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Marriage Conference | Love Finds Its Meaning in Christ

Love finds its meaning in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 we see Paul describing how love acts. Our culture today is confused by what love is. We know that Jesus is our ultimate example of how to love. Love places your spouse higher than your emotions. In this session, Spencer Davis walks through 11 things that describe God’s love.

This passage isn’t about marriage, it’s about God’s love. We get to mirror His love for us to our spouses. Love is a beautiful dying to self, so let’s fight to love like Jesus.


  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
  • Proverbs 27:4
  • Philippians 2
  • John 12:24

Free Advent Bible Study

Let’s stand back and marvel at God’s grace and sovereignty, and focus on God this Christmas. May we join with the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).

Join this 25-day Advent journey as we worship Christ and celebrate his coming.

View Transcript:

Morning everybody. Man, it is beautiful outside. It’s such a nice day. I’m excited. So my name is Spencer. If I hadn’t had a chance to meet you, I’ve been at Snowbird for 24 years. So it’s home. I love it. My wife, her name is Amy. Amy, are you in here? Maybe, maybe not. Hey, there she is. Okay. So we’ve been married for 17 years and we’ve got three kids. We got a 12-year-old, we have a 14-year-old, and we have a 15-year-old.

And so our 15-year-old and I yesterday went to the DMV to go get our, try to get her learner’s permit, which is, I don’t know if y’all been through that, but it is terrifying cause you think this kid is not old enough to drive a car. Like this is just a babe. But, so, I don’t know what the DMV is like at y’all’s place, but here it’s terrible. There is, so it’s one tiny office here in Andrews and it services all of our county and all the next county. There’s a couple of counties that touch us that don’t have a DMV at all.

And so basically you make an appointment and you’re like, I made an appointment for myself and it’s three months out that you’re waiting on an appointment. And when you get in there, so I decided we’re going to skip the line, whatever. And my daughter’s name is Alani. I’m like, Alani, let’s just go and just sit in there and see what happens. Well, when you sit in there, there’s one employee at the desk and every person that’s in there takes 30 minutes. So it’s like 30 minutes. And then the next person, so you can kinda calculate how much time you’re gonna spend in there. So you walk in and there’s like eight or 10 people, you know, okay, a half hour for each one. We’ve got five hours.

All right. So every person is crucial. And so Alani and I opened the doors to my truck and we’re gonna walk in the DM… All right. I’m telling this story, but I, can y’all listen to the sermon after I tell this story about myself? ‘Cause we start walking into the DMV and there is an older lady who’s in front of us. She’s walking into the DMV and I know, well, that’s 30 minutes right there. And so I can’t turn and say to my 15 year old, Hey, let’s hammer down and get in front of this old lady. But that’s what I wanted to say with all my heart. Like that’s 30 minutes right there. And so I resisted the urge, everything inside of me. I’m like, all right, all right, all right. And so we go into the building.

Well, I know ’cause I’ve just been there a couple of months ago. You got to go past the waiting room to this kiosk and sign in or whatever. And so there’s a waiting room right here and then there’s a kiosk. We’re right behind this little old lady. And man, she turns, she’s kinda confused. And she turns right into the waiting room instead of going to the kiosk. And I could have said something, and I did not. And I walked right past her cause I knew they’re going to tell her, you gotta go to the kiosk for you to check in. Then you can sit down. So I just, I went straight to the kiosk and in about three seconds she was standing like this, like right beside me.

She never said anything, but I was like, and I started to feel kinda bad ’cause it was like, she knew what I just did. Now, and so I punch in the little thing and we sit down. Okay. So we sit down across from each other for about an hour and it’s nice. She’s the nicest old lady. But in the back of my mind, I’m like, does she know? She knows. She knows what. She knows what we did. And so we’re having great conversation. And so after about an hour, a guy says, “Hey man, how long y’all been in here?” And I said, since like 2 o’clock, and the lady across from me said, yeah, I came in at 2:00. And I said, yeah, yeah. We were right about the same time. And she looked me dead in the eyes and said, you jumped right in front of me at the kiosk. Oh, I’m so sorry. I was just like, I’m so sorry. And she’s like, that’s okay. I got all day. No problem. But I felt terrible about it. And I’m like, ah, and so they get down to the numbers or whatever. I know I’m going in. I’m like, Alani, I think we’re next.

