I have to rant. This is a topic that just pushes my buttons. (Maybe i’m called to dispel this horrible lie, i’m not sure…)
I have heard it from the mouth of preachers time and again, that love is not just an emotion it is an action. Love is a choice. The choice to do what is good, and right, and kind, and true, no matter the circumstance. Love is your way of giving back to God, your way of proving you really believe. Love is your conscious effort to be a god-follower.
I cannot tell you how much this aggravates me, because this is not true. Not even a little.
Love is an emotion. Love bubbles up from deep within your heart where your heart is bent towards someone. Love is an turning of the heart towards the object of one’s affection and the outward display of that love is an action. True love cannot be seen without action, but that does not make that action love. If i do an action without the love that is supposed to motivate it, i am a tinkling brass, a clanging cymbal.
Action without the heart bend, is just that, action. It is simply a conscious choice to do what is right. And doing what is right, or good, or kind, or noble, is always a good thing to do. But the purpose of the commandment was love, from a pure heart, that isn’t pretense. The purpose of the command is that you realize you need Jesus, because it is hard to fall in love with a world that hurts you, but that is exactly what you need to do in order to really live this thing out.
Do all the right actions all day every day. Do them because you are supposed to do them. But when you do them without love in your heart, you begin to wear down. You begin to get grumpy, and selfish, and angry, and you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have to remind yourself a billion times that it is what you’re supposed to be doing and that it is the right thing. Eventually you burn out because nothing is sustaining you.
Do all the right actions all day every day. Do them because you are supposed to do them. And when you do them because you just love people, because you just Love God, because you just want to see good released in this world for Jesus, you change. Things change. You are energized. When you see the fruits of your love that you pour out, when you see the affect you are having on the world around you, it energizes your love. You get more energy to love more. Your love runs deeper, truer, more passionate. The clanging cymbal is gone and the melodies of heaven begin to ring out.
I once heard a preacher say ‘A lover will out work a worker any day.’ And that is the way God designed it. You prophesying, working, serving, striving, they all fail. They all fade away. But love, true love, Never fails. True love, deep passionate, emotion motivated love-service, never fails. IT is always fruitful.
True love does no harm to its neighbor, that is why love fulfills the law. That is why love is so strong. That is why love never fails.