Guest Author

Pastor C.J. Armstrong

Associate Pastor – Bloomington Baptist Church, Bloomington, Illinois

Today’s Scripture: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1¬†John¬†4:10

We all know the story: a man and a woman are in a crowded venue and their eyes meet. Immediately, they know that this is ‘The One’. They see the flutter of doves and hear the sound of harps pealing through the air. A joyous sensation fills the two, and after a few rounds of comedy, fighting and drama, they’ll give in to the good vibes, settle down to tie the knot, and live happily forever after.

There’s a reason that scene makes for a good story: it doesn’t reflect reality at all.

The truth of the matter is that love is not mere attraction. Any relationship built exclusively on this foundation will end in disaster, and a marriage built on this idea will end in ruin. Genuine love isn’t an emotion, it is a decision: a decision to put the wants and needs of another before yourself. This decision has to be made constantly throughout the day.

Jesus Christ embodied this perfectly when He sacrificed Himself for us. As He prepared to go to the cross, He sweat drops of blood. His soul was anguished. He experienced great torment and distress as He hung on the tree making atonement for our souls. There was very little positive emotion at that particular moment. He didn’t have to die for us, but love compelled Him. He put our needs before His own comfort and demonstrated what real love is.

Marriages and relationships may bring with them positive emotions, but don’t mistake those positive emotions for love. No emotion, however positive, will last forever. Eventually, the honeymoon will end, and that emotion will run dry. (I’m sorry, Disney lied to you; there really isn’t a ‘happily forever after’. You are going to have days when you and your spouse are at odds with each other.) When that happens, a proper relationship with God and a commitment to love your spouse will carry you through the rough times and see you through to better ones.

If you’re preparing to enter a serious relationship, then please take stock of your feelings and expectations. Are you proceeding based on the thrill of the moment, or are you approaching this relationship seriously with the intent of exercising true love? Maybe you’ve been married for a while, and that initial spark has dulled. Don’t panic. The love isn’t gone until you let it be gone. Rededicate yourself to your spouse and your marriage vows.

Genuine, true love is greater than anything Hollywood has to offer. Isn’t it about time we exercised it?