Love Is the Secret Ingredient — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Love Is the Secret Ingredient — Morning Devotions

God has apparently 'hardwired' us to 'feel' love. But love, especially in marriage, should be more than just feeling. This is God's kind of love.

By Chris WittsSaturday 16 Dec 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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We are thinking about marriage and family life, something many of us understand and take part in—and often have trouble with the marriage ceremony.

It is usually a happy occasion, and I guess you’ve attended a wedding and you know what I mean. Everyone likes to attend, because it’s nice and cheerful (usually) with laughter and a bride and groom who make promises to each other. They promise to love and care for the other.

So what is love anyway? Some of the most astute observers of what love is like are children! One child for example said: “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” In our society love is often about how each other smells, how each other looks, how each other kisses, how we ‘feel’ about each other.

And that’s OK. Feelings are important in love. One child said: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Why would that be true? Because of the way those who love each other ‘feel’ about each other.

Feeling love is OK—in fact God has apparently ‘hardwired’ us to ‘feel’ love. And that ‘feeling’ of love is rarely more prominent than in a wedding ceremony where a young couple exchanges their vows of love. That emotion of love is part of what has drawn them to that commitment in their lives.

God’s Kind of Love

The Bible has what is known as the ‘love chapter’ in 1 Corinthians 13, where love is described in various ways, but it doesn’t talk about love as an emotion, interestingly enough. It says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

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These are not feelings; these are actions, behaviours. This is what love ‘looks like’. Like I said, children understand love. Perhaps that’s because they don’t think in abstract ways. They understand what they can see, and touch and hear.

One child said: “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” And still another child told of “…when my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”

These words of 1 Corinthians aren’t deep theological concepts:

  • Love is patient—when your spouse doesn’t clean the house, or leaves clothes on the floor.
  • Love is kind—when we are are tired or irritable.
  • It doesn’t rejoice in evil but rejoices in truth—this is the type of person who shields their family from false things of the world and doesn’t allow those type of influences in the front door; or the back door.
  • Love always protects each other.
  • It always trusts each other.
  • It always hopes the best for each other.
  • It always perseveres with each other.
  • Love never fails. It never gives up, it never throws in the towel.

These are not flowery emotions; this is love you can see. And that’s what a married couple need to remember, not just on the wedding day, but years into the marriage. This is God’s kind of love—the love he wants us to show: men to our wives, and wives to your husbands.

Love in Marriage

The love of God is so much greater than the love we talk about usually. Because if a marriage is based on God’s love, it won’t manipulate, or be easily threatened, or encourage lies or retaliate. It’s different, and better—and it’s about being secure and faithful within the marriage. Without God in the centre of our marriages, this is too often what we end up with: a selfish relationship that is self-centred and self-focused.

Now some people do seem to understand biblical love better than others. However the Apostle John wrote that if you want to know what love is really like, we need to get to know God. He wrote in one of his epistles:

  • “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7 – NIV)
  • “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8 – NIV)
  • “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16 – NIV)

They are tremendous verses from the Bible—that’s all well and good.

A Foundation for a Happy Marriage

God is love—but how do I know how to love? Well, God tells us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 – NIV). And then God has shown us:

  • “God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life.” (1 John 4:9 – CEV)
  • “We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other.” (1 John 3:16 – CEV)

What a great foundation for a happy marriage! In fact, this is the model God uses for marriage: “A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.” (Ephesians 5:25 – CEV)

Love should be something others can see—not something that is ‘understood’. I heard of one man who once told his wife, I told you once I loved you—that should be enough. No, it’s not enough. Not for us who belong to Christ. Love should be something so obvious that even children can understand it.

One teacher told of the day her 4th-grade class was working on Father’s Day cards to accompany the gifts they had made. She suggested that the students might illustrate the cards with a favourite activity or something their father liked a lot—golf or fishing, for example. Suddenly Gus raised his hand. “May I draw a picture of my mother?” he asked. “My dad really likes her a lot.”