Read 1 John 3:16-18
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (NLT)
Loving another human being is about the most challenging thing we can ever do. It is the task beyond all our other tasks. Those who reckon it comes naturally are kidding themselves. They may be confusing love with warm feelings or attraction or mutual enjoyment. None of that is wrong, but the essence of love lies elsewhere.
Our text reminds us that love is ultimately defined by Jesus. He gave up his life for us as he met our deepest need at great cost to himself. Not a whole lot to do with warm feelings or having a jolly good time of mutual satisfaction. Love is difficult and is costly.
Waiting for some warm and fuzzy feelings to spring up is to wait too long when it comes to loving others. C. S. Lewis once said that we are to act as if we loved our neighbour and in time we may well come to love that person. In other words, just do it. Perhaps the feelings will follow, but that is not so important. If I act lovingly to meet a need, the other person benefits irrespective of my feelings or even my motivation.
Love at best does involve our feelings, but it is to be practised irrespective of feelings. And it can only be practised with the help of the author and shaper of all love. Real love doesn’t come naturally but supernaturally.