For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3, NASB1995).
How does love grow?
We can’t talk our love into growing. If we say in the morning, “Today, I’m going to grow at love,” we will fail, as we can’t “will” ourselves to feel better.
And we can’t grasp love by an egregious search into depravity.
If we can’t “will” ourselves love, and if it’s not found by changing our experiences, how do we win at love?
By obedience. I know, not popular today.
If we get up in the morning thinking, “I’m going to serve a food pantry today,” we become more loving by action! If we pray and read our Bible in the morning, our love for Jesus grows. If we decide to stay faithful to our spouse, love grows.
This is winning at love.
The New Testament teaches a command-obedience-love cycle. If we make a commitment and stay faithful in temptation, then our obedience causes love to grow.
If we break our commitments, our love dies. As a pastor for 49 years, I knew if a husband told his wife he didn’t love her anymore, the chances were 85 percent that he had already started an affair.
Winning and losing at love is about obedience, not feelings. When we follow emotions, we find reasons to break covenant; when we follow the Lord, He gives us power to stay faithful.
It can be difficult, as we often don’t feel like faithfulness, but the power of the Spirit enables fidelity, and our growing emotions of love will follow.
Biblical love is primarily “will” and not “emotions.”
HHHHMMMHHM . . . I’m getting complicated. Let me repeat myself. Start with obedience, then commitment, and love grows.
Jesus predicts that in the end times . . .
Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold (Matthew 24:12, NASB1995).
Lawlessness is breaking commitment – doing whatever, wherever, whenever, with whomever we want. Or searching for love and never finding it.
Not frustrating cycles of depravity but a return to Jesus in a command-obedience-love cycle.
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21, NLT).
Focused fidelity increases love, licentious behavior destroys it.
Obedience is the key to winning at love!