Love Reaps Love

A person reaps what they sow. However, just as when we sow seeds in a garden there is a delay in the reaping so also often it is not until later that we reap the fruit of what we have sown in relationships. If we sow seeds that are good then we will reap good fruit, but likewise, if we sow seeds that are not good then we will reap fruit that is not good.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

God was not mocked in the garden of Eden when He said that man could live in the garden and enjoy all of the blessings of living in His love and in fellowship with Him. He was true to His Word. He is always true to His Word. When He told man that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then he would die. Man sowed disobedience and reaped death. God was true to His Word.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

God was not being mean, in fact, it is love when we are faithful to our word. We can trust God because He is faithful to His Word. A child learns not to trust a parent when they do not stick to their word, either in promising something good or saying that a consequence will follow disobedience. For this reason, it is important in relationships to be faithful to our words so that when we say something we carry it out. Trust is built on faithfulness and love is built on trust.

God is faithful, I Corinthians 1:9a

So, God is not mocked. If we sow love in our relationships then we will reap love. Some people will reap sooner and some people will reap later but we will all reap what we sow. The time period before a couple gets married is very important because they are sowing the seeds that they will reap later. A marriage staying together is often determined by what was sown in the relationship before marriage. People do in their youth what they later regret in life but it is too late to take back the bad seeds that were sown.

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. II Timothy 2:22

The word “lusts” means desires. When one lusts after what God has not yet given to them and they fulfill their lusts then they have sinned and sown seeds that they will reap later. The fruit of lust is sin and the result of sin is death. When a man or woman does not pursue what is right, which is righteousness, or pursue faithfulness, love and peace then he or she will succumb to their lusts.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:14-16

It is of the utmost importance for a young man and woman to learn God’s ways when they are young so that they can sow the good seeds in their relationships before they get married. Defrauding a person is obtaining something by deceit. When a young man takes before marriage what belongs in marriage then he is defrauding the young lady that he supposedly loves. He is sowing bad seeds that he will reap later. When a young woman gives to a man what is to be saved for marriage then she also is sowing seeds of destruction. Often when a marriage fails, people will wonder what happened and forget the seeds that were sown earlier. When a couple waits on the Lord for the gifts of marriage that He has for them then they will be blessed and their children will be blessed. If a man waits until his wedding day for the gift of physical intimacy then he will outshine the sun in his happiness.

In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; Psalm 19:4b,5a

A young man and a young woman rob themselves of the love and joy that God has designed for them in the gift of marriage. Marriage can be a taste of heaven and is the sweetest and most intimate relationship on earth when it is done right. God is not mocked. Marriage is meant to be a sowing and reaping of love. The more that love is sown then the more the couple wants to sow love. It is the most beautiful love cycle that God has created between two people.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

One of the wonderful aspects of God is that He always gives us a chance to be changed. Until the day we die we can come to Him in faith and ask His forgiveness. Repentance is acknowledging that we have failed and turning away from our own way to following the Lord and His ways. Faith is coming to Him and asking Him to forgive us and to take control of our lives. If we have not been sowing what is right it is not too late to start today. Start sowing the seeds of love in your relationships. Love is of God and He will teach you how to love in His Word. If you are not married then do it right and you will be eternally glad. You will be blessed, your future spouse will be blessed and your children will be blessed.

Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:47,48

God is not mocked. If we act on His Words then our marriages will be loving and will stand strong when the storms come. God is faithful to His Word and we will reap what we have sown, whether it is good or bad. When we are faithful to sow the seeds of obedience to His Words then we reap the good fruit and our lives be strong and our relationships will be filled with love.

Love Does Not Shame

The Lord does not shame His children and neither are we to shame one another. There is probably nothing greater that can quench love than to shame another whom God has called us to love. When a person has done wrong then they feel their own shame and it is not the responsibility of anyone else to add to it.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

When a wife shames her husband then it goes to the very core of his being and she becomes like one who drains the life out of him. Rather than being a blessing or a gift to him as the Lord intended she has become like the rottenness of death to his very bones.

But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!” So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the Lord. I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.” Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death. II Samuel 5:20-23

When Michal, King David’s wife shamed him then he no longer desired to be with her. She had no child to the day of her death. Sometimes a wife will want to put her standards on her husband but she is not to be his conscience and her standards may not be the standards that the Lord has called him to.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. I Peter 3:1,2

A wife is not responsible for her husband’s actions but she is responsible for her behavior before the Lord. If her husband is not doing what is right in the sight of the Lord then the Lord will deal with him.

