May 7, 2020
"If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV).
Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. Even when you don’t feel like it, you can choose to do it anyway.
I once talked with one of our warriors who felt overwhelmed and was battling depression. It seemed like his schedule and the demands on his life, coupled with the stress of reintegrating back into civilian life, were too much to handle. He felt like all he did was get angry with his kids and scold them constantly. When he looked at himself, he saw a failure. In his despair, he cried out to the Lord.
As he spent more time reading the Bible, he found the answer in 1 Corinthians 13. Five words in particular leaped out at him: “Without love, I am nothing.” So he wrote out these words and placed the notes all over his house—on his refrigerator door, on the dashboard of his truck, at the top of his calendar.
“I realized the single most important thing I could do was love my family,” he said. “So I began to live my life by love. I began to run my home on love. It was as transforming as when I accepted Christ into my life. It brought the happiness back into my life and my home.”
What made the difference for this young man? He made a choice. It wasn’t always the easy choice, but it changed the whole dynamic of his home and the way he saw himself as a father and as God’s child.
Acting in love when you don’t feel like it is actually a greater expression of love than when you do feel like it. Love is getting up in the middle of the night to help a sick kid after you’ve already had a long day and went to bed late. Love is being patient with your spouse when they’re irritable. Love is giving a person what they need, not what they deserve.
It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action. If you act in a loving way, eventually the feelings will follow. That’s important to remember when you are trying to love people who seem unlovable.
When you love in spite of your feelings, that’s called loving by faith. And it doesn’t just change the other person. It changes you, too, and makes you more like Jesus.