Love needs to be based on character, if you know and love God you see He has a lot of character we are in love with. The best thing we can do for our spouse is to grow in character as listed in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a love of choice. We choose to love God, He chooses to love us. Love of choice is the most powerful love, God calls that agape love, it’s a love that lasts, we should never settle for anything else between us and God and others. It’s a love that grows. Keep fervent in your love, allow it to stretch and strain as you watch it grow.The Nelson Study Bible describes the love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13 as agape: "a love that is based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved." This is the way God loves us. Is there anything more profound or more precious in life? God loves us -- so much so that He was willing to sacrifice His very heart for us:~Wayne Corderio
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 NKJV)Again, the Nelson Study Bible elaborates on this agape: "God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are."
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another." (John 15:16-17 NKJV)As we walk with Him, God teaches us His character and the most wonderful quality of His love. He does not withhold that love for any reason... He is the perfect example of self-less love. I really draw strength from this word of encouragement from Adrian Rogers' book, What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day: Essential Truths for Growing Your Faith: "There is nothing you can do to make God love you more; there is nothing you can do to make God love you less." Unlike humans who love according to mood, God loves perfectly according to His flawless character. If we want to love as He does, we must learn to love deliberately, purposefully, and unconditionally.
"...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6 NJKV)
"Love suffers long and is kind." (1 Corinthians 13:4a NKJV)"True love puts up with people who would be easier to give up on." ~Nelson
Just like God doesn't toss us aside when we hurt Him (every time we sin by commission or omission), we are not to toss aside those who hurt us. In fact, we are taught by Him to love any way...as Christ did while He hung on the cross being mocked, He called to His Father: "Forgive them, for they do not know what they do." (Luke 23:34 NKJV)
"Love does not envy." (1 Corinthians 13:4b NKJV)"If our love is directed toward others, we will rejoice in the blessings they receive rather than desiring those blessings for ourselves. Fundamentally, the selfless love that God calls us to does not involve pride or glory. It does not parade itself and is not puffed up. In fact, true love does not seek its own. If we truly love others, we will set aside our own plans, agendas, and entitlements for the good of another." ~Nelson
"Love is not provoked." (1 Corinthians 13:5c NKJV)Love doesn't snap at perceived wrongs. It is not quick-tempered. It is not touchy and grouchy. How I wish this particular trait of love was installed genetically! God doesn't let circumstances affect His love for me. Why do I let them affect my outward affection for those who mean the most to me?
"Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:6 NKJV)We are always to look for, pray for, seek for the best for others. We are to believe and hope all things that are good. Love never gives up. This is so hard when we've been beaten down emotionally by circumstances caused by others. God is the only one who can change lives for the better. We must be willing to love when God directs us to...sometimes we must walk away from a person to prevent harm to our children or ourselves...but our hearts must always pray and love.
"Love endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:7d NKJV)"Love accepts any hardship or rejection, and continues unabated to build up and encourage. The love described by Paul in this 'love chapter' means determining what is best for another person and then doing it. This is the kind of love that God shows us." ~Nelson
I've had a hard time watching a loved one suffer at the rejection of a spouse. It has controlled lives for a decade and a half. The children have learned terrible things about what love without God does to people. I do not have the mind of God in this matter because I am emotionally caught up in the very real pain, but I am working on learning to pray harder for the salvation of the offender. My first priority is to help my loved one get through this...to try to guide everyone to rest in the agape God has for them. And then leave the rest of it in His hands.
"Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:8a NKJV)God's love never, ever fails. We can trust in Him to guide our hearts to love the way He loves. Although love sometimes hurts, true agape will ultimately return to us--either here on this earth or most assuredly, in heaven.
- The source of love is God: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love not, that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:7-10, 16 NKJV)
- The model of love is Christ: "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16 NKJV)
- The embodiment of love by believers is love for others: "And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (1 John 4:21 NKJV)
- The extent of love is the Sacrifice of life: "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16 NKJV)
- The results of love are the abiding presence of God and life eternal: "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. We know that we have passed from death to live, because we love the brethren." (1 John 4:12, 16; 3:14a NKJV)