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Introduction to <em>Love: A Holy Command</em> by Oswald Chambers


Tell me to exercise, eat well, and be nice, and I understand the commands. I know what to do. I might not always obey, but I know what is expected of me. But being told to love doing these things leaves me in a quandary. I eat vegetables because I know they’re good for me, but I certainly can’t say that I love eating them. I can’t even say that I prefer them over
chocolate.

Various definitions indicate that love is an intense feeling of affection or desire or a strong emotional attachment. According to Oswald Chambers, “Love is the sovereign preference of my person for another person, and Jesus Christ demands that that other person be Himself.” (So Send I You)

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus summarized it with a single word: Love. He then stated the priorities of love—love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. To comprehend love as a command requires a major shift in thinking. How can we obey a command to feel or prefer something? We tend to think of love as something that happens to us, not something that we can call up on command or dish
out on demand. Love has an emotional component that we cannot create.

The reason genuine love is difficult is because it is in fact impossible. We cannot love apart from God because God is love. We love because He first loved us. We can behave in loving ways, but that is not the same as loving. After all, no one would argue that being nice is the same as being in love!

In Workmen for God, Chambers wrote:
This work of feeding and tending sheep is hard, arduous work, and love for the sheep alone will not do it, you must have a consuming love for the great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . Love for men as men will never stand the strain . . . You must have a consuming passion of love, then He will flow through you in a passion of love and yearning and draw men to Himself.
Genuine love comes from God and flows through us. When we behave badly toward someone, it’s not because we have failed in our efforts to love; it’s because we have suppressed the love of God which He wants to express through us.

When we begin to comprehend God’s great love for us, we in turn love Him. And our love for Him will change the world.
—Julie Ackerman Link

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