When we speak of love, there is no question that the ultimate expression of love is God sending His Only Begotten Son in the flesh to atone for the sins of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ further emphasized the importance of love when He stated the first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And the second and great commandment being, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” With these two greatest commandments, we can conclude that love is the very essence of our mortal existence.

However, it is very apparent in the world today that love can also describe a strong devotion to that which is evil—love of money, strife, or contention, among many others. The use of love in this manner is incorrect. How then, can we avoid incorrect love?

Serve that which is eternally oriented

We learn to love that which we serve; therefore, we must carefully choose the areas in which we serve. The things to which we give our time, effort and resources will eventually become the things that we love. This love can be the love of a mother for her children as she devotes her life to nurturing them, or the love of a farmer for his farm as he spends time taking care of his crops. But it could also be the love a person develops for gambling as he devotes his resources to it.

Hence, if we want to love the right things, then we must serve that which is right because our love for something grows in proportion to our service we render for it. We can always be sure that things that are eternally oriented, such as serving our family and neighbors, feeding the hungry, and comforting the sick and the afflicted, are the right areas to serve.

Use our time wisely

We cannot bring back time once already spent; that is why they say that time is gold. What we spend our time on will eventually influence what we love. Loving correctly means spending our time correctly. This means using our time to do things that contribute to our best good, do activities that further improve ourselves, be with people who influence us to live righteously, read articles and texts that enrich our knowledge and wisdom, etc. Spending our time on things that do not stagnate our progress is spending our time wisely.

Sacrifice for the right reasons

Some may say that sacrifice is the noblest thing we can do, but this only rings true when we make sacrifices for the betterment of ourselves and others. An old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!” Giving a man a fish is an unwise sacrifice, but teaching a man to fish not only increases our capacity to love others but also gives the other person the ability to better himself.

May we always choose love—the correct kind of love.