I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the word love. What does it mean to love something? When we think of love we think of our parents, siblings, closest friends, but we also think of our favorite show, our favorite food, our favorite pass time activity. The truth is in our society today the word just gets tossed around flippantly. The truth is, I think love is something that when we loose the object of our affection it breaks us apart inside. When we are dating in school we often throw the word around love and sure I don’t want to downplay those emotions, but the proof is in the pudding, often times that’s just puppy love and something we get over pretty quick once it’s gone. True love however is something a little more difficult to come by. The Bible has a pretty air tight description of love, and when we look at our lives, and we compare it to this, the comparisons are often going to leave you realizing, maybe it’s not love after all. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Now I know what you’re thinking, yes I am talking about love, and yes so is 1 Corinthians. “Charity is the epitome of perfection in the Christian life. It is the “greatest” of the three abiding virtues” (http://www.learnthebible.org/charity-or-love.html) If we look at the definition of love, and compare it to what we say to others, are we actually in line with scripture, or just a word we use because we don’t know anything better to say?
Lets make it easier to understand a little. When you look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” How often in our own lives do we drudge up mistakes our partner made 2 years ago? How often do we hold a grudge, and for how long? How often do we love but only so long as we are worldly happy? There is so much in our lives today that draw us away from love. So much today that we don’t understand, but if we go to Scripture, if we study, we can finally unravel the strongest of lies, and the strongest of truths. John 15:13 “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus, Jesus laid down His perfect life as a perfect blemish less, sinless man that chose to be tortured, ridiculed, and murdered for us, for every single last one of us that in no way by our daily actions deserve such grace and mercy. The truth is, that’s LOVE. When we think about that kind of love, makes what we say about love look silly. How often do we see now in our world today divorce is a cancer on our society, and it runs unchecked destroying homes left and right. We see marriage as expendable, as an option that so long it benefits me, so long as I am getting something out of it, I’ll stay married. THE QUESTION I ASK TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, WHAT ARE YOU GIVING IN YOUR MARRIAGE? If we look a little deeper we see what the definition of love is, we see what is says in John, but what about husbands and wives? Ephesians 5:25 “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” Yes that means you are supposed to love your wives so much that you sacrifice unconditionally to her. You sacrifice yourself to give her everything she needs. Note I said need, not want. The difference between need and want is an entirely separate blog.
Husbands, need to sacrifice worldly things, worldly desires, worldly distractions for his wife. Ephesians 5:22-24 “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Many people look at this section of scripture and scoff, and I really question why that is. I get the feminist movement, and women can do anything a man can do and all that stuff, and that’s great, but the truth is, women and men aren’t the same. We are wired differently in the brains, we have different strengths and weaknesses, and this isn’t talking about slavery this is talking about letting go of ones worldly self. Letting go of the fleshy desires, and allowing yourself to be completely taken in by your husband. As the husband loves the wife as he died for us, so shall the husband die for his wife. Think about this, when we get married, we often think of it as the old ball in chain, the tying of the knot, the end or death of an era. Well, in some parts yes, that’s exactly what it is. But if we look at death as a bad thing, a negative thing, sure we will be going into that marriage under negative premise and then that’s where the problems start to set in. Death is a glorious thing, a wonderful thing, because as a Christian we believe that death of us is the gateway to an eternal life of perfection and love. If we are to truly love our wives, love our husbands we must allow the old part of us to die off. Think of love and marriage like a butterfly. The caterpillar is you before you get married. The marriage is the cocoon. When you emerge married that fuzzy old caterpillar is gone, fundamentally changed into a beautiful creature no longer bound to crawl around, but to soar, to fly, to be a wonder of nature.
How wonderful it would be if we actually saw marriage that way. How wonderful it would be if we as a people were able to see ourselves and combining our selves into one body and actually selflessly giving up our selves and wanting only to please our partner. To those who are struggling in your marriages, I offer this, in all things God can heal, and with work, and saying it a hundred times, a thousand times, I forgive you, forgive the wrongs your partner has done. Remember the way you felt the day you got married and realize if both of you, if both the Husband and the Wife learn to forgive, learn to accept, learn to change because marriage is a fundamental change. You are no longer you, you become y’all. When we loose sight of the togetherness, the us in the marriage and we start to focus on the me, start to focus on the what does Arrow Preacher want, we loose sight of the (what) can I do for my spouse? What can I do to bring happiness to my beloved today? Human greed is one of the strongest sins to pull us back into the world, but two are stronger then one. Pouring of sand of two different colors into a jar that sand can never be completely separated. There’s reason sand if often used in marriage ceremonies. It’s a constant visual reminder that once together, you shall never break apart, bonded into one entity, one jar, and as rope is stronger when woven together, so shall you be stronger when you come to realize the true definition of love, the true understanding of what Scripture is talking about, and let go of your worldly sins, those desires that draw you away from your spouse. The Devil wants to break up marriage because he’s been doing it since the beginning. Marriage was the plan, for man to not be alone, and he knows that separated the divide and concur makes for an easier target. Don’t take the bait. Don’t allow Satan to ruin your union. Fight back, and fight for each other.