44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5: 44-45
We prove our love for the Lord when we love people who don’t deserve our love. One day, when we stand before God, we will be asked to give an account of our lives. We will all be accountable as to whether or not we loved God’s people.
So what does it mean to love? You might say, “I love lattés,” or, “I love chocolate.” You might love your car, or the ocean, or your dog. The real question is, what does it truly mean to love?
The dictionary says that love is an emotion or feeling. Scripture, on the other hand, says that love has nothing to do with emotions or feelings. Love is just the opposite; it is denying our feelings and emotions, and obeying God. It is choosing to love those who spitefully use us, who persecute us, and who call themselves our enemies.
Most people really don’t know the first thing about love. In their minds, love is for those who meet their needs, or who seem outwardly loveable, or who are simply lovely to look at. That is a very self-centered love, not genuine love.
Selfish love leads to jealousy, envy, and strife. Once someone stops meeting your needs, you become at odds with them, and they are of no further use to you. Self-centered love pulls and takes for itself. It depletes and never gives anything back, which is why it cannot truly be called love.
True love, Godly love, always gives, nourishes, and serves. Where there is worldly love, people will begin to criticize those who stop meeting their needs for adoration or comfort. They will act negatively toward those who threaten them in some way, because there is jealousy or envy in their heart. That kind of heart is not alive to God. A heart alive to God is grounded in love, a love that acts in faith. Love is more than saying something; it is doing something. It’s more than feelings. It’s more than sentimental jargon. Love is made alive in action, because, just like faith, love without works is dead.