Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
Several chapters back, we spoke about agape love. The type of unconditional love that our amazing God shows to us. We all talk about how we “love unconditionally”, but is that really, really true? How easy is it for us to love our spouses when they are doing something to aggravate us? When his eyes or heart may be wandering or just not paying attention to you? Do you feel love for your spouse in that moment? When you have been wronged in some way, whether it be little or big, can you honestly say, “I love my spouse unconditionally”?. Instead, you probably feel more disgust, contempt and utter disappointment. Those words don’t describe agape love. But when you think about it, God is the only one who loves us the same during everything we go through. Even when we turn our back on Him, He loves us with that type of love.
Have you figured out the secret to The Love Dare yet?
The secret is it is impossible to love unconditionally on your own. Yes, you read that correctly. Let me repeat it. It is impossible to love unconditionally on your own. As sinful, imperfect human beings, we are incapable of loving unconditionally. Have you ever tried and tried to show your spouse how much you love them and for whatever reason, it doesn’t make a difference? How many times have you tried to let love rule and contol your anger and it hasn’t worked, only to get upset and feel guilty because you couldn’t do it? You see, no matter how hard WE try to make things work, to show love, we all fall short. We are incapable of showing agape love by ourselves.
It’s kind of depressing isn’t it? As long as you look to yourself for the answers and to how the type of love that will withstand all the ups and downs of marriage, the end result is probably not going to be a successful marriage. So, what do you do about it?
A passage from the book states this,
“Love is from God” (I John 4:7). And only those who have allowed Him into their heart through faith in His Son, Jesus—only those who have received the Spirit of Christ through belief in His death and resurrection—are able to tap into love’s real power. “Apart from me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But He also said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). God has promised through Christ to dwell in your heart through faith so that you can “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 NKJV). When you surrender yourself to Christ, His power can work through you. Even at your very best, you are not able to live up to God’s standards. But He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
That’s how you love your spouse.
When you resist God’s love and place in your life, you are blocking your ability to not only have an amazing transformation happen your own life, you are blocking God from showing agape love through you. Take notice of that word. Through. It’s not something YOU are doing, it is something He is doing THROUGH you. It’s as if God’s heart is extending from heaven through your heart. When you surrender yourself to Christ, His spirit comes alive in you. You now have access to the wisdom, knowledge and power of the Most High God, within you. It doesn’t require any books to read or a degree. It only requires a surrender of your heart to Jesus.
You cannot do this without Him. He is the one who knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows every hair on your head. He knows your successes and your failures, the times you’ve made worldly things a priority, the times you’ve strayed, but He also knows the times when you called on Him. He knows it all- the good, the bad and the ugly. It reminds me of the Sidewalk Prophets song, You Love Me Anyway.
I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
The secret is, you cannot fix your marriage or strengthen it on your own. You cannot have the type of marriages that fairytales are made of. It is impossible. Without God. So, now the question is… What are you going to do?
Maybe as you have journeyed through this Love Dare, you have felt God tugging at your heart, touching places in your soul that you didn’t know existed. Maybe God has been saying, “Come to me.” and you just weren’t sure. Maybe you feel like your sins are more than any God could ever deal with, that the baggage you bring to the table is more than God could or wants to handle. Leave them at the door and walk through. A new life is waiting for you right inside. Matthew 7:8 says, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Nowhere does it say, knock and Jesus will maybe open the door for you. It says the door WILL be opened for you. You just have to surrender.
Or you might be someone who has already surrendered their life to Christ, but you have walked away from your relationship with Him. Life took over and you let God take second place to everything going on that seemed more important. You are now a shadow of who you used to be. Maybe even at one time you were really involved at church, running bible study groups and doing everything you thought you had to do to keep your faith going but you forgot one important part. All of those things are great by themselves, but they don’t take the place of a personal relationship with Jesus where you are studying His word and speaking to Him daily. Look at your marriage. Did you get so busy living life that your relationship with your spouse suffered? Maybe that is why you are reading this blog or participating in this Love Dare. Something is not right. Things may not be wrong, but things aren’t the way you want them to be. That’s how God feels about His relationship with you. He wants you back. In a big way.
What’s it going to be? Will you let Him in and allow Him to show you, through you, what it is like to love unconditionally?
Look back over the dares from the previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible to you? Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love? Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination.
At the end of the day, answer these questions:
1. What do you believe God is saying to you?
2. Is there a stirring in your heart?
3. What decision have you made because of this?
Congratulations! You have completed Day 19! Tomorrow’s dare is Love is Jesus Christ.
If you have made a decision, I would love for you to let me know so that I can pray for you specifically. You can email me at email@example.com or you can comment below!