|November 25, 2005
Love Goes Beyond Liking
From childhood on, we are urged to show love, whether it’s for parents or pets or friends, and especially for Jesus. But what is love?
We think of love as an emotion, a tender feeling, a positive reaction. So when Scripture commands us to love God and our neighbor, we may be confused about the meaning of love (Matthew 22:37-40).
Feelings simply cannot be commanded. A mother can order her child to love spinach, but she can’t compel him to react positively when faced with a helping of that green vegetable.
So love must be more than an emotion. An old translation of our Lord’s command may help us to understand love as an action that we choose: "Thou shalt love . . . ." It’s choosing to be patient, kind, selfless, and humble (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). We can love others even though we may not like them, because it’s a matter of making a choice.
Yes, we can respond obediently to what our Savior directs us to do. He knows, though, that we are not capable of doing this on our own. That’s why He’s given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to a life of loving obedience. With His help, we can learn to love those we don’t like. Who knows? We may even begin to like them. —Vernon Grounds
O Lord, how often selfishness
Will raise its ugly head,
So help us, Lord, to conquer it
And show Your love instead. —D. De Haan
Loving others requires a heart of obedience to God.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
What Is Real Love?