We’re kinda you can see the list and I don’t know how it happened, but on the list, like my numbers, K903 and hers is like D147. She’s right below me like this. And suddenly the speaker cuts on. And they’re like D147. And the old lady stands up and she walks right over to me and she bends over and goes, I still beat you. And I was like, I love that. I didn’t get her number, but I was like, I love you. That lady is the best.

So that happened yesterday. That’s not like a made-up story. That happened yesterday to me.

So turn in your Bibles. 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient. That’s the verse we’re gonna talk about. Love is patient. I tell you that story to tell you, Hey, for real, we’re gonna talk about love is patient. And I’m tell you that story to say, I’m not preaching on my own authority here, right? I screw up all the time. Read this whole list. And I got like a, Oh, Oh, shoot. Oh, shoot. Oh shoot. So we don’t preach from our own authority here. Brody talked about last night when we look at love, we look at Jesus. He’s the source. He’s the example of love. All right. So last night’s passage, that’s like 1 Corinthians 15. I’m at 13, right? Yes. 1 Corinthians 13. All right. So yeah. When we look at last night’s passage, man, that was a wild one. I love that sermon. It was man. It’s wild because in that passage, he’s saying that love is prized way more than competency.

Love is prized more than eloquence. Love is prized more than faith.

That’s a shocking verse. If you’re a Christian, it’s meant to rattle our understanding and our values. I think, ’cause I think we emphasize the wrong things a lot. We value knowledge and your speaking ability and all these things, but we don’t value love like we ought. Love’s like the consolation prize. He’s not good at a lot of things, but he loves people. He’s a real loving guy, but really not everybody can do it. And in fact, if you look at this list, I think very few people love well. In fact, most people are confused by love. As much as our culture is driven by love. You think every song that’s on the radio, every movie that’s on is talking about love. There’s a love story in it, but our culture is very confused about what love is. Truly.

And we think love is compatibility and happiness and sexual excitement. We think it’s planning romance. We think it’s this feeling that you’ll just know. And when I think at least we’re culturally confused, turn on the radio. And right now it’s emphasizing sex more than anything else. Love equals sex. And I’d say as a culture, we’re at least confused as to what love is. So Paul, what’s interesting is last night, he gives us a definition of love. Love finds its meaning in Christ. He is the source and goal. That agape love is bigger than sex or attraction. So last night he defined what love is. And today is really practical. He’s going to describe how love acts. Brody talked about DC talk. The love is a verb. It’s true. Like we’re gonna look at 11 different verbs. They’re all in English you read them through. Okay. So we’re gonna be in verse four through six.

Let me just read it real quick. 

“Love is patient and kind. Love doesn’t envy or boast. Love’s not arrogant or rude. Love doesn’t insist on its own way. It’s not irritable. It’s not resentful. It doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing. It rejoices with the truth.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Those are the verses we’re gonna read this morning. Those are 11 verbs that we’re gonna look at this morning, because he’s really, it’s a description of how love acts. Last time we looked at what love is, is Christ agape love. Today it’s gonna be how do you bend Christ agape love out towards others? We’re not gonna talk about romance and compatibility or happiness and attraction. Paul’s gonna bring things out of the theoretical, out of movies and songs and Instagram, and he’s gonna bring things into real life. Thank you, Paul. Like he’s gonna bring things on the level of dishes and kitchen and living room. He’s gonna bring things to the practical cause that’s what we need. So let’s jump right in and remember the context here.

This is not primarily a passage about marriage. It’s a passage to the body, about the body, about loving the church.

But man, is it applicable? Because he’s defining for us how love acts. And it’s easy to look at the body and say, the church is not really characterized by love nowadays, or my church is not really a loving church in the community. What I wanna do is I wanna zoom in more to, is your marriage characterized by this kind of love? And more specifically, are you, not your spouse; I want you to look at you. Are you characterized by this sort of Christ agape love? And we’re gonna take our time as we walk through these 11 verbs because they’re worth it.

