Last night I did something I rarely (if ever) do: I stayed home from Church. It wasn’t because I wanted to. The last few days, I’ve been having intense sinus pressure and pain, and it was keeping me from functioning. Even so, I know God knows what He’s doing. During the time I would have been at church, a brother in Christ I had been counseling reached out to me. Had I been at church, a vulnerable person might have not received what he needed for the night. Even when I wasn’t at my best, God was at His! The brother has asked me to share (in part), what I told him last night. We were talking about love, and marriage, and I asked him to read John 4:1-15, and John 7:37-39 (I’ll ask you to do the same, and see what these have in common).
The first is about the woman at the well in Sychar, who had 5 husbands, and was living with a man who was not her husband, and Jesus told her that the well she was going to would leave her thirsty again, but the streams of Living Water that He could give would cause her to never thirst again. Again, in John 7:37-39, Jesus says He grants people to have rivers of Living Water flowing from them.
I equated both of these to love. The woman at the well was following a carnal version of love. For whatever reason, she was chasing after the physical desire, and moving on when it wasn’t working any more (sounds familiar, right?). Jesus called out her carnality, and called her to a Spiritual love that ONLY comes from God. I told the brother to think of it this way: he was trying to love his wife with a broken, worldly love. That love is based on feelings, emotions and circumstances (I didn’t say this last night, but I’ll also add, physical desire). The love Christ has for us (and which flows through us as it comes from Him), cannot come from us, or feelings, emotions, physical intimacy, or circumstances. True love flows from Him in to us, and then from us to others, in to our spouses, our children, our friends, in to strangers and our enemies. This love of Christ is where peace and joy comes from in the middle of a storm or battlefield.
I asked him, and I am asking you now, to stop asking God to fix your earthly, carnal version love, and to ask Him to fill you up with His to overflowing, so that it may fill you up, and flow from you in to all others. This is how we can love our families, our friends, and our enemies sacrificially, with the love that is pure and unbroken. His love is true love, all other love is carnal and idolatry. So be filled with the love of Christ, so that His love may reign and fill the earth!
5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.