Now about brotherly love, you do not need anyone to write to you, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. – 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Imagine how empty it would make you feel if someone told you, “I love you because it is my duty to love you and I have to.”
We read in the Bible and know in our hearts that we are to love one another. Quite often this is defined by how you act, what “loving” deeds are you doing for someone else. In fact, maybe we have been taught that love isn’t a feeling rather it is demonstrated in the things we do.
There is some truth here. Sometimes we don’t feel like loving someone, sometimes it is difficult to be around certain people. We want to follow the words of Jesus and act in love toward them even though our emotions tell us otherwise. But we can get so wrapped up in trying to follow the command to love each other that we forget to simply be affectionate.
Wouldn’t it be better to engage our emotions as well as our actions? God’s has made us complete beings with passions and feelings. We are not heartless robots who obey only because we are programmed to. God desires for us to be more like Him, to love not out of obligation but to love because it is part of the image He created us to be. We don’t love because we have to, we love because we want to.
God will teach us how to have affection as part of our love. He wants us to grow our feelings of warmth and tenderness for each other. He shows us the things we need to do to love one another, but that is not just for the sake of “deeds” being done. It is so we can transform our hearts into affection and fondness of one another. There is tenderness as well as obligation, and warmth as well as obedience. God wants us to love one another, but He wants us to be loving as well.