Two Kinds of Love

      “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” –Matthew 22:37-40.

“One of the puzzling questions likely to turn up sooner or later to vex the seeking Christian is how he can fulfill the Scriptural command to love God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself. He wants to, but he cannot. The delightful wells of feeling simply will not flow. How can I love by commandment?

“To find our way out of the shadows and into the cheerful sunlight we need only to know that there are two kinds of love: the love of feeling and the love of willing. The one lies in the emotions, the other in the will. The love the Bible enjoins is not the love of feeling; it is the love of willing, the willed tendency of the heart. (For these two happy phrases I am indebted to another.)

“Religion lies in the will and so does righteousness. The will is the automatic pilot that keeps the soul on course. The will, not the feelings, determines moral direction. The root of all evil in human nature is the corruption of the will. The prodigal son took his first step upward when he said, ‘I will arise and go to my father.’ As he had once willed to leave his father’s house, now he willed to return.

“To love God with all our heart we must first of all will to do so. We should repent for our lack of love and determine from this moment on to make God the object of our devotion. We shall soon find to our great delight that our feelings are beginning to move in the direction of the ‘willed tendency of the heart.’ Our emotions will become disciplined and directed. We shall begin to taste the ‘piercing sweetness’ of the love of Christ. The whole life, like a delicate instrument, will be tuned to sing the praises of Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. But first of all we must will, for the will is the master of the heart.”

– A. W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, Inc.