Loving When You Don’t Feel Like It

“Thou shall love the Lord thy God….” Are there times you just don’t feel like it?  Does it ever seem to you that you just can’t work up an emotional thrill over loving God and your brothers and sisters? The occasional absence of this religious emotion causes confusion. It helps to find your way out of this dark shadow into the cheerful sunlight when you realize there are two kinds of love. One of feelings and one of the will. God never intended you to be a plaything of your emotions.

Just make sure your feelings are not caused by remoteness to God.

God loves you. If He had a refrigerator your picture would be on the door.     

If God had a wallet your photo would be in it.

He sends you sunshine every morning and flowers every spring.

Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.

Having the right to live anywhere in the universe He has chosen to live in your heart.

Don’t forget that Christmas present He gave you or that special outing on Easter morning.

Face it!  God is crazy about you.

He has drawn near to you. Won’t you draw near to Him?

The Lord said of Israel: “Their heart is far from me.” The words don’t refer to physical distance, but to likeness. It is not physical distance but dissimilarity that causes a sense of remoteness. Two creatures may be so close physically that they touch yet so unalike that they are far apart. Man and a gorilla are Exhibit A.

For this moral unlikeness the Bible uses the word, alienation. Look in your inner life for evidence of the dissimilarity. Things such as a wrong attitude, evil thoughts, or dispositional flaws.

Sir Edmond Hillery spoke about climbing Everest.  He said, “You have to fix your mind before you leave the base camp because it has a tendency to wander in the rarified atmosphere of such heights.” Climb the Everest within you. Fix your will to love.

You can’t love God without loving people. We are exhorted to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Don’t try loving your neighbor without loving God.  Don’t profess you love God if you don’t love your neighbor. Don’t engage in an exercise of evasion by narrowly defining who your neighbor is. Don’t narrow the definition like the Pharisees tried to do. Pharisees considered only Pharisees as “neighbors.”  Jesus explained away this approach:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43, 44).

Perhaps, like me, there are times you just don’t feel like that. It is then we have to superimpose our will on our feelings.