Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is hard.
– 41 percent of marriages will end before the 30th anniversary in Canada. (Vanier Institute of the Family, 2013)
– The average duration of marriage was 13.7 years. (Statistics Canada, 2008)
– Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as non-Christians. (Barna Research Group, 2008)
– “Evangelical Protestants are more likely to be divorced than Americans who claim no religion.” (Baylor University, 2014)
– Two Christians marrying each other does not make a Christian marriage.
– A Christian marriage is a Christ-centered marriage.
– The goal of Christ-centered marriage is to please Christ – to learn to love like Christ.
– Jesus told his disciples, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
The Secular Meaning Of Love
– The secular definition of love has become so broad, so shallow, and so hollow, that we can almost use it to mean anything that suits our mood at any time to any person (or thing) in any context.
– Google defines love (the verb) as follows: Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). Like very much; find pleasure in.
– This definition of love has three characteristics: (1) Love is a feeling; (2) Love is a desire; (3) Love is a narcissistic expression.
– When a couple promises to love one another in their wedding, which meaning of love are they using?
The Christian meaning of Love
– Jesus told his disciples, “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
– Christian love has a model. The model is Jesus.
– Christian love has a reference. The reference is Jesus.
– Christian love has substance. The substance is Jesus.
Contrasting Secular Love with Christ’s Love
– Secular love is often conditional, tentative, and passive.
– Christ’s love is always unconditional, continuous, and proactive. (Romans 5:6-8; 8:31-39)
– Thus John 13:34 is saying: Just as my love for you is unconditional, continuous, and proactive, you should love your spouse with the same love.
Application of Christ’s Love
– Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
– When your marriage becomes burdensome, love bears it.
– When you don’t understand each other, love believes.
– When the outcome is far from certain, love hopes.
– When living together becomes painful, love endures.
– Paraphrase: Christ’s love can carry us through the tough times, every time.
– A Christ-centered couple will let Christ’s love take over when the going gets tough.
– Summary: A Christ-centered couple will give each other the same love that they have received from Christ, unconditionally, continuously, and proactively, trusting that Christ’s love will carry them through the tough times, every time.
Prayer & Application
– Are you willing to give it a try?
– Ask Jesus to fill your heart with his love.
– Memorize and apply 1 Corinthians 13:7 in your life.