When it comes to love, feeling rule the day. Emotions guide the ship. Goose bumps call the shots. But should they? Can feelings be trusted? Can a relationship feel right but be wrong? Heads are nodding. A single mum is nodding. A college kid with a broken heart is nodding. Feelings can fool you. Teenage girl who is puzzled by the lack of feelings she has for a guy. Before they started dating, she was wild about him. The minute he showed interest in her, however she lost interest...ever been there?
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" 1 Cor. 13:6 [NIV] In this verse lies a test for love. Do I encourage this person to do what is right? For true love "takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth" 1 Cor. 13:6 [JB]. If you find yourself prompting evil in others, heed the alarm. This is not love. And if others prompt evil in you, be alert. Check the room key.
Classic example. A young couple are on a date. His affection goes beyond her comfort zone. She resists. But he tries to persuade her with the oldest line in the book: "But I love you. I just want to be near you. If you loved me..." That siren you hear? It's the phony-love detector. This guy doesn't love her. He may love having sex with her. He may love her body. He may love boasting to his buddies about his conquest. But he doesn't love her. True love will never ask the "beloved" to do what her or she thinks is wrong. Love doesn't tear down the conviction of others. Quite contrary. "Love builds up" 1 Cor. 8:1 "Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light & will not cause anyone to stumble" 1 John 2:10
Love never celebrates misfortune. You know your love is real when you weep with those who weep & rejoice with those who rejoice. You know your love is real when you feel for others. Real love changes people. Didn't God's love change you? Weren't you, like the prisoner, blind? You couldn't see beyond the grave. You couldn't see your purpose in life until He showed you. And you couldn't hear either. Oh, your ears functioned but, your heart didn't understand. You'd never heard of such love & kindness, & you never would have heard of it, but God spoke in your language. And, most of all, He set you free. You are free! Free to run away. Free to harden your heart. Free to duck down side streets & hide behind trash cans. But you don't. Or if you do, you come back. Why? Because you've never been loved like this before...
And does Christ rejoice when you do what is right? Certainly. "The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love" Psalm 147:11 [NIV] Does He weep when you do? Absolutely! He is the "God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times 2 Cor. 1:3-4 [MSG]. Do you want to know what love is? "This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins" 1 John 4:10 Isn't that good news?!!
When it comes to love:
Be careful: Make sure you're in the right hotel. Before you walk down the aisle, take a good long look around. Make sure this is God's intended place for you. And, if you suspect it isn't, get out. Don't force what is wrong to be right. And until love is stirred, let God's love be enough for you. There are seasons when God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we'll appreciate the strength of His love. David wrote these words in the desert: "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you...My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods." Psalm 63:3,5 [NIV]
Be prayerful: What if it's too late? Specifically, what if we're married to someone we don't love - or who doesn't love us? Many choose to leave. That may be the step you take. But if it is, take at least a thousand others first. And bathe every one of those steps in prayer. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Ask Christ to help you love as He loves. "God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with His love" Roman 5:5 [CEV]. Ask everyone you know to pray for you. Your friends. Your family. Your church leaders. Get your name on every prayer list available. And, most of all, pray for &, if possible, with your spouse. Ask the same God who raised the dead to resurrect the embers of your love.
Be grateful: Be grateful to those who love us. Be grateful for those who have encouraged us to do what is right & applauded when we did. Do you have people like that in your World? If so, you are doubly blessed. Be grateful for them. And be grateful for our Father in Heaven. He passes the test with ease.
Christ always nourishes what is right. He always applauds what is right. He has never done wrong, led one person to do wrong, or rejoiced when anyone did wrong. For He is love, & love "does not rejoiced when anyone did wrong. For He is love, love "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Cor. 1:6 [NASB].
Max Lucado & a dear sister in Christ