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong. Psalm 125:3

If a person is a Christian and is in authority then the Lord will not allow that Christian to continue to do wrong. The Lord will deal with him. If a husband continues to do wrong and the wife has been submissive to her husband and not been his conscience then she needs to trust in the Lord. He is faithful and will not allow the righteous to continue to do wrong.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. John 8:3-6

When the leaders brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery, He did not shame her but rather took the focus off of her by writing on the ground. When Jesus wrote on the ground then everyone was no longer looking at the woman but looking at what He was writing. Since she had been caught in adultery, in all likelihood she was not fully clothed. Rather than allowing her to receive further shame from others He wrote on the ground, He used the time needed for someone to bring her something to wrap herself in.

But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. John 8:7-9

Jesus is so amazing that He did not even shame those who brought her to Him. He again stooped down to give them a gracious opportunity to realize that they were not any different than the woman who had been caught in her sin.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” John 8:10,11

We are all sinners. Grace is the opposite of shame. Jesus did not come to shame us but He came to show us God’s grace so that we might acknowledge our own sin and come to Him in faith. Salvation is a gift that we receive by His grace when we come to Him in faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8

When the woman called Jesus Lord then she was acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Savior who came into the world. He did not come to condemn but He came to forgive.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

She left her encounter with Jesus having been forgiven. His command to her was to “go and sin no more”. If we have had an encounter with Jesus and we have been forgiven then we will want to “go and sin no more”. A changed life is a testimony of a person who has come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We will no longer want to do the things we did before.

Love Gives Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

Love Needs Wisdom

Love is the greatest gift and brings much joy, comfort, healing and many other things to sweeten our life. We especially need love when the storms of life are raging and we feel fearful, lonely and helpless. Love makes all of the difference. Love also empowers us and when we feel that someone loves us then we have confidence and faith to accomplish what otherwise would not have been attempted. Even though there is not a greater gift than love it is often taken for granted more than anything else and rarely appreciated until it is gone.

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13

If we were to receive a gift of a large amount of money then we would seek wisdom and instruction on how to keep it and take care of it. Money will never bring us lasting comfort nor fill any loneliness and yet people value money sometimes more than love. Love is eternal but money has a way of disappearing.

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. Proverbs 23:4,5

Men and women often will spend their lives pursuing and wearying themselves to gain wealth and material things. Material things will break or wear out or become old and useless.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19

Money and material things are lonely companions and can never fill the vacuum in our hearts for love. Love never grows old, wears out or breaks but we can lose it if we do not wisely treasure it. Love is not stagnant but is a force like a river that must constantly be flowing to stay fresh and needs its banks to be boundaries to keep it strong and channeled in the right direction. Wisdom is what love needs to grow and flourish is every relationship.

a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2b,3

The Lord is not only the source of love but in Him are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge in any given situation. Love needs wisdom to find it, keep it, to protect it and channel it so that the giver and the recipient both are benefited. Every relationship is different and so what is wisdom for one kind of relationship is not wisdom for another relationship. Love and fulfillment comes when relationships are done right and the relationship flourishes and both people thrive. Frustration and pain comes when relationships do not function according to God’s design and the love that was meant to be is absent and both people feel empty and hurt. This is true whether it is a father and son, mother and daughter, husband and wife, or with any level of friendship.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

This verse is in reference to trials, which are also frustrations. The Lord says that if you are struggling in a relationship and it has become a trial for you rather than a blessing and joy then ask God for wisdom. He wants to give it to you and promises to give to all who will just ask Him. The amazing thing about this promise is that the Lord says that He will give wisdom without reproach, which means that He is not saying, “You did it wrong” or “I told you so”. No, rather, He is communicating that He will give you wisdom and that He wants to help you. The only condition to this promise of receiving wisdom is that you must ask Him.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

God’s design from the beginning was that relationships were gifts from Him. He wanted us to live in harmony with Him in a love relationship and for us to live in harmony with each other in loving relationships. This was His plan and still is His plan. He is the Creator of our lives and hearts and uniquely puts relationships together according to the needs of each person. His ways are perfect. When we live and relate to Him and each other according to His wisdom then there will be peace, joy and love.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17

When a person is right with God and lives in God’s love then that person will want to be in right relationships with others. When this is a reality in someone’s life then their life overflows with joy and peace. When a person is right with God and others then they are happier, their conscience is clear, their health is better, they have more energy and their confidence abounds. Also, when this is true, there is peace in their homes where they feel secure and can find undisturbed rest. They are at peace with God and man.

