Photo illustration by Tracey Lewis

Love is not just an emotion, but it’s a lifestyle. Let’s think about this for a minute, 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. The bible also says God is Spirit, so if God is love and He is Spirit, that also means that when we repent of our sin and ask Him to come into our life, He resides there as love. Some people think that love is something that you make; it can also be an outward showing of what’s going on inside of you. I don’t believe that God gives you love, He is love inside you doing the loving. We love, because he first loved us. That is proof that God exists because if we love anyone at all, it’s because God first loved us. It’s like we are loving others with the love of God. That is a lifestyle not just an emotion.

As I was telling the ladies in jail about this, it came to me that forgiving others is a lifestyle. Offenses come and they always will, so we must be ready to forgive as we have been forgiven. Another aspect of loving as a lifestyle is looking at others like they are a new creature. It’s easy to look at ourselves as a new creature because we know where God brought us from, but what if you didn’t know where someone came from, but just trust God that there is a change in them. It helps us not to judge others harshly because we realize; that could have been me. Love keeps no record of wrongs, nor is it puffed up, love does not boast. Those are things love does not do, what is it that love does? It never fails, it rejoices in the truth, love bears all things and it endures all things. Well, how is that going to happen if we don’t have the power independently from God? We don’t nor can we, but it is God Himself who does the loving inside us and through us for others.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. God is love and love gives itself away. It wasn’t meant to be hoarded. Love bears fruit when it is shared and it never runs out. So, if you think about it, it is a lifestyle, isn’t it?

Let me share with you a quote from Norman Grubb, “love cannot be hurt with what hurts it. It only knows one hurt, and that is the hurt of the hurter.” In other words, the love giver hurts when you hurt. If we all got a hold of this, we wouldn’t want to hurt others, but would absorb the hurt from them instead. It turns into a way of life and not something we give to others when it feels right. In truth, it’s God loving in the place of us, as us, so that He may be glorified.

This came into practice as I listened to three women pour their hearts out to me in the law box as if I had the answer. I couldn’t tell them what to do in the natural, but I did point them to Jesus who is the answer to any and all questions. The first girl wanted to know how not to judge people. The next girl wanted to know how to not worry about her children while she is incarcerated. The last girl is having a hard time dealing with the news of a guy she knows who committed suicide. All answers are the same in my heart because we are to cast our cares upon Jesus because he cares for us; it’s not our burden to bear. We keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him because He doesn’t need our help. When we continue to love God with all our heart, our soul, mind and strength and love others that is the greatest commandment of all and it becomes a lifestyle.

Written by Tracey


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