An Essential Emotion

February 2015: A Word From Dr. Stanley

Of all the feelings we experience, love is supreme. It makes life worth living here on earth and will one day be fully enjoyed in heaven. When Paul wrote his treatise on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he didn’t offer a definition but instead described how it acts: unselfish, unconditional, and always looking out for the other person’s best interest. And because love speaks the truth, sometimes it can feel as soft as velvet, or rough like sandpaper, depending on what’s needed.

If we don’t have God’s kind of love, we miss the very point of living. When Jesus was questioned about the greatest commandment, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Then He added that the second command is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). This is God’s standard, but none of us can measure up. We simply cannot make ourselves love the Lord that fully or be that concerned for those around us. Let’s face it: Some people just rub us the wrong way or are downright unpleasant. However, the Lord knows we need help. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit—the one who helps us demonstrate God’s heart to the world.

If we don’t have God’s kind of love, we miss the very point of living.

Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine aspects of “fruit of the Spirit,” the first of which is love. In essence, we could say that all the others are descriptions of it: Joy is love delighting, peace is love resting, patience is love waiting, kindness is love reacting, goodness is love choosing, faithfulness is love keeping its word, gentleness is love empathizing, and self-control is love resisting temptation. And as we grow in faith, love becomes more deeply ingrained in us.

No matter how gifted, strong, or successful we are, without this essential emotion, life is empty and meaningless. If we never give it, we’ll become self-centered and demanding. If we never receive it, we’ll constantly strive for acceptance and approval. But when God’s love flows in and through us, we become more like His Son. And when others observe us, they will be drawn to the Savior, because God’s love never fails.

Related Topics:  Love

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What happens to my notes

37 And He said to him, `YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'

39 The second is like it, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

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