Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus! Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus’ followers! The Question for us all is, how is love displayed in you? How can it be more so?
God, through His Word, is pronouncing to us that the effects and results of love will live far beyond the moments of our life. When we pass on into eternity, and our frail, mortal bodies are laid into the grave to rot, what we have done on this earth, and who we were, will still echo to all those whom we have touched. Such deeds of love will never rot. When real, authentic love is in our lives, it is endowed with an eternal quality, because God is empowering that love.
So, we need to take this seriously, and with confidence, to allow love to flow into us from Christ, and, in return, flow out from us to those around us. God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian. Character, and the love that infuses it, will be the only thing we produce that we will take with us into Heaven, the only thing that matters. Love has power that transcends human logic and emotions. So, while we remain here on this earth, let us perform our life with love! Allow your relationships to be built on love instead of the pride and spite we so often dish out.
If you are thinking, wait, I might get hurt. or, I have been rejected after I spent so much of my time and energies on so-and-so. Well, take to heart this valuable point; you did not waste your time. Giving love and time to others even when we do not get anything back or even if we get hate thrown back at us, is never a waste of time. Emulating and fostering real love is never a waste, because we followed Him! Love is not about our circumstances; it is about Christ working in us. Remember, God has born your hurt, too!
Love is a spiritual fruit that is built from real, godly character and commitment. It is the fiber of our moral center that stretches throughout our being, embracing and holding together our relationships when it is sealed as a choice and commitment, not just a feeling. Love will synergistically combine with the other characters of our Lord that flow from the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit will promote our ability to relate and grow in all of our relationships, to better others as well as ourselves.
Most people assume that love is the most important thing in a marriage, or the most important reason to get married! You will frequently hear people on TV, in the movies, out in the streets of life and even in the church saying, I do not need to work on love and relationships, it will just happen. And, if not, it was not meant to be, and I can get out of it if it does not work out. How sad that philosophy is! But, when you carefully examine love as seen in the Bible and not as seen on TV, you will find that love is a choice. Love is a choice to have it and work on it. Love is a choice over our desires and over and against any feeling or aspiration of what we may want it to be or mean.
Love is a choice that also happens in a seemingly magical and metaphysical way, as poets have tried to explain it throughout the millennia. But, is that it? As we discovered in the last chapter, the Bible tells us that love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on. In our human mind, we may see it as magical, as if it “just happened,” but, without pursuing its true meaning and character, it will dispel and waste away. So, when we do receive that spark of love that we cannot explain, in order to keep that magic, that romance, that spark going, we are required to do something about it. If we do not work on it, the spark that was once there will vanish as quickly and as suddenly as it came. It will fade into the night, leaving us in the darkness of the jungle of relationships, lost and confused. We keep that flame from blowing out by our understanding and modeling of the character of love. So, as it becomes contagious and spreads, it flames and excites, burns and grows, so the winds of the ups and downs of a relationship will not blow it out!
We do not necessarily fall in love as the love songs and movies proclaim, because, you may well fall out of it, faster than you fell in it! If you never choose to make it a commitment, with love, you will never have it, or, if you do, you will not keep it! Love is a verb; it requires action that is implied for being a verb, action to do something with it. What are you doing with it? Are the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 being put into action with your friends, family, acquaintances, and your spouse? If not, what is in the way of that verb action?
If you ask most couples who are thinking about marriage, or who are already engaged, why they are getting married, they usually will say: “Why, we’re in love.” It has been through studying the Word, plus, over twenty years of pastoral counseling experience, that has prompted me to question the validity of this motive. Yes, love is essential and powerful! However, if that is all you have, you will end up with nothing! The number one mistake people make when they date is to look just for love. The number one mistake married couples make is thinking that their love is all they need. This puts their brains “on hold” from everything else. Yes, love is putting the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 into action, but most people, including Christians, do not even know what real love is! So, the precepts they are using in the place of love, thinking it is love, are fuzzies at best or just a feeling or desire that mimics love. Choosing a life partner should never be based on love alone. A marriage cannot last on love alone. This may sound like crazy talk, but think it through. Have you ever seen a relationship work with just love? No, not for movie or TV stars who have everything going for them, not for the singers who sing about it, and not even for the Beatles! Because, they do not know what love is, so they cannot really put it into practice.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
Have you ever known someone to get married to a person they did not love (other than Anna Nichole Smith, the model born in1967 who marred the billionaire oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, born 1904; married June 27, 1994; he was many decades her senior and he died a few months after the wedding, or Britney Spears’ two day marriage)? Most, if not all, people who get married, do it for love; yet, according to most statistical evidence, fifty percent will divorce in less than five years. So, what happened to the love? If love is all we need, should it not have worked out? Why did it not work? Because, there never was real love, they misunderstood what love is, they had nothing but love, or they had some real love, but did not work on it, so it dissipated. Perhaps, they let that spark of love flame out in neglect, so that there was a huge vacuum in their relationship! Love should not be the horse in front of the cart. Love alone cannot influence a relationship. Love needs to be a result, not a cause, for getting married. Love is the result of a good marriage, not the fuel to make it. Love is an attitude that is followed by action; when this does not happen, love will sit and go nowhere.
Just think this through: how much would your marriage, your family relationships, friends, or people at school or at the office improve if you were practicing these love truths—even if they were not! The world says that love must flow two ways, but God says otherwise. Yes, it is better when both parties in a relationship are practicing the elements of 1 Corinthians 13, but we are called to love even when others do not!
We are to be fueled and empowered by love through all situations. And the incredible news from His Word is that love is already deep within us. All we have to do is learn to let it come up to the surface as a fountain of living water (John 7:38) so it infuses us and touches others. God does not just command us to love; He has fashioned us to Love! We already can do it, we already have it at our disposal and He keeps giving love to us abundantly. He designed us to commune and to communicate, so when we fail at it, we fail because we are not working on or in it.
Christian love is the turning of our backs to self-concerns, and facing forward to our relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. Because, if love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then what we have is lust, and not love! Then, as the passage says, we are just noise that has no reason or purpose. Out of true love, God the Father gave us His Son, and the Son gave us His life as a replacement for ours. The Son sent the Spirit to save us, and we should be literally overwhelmed—consumed with extreme joy and gratitude by what God has done for us. Then, that can turn and spill onto others around us. If not, then read Romans 1:21!
They key to all of this? Be willing to apply love and respect the other person and stay committed to these precepts! Ephesians 5:33 states, However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. God’s Word gives us the plan; we have to be willing (the hard part) and capable (what we already have at our means) to carry it out. Love and respect traverses genders and crosses lives and must cross yours by His Cross to others too!
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1-5
We can either say God your will be done or He will say I will let your will be done and then we live with the consequences! Real, spiritual improvement comes from surrendering our will—not opposing or imposing upon His will.
© 2000, 2010, R.J. Krejcir