If love is the most important thing, like what he talked about last night, if I give up my body to be burned, but I don’t have love, I’m nothing.

If love is that important. And here he’s gonna show us how love acts. It’s important for us to slow down. Now we’re not slowing down. ‘Cause these things are hard to understand. They’re easy to understand the hard-to-do. That’s it. Easy to understand, hard to do at least consistently. It’s not important that you like these things or that you resonate with them or that you hear something you’ve never heard this morning. Here’s what I think is important this morning, that each of us hold up our love, not necessarily our spouse’s, that we hold up our love to this description of Christ’s love and see how it compares. You hold up your love, your actions, your living room to Christ’s love and see how it compares.

So 11 qualities, 11 verbs. All right, y’all ready? Good. Let’s jump in. 

11 Qualities of Love

1 – Love is Patient

Number one, first quality of love is love is patient.

What do you think about when you think about patience? The DMV. When we think about patience, we think about waiting rooms. We think about traffic and this is not just, obviously he’s not talking about patience in general. If he’s saying love is patient, love is a verb. It has an object. That object is something or someone. This is talking about people. It’s talking about patience towards the actions and attitudes of others. Now the Greeks in this time, they valued the opposite. Aristotle would praise the refusal. Here’s a quote from him. He praised the refusal to tolerate any insult, to tolerate any injury and the readiness to strike back in any hurt. This is pretty revolutionary to Paul, for Paul to praise the opposite.

Patience with any injury, with any insult, with any inconvenience.

Now a lot of us are like, okay, be patient. Let’s go move on. Check. A lot of the guys in the room, right? Chill out. We gotta go deeper, right? Why is he saying be patient? Why does he say love is patient? Well, what is the opposite? What is impatience? Think about it. Why do we get impatient? What is impatience is frustration. Why do we get frustrated? We get frustrated ’cause things don’t go our way. Things don’t go like we think they ought. We, I was wanting things to go like this, but it’s not working out like I’d hoped. For sure. Now there’s going to be times where people are inconvenient to your plan, maybe even your spouse. And it is really talking about those situations like, and here’s what I think he’s saying.

This patience slows down my timeline and create space for others.

And I’m not even just talking about getting out the door and getting to church and getting to work on time and getting to the conference on time. I’m not even partially we’re talking about that, but here it’s a big spectrum here. I think it’s patience with life’s decisions. Even she says, I’m not ready for a kid. I’m not sure I’m there yet. Love put yourself in the other’s position to be able to understand their pace. But when I say that patience is a spectrum, literally, the word means long suffering. Love is, love suffers long, slow to anger, long tempered, long fused. It’s a spectrum. It goes from inconvenience to injury ’cause the implication by the word is there’s going to be times where people injure or insult you, where they do something to cause suffering, to cause anger on purpose or not on purpose. And in that it’s strength to suffer long.

Patience is strength.

Weakness retaliates is strength to be patient. Pause. Let me step out for just a second. We’re reading these different qualities of love. I wanna give a caveat because it may be the case that there’s somebody in the room that’s experiencing abuse in your marriage or like a blatant, harmful sin in your marriage. That is a different animal. And let me just say if that’s you or if you think things have crossed the line into abuse, whether that’s verbally or emotionally or sexually or physically, you need to open up with somebody. You need to open up with somebody that you trust and get help. That’s not primarily what I’m talking about here. I’m not saying love endures physical abuse. That’s not what I’m saying. Understood. All right, let’s keep rolling. Patience.

What I’m saying is patience is the strength to slow down when you want to blow up.

That’s it. It’s quenching the emotion of inconvenience, right? We all get inconvenienced and there’s this, there’s this immediate flare up. There’s a short fuse where I did not want things to go this way. Patience is quenching the emotion of inconvenience when everything inside of you wants to jump up and voice frustration. Patience is the quality that quenches the me first emotion. Y’all, imagine if you had this in your marriage for real, think about this. Imagine if you could just turn down your emotions when you’re wronged. If you could turn down that knee-jerk reaction when you’re inconvenienced, man, that’d be like a superpower for real. If you could just turn that down. Love does that for others.

