Article From the Magazine:

Love God’s Way

By David Jeremiah

What does “I love you” mean? Is love a feeling?

God doesn’t ask us if we feel like loving. He tells us it’s our responsibility to love—a husband is to love his wife (Eph. 5:28). When we obey, the feeling will follow. But if it doesn’t, God’s agapé love gives even when it gets nothing in return.

Rekindle God’s agapé love in your heart through prayer and reading His Word. Love is an art. Learn it. Help it grow and flourish. “Pursue love” energetically and consistently without waiting for it to happen to you (1 Cor. 14, 13).

Selfless Love

Selfishness is the root problem of most marriage, family, parent/teen, and business troubles. Ego-driven people who haven’t learned to be selfless can’t develop love. The “do your own thing” philosophy leads to a culture of individual rights and demands. But love does not seek its own way. It cares about others and is excited to see loved one’s needs met.

Agapé love meets others needs with no expectation of anything in return. Friendship love (Phileo) says, “We work in a marriage on a 50/50 basis. I give 50, my spouse gives 50; that makes 100.” But in hard times, 50/50 isn’t enough. Agapé love says, “I’ll give 100% even if I get nothing in return.” Christ died on the cross for the world’s sin when He could expect nothing from the world.

Our Responsibility to Love

What if you don’t feel anything anymore? If romance is to survive, each partner, by an act of will, is to practice agape love in response to God’s command. More than 1 out of 2 couples get divorced, saying, “We don’t love each other anymore.” When they’re Christians, that’s saying, “We will not do as God commands.”

Agapé love is the one solid basis for marriage. The husband, according to God’s command, is to seek his wife’s well being—whether she deserves it or not. The Bible says to love because it’s God’s command. If you don’t get anything in return, that’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to love.

If two people become estranged, it only takes one agapé lover to revive the relationship. No one can withstand selfless love over a long period without responding. God’s sacrificial love does not ask, “What does she do for me?” but, “What am I doing to give myself to her?” Our world needs Christians who will share God’s love.

If you obey God, He will honor that. The message to the Ephesian church that lost its first love was: “To recover your love, here’s what you do. ‘Go back and do the first works.’” To recover the lost love in your marriage, go back and do the first works.

What was it like when there was love? How did you treat her then? What’s different now? Did you ever bring her flowers, or show your love in a tangible, out of the ordinary, way? Go back and do it again.

Love is an action, a response. When you respond, the feeling may not be there at first, but it will come. Feelings follow actions; actions don’t follow feelings. I don’t wait for my feelings to get right before I study or do the things that take discipline. Do first and the feelings follow.

Husband, if you aren’t loving your wife and responding to her, don’t wait for the feeling to come back. It may not come back, yet you are disobedient. God says to love her. In an active, open, tangible way, demonstrate your love to her.

Encouragement to Love

So, how am I supposed to love? Ask God to fill and control you with His Holy Spirit, to give you a Spirit-controlled life, because only then can you love the way 1 Corinthians 13 tells you to love.

Love outlasts anything. It stands when all else falls. When the flower is off the physical relationship, the loved one is sick and can’t take care of himself, I’ve watched the partner love that person with a selfless, sacrificial love. What an encouraging witness!

Human love fails, but God’s agape love never fails.

This article was first published in Turning Points Magazine & Devotional.
Learn more about the magazine and request your free copies today!

  • Agape love meets others needs with no expectation of anything in return.

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  • Feelings follow actions; actions don’t follow feelings. Do first and the feelings follow.

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