The Love Command: Good News for When You Don’t “Feel” Love

Insights are short, biblical truths to equip you to lead from your strengths.

Over and over again in the Bible, God commands us to love one another. To love Him. To love our enemies.

couple in disagreementPlease excuse what may be a spoiled, selfish point of view … but what if you don’t feel like loving others? You can’t command emotions into being.

Yet God would not give a command to love and then leave you stranded with no way to follow it. Which is amazingly encouraging.

Here’s an Insight

Obey the Love Command by using your strengths.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).

Note that your feelings (heart) are not the only element engaged in the Love Command. You use your will, mind, and strengths, too.

Here the Greek word for strengths, ischus, denotes “abilities you possess.” Jesus tells you to call upon them. In other words, He gives you a way to obey Him in the command to love. You may feel certain emotions at the drop of your hat, but you are wired with the ability to use ALL of your strengths, both natural and adapted, on command.

  • Your natural strengths are the instinctive manner in which you carry out tasks. You can love using these “default” responses.
  • Your adapted strengths are behaviors that don’t come naturally to you, but nevertheless you have the ability to use them in order to align with your environment … even when you don’t feel like it.

Perhaps God has placed you in a relationship in which it may be hard for you to love the other person completely and unequivocally on your own accord. But you can ask Him to help you use your natural strengths – say ,show a long fuse to his short one – in ways that come easiest to you. And why wouldn’t God allow you to do that? After all, He wired you with that particular strength.

Or maybe you’re in a situation in which you’ve learned to use an adapted strength – say, regularly double check to see if a colleague is following up to give you information you need, rather than trusting she will do so. You can show her love by using that adapted strength.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15, ESV).

Obeying the Love Command, then, is not necessarily about what you feel … but what you do.

You can obey the command and show your love for God by using your strengths, both natural and adapted.


Now How Should I Live?

  • Read Luke 10:27. What are different ways you can show love with each of the following? Your heart, your soul, your strengths, your mind.
  • Which of your natural strengths can you use to love God and others, even when you don’t “feel” loving?
  • Which of your adapted strengths can you use to love God and others, even when you don’t “feel” loving?

More about Love and Strengths

Insight: Which of Your Strengths Is on Paul’s Love List?

Insight: Know the Truth About Love

Profile Insights Help You and Your Spouse Show Real Love