The Two Sides of Love

As I read your responses to Mary Kassian’s post titled “Love is a Choice,” I was reminded that most of you regularly experience the pain that comes from choosing to love imperfect sinners. I’m really grateful for Laura’s comment to my post “Lovin’ Your Neighbor” yesterday; it really made me think. She said that when we accept Jesus, “we accept the burden of walking in the same love that He walked.”

I, too, have experienced the heartache that can come from choosing to love. Yesterday I wrestled with this question: Where’s the joy in this whole thing? Shouldn’t there be joy?

Before you all start throwing things at me and cursing me for telling you to be “happy” in the midst of your difficult circumstance, let’s define “joy.”

Tuesday nights, my small group is studying Tim Keller’s curriculum, “Gospel Christianity III: Gospel & Community.” It has this to say about joy:

Definition: Delight in God for the beauty and worth of who he is.
Opposite: Hopelessness, despair.
Counterfeit: Elation that rests in blessings, not the Blesser! A joy that can be lost based on circumstances.

This morning, I discovered the answer to my question in John 15:9-15

Jesus: “Abide in my love” (v. 9).
Me: How?
Jesus: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (v. 10).
Me: What commandments?
Jesus: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12).
Me: When I do, will it be a burden, or a joy?
Jesus: “These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (v. 11).

Jesus goes on, in verse thirteen, to paint the ultimate demonstration of love as laying down your life for your friend. Love is hard ‘cause it involves dying to self. But, when we love, Jesus promises fullness of joy!

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

“The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy . . .” (Galatians 5:22).

I’d genuinely love to hear your take on this issue. Is love a burden, a joy, or both? Where did this post find you today?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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