By Rick Cowman
What is love? How does it express itself in a marriage relationship? We find the answers to those questions in the same place we find all of the important answers of life, in the Bible! From 1 Corinthians 13, we’ve found out love is a verb; that love practices loving actions.
Now we continue in verse 5 (1 Cor. 13): “Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” The exhortation here is very simple: “Don’t be selfish!” This is a BIG ONE for most of us, isn’t it? At least it is for me. How many times do we act without considering the needs and feelings of others, especially our spouse? Need some help? Here are some signs of selfishness. I’m being “rude” when I speak selfishly with my words. I’m “self-seeking” when I’m selfish with my plans. When I’m “easily angered”, it’s a sure sign I am harboring selfish attitudes. And when I “keep record of wrongs” done to me, it demonstrates selfishness in my thoughts and memory; I become historical, holding past failures and mistakes against my mate! Love isn’t selfish, but it chooses to look for, hope fore, and work for the best in the other person!
Finally, in verse 7: “Love always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres!” What does this tell us? Love never quits! Love never gives up! This is genuine love. Loving someone is a decision never to give up on the other person. It’s a commitment to always be there for them, no matter what! I know what you’re saying: “I just can’t do that! I can’t love like that!” And you know what? You’re right! YOU can’t! If we try to substitute our name in this text where we find the word “love”, we come up short every time. In other words, “Rick doesn’t always persevere!” But if we substitute the name of Jesus here, it fits every time. Jesus fulfilled every one of these expressions of love in chapter 13! He IS love! This is the way we are loved by Him, and it‘s with His love we are to love others. Let this sink in your thinking. Jesus’ love for you and me was a choice. He loves you, not because you are so lovable, but because He is so loving! And His choice to love you resulted in actions. What did He do? He humbled Himself, stepping down from heaven’s glory to demonstrate His love by allowing Himself to be hung on a bloody cross for YOU! What is love? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16)!”
Jesus understands you. He understands you faults and He loves you unconditionally, just the way you are! His love is PATIENT! He is willing to forgive you again and again while continuing to show you the right way to live. In fact, He has promised to complete the work in you He has started. All He asks is that you give Him a chance to work in your life. His love is KIND! His loving kindness goes beyond human reasoning and human ability! His love is SECURE! He has promised to never leave us or desert us! His love is NOT SELFISH! The cross was an act of humility. As Jesus stretched out His arms on that cross, He said, “I love you!”, and then He died! It’s the greatest act of love ever displayed, and He did it FOR YOU! And His love NEVER QUITS! God never gives up on you and me. NEVER!
Do we want love for our husband or wife to last a lifetime? We’ll find it only in God Himself and in His love for us. And as we give our lives to Him, we can expect Him to help us to love them through His love for us! Now, go act out your love for your mate, because love is a verb!