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Love

August 17th, 2011

“Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

“There is nothing you can ever do that will truly last, unless God is at the center of it.”

My thoughts today are about “love.”

Two weeks ago, Gayle and I celebrated our 48th anniversary; we honored the integrity of our marriage, more than its longevity. Monday was our son and daughter-in-law’s 25th anniversary, and yesterday was our oldest granddaughter and her husband’s 3rd anniversary. So today, my thoughts and comments are about one of the qualities of Godly love.

Love is rarely an easy thing all the time. You make it more complicated when you place conditions on your love. Without realizing, you may think privately in your heart, “I will love you, as long as you ____.” You fill in the blank. Love with limitations will always be checking to make sure the conditions are still being met.

Love can build a strong and lasting marriage. Love makes a family strong and safe. Love holds people together when misunderstandings inevitably come and the blush of love’s emotion seems gone. Those require a “love that never gives up.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT. That is the kind of love that Jesus has for you, and the kind of love that Jesus wants you to have for others. “Now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 NLT. “Just as I have loved you” is a pretty high standard, but a standard any less cannot sustain love for a lifetime. There is nothing you can ever do that will truly last, unless God is at the center of it.

I have stood with hundreds of couples across the years as they pledged their love on their wedding day. I have witnessed brides’ and grooms’ vows to love, “for better, for worse; in sickness and health; until death do we part.” They were in love and meant it to be forever; but for some, too many really, their love gave up. Somewhere along the way, someone started keeping score of disappointments and unfulfilled expectations. They looked back to the love they pledged and decided they were no longer obligated to keep that anymore.

Life doesn’t have to be that way. Love doesn’t have to end that way. Love is a choice – a commitment fro one flawed individual to another flawed person – as unto the Lord. I know that there are situations where a person’s love cannot be sustained, because it has been so violated and trust too badly broken. The Bible recognizes such, even if some wish it did not. But I am sure that there are far less such cases than the current statistics would seem to suggest.

It is not my intention that my words would add guilt to anyone who has loved with all their heart and suffered the disillusionment of that love, and the dissolution of a relationship. I do want, however, to call you to be so confident of the greatness of God’s love through you until you find that “love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love lasts forever . .” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 NLT.

Love cannot rely on earlier feelings; they will fail. If love looks back to its choice and commitment, it will be strengthened and renewed. I truly loved Gayle when we were married, but though sincere, my love was not enough. There were a few times that my love looked back, not because of her failings but because of my own. But then love looked up, to God’s perfect love and found the provision for love that has grown richer and stronger across the years. I pray the same for you!

My prayer for you today is that out of God’s abundance of love, you will love always.

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