Love places the other higher than my emotions.

Love places your spouse higher than the words they just said. Love places your spouse above the inconvenience of their timetable, not adding up with yours. Love is patient. She’s more important to me than the emotion I’m feeling right now. Here’s the deal; to love like this requires a death of sorts. Each one of these things, what I want to look at is each one of these qualities of love requires you to die in some way and love to be patient requires a death for our desire for a trouble free life, for a desire for an uninterrupted schedule, for a desire of ideal plans. It requires a death, but the opposite of love is me first, me best, me, me, me. Love is patient. 

2 – Love is Kind

Second one, love is kind. Love is kind. Now when you think about kindness, we think about somebody that’s really sweet, somebody that’s really nice. Oh, she’s so kind. But this is not the word that’s really used for kindness is not sweetness.

It’s not just a sweet attitude. Basically, patience quenches the emotions of injury. But kindness; what it does, the literal word, the root word is usefulness. Basically what it’s saying is if patience quenches the emotion of injury, kindness returns usefulness back. Kindness returns goodness back for injury. Love is patient quenches the emotion. Love is kind. It returns goodness for injury. Think honestly about this. What do you return for inconvenience and injury? Is it goodness? Do you honestly in that moment, do we honestly think about what’s useful and helpful and meaningful for our spouse, even when they’re being irritating, even when they’re being ugly? Y’all kindness is strength. It is strength. It’s the outworking of patience. It’s returning good for inconvenience and insult and injury.

This is gonna require a death.

It’s gonna require a death for our kind of make them pay mentality for that tit-for-tat. We’re keeping a record here and I’m going to make them pay. No, love is kind. It gives back good for evil. 

3 – Love Does Not Envy

Third one. We’ve got 11 of these. We’re gonna move quicker. Love does not envy. Love does not envy.

Now, a lot of times you don’t see envy in a marriage. Maybe you do. Maybe you see it sometimes, but you see it in the church, right? Why would there be, Paul talks about in Philippians 2, he’s talking about be warned, be warned, be warned. He says, the enemy to oneness, the enemy to unity is envy. Why would envy and rivalry show up in the church? Well, if you go, Oh, last night we had a, so in this County, there’s three high schools. Only two of them have football teams. So two football teams in this County, next town over is called Murphy. This town’s called Andrews. And last night they played each other. And it was like all three of my kids went to that game and it’s like a rivalry game. Why is there such a, why wouldn’t we all be friends? Everybody’s played. Y’all like football.

We like football. Like, why are they enemies? ‘Cause they both want the same thing. We wanna be the best in the County. Y’all wanna be the best in the County. We got the same goal and there can only be one on top. Why is there envy and rivalry in the church? ‘Cause we wanna be seen as best and we’re willing to put others down if it means that we go up and that’s where things get dark. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t do that. Philippians:2, it says do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself. Y’all, I did not like that phrase in the Bible. That’s terrible to say. I didn’t like the way the Bible said that, but I didn’t. And so I tried to look in the Greek to see if there was some sort of loophole or something. And there is not, it gets worse. It actually says like, in humility, consider everybody else better than you, like of greater quality, more important. And I was like, shoot. Okay. 

“Do nothing out of envy or rivalry, but in humility consider everybody else better than you. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

Envy tears others down so you can be built up. This is the lowest of low. And you see it all throughout scripture, Satan fell because he is envious of God. Eve sinned ’cause she wanted to be like God. Cain jealous of Abel. Joseph is sold by his brothers for jealousy. Saul attempts murder because he’s jealous of David. Envy produces bitterness and then produces hatred. It plays a role in our churches. Y’all can see it. You’ve seen it in your own home, church, right? Everybody’s seen this. Does it play a role in our marriages? I don’t know. Maybe it does. Like, are you jealous of the praise that your spouse gets? Are you jealous of the life that they lead? Envy can wanna hold them back rather than build them up. Maybe we’re envious outside of our marriages. Man, I’m jealous of that person’s spouse.

