Love is Obedient Living

This is love, that we walk after his commandments.

2 John 6a

The beauty of this definition is that I am not required to pretend to have or conjure up feelings of love for someone. All I have to do is act in love. The feelings of love are the consequence that comes from obedience to God’s command.

Many people have the mistaken idea that Christian love is a feeling, a special kind of ‘religious emotion’ that makes us reach out and accept others. Certainly, emotion is involved, but basically Christian love is an act of the will. It simply means treating others the same way God treats you. In fact, it is possible to love people we really do not ‘like.’ We may not be able to will our affections at all times, but we can will our attitude and actions.

Warren Wiersbe

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

C. S. Lewis

Motion results in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as by often repeated deeds.

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3 thoughts on “Love is Obedient Living

  1. Generally speaking I agree with this.. yet when I read that Jesus was moved with compassion I do not get the idea that He was simply obeying the rules of scripture. Ever wonder how the gospel writers knew He was being moved by compassion? I think that Jesus showed an outward sign of it.

    People still need the compassion of Christ – even if it means compassion from within His body.

    • No question that some acts of love are motivated by emotion or compassion. And Jesus is of course the perfect example of love in both motion AND emotion.

      In my thinking, however, we shouldn’t wait until we feel the “warm fuzzies” to start acting. When I’ve preached on loving others, almost inevitably someone responds with, “I can’t love everyone!” and “There are some people hard to love!” They seem to want an excuse to disobey Christ’s command to love each other.

      If I feel compassion and love, I should act accordingly. If I don’t feel it, I should choose to act toward them as God would anyway. When I do, the feeling will come.

      • I agree Cameron. Maybe the goal of doing when we don’t feel it is to develop compassion. Guess that is why I think that we should do it with the right attitude. Paul’s instructions in 2Cor9:7 comes to mind as the way to obey the scriptures. I do not think it wise to obey with a resentful or prideful attitude as those action create more problems. Not sure this is making sense.. guess it is not really about feelings as much as attitude.

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