Love That Lasts a Lifetime
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
|Why does love in our lives go from exciting to
exhaustion to expired - the same love for the same person? What causes
that to happen?
This lesson is about how to develop a kind of love
that lasts for a lifetime; in your marriage, with your kids, with your parents,
with friendships and with other believers.
That's the kind of love I want and I think the kind
of love you want. We want a love that lasts longer than a 200-page romance novel
or a 2-hour romantic movie love story.
In this lesson we're going to talk about that kind of love and how it can happen in our lives. There are two simple things we need to do first in order to begin the process of keeping love alive for a lifetime. Ask yourself these questions.
First question, what is love?
Question number two, How does love act?
What is love? If you think about it, love is
the most misunderstood and overused word in the English language.
We use the word love to describe our feelings toward many things.
So we use the word love for everything. What does
the word really mean?
Two popular misconceptions about love that are
confusing and misunderstood are: Love is only a feeling. The truth is that love
produces feelings, some very powerful ones, but love is more than a feeling.
Love is uncontrollable, but the Bible teaches that
love is controllable. In fact, in John 15:12, Jesus commanded that we love
others . His words indicate that we do have control over who we love or don’t
God says love is a choice.
We read in Colossians 3:10-14, “And have
put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him
that created him: As believers we are told to put on the new man. Verse 14
says to “put on love which is the bond
of perfection.” So love binds
all these virtues together. Galatians 5: 22-23 tells us what we are to put on;
"love joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness
and temperance". Note the words “put on”. Just as you have a
choice as to what you want to put on to wear each morning with your natural
garments, so you also have a choice as to what attitude you will put on each
day. The Bible says, “to put on love”
because love is a choice. Love is something you can choose to have or put on.
love were a feeling, or just an accident, God couldn't command it to us. God
commands an action in our lives. Love is a matter of conduct. It is how one
acts. I John 3:18, "Let us not love with words or tongues, but
with actions and truth."
It's how we act toward another person that portrays our love.
Love is more than words.
It is more than feelings. Unlike us, the Greeks had four words to
differentiate different types of love:
1. Storge, which means natural affection
2. Phileo, which means emotional affection or
3. Eros, which means sexual attraction.
4. Agape, which means unconditional, giving,
When the Bible speaks of God's love for us and
the kind of love we're to have for Him and for other people, the word is
always agape. It's a commitment to act.
To often we love with words
or tongue, but not with actions. You can talk until you're blue in the face, but
your heart will always be read in your actions.
real question is, "How is love supposed to act? And who gets to tell us how
it's supposed to act?" There
are many voices trying to tell us how love is supposed to act. Secular society
has there definition for love. Hollywood with all its lust has another
definition as does the media tabloids. Our culture portrays another means of
defining love which includes sources sometimes foreign to God’s Word. For the
Christian, the Bible is the source we go to for instruction on how love acts.
1 Corinthians 13 is the Biblical definition of how
love acts. It gives us a list of the actions or love. "Love is patient,
kind, isn't jealous, doesn't brag, is not arrogant, doesn't act unbecomingly and
is not provoked."
I want to take a portion of this list and use it to
evaluate how healthy our relationships are in marriage, with parents, with our
children and with our friends
Love is patient tells me
that love is alive when it has patience. You spell patience "t-i-m-e."
Love is dying when hurried
Love is dead when it cannot
"Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each
other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love" Ephesians 4:2 (L.B.). Patience means I make
allowances for the faults of another person. Patience means I take the time to
wait for someone else to change. Patience means I wait for somebody to recover.
Love is kind tells me that love is alive when it
cares. Love is dying when it forgets. Love is dead when it ignores.
"Love is kind" The word "kind" is a
word we use often, but what does "kind" mean? Kindness means the
ability to care for each other in the practical details of everyday live. Love
knows how to adapt. Kindness means that I have to adapt to meet the practical
needs of another person.
"Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe
yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience". Notice the word clothe. I remind you that
the Greek word literally means put on. When you wake up in the morning
and decide what to wear, you should ask yourself, "What kind of attitude am
I going to wear today?" Paul
says that kindness is a choice. It's something you can choose to put on
everyday. Kindness is love in
action. Kindness is something you do. It's a practical expression of love. It's
visible and active, not just emotional.
Ephesians 4:22, "Be kind to each
other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you."
If I'm going to be kind to another person, I have to have a tender heart
towards them. Have you noticed how easy it is to lose compassion for
people who are closest to you, people that you live with?
Kindness means I take time to forgive. God says it's kind to "forgive one another,
just as God has forgiven you."
The only way I can have a relationship of love with
God is because He's willing to forgive me. The only way we can have relationships
with each other is being kind enough to forgive each other. You're thinking,
they don't deserve forgiveness. Of course they don't. Neither do you. No
one deserves forgiveness. That's why it's kind to forgive.
"Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
difference it might make for you to say to somebody today, "No matter what
happens, no matter how ill you become, no matter what we have to go through in
life, no matter what struggles or difficulties, no matter what happens, I love
"Love is not
rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record
of wrong." This tells me that love is alive when it's giving.
Love is dying when it's exchanging. Love is dead when it's taking. To love is to
put yourself in a vulnerable position. C. S. Lewis states, “To love at all is
to be vulnerable.”
protects, always trust, always hopes, and always perseveres." This tells me that love is alive when it acts
its way into a feeling. Love is dying when it feels but does not act.
Love is dead when it feels its way into an action.
How do you keep a love alive for a lifetime? Don't
take it for granted. Keep doing the things we've talked about - kindness,
caring, patience, time and actions, not just feelings.
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