The great church father Augustine said this in a sermon in an exposition of 1 John. These additional words he said then are helpful here: “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”
I am struggling in prayer over something, not knowing how to go about it, what to do. And toward the end of some refreshing fellowship with a brother yesterday, these words of Augustine came to me: “Love and do as you please.”
Of course the world today would love those words by themselves. Taken out of context they might justify anything, sadly enough. We see that plain enough in our day, though that is surely nothing new.
It would certainly be worthwhile to read the paragraphs from Augustine’s sermon linked above—first link— (along with the context given). And better yet, or we could say along with that, the scripture itself, 1 John 4:7-21 (to get the context well there, that entire relatively short book).
This kind of love is not a whim. It is rooted and grounded in God’s love revealed in Jesus. It is a love steeped in scripture and made real to us by the Spirit. This kind of love will cross the world, contradicting the world’s sensibilities. It is a love of the cross of Jesus, no less. A love which loves to the end, holding to the truth to the end. Which gives itself completely to God in and through Jesus and in doing so enters into something of God’s love for the world.
As I continue to pray and wait, I will have to make a decision, just what to do. In all my weakness I will seek by God’s grace in and through Jesus to simply do this: “Love, and do what I will.” Trusting that in God’s grace, his love in and through Jesus will be present. And believing that this is to become our habit of life.