And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation,
And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places; Isaiah 32:17,18

Love Needs to Be Given

Just as love needs to be received love also needs to be given away. When love is given away then the receiver reaps more love and has more love to give away. Love is like a cycle that never ends. It is in the giving and receiving of love that we thrive and find our meaning and purpose in life.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

Love is like a seed that is sown. The more love that one sows then the more love will that one reap. Love is also the water that nourishes the seed of love that is sown. When a person seeks to water the lives of others then their life will be watered.

The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25

Love is meeting the needs of someone else. God gave His only begotten Son so that we might have eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

We needed to be forgiven of our sins so that we would not perish but have eternal life. God gave and met this need in our life.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13,14

God gave so that we might be redeemed and forgiven. When we are redeemed and forgiven we are also rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. John 1:9

In the kingdom of darkness there is no light. Those who are still in that kingdom live in a world of despair, darkness, depression and without hope. The Lord wants to deliver them and transfer them to His kingdom, where love is. God gave to us so that we might be able to give to others. When we give to others and meet their needs then we are showing the love of Christ. Love removes the obstacles so that those who have not yet come to know Him might see His love for them, in order that they might come to Him, hear His Word and be forgiven.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. I John 3:16-18

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us so that we could come to know Him. He wants us to lay down our lives for others so that others may come to know Him.

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. John 15:12-14

Love Needs To Be Received

If love is one of man’s most basic and greatest needs, and it is, for it is necessary for the nourishment of our souls. Without love we can only survive in our flesh for love is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. The flow of receiving and giving love is what refreshes and feeds our hearts and minds. Love gives life and power to the one who has it. The lack of love reveals our isolation and loneliness and eventually our soul will die without it. God made man to be loved and to love.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31a

Love was a gift that God gave to Adam and Eve through His relationship and fellowship with them. As long as they kept His commandment then they would live in His love. In the day that they would disobey they would die and their capacity to receive God’s love would be gone. Love is always a choice. Adam and Eve chose to not love God and in doing so, chose to not receive and experience the gift of His love.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

When Adam and Eve sinned they no longer experienced God’s love as they did before their sin. Their guilt separated them from God and they hid themselves. They became isolated and lonely.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

The consequence of their sin was that Adam and Eve had to leave the presence of God. God is love and in His presence is love. Love is received in the spirit, experienced in the soul and expressed through the body. Adam and Eve died spiritually when they sinned and could not longer receive God’s love in the spirit. As a result of their sin they could no longer experience love in their souls or express it through their bodies.

therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:23a

If someone wants love in their life and in their relationships then they must receive the gift of love in their spirit. God is spirit and He comes to live within a person in their spirit. When we receive God in our spirit we become spiritually alive.

God is spirit, John 4:24

When we become spiritually alive and are restored to a relationship with God then we receive the gift of His love. God is love and when He comes to live within a person then He fills that person with His love. The love of God within a person is like a river of love that never dries up. God is the source of true love and when we receive His Spirit then we become spiritually alive and we become filled with the love of God. It is the love of God that we have received that we can give to others.

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; John 37b-39a

The only way that love can thrive in a marriage, family or a friendship is if God is in the relationship. God’s love is pure and is a love that is true, faithful, kind, patient, giving, merciful, believes the best, hopes for the best and desires the best in another. God’s love is not selfish but is sacrificial, steadfast, enduring and is eternal. God’s love gives grace and forgives. God’s love never dries up nor can it ever be exhausted. God’s love is perfect. God’s love is beyond our understanding. It is so deep that we can never fully comprehend it. It is so magnificent and perfect that we can only believe it and receive it and when we do our lives and relationships are never the same. God’s love was fully expressed through the life and death of Jesus Christ. When we come to know Him then we begin a love relationship with God that never ends. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love once we have received it through Jesus Christ.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39

Love Needs to Be Steadfast

True love is steadfast and does not change. It is not dependent on the actions of others nor is it moody or fickle. The more steadfast a love is in a relationship then the more secure the relationship is. Relationships were designed by God to reflect Him. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

God is love and He is the One who pursues us with His love. Our love for Him is a response to His love for us.

We love, because He first loved us. I John 4:19

God’s love never changes. He loved us from the beginning and wanted us to love Him from the beginning. It is man that chose not to love God. Even when man rejected God’s love, God did not stop pursuing man. In fact, He wanted a relationship with man so much so that He sacrificed His only begotten Son so that man could come back into that love relationship with Him. God broke down the barriers that separated man from God’s love.

