Commanded to love (1)
Love can be a very misunderstood and misused word. We can overuse it and end up diluting its meaning. Do you really love chocolate as much as you love your family? Is the love you say you feel for your car the same love you feel for God? We use 'love' as a 'one-size-fits-all' verb, but real love is anything but.
Let’s clear up a couple of misconceptions about it. We think love is a feeling – a sentimental knot in the stomach. True love does create feelings – but it's more than a feeling. A second misconception is that love is uncontrollable. Have you ever said, ‘I fell in love’ – like you'd accidentally tripped and stumbled? We might say, ‘I can’t help it if I’m in love,’ or the opposite, ‘I can’t help it; I just don’t love him/her anymore.’ The fact that Jesus commands us to love one another means we do have some control over who we love and who we don't.
At its core, love is two things. First, love is a matter of choice. ‘Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’ (Colossians 3:14 NIV). Notice those two small words, ‘put on’. Just as you choose the clothes you'll wear each day, you also choose the attitude you'll display. So, love is controllable. Second, love is a matter of behaviour. ‘Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth’ (1 John 3:18 NIV). It works like this: when you reach out towards someone with genuine love and concern, your feelings towards that person change. And even if they don’t return your love, God is pleased with you. And that’s the best reward!
Before you start your day, pray: ‘Father, help me to reach out with love to people I meet today. Help me show Your love to everyone, even those I find difficult to get along with.’
The UCB Word For You