Isn’t it crazy how we use the word “love” to describe how we feel about two things as drastically different as ice cream and God? Now there would be something very wrong if my infatuation with ice cream even came close to my deep longing and relationship with the Lord. Of course it doesn’t, I just think we overuse and underthink the meaning of “love.”
Even in our relationships, how quickly we say “I love you” without even questioning whether our life truly reflects the words we just spoke. Love is not a feeling. When asked why a wife is about to divorce her husband she may say something like, “I just realized I don’t love him anymore.” Oh really? If we were to look at the actual definition, the biblical definition of love, that argument would be completely unfounded. We don’t have the right to suddenly “quit loving” someone. Love is a choice; love is an action; love is a command. Anytime I am not loving someone, I am wrong, I am guilty, I am sinning.
God’s Word is clear and His commandments are not vague. When He chose the two greatest commandments (loving Him + loving others), He didn’t do it lightly. He understands that these are probably the most difficult commandments to keep, but that should have no bearing on whether we will obey or not.
If we are to ponder what love actually is, we must take a look at love Himself.
GOD IS LOVE.
Jesus’ every move while He was on earth was motivated by love.
LOVE SERVES: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
LOVE INITIATES: “We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:15)
LOVE FORGIVES: “love…does not keep an account of a wrong suffered.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
If these and more aspects of true love don’t characterize my life and relationships, I cannot say that I love. That’s tough to swallow, but it’s true.
Interestingly, I find freedom in admitting that I don’t love. I think we deceive ourselves into thinking we do love, because, well, who wants to admit they don’t? But if we are to be truly honest, do we love as God does? He is our standard.
If the answer is no (like it is for me), let’s find freedom in that truth and then quickly do something about it. I don’t mean make a long checklist of how we will try to love, because we’ve already learned our own efforts fail every time.
I believe true love comes from two things: spending time with the One who is love, and choosing to love regardless of how I feel. Can you imagine if God’s love for us was conditional and based on our actions? YIKES.
Praise God He doesn’t love us the way we “love” others. He commands us to love the way He does, and thankfully He is the One who lives inside us and supplies us with the love Himself.