BY LEANN DILBECK –
Ahhh… the season of love is among us. [At least by the world’s standards.] The observance of Valentine’s Day… flowers, candy, dinner, stuffed animals… the season to spoil the loves of our life. Hollywood makes millions by its portrayal of love and romance… and it starts early with animated movies like Cinderella and the rest of the princess fairy tales.
Once we reach a certain age, the desire to have that love is intrinsic. As God made His creation and made the first man, Adam, He soon realized he was lonely and created Eve. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have someone to love and to have love you back… it is very natural and very much a part of God’s design.
As a woman, I feel incredibly blessed to have the love of my life as my husband, a man who loves me just as God intended. He loves me as Christ so loved His church. His love is pure, encompassing, passionate and it creates in me a joy and security that is hard to put into words. He provides, protects, and teaches me on a daily basis and I pray all women can experience this kind of godly love. It is through his love, encouragement and confidence in me that I am able to do and be much more than I ever feel capable of. And I can only pray that I am able to return to him even half of what he brings to my life.
But we both have also learned through two decades of loving one another, that until you completely surrender to the love offered through our God… until you completely accept the love offered through our God, you are completely unable to give or receive a healthy love with another person. We all desire the “greatest love ever known,” right? We have it. John 3:16 –
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
It’s a love beyond what we can understand as humans but when we surrender our lives to Him and accept that merciful love, He begins to live in and through us enabling us to love in His way.
Our hearts are valuable and once we give them to the Lord, they are His. They should not be carelessly given to anyone not worthy of their possession. We must guard our hearts because the world is full of silver-tongued attractive temptations; therefore, we must continually pray for God’s discernment and wisdom of others. He does not desire for us to be “unequally-yolked” or with people who are not like-believers as our life-long partners. Regardless of what people proclaim, there must be fruits of His Spirit in their actions and life. In the words of J.C. Ryle – “We may give God a bowed face and a serious face, our bodily presence in His house, and a loud ‘Amen!’ but until we give God our heart, we give Him nothing at all.”
Also, when you surrender your life to Him, He fills your soul with a completeness that can only be found in a personal intimate relationship with Him and it is through experiencing his agape love that you are able to GIVE and RECEIVE that “fairy tale” love that the movies make us hungry for. Because life is no longer about living for us… it becomes about living for God and each other… just as Jesus Christ lived. You see, the greatest love story of all time is the love Christ holds for His church… so much so that He was willing to die for it.
When God is at the head… when Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life, He becomes the center of your life and He is the secret to a strong marriage and family. Does that mean you won’t have challenges? Absolutely not, in fact, it guarantees you will because the Enemy seeks to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that is Holy. Nothing on earth reflects Christ’s love of the church as much as marriage and family. The longer you are married and the more spiritually mature you become, you realize that you are much more focused on your spouse’s needs than you are on your own. It’s all by God’s perfect design.
When you are blessed to find the “love of your life,” love it as God loves us – with compassion & commitment, with respect & reverence, with loyalty and honor, with integrity and truthfulness… and treasure each and every single minute with them… good or bad… because those true great love stories are few and far between.
All for His Glory –