POWER TO LOVE
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-10)
To love sincerely, we must cling to the good without being in denial about the bad. This is more than theoretical. Rather than just giving assent to the idea that we should love all humanity, we must learn to love the one in front of us at any given moment. Honestly, it’s much easier loving humanity-at-large than the particular human who just backed into your car at Albertsons.
Feeling or Choice?
So what does it look like to love the people around us? Some say it is a feeling. Some say it is a choice. Really, it is both. You can choose to love when you don’t feel like it. You do this by loving actions that transcend feelings. But who wants to be loved out of discipline? We need the discipline to love when feelings fade, but if it is to be sincere and from the heart it has to be felt.
When you feel love for someone it’s not hard to act lovingly toward them. Men in love will write poetry or do things that would feel like a burden at any other time. When a man loves a woman, as the song goes, she can do no wrong. It’s even easy to forgive when you feel love for someone.
So what if you don’t feel love for someone? How can you change your feelings? Sometimes doing loving actions will lead to loving feelings. Especially when you realize that you have access to a love and affection greater than your own!
Love is a Power
We aren’t just commanded by God to be loving; we are also empowered by God to be loving. That changes everything! The blessing of the new covenant is that God promised to put his own Spirit in his people and compel them to live and love the way he does. He would give them his heart and his Spirit so that they would want to keep his commandments.
God’s own Spirit who lives inside us as his people actually gives us his love to draw on! He loves people perfectly and with deep affection. You have him living in you. That means you have access to God’s love for people if you will tap into it. This is the secret of loving people you may not even like. It is the power to forgive people who don’t deserve it. God gives you his own love to do the job where yours falls far short. This is a game-changer!
When Edison learned to harness electricity, he changed the world. As a result, you now have a power that doesn’t depend on you that enables you to do things you could never do otherwise. You heat with it, cook with it, light a room with it and charge your phone with it. It’s always available, but you have to choose to plug into it or turn it on. While you wouldn’t mistake it for a feeling, you will certainly feel it if you make a mistake with your wiring! Like electricity, love is a power bigger than you that you can choose to access.
So rather than merely a choice or a feeling, love is a superpower! You must choose to tap into it before you feel it. But when you do, God’s Spirit in you enables supernatural loving. And there is no feeling in the world better than that!