Except from SNT 795- Love Is Giving, taught by Stanley Reahard
… I was sitting in the back room just before the service, again, when Dr. Weirwille’s call came through and he talked to me for a few minutes before he came out, before I came out. And he was so excited and so blessed that, that excitement and that enthusiasm, for what goes on at The Way International headquarters on a Sunday Night just so lives in his heart when he is on the field. His heart is so much here it just about broke my heart. Because I saw the tremendous love that he has for all of us once again.
In my teaching tonight, one of the things that I really want to talk about with all of you and with the people that will be hearing this tape, is this thing called love. People speak of falling in love, loving the brethren, loving God, loving their families, loving their children, and yet more often than not, their love is conditional upon how the loved one behaves in a given situation.
I was reading a book this week and one of the incidents in this book was a recount of an incident with a woman and her children. And she was very, she was a German woman, and she was here in this country and she was very upset because her children wanted to learn American manners. And she said to one of them, “if you don't stop eating that way I won't love you anymore.” And I thought to myself, how sad. And thank God there was a Christian there in that household who heard her say those words, and she took her aside and she said you must never ever, ever say that again. Love is not conditional on how someone behaves and whether they please you, or they don't please you.
If I feel good about someone, that must be love? No, not necessarily. The Word of God does not teach that love is feeling, but that love is under control of our will. Whereas feelings are not always under control of our will. For example, if I'm driving my car and all of a sudden a big Mack truck pulls out in front of me, I am seized with fear. That is not under the control of my will. That fear is an emotion. It is not under the control of my will. It is a feeling. And yet, if I say to you tonight, “okay, everybody fear. Fear. Come on, fear.” You are not doing it. You are laughing. You see? A feeling is not something you that can be commanded. But you see love is in fact something that is in fact commanded by God in His Word.
So, how can love be a feeling? Because you can't command feeling. I can’t command that you fear. I can’t command that you all of a sudden get angry. You will just sit there and laugh at me. So, what is this thing called love? You can't turn feelings on and off, like that, and yet the Word of God commands us to love over and over and over again. Therefore love cannot be a feeling. It cannot be some vague sensation over which we have no control. It must be something much deeper, much more bedrock than a feeling.
Because you see, love is something that we can do by an active decision of our will. Love is something that we do, in fact, do by an active decision of our will. And that active decision of our will to please God, or another, by doing for God, or another person, whatever God requires of us in a given situation that is love. And the expression of this decision to love is manifested in giving whatever it is that you have that that other person or being needs. Whether it's God's, whether for God it's praise, prayer, thanksgiving, worship, those things which He desires of us. Or whether it is for another person. Anything, from clothing, to time, to money, to concern, to a listening and a willing heart. That has something to do with love and that love is manifested in giving.
Look at the Gospel of John for a moment with me, at chapter 3, very familiar verse, verse 16, “For God so loved the world, that he,” emoted, that He felt gooshy, that He felt mushy. “God so loved, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish.”
Look at 1 John 4. 1 John 4, verse 9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live [by] him.” God didn't feel mushy about us. He didn't slobber all over us. He gave, and that giving of His only begotten son was the highest manifestation of love that we can possibly know in this world today.
Love manifests, manifests itself in giving. Giving of time, money, concern, hands, whatever is required by a given situation. Love is not getting. It’s not what I get out of something. That's lust. That's not love. And you know something else that's interesting? If I don't like what I'm getting, you know what I've got to do: take a good hard look at what I'm giving out. Because chances are what I'm giving out isn't very loving. If I don't like what I'm getting, I better take a good hard look at what I'm giving.
Now, as far as the Word of God is concerned, there are many different levels of love that the Word of God talks about. Look at Ephesians, chapter 5.
In Ephesians chapter 5…
1 John 4:9
1 John 4:10
1 Corinthians 13