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, Colossians 1:21,22a

God pursued man because God loved man. God has pursued each one of us through Jesus Christ. He still pursues a relationship with us. His love does not change. His love is steadfast. It is His unchanging love that makes us feel secure so that we can respond to Him. When we respond to His love and our mind is steadfast in Him, trusting in Him always, then we will live in His love and peace.

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

When we respond to His love and our heart is steadfast in Him, trusting in Him, then we will not fear hearing bad news. We will not be anxious.

He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

In every love relationship there is a pursuer and a responder. In the love relationship between a man and a woman the man is the pursuer and the woman is the responder. The more the man’s love is pure and steadfast then the more the woman is free to respond. She will feel secure and will learn to trust the man. A man’s love for a woman can only be steadfast if he is secure in his relationship with the Lord and his heart is steadfast towards God. Just as we have to learn to trust the Lord and respond to Him so a woman needs to learn to trust a man and respond to the man that she will one day marry. For this reason, it is important that the female not initiate towards the young man who is pursuing her. When she does not hear from him then she is to learn to wait and trust. If he loves her then he will continue to pursue her. If his love is not a steadfast love then she needs to wait on the Lord for the Lord to work in the young man’s heart or to wait on the Lord for the man of God’s own choosing if he is not the one for her. She needs to learn to wait and respond and not to take matters into her own hands and initiate towards him or do anything else to try to get him to give her the attention she desires. The only way that she can do this is if her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17,18

When the relationship between a man and a woman is done right then there is love and the relationship stays pure. The relationship is also filled with mercy and good fruits. It does not waver but is steadfast and it is filled with peace.

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you alone will bear it. Proverbs 9:12

The Lord loves us and love gives us a choice. We can choose Jesus Christ and choose to live according to His wisdom and understanding or we can scoff, which means we do not act on what God says. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ the outcome will be good and the gentleness of wisdom will be seen.

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. James 3:13

When we scoff then we choose to pursue our own ambitions rather than pursue the Lord and His ways. The outcome of scoffers will be seen in the brokenness and pain in their relationships. When relationships are not done right then there is jealousy, disorder and every evil thing. There will come much grief to both the young man and the young woman. It destroys not only their lives but brings grief and destruction to those who are affected by their own selfish ambitions.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:14-16

Love Honors and Respects

When we love someone then we will show them honor and respect. God is to be honored and respected because He is God. All humans are to be respected because they are made in the image of God. Sin brings destruction to a person’s life and the image of God is not so clearly seen but never the less, every person is made in God’s image and is to be respected. All of God’s laws are an expression of respect for God and man. Respect is given not on the basis of merit but on the basis of honoring God and obedience to Him.

Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:11b-13

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of which He commanded them not to eat then they did not honor or respect God. He only gave them one law and out of respect for God they were to obey that one law.

Respect what is right in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17b

We are to respect what is right in the sight of all men. When we keep God’s commandments then we will be respecting what is right in the sight of all men.

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. I Peter 2:17-19

We are to show honor to all people, we are to honor the governmental authority, whether it is a president or king, and we are to be submissive to our employers with all respect. We are to submit not only to employers who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. This finds favor with God and is honoring to Him.

Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. Titus 2:9,10

Respect is not pilfering (which is stealing) and taking what is not yours to take nor is it giving to others the privileges that have been given to you because you work at a certain place. If you do work for yourself, during your paid time from someone else, then you are not honoring the Lord and stealing also.

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. Ephesians 6:5-8

Respecting someone is showing good behavior at all times, not just when the authority is around as “men pleasers” but as “God pleasers”, doing what is right when no one is watching. Showing respect to the Lord in your job is working for the one who pays you as if you are working for the Lord.

And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Ephesians 6:9

Just as employees are to respect those whom they work for so also the employer or boss is to respect those who work under them.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3

Children are to honor and respect their fathers and mothers.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Just as the husband is to love his wife so the wife is to respect her husband. One of a man’s biggest needs is respect. Just as when a wife does not feel loved she has a more difficult time respecting her husband, in the same way, when a man does not feel respected then it is more difficult for him to love his wife. Respect and love is not always deserved but it is to be given because the Lord requires it of us. The more a wife learns to respect her husband then the more secure she will feel and the more love she will experience in her marriage.

Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you. Genesis 3:16b

Before Eve sinned she and her husband, Adam, were to rule together but after she was deceived and sinned the Lord put her husband over her to rule her to keep her from being deceived again and experiencing even more grief. The more a wife honors the new design that the Lord gave her because of her being deceived and sinning, then the more she will be kept from temptation. If she rebels against this new design of her husband ruling over her then she will experience much more pain, sadness and depression.

