Understanding and practicing a command from God like “love one another,” requires knowing His definition of the word. According to His own Book, He IS love. He goes into quite a bit of detail describing what love is. Let’s explore those details. Even if we’ve heard them many times, there’s something new He’ll show every time we revisit them.
Probably the earliest look into the origin of love, God’s love, which would, of course, be eternal; without beginning or end. The earlier historic insight, that I know of, into God’s love would be what I would call the ancients who saw the Trinity, God in three persons: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. I’ve mentioned Ministry In The Image Of God… In that book the author discloses that the ancients who studied and wrote about, interacted with the Trinity, called Their love relationship The Divine Dance. That caused an explosion of revelation in my own mind and heart and led me to see the action that the Trinity took in expression of “God so loved… that…” as Them adding us to Their Divine Dance Floor. It still and will always, infuse my soul with deep joy to ponder that beautiful scene. That full Dance Floor scene would surely be part of the picture Jesus may have seen when He said, “I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11
To the Christians living in Corinth, the Apostle Paul lists some of those details, which our Lord Jesus taught him in that time alone with Him in Arabia after his baptism. Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].
Let’s take the command to those seeking special spiritual gifts and experiences and hear what Paul now continues to disclose: But [in contrast to love that never fails] as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is fragmentary and incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.
Now, let’s take our Lord’s instructions regarding the importance of love, as passed to us through the Apostle Paul. Pause: Preliminary to His message to married couples in Eph 5, we really need the details of generally living life in ch 4, and ch 5:1-21, so please read through that before we focus in on wives and husbands… I recommend that you read aloud and if available in the hearing of someone you love. If they will, it’s also good to let them switch with you and read aloud in your hearing. Reading aloud, lets our brain, through physical senses, process what God is saying to us, as well as how our heart is responding. Double blessing, like it says in the last portion of His whole book. Rev 1:3
Now, to married couples, Marriage Like Christ and the Church, in contrast to the lost world’s I/me/mine, destructive practices, Eph 5:22-24:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
Eph 5:25-31: Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
To sum up, Eph 5:32-33: This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church. However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with moving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].
Before you take the burden completely on yourself as if it’s you alone that must carry it, I have very good news for you. All this, the general parts for everybody, as well as the specific details for each person in their particular position, is the heart, the nature and disposition of one person, Jesus. If we continually give to Him our entire heart, mind and body to be His to operate as His heart, mind and body as He wishes, we find that the strength, endurance and patience are right there in us to practice and trust. Our part of the work is simply to ask, seek and knock. In other words, keep all that He is in us in view [authority] and trust it to be there to activate His own graces, by our surrender to what He wants to do. Trust that He’s there and will keep what we’ve committed to Him, and guard against anything coming between us and Him. Commit every challenge to Him, wait before Him until He steps forward in our shoes, speaks with our lips. Just practice and in no time we’ll taste a joy that He calls,”FULL!” And just one other thing, “Though he may have a long-established camp in our heart, if we resist the devil he WILL flee. Practice. Evil is only overcome by good and there is but one good, that’s our Heavenly Father. God, You’re so good, I’ll sing it through eternity.” Jesus’ homie, t