I’m jealous of their marriage. Now, beware of envy. Proverbs 14 says, 

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” 

Ooh, that is not… And whose bones rot. The envious. It kills you from the inside. 

Proverbs 24: “Wrath is cruel. Anger is overwhelming. But who can stand before jealousy?” 

I’ll tell you, not your marriage. Your marriage can’t stand before jealousy. Love doesn’t envy. To love Like this requires a death to our desire to be the best, to our desire to be built up in other people’s eyes. Remember the opposite of love is me first.

4 – Love Does Not Boast

Number four, love doesn’t boast. Love does not boast.

Just like kindness was the outpouring of patience. Boasting is the outpouring of envy, right? For the most part, we do it subtly. Y’all know all the time. When we go out in public, we want to be seen as good. We want to maximize the good and minimize the bad, right? We wanna hide all the ugly parts. We wanna, you know, display what we’re good at. Now a lot of times we do it subtly where we verbalize our superiority. Like boasting. This is with our words. And this can be obvious in the church, but what about our marriage? Love does not boast in marriage.

Biblical love doesn’t verbalize your superiority in marriage. That might be in public; that might be in your kitchen. Here’s the question. Do you put your husband down in public or in private? Do you elevate yourself above your wife with your words? Do you try to assert your superiority by what you say? Hey, let me do it. I know you can’t do that. He needs me to hold his hand in the finances all the time. And love does not boast. Do you boast? Do I boast? Y’all remember, empty trucks make the most noise. I love that quote. Empty trucks make the most noise. This attitude requires ‌love. This requires a death of opportunities to elevate yourself. The opposite of love is me first. 

6 – Love is Not Arrogant

Number five, love is not arrogant. Arrogance is the, the motivation behind boasting. What is being arrogant?

It’s the inward opinion that I am best. My inward opinion. It’s not boasting on the outside, it’s on the inside. It’s thinking I’m better than her. I’m better than him. I am the best. And if you’re inwardly, the word literally means puffed up. If you’re inwardly puffed up with arrogance, it’s going to leak out into your marriage. If you’re puffed up with arrogance, it’s gonna leak out into your marriage. Remember, the boasting is the fruit, the arrogance is the root. Love is dying to the internal opinion that I’m best. I’m first I’m smartest. 

7 – Love is Not Rude

Number six, love is not rude. Love is not rude.

Now, this is interesting ’cause boasting is saying, I’m better. Out of arrogance. Boasting is saying, I’m better than you in a subtle way. However, the words rudeness is acting like you’re better. Rudeness is acting like you’re better. ’cause rudeness says, Hey, I don’t care what affects you. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. I don’t care how this affects your happiness. I don’t care how my mess affects your day. Maybe your shoes on the floor, maybe your dishes in the sink are preaching to your spouse. I’m better than you.

Are you rude? Rudeness is acting out what you’re feeling but not saying.

We have a rule in our house. Alright, so my wife can’t smell, period. Good and bad. Pros and cons, right? So, you know, when we had kids, she had to set a timer ’cause she couldn’t smell if their diapers were bad. So pretty funny. But yeah, she can’t smell anything good or bad. And I forget it all the time. So I’ll be like, Hey, smell this. And she’ll humor me. She’ll be like, oh, that is nice. And then about 20 minutes later I’ll be like, Dadgummit, she got me. Like, but, she can’t smell anything. And so for whatever reason, like y’all know, when you put in a piece of gum, it kind of cools your nose, you know, it’s like menthol or whatever, that since she can’t taste the gum along with the cooling, it grosses her out.

So it’s like, I don’t know why it just messes with her. So we have a rule at our house, if we’re eating or drinking anything, do not mention gum. All right? Because she’ll, Amy, I don’t know where you’re at, but I apologize right now ’cause she’s probably going, ugh. Like, sorry. It’s an illustration. I don’t know where you’re at. It’s an illustration. I apologize. But like we have a rule around the house. If we’re at the table, like, don’t mention gum, don’t mention anything close to gum. Don’t you dare, don’t. If you bring gum to the table, ooh. Like why? Ain’t nothing wrong with chewing gum, right? But what we’re saying to Amy, what the kids are saying to mama is, your happiness is important to me, right? Even how much you enjoy this meal or this living room or this kitchen, right?

