Love Is...


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What is the most important thing to make a thriving marriage? Some believe it is compatibility. If they find the right person who fits them, they will be happy. There are many other good contenders like friendship, communication, and trust. But according to the Bible, the single most important attribute someone can have is love. This is something that doesn’t sound strange to us. Our culture has produced many voices that have said love is the most important thing in a relationship. The problem is that rarely love is defined. Is it a passionate emotion that overcomes everything else? Is it a powerful feeling that strikes us without warning? There is a foundational chapter in the Bible that clearly defines love. The vitality of your marriage or future marriage hinges on whether we understand how God explains love.

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“You’ll know it when you experience it.” Sometimes that’s the best we can do to explain the powerful, mysterious concept of love. But we need more than that to build a lifelong vibrant marriage. It can’t be done accidentally. It is not done on instinct. Relationships are too hard for that. We need a full description of what it looks like to truly love well. We need to be trained on what it looks like to love in a way that forges an ironclad, lifelong covenant between two people. We want a love that kindles a raging fire of passion. We want the kind of love that fosters a vibrant, thriving marriage. The Bible gives us a description of love that can do that. It gives us a description of a love worth fighting for.

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We say we love so many things. The world has overused and undervalued this word “Love.” The scriptures present and look at love very differently than people often do. In fact the world has a dysfunctional view of love, and God help us, many of us have a self-centered view of it. By telling us what love is not, the Apostle Paul unfolds for us a clear and crisp view of the kind of love that is “others-centered”. God’s view of love is always a preference for the other person! Paul’s strong letter to the Corinthian church is an appeal for this kind of love. However, Paul’s words pierce time and space to show you and I today the kind of love which is to mark our marriages and illustrate our lives.

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Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are falling? It is kind of a rush until you are startled awake. One of the scariest feelings is falling. You have no control. By nature when you fall you are helpless. So what about the phrase “falling in love”? There is some truth in it, particularly when talking about affection and infatuation. But we also use the inverse of that phrase: “falling out of love.” Have you ever heard someone say, “the love died,” or “I just don’t love them anymore”? It is almost like love happens to us. As if it comes and goes and we can do nothing about it. But what if that is the polar opposite of how love operates? If we don’t understand how love works, we may be missing out on real love altogether.