Wineskins Archive

November 26, 2013

Love As If Our Lives Depended On It (Mar-Apr 2002)

Filed under: — @ 1:42 am and

By Michael Harbour

What would it look like if we were to  love one another as if our lives depended on it? I suppose that we would first need to learn to love. What does it mean to love your husband or your wife? What does it mean to love your children?

Love is not adoration. When I was engaged to be married to Sandra, our minister gave us a temperament test with the intent of measuring our compatibility. The minister told us that we did not have a realistic view of each other! He was right! We were blind to each other’s flaws. We didn’t want to go home at night. We set ourselves a curfew and used every last second of the last hour of every night. We were exhausted in love! We did romantic things. However, if we were to tell the truth, we were acting in ways that were essentially selfish. We were in full-blown pursuit of each other. What happens when the pursuit is over? What happens when reality sets in? What happens when we discover that conflict is an inevitable part of being married? Do we fall out of love? Unrealistic adoration might fade, but love is something else.

Love is acting in someone else’s best interest. Sometimes disciplining your children is an act of love. Holding a friend accountable can be an act of love. Love is doing the work of relationships when you don’t feel like it. The cliché says that nails did not hold Jesus to the cross. Love did. God so loved the world that he gave. God’s covenant love calls all people everywhere to trust God for the outcomes of their lives.

Paul says to the churches, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Could you give yourself away as a fragrant offering to God? Could you do that in your marriage? Could you do that for your children? I know a son and a daughter who did that for their father. Their daddy was dying and he wanted to get home to Burkburnett, Texas. He was at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was too sick to ride in a car or truck. An ambulance, or helicopter, was not practical. His son, Scott, began to look for a motor home, but it was Spring Break. He went down to the Astro-Hall, near the Astrodome, where there was an RV show in progress. He began to ask around and eventually found a coach suitable for carrying his father home. They made it and a few days later, their daddy died. It was hard to get him home, but love said, “We will do it.” Love gives. Love sacrifices.

We are afraid to sacrifice. Sacrifice is painful. We might not be appreciated, either. Who will meet our needs? If we are busy giving ourselves away in love, if we are sacrificing, who will meet our very real needs? Whom will we trust? We trust our husbands and our wives. We did promise when we married that we would love each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do us part. It was risky! What happens when the marriage, when the love, is not going very well? It is hard to give ourselves away in love when we are afraid that our own real needs will be left unmet. Can our soul be satisfied when we have unmet expectations? I sure hope so!

Paul told the Philippian church that he had found the secret of contentment. He had experienced a lack of resources. He had experienced abundance. What he discovered was that it was not the resources that satisfied his soul. God was his satisfaction. Dennis Jernigan sings, “”Who can satisfy my soul like You? Who on earth could comfort me and love me like you do? Who could ever be more faithful, true? I will trust in You! I will trust in You, my God.” Paul said, “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). He did not say desires. He said needs.

In the face of the God who loves us in risk, who sacrifices even though most will not appreciate the love, we too choose to live this way. How would our experience of church change if we loved each other as if our lives depended on it? What if we did not see the church as a place to get something, but as the place that God sends us to love, to sacrifice, to give ourselves away? I think that kind of church would be so full of love that it could not help but spill over into every little corner of our lives.

I think we will give that a try down here. Want to?

No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post.TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

© 2022 Wineskins Archive