemania in those days. As the name suggests, it was a crazy time. Coming from a musical family, I was already beginning to play the guitar and drums, but the excitement generated by their music helped to spark this 12 year old’s enthusiasm even more. That enthusiasm has continued to this day.
As the Beatles matured, some of the themes of their songs matured as well. In 1967 the anti-Vietnam war movement was in full swing, along with the hippies and their emphasis on peace and free-love. I was fascinated to see God becoming popular among these young adults and teens. That was also a time of great optimism, when great Christian leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed of unity and harmony among all races of humanity.
1967 was the year of what became known as the “Summer of Love,” and the Beatles were right there in the forefront again. The world’s first live global television link broadcast them live performing their song, “All You Need is Love.” It was watched by over 150 million in 26 countries, and was broadcast via satellite that year on June 25.
In this song the answers to all the world’s problems seemed so easy. Again and again we heard the warm and wonderful words, “All you need is love.” And many of us believed those words. Sadly, their love was not enough to hold the band together. Three years later a bitter breakup occured.
If love is all you need, what is the problem? Why can’t we all just get along? Are there different kinds of love, or differing degrees of love?
All this reminds me of another aspect of my teen years. It was then when I learned that the first and greatest commandment was to love God with all of your heart, mind soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That sounded much easier to me than how I understood what preachers in church were telling me to do. Just love God and others, and everything will be fine. Right? Well, I eventually found, as perhaps the Beatles found, that we need help in doing just that.
After leaving the influence of the Church I felt my life starting to fall apart. My understanding of love was not enough, and I did not have the right kind of love, if in fact that was all I needed. What ever I had was not enough.
When I returned to both God and the Church it all came together for me. God Himself filled me with His love, and began teaching me more about what it meant to love others like He loves. The love that we need comes from God Who first loved us in our fallen, sinful condition. It is that sinful, selfish nature that hinders us from fully expressing any true, genuine love towards God and others.
But there is Good News! By surrendering to God and His love, receiving the free gift of forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, we are set free from this old nature to start a completely new life in Him! From that time on we begin to reckon that old life to be dead, even when we are tempted to acknowledge it. If and when we weaken and give in to old habits and thoughts, we can immediately recover through repentance and confession of sin. (1 John 1:9).
The Love of God surpasses all knowledge. It is greater than signs, wonders, miracles, prophesies, even faith and hope! (Ephesians 3:19, 1 Corinthians 13). This fact does not eliminate any of these things. Faith expresses itself through love. (Galatians 5:6) The Truth is spoken in and because of love. (Ephesians 4:15). It is because of His love that God sent His only Son to save us. (John 3:16). Without His power and authority God would be helpless to express the fullness of His Love.
His love in our hearts motivates us to spend time in the Scriptures and become better equipped to serve others. There we learn that love is at the center of God’s great plan of the ages for His creation, to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God! (Romans 8:19-21).
God’s Divine Love is truly all you need to motivate you to grow in grace, learn of Him, serve others, build up the body of Christ, share the Gospel, pray for the Kingdom to be fully revealed and so on. If we truly humble ourselves before Him and receive His Love, these things will begin to work in our lives. If they never begin, we might be fooling ourselves, as did many in the so-called Summer of Love, who consequently fell into the deception of drugs and lustful living.