Love and Discipline
People often view love as a feeling that comes and goes as it pleases. Kind of like a bird that suddenly appears, stays around for a while, and then flies away.
This notion of love has led many to believe that love and the feelings that go with it are completely out of your control. You either have love in your heart or you don’t.
This way of looking at love commonly leads to heartache. It’s what brings about the often heard statement, “I just don’t love him (or her) anymore.”
This way of thinking about love is also, what you might call, undisciplined. Viewing love merely as a spontaneous feeling makes it all to easy to follow those impulses that are actually contrary to love.
If you suddenly find yourself in the grip of anger or resentment or lust, what is it that will enable you to do what is truly loving in such a situation? How will you keep other feelings from extinguishing your love?
When we look to the Bible, we find that we have a great deal of responsibility regarding how we think about love and how we show it. Not only does the Bible command us to love, but it also describes how we are to express it in everyday life.
From the Scriptures we see that “love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor.13:4-7).
When you consider each of these expressions of love, you can see that they are all the result of choices we make. Choices that involve self-control and conscious decisions.
Hence, it takes discipline to be a person who truly loves. Because it’s discipline that governs your ability to choose what is in someone else’s best interest rather than what happens to be pleasing to you at the moment.
It’s discipline that enables you to extend yourself to help another when you’d rather not exert yourself. It’s discipline that brings you to take the time to correct and instruct a child rather than react in anger or just look the other way. It’s discipline that keeps your affections devoted to your spouse rather than another.
Discipline, discipline, discipline. Love is more than a feeling. It takes discipline to endure and flourish.
Where do we get such discipline? It comes with practice, by the grace of God.
When Jesus Christ took on human flesh to come to this earth and redeem humanity from its selfishness, it took disciplined love. And He showed that disciplined love most of all when He went to the cross for all who believe in Him.
When we live our lives in union with Christ, we too can show disciplined love, which is really the only kind of love there is.