We are often told that love is determined action. Yet, 1 Corinthians 13:3 clearly shows that love and deeds (produced by determination) are not the same thing. One can do “altruistic” loving action and still have a different motivation than love.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
These actions can be produced by love or achieved by willpower. The root is different.
At the same time, we gladly concede that due to our fallen volition, often times, if there is a choice between acting lovingly through the power of choice or not acting at all because of the lack of love’s impetus – it is better, more loving, to act than to ignore. Although this is true, and the fear of the Lord will cause us to determine to act lovingly, there is a higher way – “a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 13:31b)
Another truth is that often our emotions follow our actions. If we are lacking love (the emotion: agape), but act upon a sense of righteousness, the emotion of love which continues and maintains the loving action is often catalyzed.
Pray for great love which will produce righteous action (1 Corinthians 13:31b), but act righteously.