Why Love Is Irrational

John D. Barry

Love is irrational. It requires doing things that compromise every survival instinct.

Moses tells God’s people to have a memory of what God has done among them and to love Him as a result: “And you shall love Yahweh your God, and you shall keep his obligations and his statutes and his regulations and his commandments always. And you shall realize today that it is not with your children who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of Yahweh your God, his greatness, his strong hand, and his outstretched arm” (Deut 11:1–2).

The Bible doesn’t say, “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when you feel like you love Him,” or “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when things are going your way.” It says, “You shall keep [Yahweh’s] … commandments always.” God’s greatest commandments are about loving Him and others (Mark 12:28–31; compare John 15:12).

We love God and keep His commandments because He first loved us; we remember what He has done whenever things get difficult. And we teach it to the next generation. That’s what God has called us to.

When we sacrifice ourselves for others, we are doing what God was willing to do for us when He came as a man to die on a cross. Similarly, when we love Yahweh by doing His will, we often make decisions that seem irrational. But in actuality, they are the most rational of all decisions.

The Spirit’s work within us prompts us to love, and it also opens the Scriptures for us. As Paul says, “But until today, whenever Moses is read aloud, a veil lies upon their heart, but whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.… And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image … glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:15–18).

Yahweh has lifted the veil from Scripture and reveals His glory in the love He manifests among us through His Spirit. Living sacrificially, out of love, richly displays His love.

Which of God’s commands are you breaking? What can you do to change that behavior and show more love?

Barry, J. D., & Van Noord, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.