“The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ & His people.” John Piper
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Colossians 3:18-19
The two verses above have been a landmine for many. That is NOT what God intends. Really they are a specific application of the overarching instruction in verse 17 about living a Jesus centered life. Last week I read this statement, “It would be a bold person who would claim that the modern secular world offers a better model for marriage and family life than what God calls for in the Bible.”
Many marriages are in sad shape in our world. People still dream of happily ever after marriages. But most fall short and many are afraid. More settle for “trial run” relationships without the kind of commitment that define true marriage from God’s perspective. We have either given up, or changed God’s standard. As a result, we miss the deeper joy and core intimacies through embracing Satan’s cleverly seductive lies.
When in your life have you felt most loved? What was going on? Where were you? Who was involved? What made it that way? No consider this… How well did you love in return AND how long did it last?
It seems in this life there are at best only fleeting moment of love between people. There is just something fragile and if we are honest polluted about how we love. As a result most go through life collecting disappointment, neglect, hurt and outright rejection.
The one who does not love
does not know God,
for God is love. 1John 4:8
Love is our highest ideal and our greatest frustration. Songs & movies proclaim its greatness while portraying a reality that it often comes at great cost. It seems as fleeting and fragile as a wildflower in a playground. Our own hearts tell us it should be better than this. Our experience tells us a different story. This week’s passage (1John 4:7-12) calls us to a whole new level of love. One that might seem impossible in this world. He defines love by His own character and then calls us to love like Him!
A bottom line truth in this paragraph is that all who have a true relationship with God WILL love others like He does. That is an intimidating order. How in the world can we love like Him? We aren’t Jesus! How can God expect that of us?
Look more closely at the passage. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus? That means He is in you. If that is true, His love is in you because He is love. He defines love. He is the source of this kind of love. So, if he is in you, let His love come out. Let Him love through you the same way He loves you!
God desperately wants to interrupt our struggle and raise the bar on love. In the middle of our polluted self-limited kind of love God reveals a higher level. He whispers through His Son, “I AM LOVE. Let me love you. Let me love through you. You can only love if you receive true love from Me. Receive My love and then pass it on.”
Reflect on this passage through the weekend and consider: How could a deeper trust in God’s love for you impact your love for others?
does not love
abides in death.”
What does your love reveal? Strange question perhaps but if you think about it cuts to the core of who we are. That is why it is so important to our Father and why Jesus makes it kind of a litmus test of true faith. Who & what do you love? How do you love? What is the character and scope of your love. Wrestle with these questions as you reflect on 1John 3:11-18 through the weekend.
Here’s what I know about us all. We all want to be loved. We dream of a pure fairy tale kind of love that never fails and produces deep unending joy. Problem: without Jesus, all human love is broken and polluted. Sure we have moments and spots of holier love, but if we are honest for the most part our love is conditional and selfish. We have been loved in false ways and we in turn love others in false ways as well.
Love is defined in verse 16. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” Jesus defines love. In fact only Jesus can really fully truly love us. IF we are willing to let Him do that something changes in us as a result. His love flows through us and our love becomes more holy and less polluted. That is why He makes such a big deal of it. We learn to love only by being loved at this level. That is why Jesus makes is a litmus test of real faith. Only those who have let Jesus love them find the capacity to love others in such a whole unbroken, unpolluted manner.
So, I invite you to reflect on the Truth of God and the reality of your love. What does your love reveal? What would it look like to let Jesus love flow through?