As our minds turn to the subject of “LOVE” at this time of the year, it would be good to rehearse some things about love from a biblical perspective.
True love in the Bible involves commitment, rather than feeling. Although we hear the expression today of “falling in love,” the truth of the matter is love is a forward action based upon commitment to another individual rather than falling backwards into an emotion or feeling.
1 Corinthians 13:1–7 (ESV) — 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In the famous words above from 1Corinthians 13 that you often hear at a wedding ceremony, there are actions that may appear to be good, but are not good unless there is the commitment of love. There is a list of outward demonstrations of being able to speak with languages, having an understanding and knowledge of things, or even faith that could get beyond every obstacle but those are nothing without love.
Practically speaking to couples these words are very clear – even if you can impress another person with your background, your abilities, your gifts, and your promises that seem so good, if you don’t have love – you are nothing. Couples need to be very cautious when someone says “I love you,” especially if that saying does not include the commitment to follow through.
Jesus made it very clear that just saying “I love you Jesus” is nothing unless you follow through with doing what He says.
John 14:15 (ESV) — 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Luke 9:23 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Let’s look at the commitments involved in love from 1Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (ESV) — 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love is committed to be patient with the person and showing kindness. Love is committed to seeking the best for the other and not trying to bring them down or build yourself up. Love is so committed to showing respect for the other that impoliteness is kept in check along with selfishness, irritability, resent, and bitterness. Instead, there is a commitment to truth in being honest and open with each other. The ultimate in commitment is the believing in the other, joining with them in hope, and in enduring whatever life may bring as you join hand in hand in a lifetime commitment.
I enjoy being part of weddings as a minister of the Gospel. When Jan and I were married back in 1974 I worked for a Christian radio station where I heard a recording of the marriage prayer. I am not sure of the author nor the artist that recorded the reading of the prayer, but I have used this in wedding ceremonies which has always been a real blessing to all who are present.
“O God of love, Thou hast established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Thine was the plan and only with Thee can we work it out with joy. Thou hast said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helpmeet for him.’ Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens now are halved since when we share them, we divide the load.
“Bless this husband. Bless him as provider of nourishment and raiment and sustain him in all the exactions and pressures of his battle for bread. May his strength be her protection, his character be her boast and her pride, and may he so live that she will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
“Bless this wife. Give her a tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in Thee. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.
“Teach them that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve Thee. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things shall be added unto them.
“May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to Thee. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of comeliness and strength and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes.
“Now make such assignments to them on the scroll of Thy will as will bless them and develop their characters as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Thine, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with God.
“May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, ‘Out of all this world you have chosen me.’
“When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now still hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve Thee happily, faithfully, together, until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Great Lover of Our Souls. Amen.”