Monday, March 7, 2011

True Love

My husband and I recently started this program called ReEngage at our church.  We aren't headed for divorce or anything, but we definitely see some patterns in our marriage that aren't healthy.  We both desire to have a marriage that mirrors what Christ has designed for us and want to move toward this "oneness."  We just aren't sure how to do that.  We know we need to peel back the layers of the "baggage" we have brought into the relationship and learn healthy ways to communicate.  We want to build a stronger foundation before we bring innocent little ones into the picture.   

ReEngage @ Watermark Community Church
The first lesson has already convicted me, as we are learning the difference between human love and God's unconditional love.  The Lord loves unconditionally, which is so hard to even fathom!  His love is perfect, full of grace and mercy, forgiving, trustworthy, and without fear.  Once we are children of God, there is NOTHING that can separate us from his love.  

"God is love.  
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  
In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have 
confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.  
There is no fear in love.  
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  
We love because he first loved us."  
1 John 4:16-19

This kind of love is so different from "human love."  How quickly does our love turn conditional if our spouse or friend not live up to our expectations?  We hold back or build up a wall because we don't want to get hurt again.  

If we claim to be a follower of Jesus, we should be living out our faith according to his example, especially to our spouses.  It doesn't matter if we "feel" like doing it or if they are reciprocating, we are called to love out of obedience!  

"This is how God showed his love among us: 
not that we loved God, but that he loved us 
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  
Dear friends, since God so loved us, 
we also ought to love one another."  
1 John 4:10-11

I fail over and over again in this area of unconditional love.  How often have I kept a mental list of list of past hurts from my husband, in case I need to use it again.  Is that true forgiveness?  Or I have kept a mental score card of the household chores that HE can never keep up with (sound familiar ladies?).  I have kept this internal arsenal, just in case I need to "protect" myself in the midst of an argument.  I hold back expressing my love to my spouse because my feelings are hurt.  This all boils down to one thing--selfishness.  That ugly word that we don't like to admit, but that's the truth, and Christ's love definitely doesn't work this way! 

The following passage, comes from the "Love Chapter" of 1 Corinthians 13.  It is one of the most famous verses read at marriage ceremonies.  I believe we often look past the beautiful words and forget about living this out with our spouses.  How different would our marriages look, if we took these words to heart?  

"Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs.  
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, always trusts, 
always hopes, always perseveres.  
Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Jesus came to this earth to love others and to be a servant; he expected nothing in return.  This is the same view we should have in our marriages.  I know this is hard, but as we live out what the Lord calls us, we are going to see changes in our marriages.  Remember, you can only change one person in the relationship--yourself!  See what amazing things can happen if you start to love your spouse like Jesus loves you!

From my Dave! Yes, I save them ALL!  

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