The best definition of love I’ve heard comes from Voddie Baucham: “Biblical love is an act of the will, accompanied by emotion, that leads to action on behalf of it’s object.” What does this mean to me, as a mom?
Certainly, there is a natural love a mother feels toward her child, a love that nurtures and provides. That type of love is just in you, it’s the air you breathe the moment you become a mother. This is not the love we are talking about here.
Loving our children when they are at their worst, when we are at our worst, that, my friends, is work.
Let’s think about the three components of Voddie’s definition. First, love is an act of the will. As a mom of four, there is rarely a time when I am not needed. Physical help, food, homework, encouragement, discipline, food, a ride somewhere, a game of trivia crack, more food… I’m sure you get the point. But in those moments, there is a split (and I mean split) second where I have a choice. My reaction can be irritation/exhaustion or by an act of my will I can sacrifice once again and do it in love. An act of the will = a choice. These choices do not just pertain to the mundane, either. They can be present in much bigger sacrifices and selfless moments along the way. Love is driven by will.
Going a little ahead, he fell on His face praying, ‘My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?’ — Matthew 26:39
The second component of this definition says that love is accompanied by emotion. It is not led by emotion but it is not void of it either. You hurt when your child hurts, you rejoice when she rejoices. And just maybe, your kids can bring the emotion of exasperation out of you like none other! We often say that love is not a feeling, however, I believe love instigates many feelings in us–good and bad. As best we can, we should stifle those negative emotions and put on display the positive ones. Smile at him. Show her affection. Cry when he cries. This is work, and this is love.
At once, an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face. — Luke 22:44
The last component of this definition says that love “leads to action on behalf of its object.” Here is where the real work begins! Providing, protecting, and taking care of basic needs are all important. But truly loving your kids goes beyond that. I’m talking about praying for them (diligently), knowing what is on their hearts, disciplining and correcting, guiding and leading. Loving her is getting up one…more…time… and comforting her after the third nightmare. Loving him is asking direct, intentional questions after he gets home from practice, when you just want the day to be over. Love is work and love is action.
This is why the Father loves me, because I freely lay down my life. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. — John 10:18
But wait! Don’t fret! We don’t have to do this on our own. No way, no how, not without the Spirit of the Living God doing it through us. So don’t be discouraged, weary mommy! Jesus has done it for you, and now He wants to do it through you.
The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it! — John 14:13,14
I pray this encourages you today as much as it does me.
Which of these component comes more naturally to you? Which is most difficult?
Holly resides in Plano,Texas, where her husband David is the Minister to Men and Evangelism at Prestonwood Baptist Church .
They have four children: Jackson, Julia, Audrey and Truett. Holly has her Master’s degree in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University.
Check out Holly Shiver’s children’s book to be released on Nov,4 “I Can Learn the Bible” .
Published February 4, 2015