September 18, 2012

Love: More than a Feeling

Society's Love:
I'd argue that everyone in this world is seeking love from others, whether it's from God, a relationship, family, or friends.   God created us with this great desire for love.  Love is a beautiful thing, and when we see someone else loving another person, we desire it even more.  At our Bible study last night we talked about our society's view of love and compared it to the Biblical view of love.   Society says that love is a feeling, or as says, "a profoundly tender, passionate affection from another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection."  Unfortunately, love in our world is focused on getting what you want out of the relationship and making yourself feel happy.  It's about making sure you are personally satisfied and fulfilled in your relationship.   When people don't think their needs are being met or they don't feel in love with their partner anymore, they leave the relationship. 

Biblical Love:
However, the Bible shows us that love is not a feeling, but an action.  The well-known chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 really demonstrates how love involves more than just a feeling.  It shows us that love means we must do the following:
- Be patient
- Be kind 
- Don't be jealous
- Don't be rude
- Be slow to anger 
Do not seek your own interests 
- Forgive.

The one that sticks out to me the most, and the one that I think really encompasses everything else in the verse is "do not seek your own interests."  It becomes clearer to me every day that love is equivalent to making sacrifices for other people and putting their needs before our own.   "The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16).  Jesus made a huge sacrifice for us by dying on the cross, and the cross is the ultimate sign of pure love.  We should follow his example and make sacrifices for those around us, whether it's something small like holding the door open for another person, or something big like following the church's beautiful teachings on marital relationships and family.

Love is a choice:
Jeff Cavins made an interesting point in the video.  He said that the emotions we feel for another person are not love (although it's certainly an amazing experience to have those feelings for another person!).  You might intensely like that person and get a lot of enjoyment out of being around them, but it's not love - it's "like".  True love involves our willpower.  Love is a choice and love is a habit.  We have to choose to act in a way that puts other people before ourselves.  Love is choosing to stop watching your favorite show to listen to your spouse tell you something they find important.  It's choosing to run out to the store to get something for your spouse.  It's also not a one time choice.  We need to make consistent choices to show love because love is a habit.  

Sharing God's Love with Others: 
Jesus said to his disciples in John 13:35, "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  People will know if we are followers of God not through what we say, but what we do and how we extend God's love to those around us.  Not only that, we are actually commanded to love others (John 13:34).   Now, I completely realize that a lot of this is so much easier said than done.  It's an area I really need to improve.  Jeff Cavins said in the video that we need to love those around us on a daily basis.  We need to see every interaction with others as an opportunity to show God's love.  We also need to remember that God loves everyone on this earth, regardless of how bad of a person we think they might be.  They are still a child of God, and if we start thinking of everyone with that perspective, it will help us to act with love towards them.  I really believe that actions are what change people's hearts.  If we want to spread the message of God, how we treat other people will be so much more effective than anything we could possible say. 

Bible Quotes on Love: 
Here are the Bible quotes on love we read and meditated on this week:  1 John 3:16, 2 John 1:6, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, Romans 13:10, 1 John 4:18, John 15:13, Matthew 22:37-39, Colossians 3:14, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 13:2, Mark 12:33, 1 John 4:20, 1 John 4:8, Romans 12:9-13, Ephesians 5:2, Matthew 5:43-44,  1 John 3:18, John 15:16, 1 Peter-1 1:22, Ephesians 4:15-16, and Romans 8:28.

"Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love."
-1 John 4:8


  1. In high school on a retreat we were also told that "love is a choice", not a feeling. It has stuck with me ever since. I think if we base our lives on what we should do, not always how we feel we can be better people. Thanks for reminding me again of this :)

    1. I definitely agree! I love that..."If we base our lives on what we should do, not always how we feel we can be better people."

  2. Well written, Caitlin! Sounds like a homily I heard on love awhile back.

  3. This was great, Caitlin! And so true! Thank you for sharing!