Have you ever noticed how we dedicate so much time and money to feed feelings that last only a moment? Think about your upcoming weekend for a moment and see if it isn’t true.
- We pay five dollars for a cup of coffee we drink in five minutes.
- We long for that glorious vacation but come home in a week to face the same daily grind.
- We plunk down twenty bucks for a movie (and even more for popcorn), and it’s over in two hours.
- We enjoy the zing of a new relationship or a new church fellowship only to discover it’s just like the last one.
Nothing wrong with any of these activities, per se. But when joy and satisfaction in life elude us, we need to ask an obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer: How do we deal with the futility of life when my satisfaction always fades?
Eventually we figure out we can’t exist for the next relationship or vacation or pat on the back. Instead, we need to learn to live for what never fades and what always satisfies.
Satisfaction Begins with Love
The Apostle Peter wrote:
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. —1 Peter 1:22
See the word “love” twice in that one verse? Why would God tell those already loving one another to “love one another”?
We’re dealing with two kinds of love.
A Love that Feels Love
The first “sincere love” speaks of how you feel toward something or someone who pleases you.
- It refers to a friendly affection, based entirely on feeling pleasure from someone’s presence.
- This love offers a legitimate joy; but because it has within it only feelings of pleasure, it can turn quickly into selfishness when the pleasure dwindles away.
If you think about it, the vast majority of relationships center on this love of feelings, leading many to speak of themselves as “falling in and out of love.” The same is true of all relationships. A love based on feelings never brings lasting satisfaction, because they are always changing.
A Love that Chooses Love
To our “feel-good” love we should add another kind. This second love stands rooted, not in feelings toward someone, but in the genuine value of someone.
- We recognize the worth of another, made in the image of God, so we add to our feelings a fervent love from the heart– having nothing to do with feelings.
- The first kind of love begins and ends with your emotions; the second begins and ends with your will.
- The second love gives strength to the first.
Ask yourself an honest question: “Do I show love to others only when they make me feel good?”
Think of your home, your work, and your friends from years gone by. If the answer to the question finds yourself showing love only when you receive it, perhaps you have discovered the reason you struggle so hard for lasting satisfaction.
Lasting Satisfaction Comes from a Love that Loves
Into your love of pleasure, add the love God describes as patient, kind, not jealous, not arrogant, not selfish, not provoked, a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things—a love that never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
We all wants a love that lasts—until we discover what that love will cost us.
If you allow someone to love you, that love will take you to painful places. —Henri Nouwen
But we have no other course if we want something real—a love that never fails. God commands us to go beyond feeling love for one another to showing love for one another.
So here lies both our secret and our obstacle to a lasting satisfaction: God reduces it to our will and our choice to show love even when we don’t feel like it.
Tell me what you think: What helps you show love when you don’t feel like it? To leave a comment, just click here.