There’s nothing wrong with chewing gum, but we’re acting out. Your happiness, your preferences, are important to us. You see what I’m saying? Love like this. Love is not rude. Love is dying to indifference to your spouse’s opinions. Love is dying to indifference. I don’t care about that. 

Rudeness is acting as if you’re better than someone. Love doesn’t act like that. 

7 – Love Does Not Insist on Its Own Way

To sum it all up, number seven, this is seven of 11. Love doesn’t insist on its own way. That’s it. That’s the key right there. Love doesn’t insist on its own way. That is the heart of how love acts. It doesn’t insist on its own way. It never says me first. Me first, me best. Love is selfless. It’s selfless. Write this one on your mirror. Love doesn’t seek its own. It dies to its own. 

The opposite of love is “me first.”

8 – Love is Not Irritable

Number eight, love isn’t irritable, are we? You get irritated easily. I’ve found the older you get, it’s easy to get, I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s like you get set in your ways. because young people are more resilient. Like they’re more resistant to irritability, I think. ’cause their life is so transient, you know, they change so much. You know, you’re in high school and then you move away. You go to college, you got roommates cycling in and out and then the change of getting married or whatever. But some reason we get into a marriage and we start liking a routine man, somebody messing with like, you know, your 9:30 bedtime or whatever it is, you’re like, oh man, I gotta stay up.

You know what I mean? Like, the older you get, the more grumpy you get about stupid stuff.

Like I ain’t trying to eat no McDonald’s tonight. You know, like chill out. Love isn’t irritable. Literally that word is, it isn’t explosive. It doesn’t blow up. It’s not easily provoked. It’s not tipped over easily. I’ve got a kid; I’m not gonna tell you which one. But wait, y’all pray. I’ve got a 14 and a 15-year-old daughter. Emotions are high. Things are wild at the Davis house right now. And like I, you know, I was trying to, so one of my three children gets offended very easily. And so, she said, Hey daddy, can you give me a glass of water? And I was like, uh-huh I’ll get you a glass of water. And so I took this glass, biggest cup we got and I filled it all the way to the top, like to the brim where it bubbles like, you know, you got that little bubble on the top where you can’t.

And I just drip, drip-drop. And she was like, the universal teenager sign for like, what the heck? You know? And so I was like, well you don’t like that. You don’t like that? I was like, no. Yeah, nobody likes something that’s so easily tipped over. And I was trying to explain to her, hey. Hey, man, you can’t even laugh. You ain’t heard the point yet. It was a dumb illustration. I was hoping it would work. It did not. What I was trying to explain to her is, hey, yeah, nobody’s comfortable around something that full, right? You gotta leave some space. And what I was explaining to her is like, love doesn’t get offended so easy. Love leaves some space. You know what I mean? Like, we don’t explode, we don’t get irritable. But you think about irritability, it’s a manifestation of arrogance. It says, yeah, I don’t deserve this. Irritability says, I want things the way I want them, and you should want them that way too. It’s self-centeredness just exploding. So example, like somebody cuts you off in traffic, you get irritated, why? That was my spot. This is my lane. Somebody’s making a noise.

And you get irritated. It is the worst. I am with you.

That’s why I turned the mic off, ’cause last week, apparently, when I drank out of this thing, it was like.

It’s easy to get irritated ’cause we’re like, hey, this is my silence. This is my meal. This is my time. This is, We get irritated when somebody infringes on our seat at church, our parking spot, my, my, my, my territory, my right, and we blow up. When things don’t go our way, y’all, you live with somebody else who’s sinful, and they’re probably way the heck different than you. My wife and I could not be more different. Some people, it’s like, they’re so alike that it works, and we’re so different that it works. The other night, so, I’ll tell you this. Since we’re so different, there are a billion opportunities to stay irritated at each other if we don’t just laugh them off, you know what I mean? So the other night, we sit, this is…

Two nights ago, Thursday night, we sit down, the kids are in bed, we sit down, we’re gonna watch an episode of Seinfeld, ’cause it’s great, and so, sitting down on the couch, we’re gonna watch an episode of Seinfeld, and I look over, and I said, Amy, are you drinking out of a flower vase?

