August 18, 2020

Loving Well

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 18, 2020

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

This summer, one of my longtime girlfriends and her husband visited my husband and I for two weeks. As always, we picked up right where we left off, even though we hadn’t seen one another for two years. While she visited, we discussed kids and work and God, and of course relationships, as women often do. 

During our conversation, we encouraged one another to love our mates and our families. And, we discussed the unfortunate demise that many marriages experience when they have started out with a romantic high but then hit the rocks when the romantic high wanes.  

When people lean on feelings of love for proof of love, they can experience trouble when their relationship experiences challenges, as all relationships do. 

When the honeymoon fades, couples have a choice: they can continue to nurture their relationship with loving actions and actions of compassion, or they can become disillusioned. 

In his book, Pastor Timothy Keller writes: “Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. . . it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.”

This is often not what we want to hear. We don’t want to hear that relationships are sometimes work, that being in a loving relationship means that we have to lay down our pride and give to another when it would be easier not to. We don’t want to hear that it takes effort to keep love alive. We want to hear that love is easy, that it just happens, just like the movies and our culture has told us.

So rather than do the work of love, we ditch the marriage, we dump the friendship, we decide that staying in a community that can sometimes be messy isn’t worth the trouble. 

But when we decide not to take the high road and give out of sacrificial hearts, when we don’t do the work of loving in word and deed, when we fail to choose the actions of love over feelings of love, we miss growing and maturing. We miss gaining relational courage that comes from doing the hard thing. We shrink on the inside. And, we also miss the excitement that comes from partnering with Christ to love others the way He would like us to. 

Is there someone in your life that you need to love through action? Do you need to grow past your feelings to love in word and in deed? 

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).

Prayer

Lord, help me not to lean on my feelings as proof of love. Instead, help me to love through action. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Application

Choose one person you have a difficult time loving and then ask Jesus how you can love them. Then, do what He says.


Related Reading

1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 4:19

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