Read Matthew 22:36-39
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (NLT)
A man who was struggling with keeping these primary commandments once asked a very wise bishop called François de Sales how he could do better at observing them. De Sales simply told him to love God and his neighbour. The inquirer responded that this was his very problem. But de Sales wouldn’t budge. He repeated that the thing to do was to love God and neighbour.
He went on to add that there were many who would offer methods and secret techniques as means of perfecting such love. But he told his companion that we learn to run by running, learn to speak by speaking, learn to work with our hands by working with our hands. And so he urged this struggling man to simply enter an apprenticeship of love and go on trying it, trusting God will go on enabling us to grow in love.
This may not sound very helpful to those of us who want three or four bullet points as a sure-fire way to love better. But de Sales had a point. We don’t learn to love by reading books or hearing sermons or even by reading daily devotions. We learn to love by having a go at it.
Another great wise man of the faith, C. S. Lewis, once said that we are not to wait to feel loving before practising this commandment. We simply act in a loving way. Feelings may or may not follow. In other words, when it comes to love, just do it.