“Love is a feeling you feel when you feel you’ve never felt that feeling before.” I first heard that from marriage counselor and author, Norm Wright. And while slightly over the top, it does reflect our society, doesn’t it? We go by feelings, by our gut. That’s why the pic above means so much. The morning in Idaho started off pretty chilly, and we geared up for cold weather, including insulated pants. Insulated pants that you can only remove with great difficulty and flexibility, particularly if you keep your boots on. But taking your boots off on a dirt side of the road merely brings more difficulty. And dirt on your sox.
So, as the day warmed, we stopped to de-gear along the Salmon River. And while I’m sure Mick didn’t feel excited about helping Brad pull off his insulated pants, he did. Then Brad returned the aid, in a great display of biblical love.
Rather than a feeling, love is action that benefits the person you love. That’s how God loves. “For God so loved the world, he GAVE his only son…” (John 3:16). “God SHOWS his love for us in this… that Christ DIED for us” (Romans 5:8). Or, from a former English teacher, love is primarily a verb, not a noun.
Most followers know we should love God with all our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5), and that if we love God we must love people, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” 1 John 3:16-18).
Again, love is behavior. The more we love others, the more we act for their benefit, then the more we express the nature of our God. If our lives demonstrate no action to benefit others, then we need to question the reality of our love for God. We can’t say we follow Jesus and not impact others.
Kick Starting the Application
Think back to a time you acted unselfishly to help another. How did you feel before and after? Why? Was it obligation, or a genuine desire to help out of love? What’s the difference regarding following Jesus? For you, what most interferes with taking concrete steps to express love? Think ahead a bit, and try to come up with several acts you can do this week to benefit someone in your immediate family. And, someone not in your family.