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Thursday, May 19, 2011
31 Days of Love - Love Is Sufficient
I've been completely swamped lately and unable to write, which is frustrating and I miss out on reading all your wonderful blogs too! I have committed myself to joining Darlene at Time Warp Wife for her 31 Days of Love Marriage Challenge in the month of October. Thankfully, the first day's challenge is something I've written about before so I'm reposting this article, originally posted in May, to link up.
Hop on over to Darlene's place and join in.. I promise you will be blessed. She has twenty seven different contributors ready to share their wisdom and ideas with us. Even in this overwhelmingly busy season I want to make sure that I'm showing love to my husband and continuing to build our relationship and our marriage. As we all know that takes a bit of work! With all that's going on I need every bit of encouragement I can get. I'm sure that you too can use a little boost. Today's challenge is "Bringing A Gift of Love". Darlene encourages us to read 1 Corinthians 13 and do a little introspection. I hope that you will join us!
I recently read an article where another blogger dismissed the statement "Love is enough" as being untrue. I got what she was saying.. people enter marriages or relationships with unrealistic and romanticized expectations that love will be all they need to see them through and they often become disillusioned. Is it wrong to expect that love is enough to work through our problems? Is it wrong to expect that if we have love, we have everything? Is it wrong to think that love is sufficient?
The truth is though.. LOVE IS SUFFICIENT! If we understand what love really is. Let's take a look in the very popular 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
Love is patient
If we could be patient with each other, whether it is our spouses, children, relatives, we would be less inclined to lose our tempers or jump to conclusions or 'write off' others because of their behaviour. I cant count the number of times I walked away from a loved one who was 'acting up' because of my impatience. Children throwing temper tantrums, spouse in a crabby mood... perhaps if I had dredged up some patience things would have been resolved differently. I know how hurt I feel when I'm the one being crabby because of tiredness or illness and my husband responds with impatience. Love breeds patience.. patience breeds tolerance.
Love is kind
Is it easy to be kind to someone who is not treating us fairly or who is being unkind to us? If we could respond with kindness to others no matter the situation, how would those situations turn out instead? I have missed many opportunities in my life, in my marriage, to offer kindness to a loved one. Instead I chose to be hurt and to be judgmental about that person. I allowed myself to be resentful and angry. Yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, I want kindness from others when I am in a vulnerable state. True love desires to be kind because it doesn't put its own need first.
Love does not envy (Love is not jealous)
Have you ever been envious of someone else? Envy can erode a relationship because it breeds discontent and even dislike. If you envy your spouse for some reason that envy is eventually going to undermine your relationship, you begin to resent the person, thing or situation that is causing you to be envious. I am ashamed to admit to having been envious of my husband's spiritual life and how much joy it gave him. He sensed the resentment but didn't know its source. It was a secret, silent thorn in our relationship. True love encourages us to check our hearts and not allow envy/jealousy to dwell there.
Love does not boast and is not proud
Oh.. a biggie here! Pride is such a big factor in the conflicts that arise in relationships. We all have false pride.. its that thing that keeps us from acknowledging when we're wrong, from apologizing. Its that thing that puffs up our egos and makes us think we're better than others. It tells us that we DESERVE better or that we should get MORE for ourselves. True love helps us to swallow that pride and do the right thing for our relationships. True love acknowledges that there is no room for pride in our hearts, love alone must reside there.
Love does not dishonour others
Have you ever had an argument with your husband and told your mother/sister/friend all the gory details about your husband's behaviour? My friends, this is dishonouring your husband. True love doesn't do that which would discredit others.. gossiping, slandering.. its all dishonouring another and shredding their credibility and reputation. True love keeps our mouths sealed and bears all things with tolerance.
Love is not self-seeking
True love is rather self-sacrificing... always putting the needs and best interests of others above your own. This is not an easy thing to do, but love wants the best for others, desires their happiness. A mother's love is one of the most self-sacrificing. This is why God says, in demonstrating the love He bears for us that even should a mother forget her child, He would not forget us. True love is sacrificial.
Love is not easily angered
Wow! This one is a toughie! Why do we get so easily angered with others? Well, in my case, I know my lack of patience is one reason, but I think any of the above characterizations of love that are lacking will cause us to be easily angered. Hmmm.. methinks I need to do some more introspection on this one! True love does not abandon itself to angry, abusive outbursts.
Love keeps no record of wrongs
Bearing grudges? Unforgiveness? The bible is very clear here that if we truly love we must forgive and forget. Well, we may not forget, but we're not supposed to keep bringing it up purposely to dwell on and reignite or hurt or disappointment, worse still, resentment or bitterness. These things surely erode both the soul and the ability to love. True love forgives unconditionally.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
Have you ever, in your desire for vindication, felt happy about someone else's failure, disappointment or tragedy? You think, "they got what they deserve". Have you ever been GLAD when someone else does something wrong because, well.. it makes you look better.? I think that even within our relationships with our spouses we may be tempted to feel that way when we are hurting over something, or are experiencing any of the above, envy or unforgiveness etc. True love encourages others to do what is right and it does not rejoice in another's misfortune or evil doing.
We protect our children because we love them and want them to be safe. Do we also protect our spouses? Do we protect them by making sure they are eating right? Do we protect them by reminding them when they are treading dangerous ground, morally or physically? Do we protect them by pleading protection from the Heavenly Father for them? I know I feel loved when my husband considers the family's safety by checking on the car or making sure all the doors are secure at night. and when he prays for my safety and protection every morning before he leaves for work. True love wants others to be safe, both morally and physically.
Love trusts, hopes and perseveres
When we truly love we trust our tender hearts to others. We open ourselves to receive their love in return. Its necessary to remove our masks, our shields or we cannot receive or give true love. We cannot know or experience the fathomless depth of love until we trust. Hope is that eternal flame that keeps us persevering. Love perseveres.. despite obstacles, trials, heartaches. Love is what brings us to our feet after we've been brought to our knees. We place all our hope and trust into our relationships and we persevere in them because love drives us on.
This is what the bible tells us love is.. true love. Perhaps nobody enters marriage or parenthood with this kind of love.. it has to grow, mature, be perfected in the fires of trials. I do believe, however, that once we can love this way.. LOVE IS SUFFICIENT!
I'll leave you with a quotation from a sermon I listened to earlier this year "To love is Divine". God is the source of all love, without Him there can be no true love. If we were to remain close to Him and listen to the voice of His Spirit, leading and prompting us, we would love the way we were meant to.
This is the true face of love... servitude. We are told in John 15:13 "Greater love has no man than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends"
Let us follow Christ and serve with love those He has placed in our lives. It is by far not an easy thing to do, but one thing you can be certain of, if you desire to love like Christ, He will assist you all the way.
May God bless your efforts and may your love shine brightly for Jesus!
Posted by Lisa Maria at 12:03 PM