What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty! Psalm 8:4,5

Respect is the opposite of rebelling and respect means honoring the position of the one whom the Lord has put in authority over us, whether it is a mother, father, husband, employer or governmental authority. Respect is also honoring another human being because they have been made in God’s image and have been created for honor and glory.

Love Does Not Disgrace

To disgrace someone is the opposite of giving someone grace. Love is gracious and so to disgrace someone is to not show them love but to shame them. To shame someone is to make their sins and shortcomings known but grace covers up the sin of others and their shame. God is gracious and showed Adam and Eve grace from the very beginning after they had sinned. Because of their sin they were filled with shame and were afraid so they did themselves from God.

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9.10

Sin brings shame and disgrace.

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to people. Proverbs 14:34

Our conscience bears witness against us when we sin and although we try to rationalize it or hide it we still know that what we have done is wrong. When the nonChristian appears before God for judgment then it will be their own conscience that will bear witness against them. The Lord knows not only everything that we have done but also the secrets of our heart. Nothing is hidden from Him.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:14-16

Sin also brings fears and even though we may try to bury our fears and forget them they still will resurface at times. When the Lord takes away our sin then He also takes our fears. Adam and Eve were fearful and ashamed because of their sin.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

The Lord was gracious and full of compassion for Adam and Eve. He knew they were naked and afraid and so He spoke to them and provided for them by clothing them.

the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. James 5:11b

When Jesus came into the world, He came to show us what God was like and to show us God’s love. Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Just as disgrace and shame are the same so grace and love are the same. Grace is the expression of love and love covers sin. God loved us by sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to take away our sin and to cover our sin through His death on the cross for us, which was the expression of God’s love and grace.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior then all of our sins are taken away, even the secret sins of our hearts. We are forgiven and our sins are covered, never to be made known and our conscience is cleansed before God. This is how God has loved us and this is how He wants us to love one another.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:11

One aspect of the definition of righteousness is doing life right and living according to God’s ways. When Joseph thought that Mary had been unfaithful to him, he was hurt and could not take her as his wife, but Joseph, being a “righteous” man desired to send her away secretly, rather than shame her publicly.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. Matthew 1:18,19

Just as sin is a disgrace to any people so also righteousness exalts a person. When we live and love according to God’s ways then others will see Jesus Christ in us. When a marriage is filled with God’s love then there will be much grace shown to the other and sins will be covered up rather than made known to others. To love is to be like God and when we are like God then we will love. God is love and love is what defines the Christian and the Christ centered marriage and family.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34,35

Love Needs Grace

We need God’s grace to love and to be faithful to what He has called us to do. He has called us to be His children and love is to characterize our lives. We are to represent Him to others in our lives and our marriages are to show the world His plan of love for mankind. His grace and peace is multiplied to us through the knowledge of God.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; II Peter 1:2

We are powerless to love with a Godlike love apart from the Lord but can be recipients of His grace and power. We need His grace and His power to live the life He intended for us and to have the love in our marriages that He meant for us to have.

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. II Peter 1:3

His divine power has granted us everything that we need pertaining to all of life and to live a godly life and to have a godly marriage in an ungodly world.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. II Peter 1:4

It is His precious and magnificent promises that allow us to become like Him and to escape the corruption that is in the world. It is His promises that give us hope that our life and marriage will not be destroyed or corrupted but will grow stronger and stronger as we grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We no longer have to live according to our lusts but we can live according to His will which will allow us to experience His love and will bring us great joy and peace. The word “lusts” in the original language means “desires”. It is our “lusts” that destroys love in our relationships and brings death to our marriage. It is His will that nourishes love in our marriage.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14,15

The Lord tells us not to let our “lusts” deceive us. He will give us His desires for our life, which are good and perfect gifts. If we had all of the knowledge to choose what is best for us then they are the good and perfect gifts that He would choose for our lives. He is the only One who is all knowing and knows what we need and what is best for us.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17,18

The lusts of the world bring corruption and destruction to our life and marriage. Love in marriage is a good and perfect gift that He wants to give to us. He will give you the grace and power to live according to His ways and to not give in to temptation. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

The Lord is the One who gives grace and glory. If you humble yourself before Him then He will give you His grace so that you might have the power to walk uprightly, obey Him and live according to his promises. You will escape the corruption that is in the world that comes to those who seek their own will and live according to their own desires.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6