“God has shown us how much He loves us . . while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:7 TEV.
To be authentic, love must be practical and observable.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “the primacy of love.”
The summer before Gayle and I were to be married, my Dad cautioned me, “Love is a commitment more than an emotion. If you have any doubts about that commitment, don’t get married yet. Marriage is not for a while; marriage is for a lifetime. Marry carefully and prayerfully, but when you do, marriage is a firm and lasting covenant before God and a bond for life.” I’m glad I thought long and hard about his words. That non-negotiable reality has not been a burden; my Dad’s Godly reminder has been a blessing. I claim little or no credit for the longevity of our marriage, now more than five decades. Any credit has been Gayle’s exemplary capacity to love and her gift of acceptance and loyalty to an imperfect person, with God’s sufficient grace for both of us.
For marriage, or any worthwhile relationship, to last in today’s impermanent culture and throw-away society, it demands more than mere feelings or fondness, which sometimes masquerade as love. Godly relationships of any kind require a conviction about obedience to God that refuses to be adjusted to your current mood or momentary circumstance. God neither offers nor allows a low standard for authentic love. To be authentic, love must become practical and observable. Jesus was clear; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV. See 1 John 4:20-21 NIV. Authenticity compels a commitment to love another imperfect person, as Jesus has loved you. Love is the standard by which a holy life is measured. See Philippians 1:9-11 NIV.
Through Gayle’s love, God has shown me the strength of love, the steadfastness of love, but also the sacrifice of love. Love’s strength and steadfastness is impossible apart from love’s sacrifice. “God has shown us how much He loves us; it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7 TEV. See Titus 3:4-7 NIV. God loves sinners and can change sinners to saints. God’s love must always be both the model and manner of the expression of your own love. Love is a learned response, much stronger than an emotion. Love is primarily volitional. Love is the sure and enduring choice of your will that guards your emotions and governs your actions.
That is true in your spiritual relationship with God; that is true in a marriage relationship that endures for a lifetime; and in some measure, that is true in each and every relationship that is uplifting and worthwhile. Many things will contribute and strengthen your love and relationships across the years, but the single essential to a fulfilling life is real love, without which all else will be found inadequate. In a masterful description of love, Paul was clear, “If I have not love, I am nothing . . Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres . . love never fails.” Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NIV.
Today, I pray for you above all else to let God’s love abound and your love be real.
Christian Communications 2016
Website and archives: www.allenrandolph.com