Andy Stanley writes: "Falling in love is easy. Staying in love, being committed to each other, is a bit more difficult."
February 14th i
s Valentine's day. This date has been co-opted by those who sell flowers, candy, and jewelry as a day to show affection for your significant other. This year February 14th is
also Ash Wednesday. As I read about staying in a loving relationship I would offer that the most precious thing you can share with your significant other is your faith in Christ. The most amazing place to share your faith with someone you love is in corporate worship. This year you have tremendous opportunity to worship with the one you love, and the one who loves you on Ash Wednesday.
Marriages based on Christ have a solid base. 1 Peter 4:8; "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." This is how we are loved, by God, in Christ. This is how we stay in love with on another. We are loved so we love. 1 Corinthians 13:7; "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." This is how God loves us in Christ. His example and his abiding presence empower us to stay in love with one another. Andy Stanley says the biggest error we make is when we think of love as a noun instead of a verb. Love is not a feeling or emotion. Love is something God does for us in Christ and something he commands us to do for one another. John 13:34; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
If we are not in relationship to Christ it is impossible to truly love someone. On Ash Wednesday we remember that we are dust. God breathed life into the dust. We are God's foremost visible creatures. God loves us. We sin. We reject God. God still loves us and sends his Son to die for us. God is love. We are loved to love one another.
Christ death on the cross may not be romantic. He suffered and died for us to demonstrate love. The barb in all of this is that this is the only way we could be redeemed. We are sinners and enemies of God. Christ had to die to reconcile us to God. The unlovable is loved unconditionally. This is the love God calls us to share with one another. This is how God calls us to love our spouse, unconditionally.
One of the best things I have found I can do in my marriage is spend time with my wife. I like to spend time with her. Yet in our busy lives we often go days without sitting and talking. We sometimes talk past each other. We do not always listen to each other. There are misunderstandings. Our relationship is better when we spend time together. I know this is true in my marriage.
Our relationship with Christ is better when we spend time with him in worship, study and prayer. Imagine if you only spoke to your spouse when something was wrong or you were in trouble. Imagine if you stayed away for weeks and were not willing to be accountable for your whereabouts or actions. Your relationship would not survive. In 2 Timothy 2:11-13, Paul quotes an early Christian hymn: "The saying is trustworthy, for: if we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful-for he cannot deny himself." God loves you. Spend time with the one who loves you on February 14th.