Saturday, March 12, 2011

DON'T MAKE LOVE OPTIONAL


Wesley Evangelical Church (WEC)
Shiloh, OH

There are always some unique blessings at each church we visit. During the weekend in Shiloh, Ohio, one of those unique blessings was attending the Valentine’s Sweetheart Banquet. We had great food, great fellowship, and great times of laughter. Pastor Bryan Graham and his wife Kara organized a really fun “Newlywed Game” with 4 different couples in the church. We learned a lot about these couples and I think they learned a lot about each other. Along with the fun we had, we also got a really good message from the evening’s speaker. He shared an idea that really stuck with me. He said, “Rather than having your love sustain your marriage, your marriage should sustain your love”. Think about when you ask a couple why they want to get married. Whether the couple is Christians or not I guarantee one of their main answers, if not the only answer, will be, “We love each other”. Now think about the main answer couples give when filing for divorce. “We don’t love each other anymore”. It seems that our society views love as optional and they therefore make their marriages optional as well. Do we see this same problem in the Church. Perhaps we don’t hear people leaving the church saying, “I don’t love God anymore”, but maybe it is phrased in different ways. Maybe they say, “I’m just not getting fed”, or “my needs aren’t being met”, or perhaps, “Things have just changed since I first came. It isn’t the church for me”. I am not an expert in church health and certainly not an expert in marriage, but I want to share just a few of my own insights and opinions. Love does not always come easy to us, because it truly is a choice. At the risk of making marriage sound mechanical, I share this next challenge. Rather than waking up each morning, looking at your spouse, and making a mental checklist of all the things that you love about that person; I challenge you to first think about your marriage vows. You entered into a covenant and spoke words of commitment before a crowd of witnesses and before your beloved. If you reduce that covenant to a checklist of things that you are happy with, you discredit God and the great miracle He did in bringing you together with your spouse. This brings us back to that original idea. Let your marriage sustain your love. Each day as you dive into that commitment, God will use your dedication to deepen your love. Part of that deepening with come as you move from loving things about your spouse to loving the being of your spouse. This translates directly into our relationship with Christ and the Church. If we fully surrender our lives to Christ, then we quickly move past liking things about the Church and rather move to loving the being of Christ. God really knew what He was doing by making the Biblical illustration of the Church as the bride of Christ. I pray that some of these thoughts have got you thinking. I leave you with this secondary challenge.

Don’t let your love sustain your salvation/sanctification/relationship with God.

Let your salvation/sanctification/relationship with God sustain your LOVE.

Blessings,
Bryan E. Canny

P.S. Your third challenge is this…Next time you are in Shiloh, Ohio, make sure to stop by the Wesley Evangelical Church and give Pastor Graham a great big bear hug. It will really make his day. 

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