Sunday, May 10, 2009

Love Is....


“…That you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV).

Love is a choice and a commitment. You choose to love or you choose not to love.

Today we’ve bought into this myth that love is uncontrollable, that it’s something that just happens to us; it’s not something we control. In fact, even the language we use implies the uncontrollability of love. We say, “I fell in love,” as if love is some kind of a ditch. It’s like I’m walking along one day and bam!—I fell in love. I couldn’t help myself.

But I have to tell you the truth: that’s not love. Love doesn’t just happen to you. Love is a choice and it represents a commitment.

There’s no doubt about it, attraction is uncontrollable and arousal is uncontrollable. But attraction and arousal are not love. They can lead to love, but they are not love. Love is a choice.

You must choose to love God; He won’t force you to love him (Deuteronomy 30:20). You can thumb your nose at God and go a totally different way. You can destroy your life if you choose to do that. God still won’t force you to love Him. Because He knows love can’t be forced.

And this same principle is true about your relationships: you can choose to love others, but God won’t force you to love anyone.


“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18 NLT).

Love is something you do. Do you really love someone? Let’s see how you act toward that person. You show love by what you do, not just by what you feel.

Love is more than attraction and more than arousal. It’s also more than sentimentality, like so many of today’s songs suggest. By this standard, is love dead when the emotion is gone? No, not at all, because love is an action; love is a behavior.

Over and over again in the Bible, God commands us to love each other. And you can’t command an emotion. If I told you to “Be sad!” right now, you couldn’t be sad on cue. Just like an actor, you can fake it, but you’re not wired for your emotions to change on command. Have you ever told a little kid, “Be happy!” I’m trying, daddy!

If love were just an emotion, then God couldn’t command it. But love is something you do; it can produce emotion, but love is an action.

The Bible says, “Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18 NLT). We can talk a good act: “I love people.” But do we really love them? Our love is revealed in how we act toward them.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7 NLT).

Love is a skill that can be learned. In other words, it’s something you can get good at and that means you get better at love by practicing love.

You may think you’re a good lover, but God wants you to become a great lover, a skilled lover, a master lover. You can become an expert at relationships.

Wouldn’t you like to become known as a person of extraordinary love? When people speak of you they might say: “He doesn’t care who you are or what you look like.” “She doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done or where you’re from.”

The only way you get skilled at something is to practice. You do it over and over. The first time you do it, it feels awkward, but the more you do it, the better you become.

The same is true with love (1 John 4:7). Let’s practice loving each other. As the Bible says, “Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15 HCSB).

.... A HABIT

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them” (Luke 6:32 NIV).

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32 NIV).

His point is this: anybody can love those who love them in return. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable. It’s when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.

This may seem like an impossible task and it is. That’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16 NIV).

When you realize how much God loves you—with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love—then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving the unlovely, loving the difficult, loving the irritable, loving people who are different or demanding.

You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

Love must become your lifestyle, the habit of your life. But it starts with a decision. Are you ready?

Your life is worth far more than you think, and by learning to love others with the love God gives you, you will have an influence far greater than you could ever imagine. If you will commit to this, you will experience love as God means it to be, filled with hope, energy, and joy.

My prayer for you is “that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love…” (Philippians 1:9 NCV).

Indeed, LOVE is

. . . . a choice

. . . . an action

. . . . a skill

. . . . and a habit.

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