What Does It Mean To Love?
So another week, another blog post! (This is a super long one, so i apologise in advance, but I really hope that it blesses you as you read.)
This week, the Lord placed a number of things in my life relating to the topic of love and I ended up doing a mini confession on my insta-story, so for anyone that missed it, I thought I’d write it again in a more permanent post.
For the last two weeks, I had really been lost in the sauce of life….Or maybe, if I’m being truthful, laziness. But I suddenly realised one day that I hadn’t been hearing from God as much as I normally do and that I wasn’t receiving as many revelations as usual so I started examining myself to find out why that was. (note: self-evaluation is something we should all do every so often. It really allows us to be real with ourselves and see the things that we can control that are affecting us negatively, or positively). A couple questions I was asking myself were:
- Was my quiet time not being effective? (the question made me look and realise that I had been rushing through my quiet time each night and not really taking the time to do it as I usually did.. because I was ‘tired’)
- But I listen to sermons and podcasts all day, so why wasn’t I receiving anything?
As I was really confused and starting to get annoyed at myself, I decided to watch a sermon from Voddie Baucham and in the sermon, he explained what love is.
‘Love is an act of the will, accompanied by emotion, leading to action on behalf of its object’
He then proceeded to break it down:
- An act: a decision / a choice
- Accompanied: not void of emotion but not led by it
- Leading to action: functioning upon your choice to love.
And there I really felt God trying to tell me about myself.
In those two weeks, I had stopped putting action behind my words of love. I had stopped reading my Bible with expectation to receive something from Him – instead I was reading my Daily Devotion /Quiet Time, as a tick on my checklist, I hadn’t felt like waking up at 5am to pray. So I didn’t - And that was another box that I could tick in my ‘why can’t I hear God’ tick list.
Let me tell you that for the last two weeks the enemy has been telling me that God hates me, I am no longer a heir of the kingdom and that if I truly loved Him, I would be a better disciple, and that I clearly don’t like Him. – those were blows to my chest, and I really started to believe the lies of the enemy.
When speaking with my sweetheart of a friend, she told me ‘Ola, God never stops speaking, you’ve just stopped listening’ and really and truly, that was conviction for me. I simply hadn’t given God to opportunity to speak to me.
Its exactly like when a husband and wife stop communicating with each other, they begin to allow the enemy to come and talk to them individually – planting seeds (which will turn into weeds) of strife and misinterpretation, and then those weeds begin to choke the life out of the marriage.
Since the relationship we have with the Father is also that of a marriage, I realised that I had stopped speaking with my husband and I started letting the enemy speak to me instead (there is no such thing as a vacuum in our lives, we are always being filled with something, if it is not God filling us, then it is the enemy, if it is not light then it is darkness).
How does this link with Love?
I had allowed myself to be led by emotions and flesh. Therefore I hadn’t been praying like I usually do, I hadn’t been taking time to read the letters He has written to me. I hadn’t taken the time to just sit with Him and speak and be in His presence. I hadn’t taken the time to be intentional with my love towards Him.
Love is a decision and a choice, that you are going to love – had I in those moments decided to love my flesh over my spirit? Had I chosen myself over my spouse?
Love is accompanied by emotions but not led by them – had I in those moments, decided that because I didn’t FEEL like spending time with Him, that I wasn’t going to?
Love leads to action – had I in those moments of not reading or praying properly, shown my choice to love Him?
God has never stopped loving you. Never. Just because, in my times of not strictly loving Him I had stopped ‘feeling His presence’ doesn’t mean He wasn’t there, regardless of what the enemy was telling me.
I believe that we as humans are so trapped in the notion that we have to FEEL this exploding overwhelming feeling to know that we love or are loved, and this is dangerous and damaging, because this gives the idea that if we do not FEEL this feeling when connecting with God, then we do not love Him or He does not love us.
We may not always FEEL like loving someone, but we are commanded to DECIDE and ACT in the love we are called to have regardless. God has called me to love Him and love my neighbour (as myself), and therefore, when I chose to love Him, I chose to love Him regardless of my situation or my circumstances. And I must continue to choose Him even when I don’t FEEL like it. I must act on the love I have chosen to have for Him, since choosing Him, irrespective of my current feelings. (reading that back to myself was exhausting lol, so many tenses)
When we are led by emotion and feelings, we begin to be led by the flesh, and when we are led by the flesh, we allow ourselves to be open to the enemy and for him to run his tricks.
Choose everyday to love God. Choose everyday to love, period.
If you need to print out Voddie Baucham’s definition then please do! Because since I heard it and meditated on it, it’s really changed my view, and re-sparked my intentionality towards God.
For an update, I’ve switched up the time I do my devotion (I now do it first thing in the morning (I’ll do another blog post on the significance of the morning) and its really changed everything, I’ve realigned my thought process and heart posture (by going back to expectation and going back to decide to love) and I’ve put action behind my words of love.
Since doing this, everything changed again! I’m excited all over again (like when I first gave my life to Him and chose to love Him) and I’m just so much more at peace and just joyous.
Like, I REALLY LOVE GOD! I really really love Him.
(According to the definition of love given by VB) Do You?
Love, Peace and JOY!
In the closing scripture(s), find all three parts to the definition of love.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” – Ephesians 1:3-8
“Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”” – Matthew 26:38-39