"Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision commitment." That one sentence in the book "The Secret of Staying in Love" by John Powell has stuck with me ever since reading it more than 40 years ago. That is the way Jesus loved when he was on earth. He committed. He acted. He voluntarily submitted to the Father's will that he lay down his life for the world God so loved. He trusted that the Father's love would not fail. Jesus commands us to love in the same way, enabled by abiding in the circle of God's poured out, self-giving, life-giving love. As a pastor I see that kind of love often--as when a mom, dad and husband of a young woman dying of ovarian cancer each take eight-hour shifts to keep 24/7 vigil with her in the hospital. Sometimes love is not pretty; but it is always beautiful.
God of love, without your love, I can't obey your command. May my broken and feeble will to love be cracked open and filled up with your perfect love. Amen.
John 15:9-17 (NRSV)
9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.