This summer I will be officiating three weddings. During premarital counseling, the topic of love always surfaces. Is love simply a feeling, or is it an action — something you do? What does love look like? I Corinthians 13 gives a pretty good definition.
1. Love is patient.
2. Love is kind.
3. Love does not envy.
4. Love does not boast and is not proud.
5. Love is not rude.
6. Love is not easily angered.
7. Love does not keep a record of wrongs.
8. Love always looks for the good.
Sounds like some good stuff to blog about and live out.
So, How’s your love life?
A while back I lost my driver’s license. First time that has ever happened to me. No big deal, right? After all, how many times have I had to pull it out and show it to a police officer in the last two decades? None. Actually the only time I need to pull out my license is when I go up to Skyline Drive. And if I fly I need it. So I was not too worried or in a big hurry to go to DMV.
While driving home I get a call from Dick’s. Evidently I dropped my license in the store, and it was picked up and put in the safe. Finally someone figured I could probably use it. So now I won’t have to ruin a day with a painful visit to the DMV.
When I first lost my license I did not even notice. It could take weeks or months before I actually realize it is missing. Life is sometimes like that. Way too often I hear of another marriage breaking up. Wonder how long it took the couple to realize they had lost ‘it.’ Wonder if they remember when the wheels started coming off.
Think with me. What things are often lost but never found or recovered.
1. Integrity. You can build it over a lifetime and lose it in an instant.
2. Marriage. Fortunately my driver’s license was found and restored, but if it had not, a replacement could have been made. But too often in life things get lost, relationships start heading south, and there is no quick recovery. The pain may last for years and even intensify.
3. Devotion to Christ. Even Christ-followers have been known to lose their first love for their Savior (Revelation 2:4). Scary. Because not everything that gets lost gets found.
Check your wallet and make sure you have not lost something important.
But will there be passion, sparks, and sizzle? Or will you get in the car and head out with an empty gas tank. And I am not talking about the gas you buy. I am talking about the gas you provide. You just took that the wrong way. Alright, go ahead and laugh, but if you will hang with me I want to help you. Will your spouse’s tank be full or running on fumes?
During the winter months the gas in my lawnmowers can get a little old and not run so well. That means I need to put fresh fuel in on a regular basis.
Perhaps the fuel in your marriage has gotten a little stale. Or worse, you haven’t put any fuel in at all recently.
No worries. Here are six things you can do to get up and running at a higher level. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Acceptance – when you first started dating, being around someone who accepted you for who you were was huge. Let your spouse know that they are still the ONE.
Attention – do you remember when you dated how much attention you gave one another? It made you feel special. Take some time and give your spouse some extra attention.
Affection – this came easy when you dated and were first married. You couldn’t keep your hands off him or her. Now you rarely touch. Ouch! That hurts whether you realize it or not. Get back to some hugs, kisses, and #^&@*!
Affirmation – this is a daily habit you simply cannot afford to miss. If you have to write it down. Write yourself a note. When was the last time you affirmed your spouse? Time to refuel.
Assistance – no one wants to feel like they are doing everything alone. Look around. The list is endless. Helping with your kids homework, taking out the trash, picking up the trash off the floor, vacuuming, washing the car, or loading the dishwasher.
Activities – all work and no play doesn’t cut it in life or in marriage. Do some things together. Find something you both like to do. Carol and I are planning to go get some chicken eggs in a couple of days. Not to eat, but to hatch. But the key here is that we are going to go together.
Six things. You have one week to Valentine’s Day. Don’t show up with an empty tank. Put some fresh gas in the tank and your marital engine will be roaring!
Wouldn’t it be nice if our character was like that? What if we could develop courage and never think about it again?
What if we could learn to love really well and then put that one to rest?
We know that is not how life works. On the other hand, are we daily pursuing the development of our character? It’s actually harder than you think. On the other hand it’s not, in that we have daily opportunities to build upon our character.
Let’s take a look at several aspects of our character.
Courage: every day we are faced with choices between convenience and courage. Paul reminds Timothy that God has not given us the spirit of fear. 1 Timothy 1:6.
Discipline: this is doing today so you can have what you want tomorrow. Just like the boxer trains for the next match so we must do things today with tomorrow in sight. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV).
Delayed Gratification: sometimes we just have to work for something or wait on God’s timing. Jesus faced this in His own ministry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3 ESV).
Contentment: being thankful for what we have is always a challenge while we are on the journey to attaining or accomplishing more. But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6 ESV)
Perseverance: the test of your character is what it takes to stop you. This phrase has been repeated countless times. The apostle Paul was able to come to the end of his life saying, I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
Love: this is not to be understood as a noun. It is a verb! That means it takes work just like all the other aspects of character. This one goes right up at the top. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Realize you will never be done. You can’t work on one and then go to the next one. No. You must work at spinning all the plates at the same time. Daily you will have opportunities to continue construction on your character.
How’s the building coming?