Valentine’s Day-What is Love?
Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, and we all have love on our minds. Some of us are thinking of our spouses, some are thinking of their boyfriend or girlfriend, and some are lonely today, wishing they had someone, but love is on our minds, one way or another.
I posted a series on 1 Corinthians 13 several months ago titled “A More Excellent Way”, and I will be talking about some of that passage again today. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you will realize that I talk a lot about keeping scripture in context. One of the biggest mistakes the Church today makes is interpreting scripture, because, if we put our flawed interpretation on scripture, it is no longer perfect. When talking about this, I often use 1 Corinthians 13:1 as an example. I won’t go through the whole example, if you are interested you can go back to my series, “A More Excellent Way”, and read it. But, suffice it to say, that if you take this passage literally, it is saying that Love is a gift of the Spirit, it is the only gift of the Spirit that every believer can have, and it is the only gift of the Spirit that we will need in Heaven.
So, what is this gift of Love? Well, 1 Corinthians 13 gives us a list in verses 4-7, “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Notice that this list gives both the things that love is, as well as the things that it is not. So, let’s break this down.
- Patience – Vs 4 “To be longsuffering, as opposed to hasty anger or punishment. To EXPERIENCE understanding and patience toward persons.
- Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
- Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”
- 1 Peter 4:8 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
- Kind – Vs 4
- Ephesians 4:32 “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
- Not Jealous – Vs 4
- Proverbs 14:30 “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.”
- Does not brag and is not arrogant – Vs 4
- 1 Corinthians 4:6 “Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another.”
- Does not act unbecomingly – Vs 5
- Philippians 4:8 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
- Does not seek its own – Vs 5
- 1 Corinthians 10:24 “Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.”
- Philippians 2:21 “All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.”
- Is not provoked – Vs 5
- Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
- Does not take into account a wrong suffered – Vs 5 An intentional wrong that was done
- 2 Corinthians 5:19 “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.”
- Does not rejoice in unrighteousness – Vs 6
- Psalm 119:1-3 “1How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. 3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.”
- Psalm 119:1-3 “1How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Pretty clear, isn’t it? Okay, now I want to talk to the husbands out there. I have been a husband to my wife Michelle for thirty-three years, but believe me, that does not make me an expert. To be honest, I struggle with loving my wife all the time. You see, I am a very selfish person, and I don’t like putting anyone ahead of myself. But, God recently showed me something that I would love to share with you.
Ephesians 5:25-30 says, “25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.30 And we are members of his body.” First, notice that the Bible never tells the wife to love her husband. You see, loving others, and putting others first comes naturally to most women, it’s part of that motherly instinct, so God never had to tell them to love their husband. But, us men are a different breed. We tend to be selfish and need a little reminding occasionally.
This passage starts out by telling us to love our wives the same way that Christ loved the church. He loved us so much that He died for us. He is reminding us to put them and their needs first. He is telling us to love them, even if they don’t seem to love us. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes it seems that way, and for good reason. I know that I am not always that loveable. Look at Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Now, skip down to verse 10, “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Verse 8 tells us that He loved us while we were still sinners, and verse 10 tells us that He loved us even when we were His enemies. That’s how we need to love our wives, unconditionally. What is our goal in this? Verse 27 told us, “to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” Our goal is to make our wife look spotless and without fault.
So, men, on this Valentine’s Day, and every day hereafter, love your wife like your own body. Nourish her, care for her, and love her unconditionally.