A forty-year-old man, suffering through the classic “mid-life crisis,” sat down to talk to a preacher about his problems. He explained how his marriage of 20 years was no longer satisfying or fulfilling. Finally, he reached the “bottom line”: “I just don’t love her anymore,” he said. “What can I do?”
After a brief moment of reflection, the preacher said decisively, “As I see it, you have only ONE option…..”
The man perked up with anticipation. Was the preacher going to suggest a divorce? Would he be free to pursue the thrilling lifestyle of the younger generation that he had come to admire? Would this be his chance to regain his fleeting youth? What was the preacher’s advice?
“It seems to me,” said the preacher, “that the only thing left for you to do is REPENT and start loving her again!”
According to the Scriptures, to love one’s spouse is a COMMAND from God. For example, Ephesians 5:25 states: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” One cannot command another’s feelings, but one can command another’s WILL. The Bible defines love (Gr. agape) as a decision of the will to seek the higher good for the other person. This love is not kindled (or re-kindled) by the merit or worth of its object, but with a determination of one’s mind to acting lovingly toward another.
It is not enough to be “committed” to your spouse for life, you must be “committed to love” your spouse for life?
The ultimate model for this kind of love is God Himself! Wayne Hudson has written: “After many years, I arrived at the only definition that makes any sense. Since God is love [see 1 John 4:7-8] and we must compare our love to him, we come up short if we define it any other way.
For you see, in the final analysis, “Love is a commitment with a beginning and no end.” This is the type of love that God has for us, and the type of love that we need to have for God and others.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s love for us was not based upon our goodness or upon our merits. In fact, we are sinners, and continue to fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die for us on the cross (1 John 4:9-10) so that we can have forgiveness and eternal life with Him.
These blessings can be ours if we will respond to the love of God on His terms: places our trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then He desires that we continue to demonstrate our love for Him by continuing to follow His will. As long as we do that, He has promised to continue to cleanse us of our sins (1 John 1:7).
God has not “fallen out of love” with us; He NEVER will. He loves us with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). However, He longs for us to respond to His love with the SAME kind of love – a commitment with a beginning and no end.
How will YOU respond to His love?
God bless you!
~ David A. Sargent ~