Monday, April 25, 2016
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Valentine's Day! That's the season when all of us think about the love we found, or the love we lost, or the love we're looking for. And, man, people are looking! Did you know there are over 5,000 dating websites, including Match.com, OKCupid, along with SeniorPeopleMeet, Farmers Only and DateACowboy.com?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Build a Love that Lasts a Lifetime."
Love is where we place our greatest hopes. It's where we experience our greatest fears and our greatest hurts, and make our greatest mistakes. It's a treasure, for sure, but it's a fragile treasure. Like a fragile plant, love has to be watered and protected with some basic love-nurturing steps.
Let me give you some. First of all, handing out goodies – emotional goodies that is. Love thrives on affirmation, encouragement, compliments, praise, "atta-boys." But love is torn down by critical words, angry words, sarcastic words; on our lips momentarily, in their memory forever. The Bible so wisely says, "The tongue has the power of life and death" and "reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 18:21; 12:18).
That's why the Bible's challenge to "encourage one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13) is glue for a love that lasts. Because everybody needs a cheerleader, and all of us need to be one.
Secondly, unpack your suitcase; the suitcase where we carry the junk from our past into the present. The abuse. The betrayal. The neglect. The injustice. And the anger and negativity and bitterness that go with it. Unless we face it, we can't fix it. And if we don't fix it, we'll spread it. The poison will spill into lives that don't even deserve it. And they will poison love.
That's why God tells us in Hebrews 12:15, "See to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." If we harbor resentment and unforgiveness, it's just going to keep growing into a monster that invades every close relationship.
Unpacking this suitcase we've carried so long has a name. It's called forgiving, which sometimes seems like humanly impossible. But it's not supernaturally impossible, because the One who forgave His crucifiers will download His forgiveness into any struggling heart and He'll pour His healing into every broken heart.
Thirdly, relinquish the wheel, because controlling people hardens their heart and pushes them away. Control freaks are fixers. We're always trying to fix and change what we love. But when you hold onto something too tightly, you crush it – including love.
I've found a lot of freedom in five words John the Baptist spoke long ago, "I am not the Messiah." When you realize that it's your job to love people and it's God's job to change them, you can experience the wonderful freedom of releasing what you've been controlling.
I guess most importantly, to build a love that lasts a lifetime, anchor your heart. See, there's a problem with love. It's "loseable." Betrayal. Divorce. Death. No human love can truly anchor a human heart, a lonely heart. So how can that aching hole in our hearts ever be filled? How can we finally know that we're safe in a love we can't lose?
Our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 8:39, "Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That's God's ironclad guarantee to every person who belongs to His Son, who proved His love in blood poured out on a cross for the very sins you've done against Him.
This is love that comes looking for us all the way from heaven to the cross. And He's come looking for you today through our time together. So, let today be the day to let His love in. Let Jesus in and say, "Jesus, the life you died for, that you paid for with your life is yours beginning today. I am yours."
Our website is to help you get there – ANewStory.com. Would you go there? The love of a lifetime is within your reach right now.