Love is an action, not a feeling
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1a)
God lavished his love on you through Jesus. So much so that he calls you a child of God. And he is still pouring his love into your heart as you read these words. But what does his love look like? What does it mean that he loves you?
We know what it doesn't mean. Love is not envious; it does not boast; it is not proud, it is not rude; it is not self-seeking; it does not get easily angered; it keeps no records of wrongs; it does not delight in evil. This is what sin looks like. It misses the mark completely.
So, when you say that God loves you, what do you mean?
Paul answered brilliantly in his letter to the Corinthians. We know the 13th chapter as the love chapter. We mostly hear it read at weddings, and for many that is the only time they pay attention to the passage. But that was not Paul’s intent. He wants you to know the tangible ways God puts his love for you in action.
Paul uses seven action statements to tell the story of God’s love. These aren’t merely buzzwords or short marketing statements. This is the love that sent Jesus into the world for you. Here is his powerful definition.
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love rejoices with the truth.
- Love always protects.
- Love always trusts.
- Love always hopes.
- Love always perseveres.
Paul experienced all seven personally. He flooded his letters with examples of how God acted patiently toward him, or with kindness. The key word is “acted.” Love is a verb. And in 1 Corinthians 13, the words like patient and kind, are present tense active verbs.
Love is an action, not a feeling. “Agape” conveys action. It is God’s willful direction toward man. God does for you what is best for you right now. That’s love.
It means that God is patient with you and kind to you. In relationship to you, He does not envy or boast. He is not proud, or rude, or self-seeking. God is not easily angered with you, nor does He keep records of your wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. God always protects. He always trusts. He always hopes. He always perseveres. God never fails you.
This is the powerful love of God that has been and is being lavished on you.
Today, take a close look at this love. Consider how these seven action statements have impacted your life. Ask yourself in what ways God has been patient and kind to you? Think about how he perseveres and protects you. Think about how he rejoices over you, and trusts and hopes the best for you. As you do, pray these words: “Lord, strengthen me by your Spirit so that I may know and experience the height, depth, length and breadth of your love. In Jesus’ name.”