Here we are, fresh into a month that is intent on celebrating love. I go to the grocery store and I am thrown into a sea of red, pink and white. I go to the pharmacy to grab a prescription for my double-ear-infection child and I am surrounded by heart-shaped balloons and romanticized candy. You can’t hide from it, it will find you. We live in a society that believes in this idea that love can be marketed and sold – the idea that love can be bought.
But, Valentine’s Day is not to be what takes the fall for this…it cannot be the scapegoat of this mindset. From movies, to the books we read and the songs we sing, we are inundated with a type of love that is self-pleasing and one that can disappear just as quickly as it was found. The fact is, it really does come down to a matter of the heart. In our determination to find that person who will “complete” us, we are missing out on an even greater joy and an even greater kind of fulfillment. We instead seek out a path that is mediocre, at best, or leaves us achingly longing and broken at worst.
“Listen to people talk all the time. They fell out of love. “I just don’t love him anymore.” In fact, the thing that’s probably most frowned upon in predominant culture when it comes to love, is someone who loves by will – what the Hebrews called ahava. It was a love of the will. It was “I’m not going anywhere.”
Don’t romanticize that. That’s not rose petals and violin and candles being lit and, “Oh, honey, I’m not going anywhere.” All right? That’s something on fire over here, a knife flung past your head, you’re hunkered down, there’s chaos everywhere, and you say, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Ahava says, “I’ve seen the ugly side of you and I’m staying.” Yet we would view that in our culture predominantly as unhealthy. “Surely God doesn’t want you for that. Your life is so short. Are you really going to spend it like that?” In our culture, love is flippant. It can shift and change at any given moment. It is not sustaining, and it is not safe. If you want to try to get a handle on why people are putting off marriage or not getting married at all, you only need to look at how we’re defining love. Why would anyone want that?” – Matt Chandler (Sermon: The Initiating Love of God)
If you get a chance, click on the link above to either listen to or read the rest of the sermon.
Whether single, dating, engaged or married – we need to seriously take some time to rethink our idea of love, reevaluate our expectation of love and to redefine our meaning of love. This month, if you visit my Facebook page (Chronicles of a Keeper), you will find various articles, video clips, and quotes that are intended to reboot our perspective and understanding of love and marriage. My focus on this topic this month has nothing to do with an immense amount of knowledge I have in those areas, because I don’t. I do, however, have experience in the brokenness and hurt that comes from the pursuit of a self-seeking, self-gratifying, “try to fix them”, and/or I-want-you-to-complete-me type of love. My husband and I did everything wrong before we began to do anything right. The two of us could each share stories that reveal just how disastrous “love” can be. BUT, we can each also tell you, that only because of, and through, the grace of God, we discovered and are growing in a love that is ahava, that is passion, and that is self-sacrificing…a love that is real. Just as He redeemed and restored our souls and made us new in Christ, He also took our marriage into His hands of grace and presented it to us redeemed and restored; He returned it new. My heart so desperately wants to help others find the beauty and joy of true love – A love that first seeks God and then is able to be given, as that of gift, to a spouse.
I hope you are able to join me this month as we pursue the One who pursued us first…and in that pursuing of Him we learn how to love our spouse in a deeper and more intimate way than we could ever imagine. I hope you will come along side and say, “yes” to fighting for marriages. I hope that, together, we can encourage each other and others to seek and cling to godly marriages. Can you imagine the impact that can be made when marriages can step up and be a light to shine the gospel?