Sunday, March 11, 2012

Love is unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

If someone were to ask you, "Why do you love your wife?" or "Why do you love your husband?"---what would you say?

Of all the things you would and could say about why you love your spouse, most of them would be qualities which can and will suddenly or gradually disappear.  You can not base the love for your spouse on qualities.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional.

The truth is this:

Love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

In the Bible there are different words for "love".

Phileo:  Friendship love
Eros:     Sexual love
Agape:  Selfless and unconditional love

Phileo and Eros love can fluctuate based on feelings and will wear thin as time goes by.  Agape love is "in sickness and health" love, "for richer or poorer" love, "for better or worse" love. 

Agape love is really the only kind of love that is true love.  Agape love is how God loves us.

He doesn't love us because we are lovable but because He is so loving.  The Bible says, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). 

If He insisted that we prove ourselves worthy of His love, we would fail miserably.  But God's love is a choice He makes completely on His own.  It's something we receive from Him and then share with others.  "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19)

Marriages built on phileo and eros love are based on feelings and circumstances which is not a strong, lasting foundation.  In this kind of love you can say, "I've fallen out of love with you"  and what this really means is, "I never loved you unconditionally".

Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstance.

Love which began with phileo and eros love can be restored and redeemed, but only when we choose to begin to love with agape love, unconditional love as the foundation.  When your foundation is unconditional love, you will find that the phileo and eros love is even more precious to you.

But you will struggle and fail to attain this kind of marriage unless you allow God to begin growing His love within you.  Love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7) does not come from within.  It can only come from God.

The Scriptures say that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to seperate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"  (Romans 8:38-39).  This is God's kind of love.  And thankfully---by your choice---it can become your kind of love.  But first you must received it and share it.

And don't be surprised, when your spouse begins living confidently under its shade, if he or she doesn't become even more lovable to you than you remember.  You will no longer say, "I love you because..." 

You will now say, "I love you, period."

Excerpted from The Love Dare, by Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick, day 10, emphasis mine.


Jesse said...

What Is Love?

On what basis or by what standard can one claim to have authentic love? Why is Love even significant? Love is what enables us to have a dedicated, compassionate, attraction to another person. It is the foundation upon which all relationships stand. This innate desire is completely different from a mere instinct or physiological obsession because it is formulated by our reason and free will. Love is therefore a pillar which keeps the gears of this world turning in a peaceful manner.

Just imagine what the world would be like if the concept of love was purely a product of our vain imaginations. It is not possible to care about anything without love, for it is the innate desire of the human heart to self-sacrifice for the sake of other people. Love is kind. Love is caring. Love is gentle. Love is compassionate. All these concepts are interrelated, which means that they function together in perfect harmony. In fact, the existence of love presupposes the existence of care, and all other forms of virtue. In contrast, the worldview of malice hinders the development of personal opinions, the demonstration of kindness, and demolishes our ability to evaluate things without showing partiality.

The entire idea of an ultimate fulfillment in life would also become non-existent because compromise itself would be impossible. If people are unable to tolerate each other simply because of hatred, then life on earth would come to an unnecessary, abrupt termination because it would not be able to make any further progress. Love and hatred cannot co-exist because they are contrary notions. Furthermore, hatred brews other abominable states of heart such as being prideful and jealous. Without love, life would collapse like a line of dominoes. We cannot operate without love any more than a tree can survive without water or a vehicle can run without a motor.

Hatred presents us with a rather hopeless, monotonous, and untenable perspective of the general aspects of life. On the basis of divine revelation and plain reason we can claim to know what love is. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud" (1 Corinthians 13:4).

The Piper's Wife said...

Thank you, Jesse. I appreciate your comment.