Scripture exhorts us to love out of a pure heart (1 Tim. 1:5). Christian love is to be without hypocrisy (Rom. 12:9); it is to love “even as” the Lord loves us (John 13:35). We are commanded to have a love that is fervent and sincere (1 Pet. 1:22), as well as one that is ever increasing (1 Thess. 3:12). True love is an attitude of the heart and will that must display itself in action. It is not lethargic or weak, but practical, active and expressive. When love is lacking, all kinds of sinful behavior will abound. Consider the following possibilities when love is lacking. When love is lacking –
- We may refuse to go the “second mile,” and likely will not go even one without grumbling and complaining (Matt. 5:41; Phil. 2:14-15).
- We may act hypocritically, as did the Pharisees (Matt. 15:6-14), and our hearts will be far from God.
- We may become guilty of creating factions, divisions and in-fighting (Gal. 5:1-15; 1 Cor. 12:31). Our words likely will show a lack of love too (Matt. 12:34-37).
- We may find ourselves “having a form of godliness,” but denying its power (2 Tim. 3:5).
- We may lose our enthusiasm and fervor for spiritual things, with “lukewarmness” becoming a reality (Rev. 3:14-22).
- We may become filled with pride and conceit (3 John 9; Prov. 8:13).
- We may become bitter, hateful and resentful. Remember the older brother in the Lord’s story of the Prodigal Son? (Luke 15:25-32).
- We may find ourselves becoming more interested in the affairs of the world than in eternity (Matt. 6:19-21).
- We may lack joy and experience a prolonged “dry season” in our praying, study of the word of God and discussion of spiritual things with others (Col. 3:1-4; Luke 18:1; 2 Tim. 2:15).
- We may find ourselves overwhelmed with worry and often feeling hopeless (Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 12:12).
These are just a few of the possible symptoms one might show when lacking in love. How thankful we should be that the Great Physician has the cure! Mark 12:30-31 speaks of the “great commandment” being to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and “the second” being to love our neighbor as ourself. The Lord’s words here are not always so easy to apply, are they? As difficult as this passage may sometimes be to apply, its application brings the greatest joys and delights of this life and eternity. How’s YOUR love life?