Today we concluded a series called “Relational Rollercoaster” at Gateway Church in Austin. John Burke shared some of the following insights:
“Love is a journey, love is work, love is deep—it’s not this casual, feel-good, self-centered thing our culture sells us—it’s not just romantic tingly feelings Hollywood paints it to be…it’s much better than that. It’s much deeper and stronger than that. But Hollywood and Madison Avenue are NOT trying to teach us what love is—they’re trying to make money. But unfortunately, they shape our understanding. If we want a love that lasts, we need to study under a new teacher—the One who IS LOVE.
This passage shows us what Love is and what Love does:
‘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. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…’ (1 John 4:8-11).
What Hollywood doesn’t tell us is that Love requires commitment because love hurts. True love—the kind God models for us in our broken world–lays down his life and loves us enough to endure hurts, hardships, and suffering. Do you who claim to follow Christ realize this? Love is commitment that doesn’t just give up when it doesn’t feel good. But the reason it doesn’t always feel good is the other thing Hollywood never tells us: Love is Healing—a God-like committed love creates a safe environment where we can heal from the fears and wounds of childhood, from the self-centered, self-protective ways that keeps us dividing and divorcing. This is what God wants to do through our marriages—heal us!
The passage continues: ‘If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love….There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us’ (1 John 4:15-19).
God intended marriage to be a physical and sacred example of his relationship with us. That we learn to create safety, security, unconditional love that tells the other person I’m for you not against you. But interestingly, in the book of Revelation and the resurrected Jesus calls us to return to our first love:
‘You have endured and gone through hard times because of me, and you have not given up. But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to. Think about where you have fallen from, and then turn back and do as you did at first’ (Revelation 2:3-5).
The eyes are windows to the soul. If in the middle of a fight, one of you can put on the brakes – ‘we’re on the rollercoaster again, we’re not enemies.’ Then if one of you can simply look deeply into the other’s eyes while praying, “Lord, help me love with Your love.” You’ll be amazed at how God helps you reconnect. It won’t be easy—it will feel impossible in fact which is why you need to ask God for His Love to come through your eyes. This gives you the ability to get on a New Ride. It doesn’t solve all the issues, it doesn’t change all the other stuff, but what it does is allow you to get at what Matters Most— and that connection gives you strength to tackle all the other problems, issues, disagreements together.”