Sure enough, she just looks at me, and was like, and I was like, what the heck? Like, all day, there’s stuff that each of us do that are just like, are you serious? What are you doing? Man, if you think about, like, we’re so prone to irritability, you got to train yourself to just enjoy the differences. Just let it trigger laughter, instead of like, oh my gosh, you know, just let it trigger laughter, you know, like, we get irritated, we don’t like change, but to be honest, we don’t like things staying the same either, you know? I like some change, and I like some constancy. You know, really, I want the things to change that I want to change, and I want things to stay constant that I want to stay constant. What we’re saying is, I want to be king. I don’t want surprise, I don’t want discomfort. I don’t want to have to give something up. Yo, chill out. Love doesn’t grow in that kind of soul. You know what I mean? This is gonna require us to die to our frustrations. 

9 – Love is Not Resentful

Number nine, love isn’t resentful. Literally, love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Y’all, we need this. Love doesn’t be an accountant. Love doesn’t hold grudges. Have a short memory. Think about this. God doesn’t resent us. What did he do to our wrongs? Think about what did the Lord do to our wrongs? He nailed them to the cross.

He nailed our record of wrongs to the cross. Think about this. The God who never forgets chooses to forget our wrongs. So here’s the deal. Who are we to bring back up the things that God has chosen to forget? Who are we to keep a record of things that God has nailed to the cross? We’re gonna jump up on the cross and pull out those divine nails so that we feel better about ourselves? Love keeps no, Love isn’tresentful. Literally, it doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Mirror God’s love in this. Listen, this is gonna require a dying to the desire for revenge. 

10 – Love Does Not Rejoice at Wrongdoing

Number 10, love doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing. You live with your spouse for more than 20 minutes and you’re gonna see sin, right? 

They live with you for 10 minutes and they’re gonna see it, five minutes, three minutes. They’re gonna see sin, right? You’re so close to your spouse, you know his weaknesses. He knows your weaknesses. Here’s the danger; great intimacy brings opportunity for great pain. Love doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing. Do you use their sin as an opportunity to build yourself up, internally or externally? Do you feel better about yourself when they fall? Or do you use it as an opportunity to build them up? Do you rejoice and belittle them with the wrongs that you see or do you cover them?

We’re gonna talk about this tonight. Do you cover them as you grieve with them and restore them? Love doesn’t rejoice at your partner’s sin. Love doesn’t rejoice at anyone in the body’s sin. It doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing. This is gonna require a dying to self-righteousness. 

11 – Love Rejoices With the Truth

Number 11, the last one. Love rejoices with the truth. 

Look at the opposites here. It doesn’t rejoice with sin. Love rejoices with the truth. See, we notice sin in our own lives so it’s easy to see it in our spouse. It’s easy to see it in the body. But you have to look for truth. You have to look for it.

Don’t be suspicious, don’t assume the wrong. Look for Jesus in your spouse and you’ll find him. The more you recognize, for real, the more time you spend with Jesus, the more you’re gonna recognize him in other people. You know what I mean? If you’re not seeing Jesus in your spouse, maybe you’re not seeing Jesus very often. Look for it and when you see it, rejoice. Love rejoices with the truth. 

All right. That’s our 11 verbs. How are you doing? Doing good? Like you guys stacking up well to this list? Yeah, me neither. Really, to be honest, all of us wanna receive this kind of love. And on our best days, we wanna give it, but really, how often do we‌ carry it out? How often do we do it? Let me just give you some hope. When you’re looking at these attributes, you gotta keep in mind, it’s not really describing a marriage. Really, if you think about it, Brody talked last night about this is Jesus’ agape covering love.

