Talk is cheap. Anyone can say the four letter word “love”, but to live out the action of love takes work. Love without feelings or emotion is boring and dull. Love without action is meaningless and fake. Action + Feeling = Love. As I was reading Timothy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage, I read that “actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.”
Love is to be passionate and full of affection. If love becomes more about feelings than action, your love remains shallow and immature. Contrary to this, Keller would say “if you stress the action of love over the feeling, you enhance and establish the feeling.” When we act a certain way towards someone, despite our feelings toward them, deeper feelings tend to grow. This can go either way on the pendulum whether we act hateful or loving towards someone. The more you act hateful towards someone, the more you will develop feelings of disdain for them. The more you act loving towards someone, the more you will develop feelings of love for them.
There have been countless times I have heard others say they don’t want to read the Bible, pray or go to church out of duty. My question is this: Why is doing things out of duty bad? Sure, if we only do things out of duty without feelings of love, we will become burnt out. But, if we love even out of duty, remember that feelings of love will develop. If we act out of love only when we feel in love, we will rarely be able to love.
Our actions of love towards God will develop in us consistent feelings of love for Him. Our actions of love towards others will develop in us more consistent feelings of love for them. This means that even when there isn’t an ounce in your body that desires to love someone, you can still love them. As you love them despite your lack of feelings, deeper feelings will grow.
So stop waiting for your feelings to prompt you to love. Allow your actions be the foundation in which your feelings of love grow deep.
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).