1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Where does love come from? The answer is found in verse 5 of Romans 5. Love can't be forced; love isn't premeditated. Love is spontaneous and comes upon us when we least expect it. I'm not sure I even have adequate words to say what love is, but am reminded that in human terms, even Forrest Gump knew what love is and said so. "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is." We can list the attributes of love like it says in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
That passage always brings tears to my eyes and speaks to me on so many levels that most of the time I have to just put my Bible down and pray without going further. Maybe it's a woman thing, I'm not sure. So I pray and then feel the love of God through His closeness by faith with hope.
The springs of love are in God, not us. God is love. Try as we might, we will never be able prove how much we love Him by our planned efforts. Of course there is nothing wrong with making plans to do good things but the real evidence of our love for God comes spontaneously by the out pouring of the Holy Spirit as we go about our daily lives. When God's love pours out of us without us even realizing it, we find love.
Matthew 25: 40
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’