by Malaika Wells
God has given us an awesome, redemptive, restorative, perfect love; what do we do with it?
Luke 12:48 says, From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;
and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Our marriages, and indeed our lives, are enriched as we remember that we have received this great love
and we are obligated to RECIPROCATE. In fact, we’ve been commanded to love!
Here’s some points to remember as we endeavor to "walk it out:"
I. Love God! It’s not a suggestion . In Mark 12:29-30 when Jesus was asked which commandment was the
most important he said, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
II. Love others! Oh my goodness, everybody ain’t always loveable. It’s some folks sometimes,
oh, in our flesh, we grit our teeth just standing in the room with them! But remember,
we must love our neighbors as ourselves. And then look to 1 John 4:19-21, which says,
"We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
Then Luke 6:32 says, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them." In verses 35 and 36 of that same passage, we are exhorted
to love our enemies and be merciful – full of mercy, meaning showing compassion or forbearance to an offender!
How many times in your marriage have you consider your spouse any enemy?
Even then, most especially then, we must LOVE them.
III. God’s powerful love working in us empowers/enables us to love others with a sincere heart.
1 John 4:12-13 reads, "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love
is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit."
Verse 16 says, "Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God (love) in them."
Romans 12:9-10 teaches us that love must be sincere. That we are to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.
Being devoted to one another in love, and honoring others above ourselves. It doesn’t exist within our sin nature
(our default setting) to behave this way consistently. We need God in order to love like this.
Colossians 3:12-14 reads, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity."
IV. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit! Galatians 5:22-23 reads,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Oh, how I love that Holy Trifecta – LOVE, JOY, PEACE – they follow right along in that order!
John 15:8 says, "When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father."
Life comes with trouble, trials, and tribulations to shake the branch and test the fruit!
Certainly, we’ll experience many of these "fruit inspections" within our marriages – who else, outside of God,
experiences the real you so consistently? But by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us (GLORY!),
we have a very present hope and a real expectation of success.