Our theology of love is strongly shaped by our culture. Even if we don’t realize it.
Culture teach us these life lessons:
1.Someday your prince charming will come, saving the day and rescuing you from your boring life. Prob on a white horse, maybe a bmw.
2. Love is magical and exciting all the time.
3. Love completes us. It’s finding that person that is our other half, that pulls us into wholeness.
4. Love is unstoppable, it makes us do crazy things, we have no choice in the matter.
5. When we find that special someone, music will gently waft through the air, and time will stop, she will be glowing, and we will know…she is the one.
And not just movies communicate this, music, internet, and even the way we perceive or talk about other’s relationships can build this inside us.
I believe most of you, have a head on your shoulders, and realize that love isn’t always this way. However, I also think most of us still have a warped theology of Love and may not even know it.
Why are we so obsessed with it? Why is it something we think about and strive for, pray about and dream about all the time. I think it’s spiritual.
I believe that God designed life and love so we could understand him better. In every detail of how we operate He is trying to show himself to us. We want intimacy with other people. We are designed for that. We want to be known, to be loved, to be understood. We want to be loved back, respected, and listened to. These wants/needs are how God made it to be.
He made us this way, so that we could understand how to have a relationship with Him. He made us this way, so that we could practice with each other, what He wants us to perfect with Him. He made us this way, so we could understand the type of relationship He desires to have with us.
Love is the closest thing to understanding the deepest things of Jesus. It’s what our hearts crave. It’s what we desperately want to fill our very core of who we are. And so we pursue it, endlessly.
Have you ever wondered why the heart/love is so mysterious? Why isn’t it like…ok we both have o negative blood types, that must mean we’re meant for each other. Let s get married. Or get in a line, and every body who’s name starts with J fall in love with everyone who starts with M.
Have you ever wanted to love someone, because they met all the right criteria, but you just didn’t have feelings for them? Why does that happen?
I believe it’s because falling in love/experiencing love is supposed to be a picture, an example of having a relationship with God. God is mysterious. You can’t go to church, punch your attendance card, and get to heaven. You can’t get a license plate that says Christian on it and be in relationship with God. You have to pursue him. It’s not facts and data. It’s relationship. It’s mysterious. It’s beautiful.
So the Bible says, get married once, and have sex with one person. Right? Have you ever questioned WHY? Why would God only want us to marry once, what is it that makes him hate divorce? What is it that causes him to not condone pre marital sex. Why?
I believe it’s because love, marriage, relationships are an example of how to have a relationship with God. The one, true, living God. God wants to help us understand what it means to commit to him. What it takes to commit to one person, have intimacy with one person, your whole life. Through disappointment, through disillusionment, through struggles, through doubts. It’s all picture of who we are and who we understand God to be.
He loves us so much that He takes every opportunity in every way, to show us what it means to have relationship with Him. He even uses romantic love.
Put weight on it. Love is valuable to God. Marriage is important to God. It’s the second most important thing in your whole life. Relationships are the only thing worth investing in that’s eternal. It’s the only thing that will ever add richness and wholeness and love to your life. It is beautiful and sometimes magical. It’s a mystery. And it is worth your time, energy and your commitment.
But it is the second most important thing. And placing it in a place value of first, pursuing it as the most important thing, is idolatry.
When you elevate anything into the rightful place of the one true God and put anything on the throne of your life besides God, that’s idolatry, even something that’s good and important. Even something that’s the second most important thing in all of life.
In your life stage right now, you are probably looking for a spouse, waiting for a spouse, or wondering if who you’re dating should be your spouse. That is all awesome. But when it becomes the thing you are pursuing and thinking about the most, it slips into dangerous.
False gods promise what only the true God provides. Be careful to pursue God, not pursue romantic love. Fight the culture on this, love is such a gift from God to us. But it’s all to foreshadow the biggest, best love story of all time. That is the one between each of you and the person of Jesus Christ.
1. When we put falling in love in that first place, idol position. A few different things can happen, that wear us out.
First, Heartbreak. How many of you have had your heart broken? It sucks. It can destroy us. It can feel literally painful. And if falling in love is first place in our lives, then we can start to believe that it’s not worth living anymore when we fail in this area. We can start to believe our worth or our value is diminished because finding that true love becomes our ultimate goal. We can believe things about ourselves and our value that aren’t true, because finding romantic love becomes our ultimate goal in life.
If you’re heart is broke. I’m sorry. I can assure you God is close to you in those moments. Psalm 147:3 He heals up the broken hearted and binds their wounds. But I also want to tell you, you’re gonna be ok. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. Here’s why I know… Because experiencing romantic love isn’t what we were created for, it’s just a window to understand the unbroken, perfect, incredible love that God provides for each of us. I pray you will know that love tonight.
