Many believers are told to make a purposeful decision to love God, and stick with it – no matter how they feel. This kind of message is not consistent with what we are told in 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:
“And so faith, hope, love abide [… love – true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]… In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins… We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:7,10,19
According to these verses we should first get an understanding of the love that God has for us. Only then will we be able to love Him and those around us.
Love for God and our fellowmen will grow (naturally and effortlessly) from understanding God’s love for us. True love will only spring forth from our hearts if we get to know the true, overwhelmingly good character of God . The focus of the church should always be on how much God first loved us.
Once you understand this, love will flow effortlessly from your inner man.