If you had to define love,
what would you say?
Would it include the word “sacrifice”
or “to trust and obey”?
When I first got married, at age 23,
I defined love totally different than I do today.
Love used to have a selfish motive -
it was totally about me.
But then I learned about love the hard way -
I experienced adultery.
I learned about love,
by overcoming hate.
I learned the power of repentance,
the power of forgiveness
and how to die to self.
I learned love was not easy.
It was all I could do to breath.
I had to focus on Christ,
and wait for him to provide the Way.
Eventually, the Lord gave me a new name.
Much like Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob
- after wrestling with God.
Love is messy!
Especially when you don’t walk into a relationship
knowing what love really is.
Love is about endurance
even when you want to quit.
Love is not about a “dream boat”
or a “shining prince;”
Love is not about a possession
or “scoring a hot chick.”
Love is not about lust or romance
or buying a house with a picket fence;
Love is not about competition,
or proving who can be the best.
No. That’s not it!
That is not love at all.
Love is about commitment
and the journey between life and death.
Love is what Abraham does in Genesis 22.
Love is about faith in action,
trusting God all the way through!
The scripture says,
“Some time later God tested Abraham.
He said to him, “Abraham!”
and Abraham replied, “Here I am.”
God said, “Take your son, your only son,
whom you love - Isaac -
and go to the region of Moriah.
Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering
on a mountain I will show you.”
"Early the next morning Abraham got up
and loaded his donkey.
He took with him two of his servants
and his son Isaac.
When he had cut enough wood
for the burnt offering,
he set out for the place
God had told him about.
On the third day - Abraham looked up
and saw the place in the distance.
He said to his servants,
“Stay here with the donkey
while I and the boy go over there.
We will worship
and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood
for the burnt offering
and placed it on his son Isaac,
and he himself carried the fire
and the knife.
As the two of them went on together,
Isaac spoke up
and said “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,”
but where is the lamb
for the burnt offering?”
“God himself will provide the lamb
for the burnt offering, my son.”
And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place
God had told him about,
Abraham built an altar there
and arranged the wood on it.
He bound his son Isaac
and laid him on the altar,
on top of the wood.
Then he reached out his hand
and took the knife to slay his son.
But the angel of the Lord
called out to him from heaven,
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,”
he said. “Do not do anything to him.
Now I know that you fear God,
because you have not withheld
from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up
and there in a thicket
he saw a ram caught by its horns.
He went over and took the ram
and sacrificed it as a burnt offering
instead of his son.
So Abraham called that place
The Lord Will Provide.
And to this day it is said,
“On the mountain of the Lord
it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord
called to Abraham from heaven
a second time and said,
“I swear by myself, declares the Lord,
that because you have done this
and have not withheld your son,
your only son, I will surely bless you
and make your descendants
as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as the sand on the seashore.
Your descendants will take possession
of the cities of their enemies,
and through your offspring
all nations on earth will be blessed,
because you have obeyed me.”
Then Abraham returned
to his servants, and they set off
together for Beersheba.
And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.”
It’s hard to believe
that true love is not about self at all -
but about suffering, sacrifice
and working your way through.
Dear friends, love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God
and knows God.
Whoever does not love, does not know God,
because God is love.
This is how God
showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son
into the world
that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
One day, God is going to call our name.
He is going to say, “
“Who do you say I am?”
He will know if you believe
He is the Son of Man.
Jesus said to his disciples,
“If anyone wants to come after Me,
he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily
and follow Me.”
You see, love is about total intimacy.
It requires the deepest vulnerabilities.
It requires to trust and obey
the Great I Am every step of the way!
“Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.”
“Love bears ALL things,
believes ALL things,
hopes ALL things,
endures ALL things.
Love NEVER ends.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Jesus - He is the purest expression
of God’s perfect love.
Jesus - the ONLY WAY back to God.