Love's Not A Feeling

Sunday, July 25, 2021
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Scripture: This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. . . 17 These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:12,17 (NKJV)

Observation: This was the new feature of it. Christ’s love to His people in giving His life a ransom for them was altogether new, and consequently as a Model and Standard for theirs to one another. It is not, however, something transcending the great moral law, which is “the old commandment” (1Jn 2:7, and see on Mk 12:28–33), but that law in a new and peculiar form. Hence it is said to be both new and old (1Jn 2:7, 8). [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]

Application: As a marriage counselor, I have been told by some of those coming to me for help, “I just don’t think I love him/her anymore.”  I can tell, by talking with them, that deep inside there’s still at least a seed of love.   But part of the problem is that they confuse love with romance.  So let’s talk briefly about these.
     Love as a feeling, or the romantic feelings that we have toward someone, is what most often draws us toward them.  We’re attracted to them for different reasons.  It could be their looks, their personality, their warmth, their sense of humor, or a host of other reasons.  Then, the more time we spend together, the warmer we feel toward them, and when we’re not with them we have an anxious desire to be with them again as soon and as long as possible.  It is those butterflies we feel when they walk in the room, or when we see them in a crowd, and when we see them on our wedding day.
     For many couples, however, the butterflies in the stomach give way to the routine, to the commonplace, to the doldrums of everyday life which leads them to believe they made a mistake and should not be married any longer, or worse, they begin illicit relationships with other people who make them “feel’ the butterflies in their stomach again. . . until the doldrums come to the new relationship and the cycle begins again and continues to be repeated with subsequent relationships.
     On the other hand, when Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another,” He was trying to teach us that love is not a feeling because you can’t command anyone to “feel” a certain way or another.  Jesus wanted us to understand that love is a decision we make, to care for another person.  If that is correct, then He certainly can command us to make the decision to love one another, even when the feelings are not there.
     The wonderful thing is, and research has confirmed it, when we choose to love someone, and act lovingly toward them, that what we know as romantic feelings toward them also return.  When I choose to love my wife, and do all in my power to help her and to act loving toward her, the romantic feelings I desire to have toward her can indeed return.
     If you are feeling a bit detached from your spouse, begin by accepting Jesus’ command to love them, regardless of your feelings.  Act loving, even romantically toward them, pray for and with them, and wait to see how God awakens the feelings in response to your obedience to love them because you love Him.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, we want to demonstrate that we love You by obeying You and by loving others, starting with our spouse.  As we act lovingly toward the, reawaken the romantic feelings toward them too.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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