Love is a choice, not an emotional response to how somebody makes us feel. We have to choose to love just like every other fruit of the spirit that was giving to us as a gift from God (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a free will decision. Nobody can make us love, just as nobody can make us hate.
God calls our love to not only grow, but to abound (exist in large numbers or amounts; plentiful; abundant) in knowledge and discernment.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
What does this mean? God wants us to gain understanding and learn His heart towards people. He wants us to be led by His Spirit and see people with His eyes. The NIV version says that this will make us pure and blameless. The kind of love that Jesus wants us to love with, will leave us without offense. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for us if we could achieve this in our marriages? Oh how wonderful it would be to live without offense. Well, it is attainable through God’s Word, but we must take action.
I love the way the Message version translates this verse:
Philippians 1:9-11 (MSG)
9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Wow! God wants quality not quantity. We have to LEARN to love appropriately! How do we do that? We do that by studying Jesus. We have to take on the mind of Christ even when dealing with our emotions and feelings. We need to get out of our own heads and feelings. We have to stop letting the devil wreak havoc by playing with our emotions. Love needs to be sincere (free from deceit; genuine) and intelligent (perceptive).
When Jesus looks at our relationships, Can He be proud of our love? Are our souls producing the fruit that He gave us full access to abound in? Are we choosing to love? Are we pure and blameless in our deeds and motives? Are we seeking things with understanding and intelligence?
It is normal for certain things to trigger our feelings some sort of way. The devil is always waiting for the opportunity to have us snap. When a situation occurs, we have the power to resist the urge to fall prey as a victim to the devil’s schemes. We can submit to God and His fruit, resist the devil, and he must flee. We can seek understanding for the circumstance and ask God to show us how to love; even through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
God is love and we are known by our love. Our love is what makes us attractive and draws people to us, and ultimately closer to Christ! So let our love abound today. Not just in quantity, but in quality. Let’s choose to put our love into action and defeat the plans of the enemy to divide and concur. There is unity in God’s perfect love!
Father, we thank You for Your perfect love. Thank You for giving us love as a perfect gift. Forgive us for not always choosing to love. Help us perfect our ability not only to love our spouse, children and those close to us, but also our enemies. Help us separate love from our feelings. Let our emotions and thoughts be bound to those of Christ helping us love appropriately. We want to draw people to You by our display of love. We want You to be proud of our love. Heal every broken place that has caused us to respond in a way that opposes Your definition of Love. Deliver us from any pain, hurt, offense, and trauma that has caused us to choose hate instead of love. Let the quality of our love be blameless and pure in every area of our lives. We especially submit our marriage relationship to You today and show us where our love has been breached and perverted by the enemy. Give us understanding and discernment to perceive the hearts of our spouse and see them with Your eyes. Let our hearts be renewed. Let our new abounding love attract our spouse in a fresh new way so that You will get the glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!