On our last date night, LT and I decided to [finally] complete this month's participant homework from our church's marriage ministry meeting. It wasn't that we didn't want to do it, just that every time we planned to complete it during our last two date nights, we either got distracted or fell asleep before getting to it. Since it was my turn to plan our date night this week, I scheduled the activity to happen during dinner. That way, I knew we'd get it done.
It was a simple assignment: The husbands and wives were given specific scriptures to review on their own and then another set to review together. We both completed the first part of the assignment separately and now it was time to complete the joint review. We ordered our food and while we waited for it to be delivered, we took out our phones and opened our Bible apps, alternating reading each scripture from the Amplified version.
First Corinthians 13:8 was mine to read. I read the scripture and then paused."...it never ends nor fades".
"Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]..."
Like you, I've read and heard that scripture many times before. But for some reason, those words now resonated with me. At that moment, I realized just how backward the world is and how flawed and obscured our view of love really is. Whether platonic or romantic, we believe that love never ends...until it does. We throw around the word like a dodgeball, hoping to hit its target, quickly refocusing on another when it doesn't.
Think about how many times you've "fallen" in love...and then out...and then in again. Alicia Keys even sang a song that made falling in and out of love seem "normal". I bet when you were "in love", you would have fought someone for saying otherwise. C'mon. You remember in middle school when "Johnny" was the apple of your eye. Or was it "Samantha" back in high school? Or perhaps it was your ex-husband or ex-wife. Maybe it was the "best friend" you no longer talk to because they offended you in the worst way imaginable. Or maybe it's the family member you no longer invite to family events.
Now think about God's love for us. Regardless of what we've done, with our flaws, inconsistencies and sins against Him, He has never ceased to love us. He continues to do us good. God's love for us never ends. Never. Ever.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." - John 13:34
We've all heard of people who claim to love unconditionally. But do they? Do we? When I think of all the people I have cut ties with because they failed to live up to my expectation of what true love is and how it behaves, it causes me to pause and ask if I really loved them. Think of someone you claim to love. I mean really love. Perhaps you pictured your spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling or best friend. Now think of the one thing they could do to you that would absolutely break your heart. Would you still love them as much as you do today? I know you say that you would. But what if the "offense" was so egregious that your love waned. Some people only feel loved when they are loved. So, what if they no longer loved you?
Guess what, Friend? God would look past all of "that" and still choose to love them. I mean, really love them. He would still do them good. He would (and did) sacrifice His own Son so they could have eternal life, proving His love. Not because they deserved it, but because He couldn't NOT love them. Love is who He is. If He didn't love them, He wouldn't be Him.
"And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good" - Jeremiah 32:40
If you've ever "fallen out of love" or stopped loving someone (in any relationship), you may be saying 'Well, that's God. I am human. My love has limits.' I agree. In our own strength, we don't have the capacity to love unconditionally. Our emotional reactions to offenses are "normal" to our flesh. But, in Christ, we are supernatural beings and our emotions are invalid. And, with God, we can overcome anything! In fact, we aren't commanded to love people by our self-made, fleshly standards. Instead, we are commanded to love others with God's love, "Agape". Agape isn't run by emotions, is self-sacrificing, doesn't seek revenge, doesn't keep track of wrongdoings, is limitless, and it never runs out.
"That's God. I am human! My love has limits!"
As children of God, we have a covenant relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, which means whatever we lack, our Father provides. Within that same covenant, we have authorization and authority to utilize all of our Father's good stuff! Hope. Health. Peace. Joy. Love. Safety. Security, Riches. Forgiveness. Righteousness. Every good and perfect thing is already ours--to use without expiration! For us to love someone else as God loves us, we must get out of our feelings and emotions. We must be led by the Holy Spirit to be able to truly love others. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us what to do (or not) within those relationships. It starts with accepting that Jesus died and rose for all of our sins. We must confess and repent of those sins to Him. Unforgiveness and bitterness and mistrust may be holding us back from loving others as He commands. We must renew our minds, becoming Christ-like. When you rely on God's love, the way we love others may look different from how we imagine. Our current idea of love is nothing compared to God's love. It's beyond human intellect. We can only experience what true love is through Him. He is the only perfect love, which is why we can only love through Him.💚
💛 Love Note From TC:
Here are some practical steps for walking in Agape, the Godkind of love:
If you enjoyed reading this WHOAment, you may also like "No Ordinary Love"
I enjoy hearing from you. So, let's chat!
*I would like to add my faith to yours. Where are you regarding dealing with unforgiveness or bitterness?
*How old/what grade was your first puppy love or crush? Why did it end?
*Do you believe that unconditional love exists? In what ways have you experienced it?
*How will you apply this WHOAment to your life?