Feb 14, 2014

6 Things that Love Cannot Live Without

Today is Valentine’s Day.  For most, it’s a day of attempting to tangibly express our love to the one we love the most.  We buy roses, chocolates, cards, and other things to somehow help declare a reminder to our spouses that “I love you.”  Valentine’s Day is fun and for what it is worth at least it serves as a moment of obligation to reaffirm the reality of our love for our wives and husbands.  Truth be told, none of us say it or show it as much as they deserve it and as much as we really mean it.  For some Valentine’s Day serves as the unfortunate reminder of what we have lost that we once had.  Unfortunately love doesn’t always last.  Love is a precious thing and must we well maintained, expanded, and exercised or it will exhaust itself and diminish.  God doesn’t want that.  He invented love.  He is love, 1 John 4:8. Our culture doesn’t teach and train us to love like God.  The flesh in us fights against us learning to live out God’s love.  With so many divorces, break ups, and shattered families I think it’s time for us to stop learning love from Hollywood and start learning what the enduring, everlasting, unconditional love of God looks like in a marriage.

Love is a Commitment
1 Corinthians 13:8 "Love never ends."
Love is not a choice it is a commitment.  It is the supreme commitment of life.  It is not a feeling you fall in and out.  It is a choice you make and an act of the will.  It is a commitment should be made without a break of contract clause.  Divorce is expelled from love’s vocabulary.  Through thick and thin real love’s commitment overrides all other commitment and all circumstances.

Love is Self Denial
Paul said in Phillipians 2:3-4, “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves...looking also to the interests of others.”  That's what love does, it constantly denies self and takes up the interest of the other.  It gives and it gives and it gives some more.

Love is Sacrifice
Love is most appropriately shown though the sacrifices that our love spurs us to make for our spouses.
1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” 
Paul challenged us husbands with this, Ephesians 5:25,Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  The greatest demonstration of love ever was when Christ sacrificed his life for us.  Too many marriages end because one or both parties are selfishly holding on to what they should sacrifice on the altar of love.  Hobbies, relationships, appointments, money, time, commitments, habits, attitudes... anything that takes precedence over your spouse, aside from Jesus Christ, should be slaughtered.

Love is Faithfulness
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Love is demonstrated by loyalty.  My eyes, my thoughts, and my body belong to her and her alone.  A spouse that is 99.9% faithful to their spouse is not faithful at all.  There is no day off and no time off.  Not a thought, not a look, not an action of disloyalty can permitted in the life of one who commits to love if their love is to be considered faithful.

Love is Endurance
1 Corinthians 7:39 “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives”
Love is to be long.  Love is an ultra-marathon.  It requires putting up with a lot, looking over a lot, bearing a lot, and pressing on for the finish line which isn’t until “death do us part.”   We must rethink the value of real love as it appears in wrinkles and decades.  Love like this outlives death and outlast life.
Time and time again throughout the Bible we are told this of God’s love, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1).  Time and time again that must be the way that we think of our love.

Love is Forgiveness
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
One of the most painful and difficult expressions of love is found in forgiveness.  It is also the deepest expression of love.  Listen, YOUR SPOUSE WILL FAIL YOU.  They are human, so are you and so will you.  Real love bears the burden of another’s failure and frees them from the obligation to undo, make up, or be punished for their failure.  It will happen, but real love gives real grace.  Our spouses need grace.  Love them enough to give it.

I remember the day that I officially vowed my love to my wife Kyla.  I was dressed up, nervous, and had a zit the size of a golf ball on my forehead.  When I vowed my love to her that day I meant it with all my heart as much as knew how.  But today I mean it more and I’ve learned that love is more than just making a commitment.   It is continually acting on that commitment even when I don’t want to.   Yes, I’ve lost some things because I love her, but I regret losing none of them...because I still have her.  She is precious to me and she is my greatest treasure aside from Jesus.  It is my prayer for us, and for you and your spouse as well, that one day though we may not be able to see, hear, walk, smell, or taste we will still be able to love and that we will love each other more on that day that we do today.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13  love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends...so now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.