The Bible has a lot to say about love. In fact, it is one of the central themes of the entire Bible and if you took a step back you would realize that the Bible is really just a big love story about a God and His people. As a matter of fact the Bible tells us that God Himself is love and in God’s word we see time and time again that we are called to not only love God in return, but to love others because of His great love toward us. The love that we have and that we show is proof that the Almighty God lives within us.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:7-12
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 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.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Now there’s a lot to unpack in these verses.1 John 4:16-21
First – there is a call to love one another because love comes from God.
Then – there is an acknowledgment that when we love, it is proof that we have been born of God and that we truly know God. Which tells us that if we claim to know and love God but we don’t love people, we really don’t know who our God is.
Then – it gives us an example of a great love – the epitome of love – the fact that God sent His son as a sacrifice for us because of how much he loves us so that we can have life through His son. Because of this, there is another call for us to love.
And even though we have never seen God, when we love, He lives and operates in us and His love is made complete through us. As a matter of fact it shows then only when we live in love, we live in God and in turn God lives in us. So love is not just something we do because it’s a nice thing or we want to receive something reciprocal from it, but we love for the mere fact that it is the open invitation for God to live and work in us. And not only that it also says if we claim to love God and we do not love others, we are liars. It seems a bit harsh but it’s the reality. You can see that sister or cousin or friend or spouse. And if you can’t love them whom you cannot see, you cannot love a God you have not seen. So love is vital to maintaining this Christian walk.
Another thing it mentioned was the fact that when there is pure love, fear cannot remain. Perfect Love drives away fear. So you’ll see as we go through the days for this week’s challenge that it’s going to force you to take an introspective look at your life and your marriage and on one of the days we cover forgiveness. It’s going to bring you face to face with fear but it’s important that you cover yourself with perfect love. That you speak and declare love over your home and your husband and your mind.
Tomorrow deals with what God says about marriage and the next day it’s love again but love and it’s place in marriage. A few quick points about that that would be important to keep in mind. Love is not a feeling. I’ll repeat it again because sometimes our idea of love is shaped by what we see in movies or read in books and what we fantasize about. But love is not a feeling. Why? Feelings change constantly. I’ve felt about 3 or 4 different ways in the span of these last 8-10 hours I’ve been at work. If my love was based on that I’ll be all over the place. Our spouses are going to upset us, they’re going to have times where they make us happy but then they disappoint us. They make us proud and they annoy us – and some of them are talented enough to accomplish all of that in the span of an hour. When love enters a marriage, it is a choice. A choice you make every day or multiple times a day. It is a decision to love and commit to your partner, even during difficult times. This means being willing to work through challenges and conflicts and to prioritize the relationship above your individual desires or goals. It’s the commitment to stick it out when stuff hits the fan, even when they break their commitment to you.
Love in our marriages and our homes should be unconditional. This means that you and your husband love and accept each other for who you are, and you don’t expect them to change to meet your own expectations or desires. Our role as wives is not to change or control our husbands. I believe Days 4 & 5 we go through the role of a wife and a husband. Be obedient to what God reveals to you during those days. But this unconditional Agape love is the kind of love that is patient, kind, and forgiving.
Our love should be marked by selflessness. Selflessness means “concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own”. So spouses, that’s both us and our husbands should be willing to put the needs and desires of their partner above their own. This means that we should be willing to compromise and make sacrifices for the benefit of the relationship.
Our love should be expressive. We should be expressing our love regularly, both in words and actions. This means telling your spouse that you love them (and not just when you hang up the phone or you’re going out the door) but periodically throughout the day and week at random times. And showing them love through acts of kindness, affection, and service.
Here’s a big one – showing love to our spouse through physical intimacy. Even when you’re tired or frustrated. Physical intimacy is an important part of expressing love in a marriage. It is a way for you to connect emotionally and physically to your spouse and to demonstrate your love for each other.
Now I know some of you may be thinking, well you need to be talking to my spouse about some of this stuff. And yes while it is true that for love in a marriage to be perfected that it takes two, it also 100% requires you. We can’t make our spouses do anything, but we can do our part and pray to our Father above who has the power to change hearts. And again, He has called us to live in love. So let us do our part and display the kind of love that God has called for us to show.
And with that, I’ll end with the popular demonstration and explanation of love:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!1 Corinthians 13:1-8