2 Truths About Love that Pop-Culture Won't Agree With
There are so many messages that we see about love that are just plain false. From hollywood and entertainment to what was modeled for us growing up, we are exposed to all types of counterfeit love.
So, what's the truth? Do we look to culture to define love? Or do we look to God? Scripture says God IS love. We can trust what God says about love because he IS love, he is the source of real, lasting and fulfilling love.
Here are two things God says about love that are different than what culture says:
1. Love is a choice and a commitment.
Love is a choice and it is a commitment. You choose to love or you choose not to love. It is a choice.
Today we’ve bought into this myth that love is uncontrollable. That you really can’t control it. That it just kind of happens to you. No. That’s not true. Love is a choice and love is a commitment. In fact, even the words that we use is this language communicate that it’s uncontrollable. We say, “I fell in love.” Like it was a ditch. “I was just walking along one day and bam! I fell in love. I couldn’t help myself. I’m sorry. I fell in love.” That’s not love.
Attraction is uncontrollable. No doubt about it. But, attraction is not love. It can lead to love, but it is not love. Love is a choice. I do a lot of weddings – four, five, six a year. When a bride and groom stand before me and their families and friends, they make a choice and they make a commitment. In their vows they say to each other, “I choose you above everybody else in the world. And I choose you for the rest of my life.” That’s a choice and that’s a commitment. You can’t force somebody to fall in love with you. And you can’t force them to stay in love with you. Why? Because love is a choice. Love cannot be forced.
Deuteronomy 30:20 “You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God…and committing yourself firmly to him.”
That same principle is true about all relationships. We must choose to love God. God isn’t going to force us to love him. Some of us have spent decades proving this. You know what I’m talking about. You can destroy your life if you want to. God won’t force you to love him. Because love can’t be forced. It says, “I have chosen to love God and I have chosen to commit myself to him.” It’s the same thing with everything else. I choose to love you and I choose to commit myself to you. Love is a choice and is a commitment.
When people say, “I just don’t love her any more,” they say it as if they don’t have any choice. No, Just be a man. Own up to it. You’re choosing not to love her anymore.
2. Love is an action not just emotion.
As I said it’s more than attraction. It’s more than sentimentality. When the emotion is gone does that mean love is dead? No, not at all. Because love is an action. It’s something you do. Love is a behavior. Love can cause emotion. In fact it causes the strongest emotions in human beings. It can create emotion. It can produce emotion. But love is not an emotion.
Why? Why do I say that? In the first place in the Bible, over and over, we are commanded by God to love each other. And you cannot command an emotion. If I told you right now “Be sad!” You can’t just be sad on cue. You can fake it. Emotions are often uncontrollable. If love were just an emotion then God couldn’t command it. But love is something you do. It produces emotion but it is an action.
1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let’s nor merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
Let me say a couple things about love in action. Actually, acting in love when you don’t feel it is the highest form of love. It’s actually a more mature love when you act loving toward a person when they’re not responding to you or you don’t feel it. It’s easy to love somebody who loves you. But real love acts and does the loving thing when they don’t deserve it, when they don’t respond or when you don’t feel it.
Anybody who’s had children know that when they’re little babies and you get up five or six times in the night to take care of that little baby you don’t do it because you feel like it. You do it because it’s the loving thing to do.
When you do the loving thing and you come home at night and you’re as tired as everybody else is but you do the loving thing not because you feel like doing it but you do it out of love. That’s ultimate love. Does that make sense? Love is an action more than an emotion, In fact in the book of James, James says you do all this big talk about love and all this talk about faith but if you don’t follow it up with actions, it’s worthless.
The second thing I’d say about love is action is that it is always easier to act your way into a feeling than it is to feel your way into an action. It’s always easier to act your way into a loving feeling instead of waiting for the feeling to come and then you’re going to act loving.
Some of you have been in marriages for a long time and the truth is the flame’s gone out. You’re living separate lives in the same house. How do you rekindle that romance? How do you rekindle the feeling of love? If you start acting in love, I guarantee you the feelings follow. Because feelings follow behavior. If you say, “I’ll wait until I feel romantic to be romantic,” it’s never going to happen. It’s kind of like prayer. If the only time I pray is when I feel like it, the devil makes sure I never feel like it. Actually I need to pray when I don’t feel like it. That’s when I need it the most.
Actually when I don’t feel loving, this is a test. God is saying, "Are you going to learn to love me and to love other people when you don’t feel like it?” God doesn’t want us living by our feelings. He wants us living by faith. So you know what he does? Sometimes he lets the feelings go away. Then we have to love by faith and live by faith. When we love somebody and do the loving thing even when they’re not responding, and even maybe when they’re retaliating, we are loving by faith. That is an action.