Main Point: Knowing when we’re “in love” with someone else is a bit tricky. The best way to know if we’re in love is to compare how we feel about someone with how the Bible defines love.
Discussion Starter: Community Love Letter
This is a fun way to introduce your topic for the program. You can make it a guys-versus-girls competition, or just split the room down the middle. (If your group is really big, consider doing multiple teams, say 3 to 5.)
Once “teams” have been decided, tell the groups that they will be writing the best love letter they know how…as a group. Line up the teams in a single file line, beside one another, facing a wall on which hangs several big pieces of paper (one for each team).
On all the pieces of paper, write the following fragment: “Honey, I love you so much that…” Students from each team will take turns one at a time writing one word at a time to finish the sentence. When one person is done writing one word he/she will go to the end of their line and the next person will run up and write another word. Team members cannot talk with one another in line or share ideas with one another in any way. Make sure to enforce the one word per student rule!
Tell them ahead of time that they will be disqualified if they write anything inappropriate. Make sure your leaders are watching this as well. Give them four minutes to complete the letter, then pick one student from each team to read their team’s letter out loud to the rest of the group.
You can have a panel of adult leaders determine the best love letter.
OPTIONAL: Write a break up note using the same rules. This time start the letter with this opening: “Honey I know we’ve had good times but…”
Chances are good that many of us in here have written BOTH of these kinds of letters to someone else. We meet someone, think they’re the best thing since sliced bread, “fall in love” with them, get to know them better, and realize…we were wrong! How do you know when you’re really in love? Honestly, a lot of people don’t really know. But there’s one way you can tell for sure, and it comes straight from the Bible.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a moment to share our names and the first celebrity personality we ever had a crush on.
- ASK A FEW: Is there a difference between a crush and love? If so, what it is?
- ASK A FEW: Earlier, we played a fun game where we helped each other write a love letter together. Do you think it’s a good idea to get help from others when it comes to understanding love?
- ASK A FEW: If someone says they love you, what do you expect from them?
- ASK A FEW: How do you define love?
- ASK A FEW: How do YOU know when you’re IN LOVE with someone?
- ASK A FEW: In this passage, the Apostle Paul says, “love is” several things. What were they?
- ASK A FEW: Which of these is the hardest in your opinion? The easiest?
- ASK A FEW: If you were to compare your former (or current) relationships to this passage, how would they hold up?
- ASK A FEW: In your life, who has loved you like this the most?
- ASK A FEW: In verse 3, Paul talks about motives although he doesn’t use that word. What do you think he meant by verse 3? (Leaders – Paul was talking about the motive behind our actions. He’s about to launch into a list of things “to do” but he begins by telling us that our heart better be in the right place before we do anything.)
- ASK A FEW: If we were to manage our dating lives by this passage, what WOULD and what WOULD NOT be a part of them? (Leaders – Really spend some time on this question; it’s where the rubber meets the road.)
- ASK A FEW: Do you know anyone who models this kind of love in their dating life or marriage?
- ASK A FEW: Paul says that faith, hope, and love endure, but that love is the greatest of them. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- ASK A FEW: How will this passage impact your romantic relationships going forward?
Read the following passage:
1 Corinthians 13:3-13 (NIV)
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Earlier, I said a lot of people have a tough time deciding whether or not they are in love. It’s actually a little funny to me when Christians say that because I usually just point them to the Bible.
When it comes to your girlfriend, are you patient and kind? Do you boast to her about yourself? Are you rude or self-seeking? I just kinda run them through the Bible’s definition of love. If they meet it, they are in love. If they don’t, chances are, they just think each other is cute.
The standard for love according to the Bible is a tough one to meet, isn’t it? But since that’s the way God loves us, it’s the way He expects us to love others. We’ll never fully love someone like this every single moment of every single day, but it needs to be our goal, regardless.
I want to read you a list of words so you can quietly ponder them to yourselves. As I say each word, think about how well you do that. Think about whether or not it describes you and your relationships. Everybody ready?
(For each of these words, give them at least 20 seconds to ponder them.)
Like I said, this is the standard God has for our love. He made it crystal clear for us so that we can easily understand it. However, if you still have a few personal questions you’d like help with, hang around for a few moments after we dismiss. We’d love to chat with you.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.