I am sure that you have heard the song before, the one with the lyrics of “all ya need is love, love is all ya need”. I am not sure what the artists had in mind when writing that but they hit very close to a genuine Biblical truth. Love really is all that we need. The problem that we have in our world is that, although we understand this profound truth, we do not realize that “love” has to be given to us before we can demonstrate it to others. Tonight I am teaching a class on “True Love”. The lesson is to help us prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day correctly. Unfortunately, in our world today, Valentine’s Day has become a big success for all the wrong reasons. Many think that Valentine’s Day is a celebration of lovers. According to the history of the holiday, it is a celebration of married lovers. There is a huge difference between the two mindsets. Love is something that we all want and need yet for some reason, we cannot seem to love one another. There is a reason why this is. The problem that we have is that we are not born with selfless, unconditional love. Since we are all selfish by nature, the love that we show to others is not unconditional. The only way that we can share unconditional, selfless love to others is if we have first experienced it and received it from God. True love, genuine love, Biblical love is not the warm mushy feelings that we get when we are around someone of the opposite sex. God’s love is foreign to us until we experience it. Let’s take a look at the Scriptures to see what God’s love is like, how He manifests it to us, and how we can manifest it to others.
I. Love in action
- It originates with God
- He initiates showing it to us
- It is seen through both word and deed
- It is solely for the benefit of the recipient
- It is sacrificial
- It is the ultimate price
- It stirs us to life changing transformation (being born again)
God takes the first step in showing His love to us. He does not wait for us to go to Him. He comes to us. He did it, according to Romans 5:8, while we were yet sinners, while we were His enemies.
Another passage that I would like to examine deals with love being manifested to us by God in Jesus Christ and how the love of God is manifested to others through us. This passage is I John 4:7-21.
- God is the source of love
- He demonstrates it to people
- Those who accept His love are transformed and are now able to manifest that love to others
- Being able to love others with the love of God is the proof that you know God and have been born again of God
- When the love of God is in you, you will manifest it to others
- Love is seen through sacrifice and service
- Love takes initiative
- When we have experienced the love of God and have received the love of God, we dwell in that love day by day
- We love God and others
- Love helps meet the most problematic needs that others have (not necessarily the most pressing)
Now that we have been given the love of God, we are able to love Him the way that He deserves to be loved. What does that look like? Jesus spells it out for us in Mark 12:30-31.We love God with all that we are. We love God by dedicating our lives to Him.
- Heart – vigor, passion, emotions, strength, abilities, capabilities (use your life to serve God)
- Soul – the very breath that you have, your life, your will
- Mind – reasoning skills, understanding
We are not able to love God like this until we experience His love and receive His love. But, once we do, we will love Him like this. You may want to love like this but until you have experienced and received the love of God, you cannot do it. Why not experience God’s love today?
II. Love in marriage
As we celebrate Valentine’s day, we often forget that the celebration originated for married lovers. It had nothing to do with the unmarried. Over the years, we have lost that notion. It has become a celebration to practice and promote immorality. Let’s take a look at the Scriptures to see how love is to be manifested in marriage.
Genesis 1:28 & 2:24 – Marriage is created by God and it is the only place where sex may be enjoyed and blessed. In fact, the sexual relationship between husband and wife originates with God and it is the first command that He gives to the married couple. Any form of sexual activity outside of marriage, whether physical or mental is not blessed by God and will not ultimately bring satisfaction. This is why Valentine’s Day should not be the day of lovers, but instead, it should be the day for married lovers to celebrate.
I Corinthians 7:1-2, 9 – Since sex was created for marriage, the emotions that lead to sexual activity must not be kindled until marriage. Unfortunately, many who participate in celebrating Valentine’s Day are unmarried couples who start fires that either lead to immorality or burning passion, both of which are condemned by God. What happens when we burn with passion and take sexual activity outside of the marriage bed?
Hebrews 13:4 – All people, married or single, should honor the marriage bed. The way that the marriage bed is honored is by keeping sexual activity in the confines of marriage. Fornication is any illicit form of sex that is practiced outside of the confines of marriage. It can be both physical as well as mental. God will punish those who defile the marriage bed. There are a couple of forms of punishment that I believe people who defile the marriage bed experience. The first one is exposing themselves to sexually transmitted diseases. The second is bringing their past experiences into their marriage. The third, of course, is eternal damnation, being completely separated from God.
I Corinthians 13 – This is a picture of what love is supposed to look like in the confines of marriage. Sex is just a part of the marriage relationship. Here is what true love looks like in the confines of marriage.
- Love is
- Patient – does not lose heart no matter what it has to go through to ensure the best for the recipient
- Kind – useful to the recipient, does what it can for the benefit of the recipient, puts the recipient’s needs first
- Rejoice in Truth – join in with the Truth, encourages in the Truth
- Bearing all things – rock solid, especially when heavily taxed
- Believing all things – faith to see the potential that the recipient has
- Hoping all things – able to see the finished product in the future even if it seems impossible
- Enduring all things – in it till the end
- Never failing – does not run away or crack under pressure
- A choice
- Love is not
- Jealous – you are so self centered that it bothers you when others succeed, you do not rejoice in the success of your spouse. It actually makes you jealous.
- Bragging – speaking excessively about yourself to cover up your jealousy
- Arrogant – puffed up but with no actual substance so you have to brag because of your jealousy
- Unbecomingly – because of the previous chain of characteristics you start acting indecent toward your spouse
- Self seeking – self explanatory
- Provoked – this means to make sharp, to irritate, or more easily understood, to push a person’s buttons
- Unforgiving – keep an account of every time your spouse has done the previously mentioned things and you remind them of it from time to time
- Unrighteous – if both of you continue acting like this, it will lead you to injustice, unlawful things, it is a spiraling stair case
So my dear friend, I have a few questions that I would like to ask you, based on what we have observed. Have you ever experienced the love of God? What is the proof? How do you use Valentine’s Day to promote “True Love”? Which type of love do you celebrate on Valentine’s Day? Are any of the negative qualities mentioned in I Corinthians 13 present in your marriage? How are you manifesting the positive qualities in I Corinthians 13 to your spouse daily?
May the Lord help us learn to learn with His great love and use the celebration of Valentine’s Day to promote marriage and fidelity for our own good and the good of the society in which we live!