2.When we put falling in love in first place, idol position. We put so much importance on it, that we let it lead us. We let it guide us.
It becomes our drive, our passion, we can’t resist it! We act out of impulse. We swear that it’s controlling us, not us controlling it. It’s like that first few weeks of a relationship where you talk on the phone til like 3am every night. Been there? Or you facebook chat for like 12 hours a day. I just sneezed. Omg. That’s all part of infatuation and love, and that’s cute and adorable.
When it gets dangerous is when we act on our feelings without consulting God first.
What you feel is real but it may not be true.
Your feelings, are real but fickle. Feelings are impossible to sustain indefinitely. You will never be infatuated forever with anything. Feelings are part of your biological reality. No one can sustain them forever. No one.
Think of it outside of people. How many of you were so excited to get a new phone or new computer or new gadget? And then after a certain amount of time, its not really fun anymore. That goes for everything. Endless examples.
Same with people. When we put falling in love in first place, we are counting on feelings that aren’t going to last forever.
We just can’t let our heart lead us…(as much as love songs have to say about it) jeremiah 17: 9
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
3.When we put falling or experiencing love in that first place position..those of who are single or waiting feel like you’re failing.
Especially if you’re in your upper 20’s. When in reality, you could be in the best, most perfect place that God has for you right now. Because finding the right person, doesn’t complete you. You are a whole person, fully loved, fully known by the God of the universe. Finding the right person, is not your mission on planet earth. It’s simply one way to experience a deeper understanding of what God wants for our relationship with Him.
When we quit idolizing romantic love. We can be free to go into relationships with faith not fear.
Fear causes us to over analyze why things didn’t work out between us and another person. Fear causes us to compare ourselves to the next person our ex dates. Fear says…He doesn’t want to date me anymore. He must not think I’m pretty. Will anyone ever think I’m pretty?
Fear says…Oh no. She broke up with me. She was perfect. I’ll never find anyone else. Plan B from here on out.
Fear says…My family was a mess. Divorce is hereditary. I’m not even going to try to have a good relationship.
We can be free from that fear and go into relationships with faith when we take experiencing love out of the first place position.
It’s ironic, because in the scripture in 1 Corinthians 7. Paul says..hey getting married is ok but you don’t have to. It’s up to each person. Sometimes it’s easier not to. Even if the opportunity is there, you don’t have to take it. Clearly we are not half souled people, that need someone else to complete us. Or Paul wouldn’t be saying that.
In fact, the person who we are supposed to emulate, become like, look up to, and follow in every action, Jesus, was never married. Yet he experienced intimacy at the highest level and was the most fulfilled person ever that walked the earth.
I feel like this says something…It screams what’s important? It’s not just finding a mate. It’s creating healthy relationships, a community. All your needs will never be met by one person ever, so don’t practice that before you get married.
The pressure is off to find this one true love that will fulfill your every desire. That’s a false god promising unrealistic things.
The question is…Do you have enough faith that even if you’re single, Gods plans for your life will not be compromised?
Lastly, when we put romantic love first, as an idol, it destroys relationships and even marriages.
4. We go into relationships expecting them to deliver fulfillment.
We put expectations on other people, whether we realize it or not. Us girls have enormous expectations for you men, when all you’re really thinking about is shooting something and eating it.
We believe someone can fill our whole heart but they can’t. So we go from person to person trying to feel full. Or get disappointed in marriage when it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Marriage and love does not make you live happily ever after. Ask anyone who’s been married more than a year. It’s complicated, it full of hard work, less than ideal outcomes.
What makes marriages last is friendship and compatibility in central values. And commitment.
Believing that experiencing or falling in love is first priority in life, creates this environment that if our spouse isn’t giving you butterflies anymore then it’s time to cut and run.
I’m not here to steal the magic or the glory out of love. I’m only reminding you that it’s just a part of the story. Culture desperately tries to convince us it’s the whole story. But that puts enormous pressure on you to find that magical needle in the gigantic hay stack.
In John 4 it reads..
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Jesus says…I’ve watched you put experiencing love/falling in love at the center of your life and it fail. You have had 5 husbands. Or maybe to us he says, you have had 5 girlfriends, you have had 3 one night stands, you have longed for “the one” for three years…
And the woman says, sir give me water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming back to draw it. Love will never quench our spiritual thirst, its not designed to.
Jesus says, I have living water to offer.
Living water that satisfies. That takes the desperation out of our souls. That gives us freedom to enter in and out of relationships, because they aren’t the ultimate goal to reach in life.