Over the years how often I have heard, “I love him/her but I just don’t feel like I fit the marriage yoke very well.” The spiel goes on ad infinitum.
Even a glance at “love” in the Bible gives the idea that true love, involves a sense of responsibility to the loved. Thus far in a few sentences you will note love, responsibility, and with responsibility, duty. Take this verse for instance:
Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,”
If you are, as Twain would say, “afeared,” of love, you are so with good reason. While true love is a, many splendored thing, it is also chock full of plain old fashioned duty. One secret of overcoming a lack of “feeling in love” is to carry out the duty to the one to whom you promise to love, honor and cherish. Simple? Yes, but perhaps the hardest thing in life to actually do. To give unconditional love to a person as Christ did and does requires surrender to His Word, His Spirit and the crucifying of the self.
The old Roman Senator, Marcus Tullis Cicero put it like this, “Non nobis solum nati sumus.” I used the Latin to give a hint that this may not be easy for you to accept, but accept it you must if you are to truly love in the imitation of Jesus Christ for His bride. Here’s the meaning: (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)
To love all out, and then that kind of love fail to be returned is one of the acid tests of love. I’m sure you’ve heard of the man who said to the love of his life, “I love you so much I would die for you!” To which the one loved replied, “You’re always saying that, but you never do it!” The strongest “agape” derivative means a love that seeks the benefit of the other without expecting anything in return! Most of us, via the duty of the love we do have, are able to cultivate a heart ready for a deeper love by carrying out the duty to the one we love as best we can. Christ’s conversation with Peter in John 21 bears this out beautifully.
Duty can be carried out when it’s based on lasting love, as demonstrated by Jacob in his carrying out an outrageous agreement with Laban, the father of Rachel. Notice the power of love here:
Ge 29:20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed [only] a few days to him because of the love he had for her.
If we are commanded to do something, and we are, then Christ will give us the power to do so if we are willing! Ephesians 5:25, cited earlier is such a command! Get with it.
Copyright © 2015 Larry Lilly
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