“Love is not simply warm feelings, instead it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Christ loves us? By helping when it’s not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others’ welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. This kind of loving is hard to do. That is why people will notice when you do it and will know that you are empowered by a supernatural source.”- Student's Life Application Bible (in reference to John 13:35)
I ran across this excerpt a few months ago in the commentary section of my Study Bible and it struck a nerve. Just by this excerpt alone you can see that love is all about the person you are loving. It is not selfish. I definitely used to think about love and automatically think of those flutters in the pit of my stomach when I started to really like someone. It is so much more than that. Love is action. It is a conscious choice that we make no matter what our current emotional state is. Love is not based on emotions. We love because we want to, or simply because we've made up in our minds that we are going to.
Gary Chapman, Author of the book "The Five Love Languages" says, "When we choose to love, our emotions follow the decision of our minds." It is true that making the choice to love definitely affects our behavior. But we first have to make that choice.
The ultimate act of love ever performed took place over 2,000 years ago. God took human form, came down to earth, lived, and then died a cruel and humiliating death for sins we hadn't even committed yet. He knew that we would reject Him but yet He STILL died for us; because He loved us. That was and still is the highest display of love ever performed. Wow. Every time I think about it, I am in awe. God loves us so much that He tolerates us rejecting Him everyday and yet he still wakes us up every morning. It's because He LOVES. He doesn't have to, but He chooses to.
"One of the highest acts of love you can give someone is the opportunity to reject you. This is exactly what God has done." - Student's Life Application Bible
Today, Jesus asks of us only one thing and that is to love. He asks that we follow His example by loving those who treat us kindly AND by loving those who hurt us. Our natural response to hurt is revenge, but that isn't what Jesus teaches us to do. He teaches us to: "Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35. Only He can give us the power to love this way. Loving others as Jesus loves us heals. It mends all brokenness and builds deep, satisfying relationships that lasts. And above all it draws the unloving and unsaved to Christ. If we use Jesus' constant display of love as the model to how we treat our families, friends and significant others, we will watch a tremendous change take place in our relationships with one word...one verb... Love.