Love is a God-Thing - Words Fit for a Wedding
"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them" (1 Jn. 4:16).
Let me begin my brief remarks by saying that finding one’s beloved is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated, and that’s why at the core we’re all here, to acknowledge that love is indeed a beautiful thing.
It is also a holy thing; for love is ultimately from God. If we listened to the text, then we know that “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” So, wow, the love you have for each other, the love that we’re all here to celebrate with you today, is ultimately a holy thing, a God-thing.
Allow me to share just few insights that flow out of this amazing truth that love is a God-thing.
First, from that I John passage, I want to say that God invented love. That’s right: God is the creator, author, and inventor of love. I have to laugh inside (and sometimes outside) when I encounter notions that God is some kind of cosmic fuddy-duddy in the sky who is out of touch with reality. Not true—not even close! In the Bible, God is vividly portrayed as lover—sometimes, jealous lover!—of our souls, the church, and our lost and broken world. God as lover: wrap your heads around that!
Now real love may look alien to our Hollywood-saturated society where sex and romance are often mistaken for deep love; but that’s our issue. God is still all about love, true love—which has less to do with starry-eyed romance and jumping hormones and much more to do with tenacious commitment, selflessness, and sacrifice for the sake of your beloved. Now that’s love! Now I’m not saying that sex and romance don’t have a place; on the contrary, when commitment, selflessness and sacrifice are the foundation for your marriage, then these other things take on great depth and great satisfaction.
I believe that real love, the love that God invented, is seen most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, whose commitment, selflessness and sacrifice has provided a foundation not only for a fulfilling marriage, but for the salvation of the whole world. I can go on and on about that, but I’ll stick with marital love for today.
Which brings me to a second insight that flows from the truth that love is a God-thing: If God invented love, then it stands to reason that in order to experience love to the fullest, we need to abide in God, as the I John 4 passage says. “Abide in God”: what does that mean? That’s just an old school way of saying, “Stay close, walk with, live according to, and derive your wisdom, energy, and focus from God, the author of love.” You stick to the God of love, and you put yourself in good position to experience love to the fullest.
When I envision the two of you as a married couple, words like “adventure, beautiful music, passion, and living on the edge” come to mind. You want to live life to the fullest; you want to experience everything to the fullest. From where I sit, there’s nothing half way with you two. So if you want to experience marriage to the fullest, abide in God! Let Christ be the center of your relationship, as he leads you in adventures beyond your wildest imagination.
I have one more insight from the truth about love being a God-thing. You know, in the face of so many unhappy marriages and the climbing divorce rate today, I feel compelled to say to the two of you, who are so in love with each other right now, that when the going gets tough, once again, abide in God, abide in Christ. Notice that I didn’t say “if” the going gets tough, but “when” the going gets tough! When the going gets tough, abide, stick with, walk alongside, live according to and derive your strength and wisdom from the God of love.
The picture of abiding that comes to mind for me here is you clinging to a sturdy tree, who is God, while the fierce winds of conflict, anger, and fury blow all around you. Yeah, that’s a part of marriage too! Human love, strong as it is, isn’t enough to keep you two happily together. But if your love is grounded in God’s love, then when things get rough and you want to throw in the towel, you’ll have the inner-strength to get through the trial.
And I’m not just talking about enduring misery for the sake of the ideal of marriage; I’m talking about finding the inner-strength, yes, to endure, but also to do what it takes to fix what’s broken, and thus get back on the road toward a happy, fulfilling marriage with your beloved.
This is the promise of this day: That to the extent that you abide in the God of Love, you’ll experience love to the fullest and you’ll have what it takes to get through whatever trial and tribulation life may throw your way.
Okay, nuff preaching. Let’s get to the good stuff!