If you love someone, showing that love is easy, right? Not necessarily. If you love someone, showing that love feels good, right? Not necessarily. Love is all about how you feel, right? Not really.
As the One who created us and as the One who is the ultimate example of love, God defines love. His Word has a lot to say about love, and He does not say much about love being easy or feeling good.
When you come to know and follow God, you automatically learn more about love. When you experience His love, you are clearly changed and then desire to show that love to others.
Thankfully, we are seeing this at work in our two oldest sons, Noah and Levi. Recently, Noah had an opportunity to help with disaster relief cleanup in Jefferson City, Missouri. Then, he and Levi were blessed to head to Guatemala with a team from our church to minister to orphans and others in a needy community.
Do these mission tasks feel good? Perhaps at times they do, as there is obviously a great sense of encouragement and satisfaction when we get to serve others. But, there are certainly plenty of times when we just do not feel those things. Love – the love of God – still compels us, though.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching about the “Proof of Love” in the life of a Christian, looking specifically at 1 John 3:10-24. Later that day, you should be able to listen to the message HERE. In the meantime, though, I want to challenge you to consider three reasons love does not always feel good.
1) Love is unconditional.
If you read 1 John 3:10-15, you will not see any conditions on the love we are commanded and expected to have for one another. We are not told to love others if they deserve our love. We are not told to love others if they love us in return. We are not told to love others for what they can do for us. The Bible tells us to love one another. Period.
In fact, this love proves something very important: “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).
You either have eternal life, or you are headed for eternal death. Unconditional love for others is a defining characteristic for those who have experienced this new life in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Is your life marked by unconditional love for others?
2) Love is costly.
“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Did it “feel good” when Jesus was brutally beaten and crucified? Of course not. Love compelled Him, though. It was His love for sinners like you and me that led Him to the cross, and there was nothing more costly than the cross.
No, this does not imply that in order for you to truly love others, you must die for them, but it certainly does mean you are willing to die. And, it clearly means love is not confined to that which is easy and feels good. Love is costly.
Is your love for others costing you anything?
3) Love is exhausting.
To say, “I love you,” is really not very difficult. To show “I love you” is often exhausting. If love is unconditional and costly, then it is certainly exhausting.
“Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence” (1 John 3:18-19).
Loving a person who has frustrated you is not easy. It is exhausting. Loving those who are hurting and unable to do anything for you in return is not easy. It is exhausting. Loving those who do not reciprocate that love is not easy. It is exhausting.
Yes, I do believe that when our hearts are set on the Lord, we can still experience a great sense of joy and contentment in the midst of this unconditional care, cost and exhaustion. Does that mean it will always feel good and be easy, though? No. Otherwise, the Bible would not have so much to say about the command to love one another and our need to love one another. Doing so takes intentional effort, regardless of how we feel at the time. Love is exhausting.
Do you ever find yourself exhausted because of your unconditional, costly love for others?
Love is transformational.
If you experience God’s love by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ, then you will not only experience this kind of transformational love; you will be transformed by this love and show this love to others. This love, after all, is an essential proof for those who have a genuine relationship with God.
Have you been transformed?