These are descriptions of God’s love. If we’re paying attention to the context, we know he’s been talking about Christ’s love. These attributes are showing us what God is like. And if we think about it, I could do a whole nother sermon just thinking about verses that portray this, but God is patient. God is kind. God doesn’t keep records of wrongs. You can think about this. He’s been patient with the Israelites and with us. Romans 2:4, he says, do you presume on the riches of ‌kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? We see these are attributes of God, and we could go on and on and on, describing God’s love through this lens. It’s describing God’s love, but we get to mirror God’s love. This isn’t primarily about marriage. It’s about God’s love, but we, man, are called to mirror this. I’m gonna read this one author said that she was, she’d always heard 1 Corinthians 13 at marriages, and she was real skeptical about 1 Corinthians 13 being used at marriages to describe marriage love, but she said she changed her mind on it. I wanna read what she said.

My inner wedding skeptic was demolished by the realization that 1 Corinthians 13 describes an always and never love, the kind of love that can only be attributed to a God of infinite sameness.

It doesn’t describe human love, but the love for which all human hearts long, the always and never love of God. Only God can say with utter truthfulness that his love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Only God can rightly say that his love never fails. So what better passage to read at a wedding than one that describes the kind of love we can never hope to receive perfectly from anyone but our heavenly father? How much more willing might we be able to replace, I’m sorry, how much more willing might we be to replace the always and never language of our human arguments for the language of grace and forgiveness if we could just recognize we can’t ask another human to be our God? I think what she’s saying is this passage is impossible. You can’t fulfill these, but God did. And here’s the beauty. A life of love is a quest to do the impossible. We’re called to love like Jesus. All of our lives, we’re called to do the impossible. Be like Christ. There’s verses all throughout scripture that say, be holy as I am holy, imitate me as I imitate Christ. We’re called to imitate Christ in the way we love the body and the way we love the spouse. It’s a fight to love your spouse with the always and never agape love of Christ.

Love is a quest for beautiful impossibility. Love’s a quest for beautiful impossibility.

Now, you’re not going to be perfect, but you gotta press on. That’s what Paul says. Not that I’m perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ has made me his own. How do we do this? The last couple of minutes here, I got two verses. We die to self. Love is a dying. Look at John 12. We’ll have it on the board. Truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me.

And where I am, there will be my servant also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. Listen to this quote from John Piper. He says, love is the fruit the Holy Spirit bears. So if we’re on the right track, there must be a kind of dying before there is a reviving. Then it’s not so surprising to see that before there can be love, there must be death, or that love is a form of death. Y’all, so it’s beautiful outside today. It’s awesome. About to open the doors and be out of here. But the leaves; we purposefully put the marriage retreat on peak leaf season because it’s so nice to drive around, look at the leaves. There’s all kind of festivals around here. In October, every weekend has festivals. It’s beautiful. The leaves are all out there changing. But do you know what that is? It’s death. That’s a morbid thought today. As you’re crunching leaves, you just crunch death. You smell the leaves. It’s death.

Really, it’s leaves and seeds dying beautifully out there to produce much fruit. Really. Seriously, what better picture is there of agape love? If it dies, it bears much fruit. Let me read this. Going through our attributes. Being patient means dying for the desire for an untroubled life. Being kind means dying for the desire of a get-even mentality. Having no envy means dying to the desire for all the praise. Not boasting means dying to opportunities to elevate yourself. Not being arrogant means dying to the internal opinion that I’m best. Not being rude means dying to the indifference to your spouse’s preferences. Not seeking our own way means dying to the dominance of our own preferences. Not being easily irritated means dying to the need for no frustrations. Not keeping a record of wrongs mean dying to the desire for revenge. In short, love is a beautiful dying to self. Self-love is the enemy of others’ love, of agape love. And Christ is the source and the example of all that is.

Let me read this first, and we’ll close with it. Philippians 2. I want you all to think about this. He talks about unity that’s in the body, and he talks about the enemy being rivalry and envy, and then he talks about the example of Christ who emptied himself, who died to self.

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord, being of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, he didn’t count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant and being born in likeness of men and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that’s above every name, so that the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:1-11

Love comes from Christ, the source and the example.

November 9, 2023

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