“Love” may be a word we hear every day, but it’s rarely employed to describe anything resembling the virtue the Bible calls us to emulate. While there is nothing wrong with feeling good about the things, places, or people who make us feel good, the biblical concept of “love” is something entirely different. We are told to “be imitators of God” by purposefully choosing to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph.5:1-2).
While we’d like to imagine that his “sacrifice” on our behalf was filled with good feelings, the historic record tells us it wasn’t (e.g., Lk.22:42-44). Our call to love God and each other has no reference to feeling good ourselves. The essence of biblical love is about intentionally doing good for others, even at great personal cost, regardless of how it pleases us. In fact, Paul described our obligation in these very terms when he wrote, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” immediately adding the comparison: “For Christ did not please himself” (Rom.15:2-3).
So don’t wait for a good feeling, or act because you think it might result in a good feeling, just do something for the benefit of someone else. You can know that even if your sacrificial action didn’t make you happy, it was in fact a genuine act of biblical love.