Feelings, nothing more than feelings…naw!
1John 4: That is the kind of love we are talking about.
Now I find myself at the heart of John’s letter. It’s here that I find the repeated declaration that “God is love.” The Apostle hammers his point home: God is love therefore to be in God is to be in love. If love doesn’t dominate my life then God doesn’t dominate me. If I don’t love people then God’s love is missing from my life and therefore God, himself, is missing. This “love business” demands some serious thought. What does it mean to love as God loves? If I’m not careful I wind up on the “emotions side” of love. I get the feeling that God is all about warm fuzzy feelings. Once there, I’m left with the idea that loving like God loves is to always “feel” a particular way about people whether they’re good or bad. However, I’ve taken the wrong fork in the road. John carefully describes what it means for God to be love. We know God is love, John says, because of what he does: he “sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” Love, then, isn’t how God feels about us. Rather it’s the action he takes in our behalf. The Lord doesn’t “so love the world that he” feels all warm and tingly toward us. Instead, he “so loves the world that he gives his only begotten Son.” Love is, then, an action word. To love is to take action, even personally painful action, on the behalf of the one loved…even if that one is absolutely unlovable. If I love as God loves I too will take action. John reminds me that there’s no way I can do that unless the Lord lives in me. On the other hand, if the Lord lives in me, I can’t help but act in love.
Take Away: Love isn’t how I feel as much as it is what I do.