Are You The One For Me?
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
My pastor once told me of the time that he presided over the renewal of vows of an old couple. It coincided with their diamond-wedding anniversary. It meant that this couple has been married for 75 years! Coming from different parts of the globe, all their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were there for that wonderful occasion. And indeed, as a Christian family, they were celebrating all those years of God’s faithfulness and grace.
How does one stay married for 75 years? What’s their secret? Well, my pastor revealed it when he said that though the both of them were already in their mid-nineties, all bent and wrinkled, when he saw them look at each other’s eyes… they were teenagers again.
The secret was that though their bodies became old and spent, their love for each other was renewed time and time again through the years. They found a love that went beyond the physical and saw each other’s soul. It was a love that was based on rock solid commitment and devotion. The kind of love God has for us. The kind of love He wants us to have for each other. What is our love based upon? This is an important point as we continue our study this Valentines week and seek to answer the next question:
Is our love based on feelings alone or on God’s unending love?
A Difficult Time To Get Married
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” – Jesus (Matthew 24:12)
“I Was Her Pumpkin Pie”
Before I married Maggie dear,
I was her pumpkin pie,
Her precious peach and honey boy,
The apple of her eye.
But after years of married life
This thought I pause to utter:
Those fancy names are now all gone,
I’m just her bread and butter.
Without a solid foundation, couples today face perilously difficult days ahead. Obsession on physical looks and sex appeal that focuses solely on outward appearance threatens every relationship. Without commitment grounded on God, a person will always look for what’s attractive on the outside. Once outward beauty fades, the temptation to find someone else becomes even stronger. For a marriage to survive, we need nothing less than a miracle. That’s when God comes in. When we run out of love, we need someone higher and greater to remind us and give us the strength to continue on loving. He is the author of marriage. Jesus is the one person needed to make every relationship flourish. He is the secret.
“We are souls living in bodies. Therefore when we really fall in love, it isn’t just physical attraction. If it is just that, it won’t last. Ideally, it’s also spiritual attraction. God has opened our eyes and let us see into someone’s soul. We have fallen in love with the inner person, the person who is going to live forever.
That’s why God is the greatest asset to romance. He thought it up in the first place. Include him in every part of your marriage, and he will lift it above the level of the mundane to something rare and beautiful and lasting.” – Peter Marshall
A Love Based On God
“Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch, as the sinful human condition is such that all of us bear conflicting emotions.” – Gary Thomas
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
How wonderful that the Lord’s first ever miracle was in a wedding. They ran out of wine and the couple was going to be disgraced. Jesus turned the water into wine and saved the day. Human love has its limits. It is He who turns the tasteless human love that we feel, into His love as wonderful as new wine.
We are imperfect creatures who are weak. When we surrender our lives to God and allow His Holy Spirit to work in us we will find the love needed to sustain a relationship for the long haul. When we constantly look upon the love of Jesus shown in His sacrifice on the cross, our hearts are transformed indeed. As 1 John 4: 19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”
Our One True Love
In reality, only God is our one true endless love. All other loves must pass, even the love of husband and wife. Death has a way of taking away what’s near and dear. But when our Maker is the first love in our hearts, we know that we’ll soon see each other in heaven at the end of days. But more importantly while we’re here, he will continue to be our constant sustainer and the lover of our souls.
A wonderful friend of mine, Agnes Frazier, once told me that for fifty years she and her husband, Emit, had morning Bible reading and prayer at the breakfast table. On the day he died, she went to bed thinking that she could never again start the day with devotional exercises. But the next morning she bravely sat at the kitchen table and opened her Bible to the spot where she and her husband had quit their reading twenty-four hours before, Isaiah 54. The verse that stared up at her was verse 5: For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name… She smiled and said, “Thank you, Lord.”