A Christian’s misconception(s) of love: some brief thoughts

Listening to a pastor preach from 1John 4:7-21 which has a lot to do with love–how God is love, why we should love one another, how love is displayed, etc. Naturally, the pastor had to make some preliminary comments on the nature of love and in so doing attempted to correct our faulty conception of love. The faulty conception of love, it was explained, depicts love as feelings, excitement, romance, and (I inferred) pretty much anything that is tied to the emotions.

In a round about way the pastor was espousing the “love is a choice not a feeling” mantra that I’ve heard dozens of times in sermons ranging from loving your spouse to loving your neighbor. But is the mantra true to the revelation of love in Scripture? I don’t think so.

I understand the sentiment behind “love is a choice.” At a time when divorce is rampant and commitment to anything or anyone is determined by which side of the bed we wake up on, we should be reminded that love is not so fickle as feeling. But rock-solid fidelity and temperamental passion are not mutually exclusive. Love does consist of desire & delight:

1. God’s love for His people is anything but passionless (Hos 11:8; Zeph 3:17; Mat 9:36).

2. True love for God will involve our affections (Psa 16:11; 1Pet 1:8-9).

3. Christian love for one another is not without emotion (Rom 12:15; Phil 2:1).

4. Marital love is intended, in part, to be a fulfillment of desire (see Song of Solomon).

In short, Christian love is both decision and delight. If God has joined these elements together let’s not tear them apart.

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

1 thought on “A Christian’s misconception(s) of love: some brief thoughts”

  1. Good post. We can get so stuck on one side of the pendulum or the other and forget it can and should be both. I appreciate your blog and the wisdom you share!

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