Tag Archives: First Epistle to the Corinthians

Happiness Month! Day 20: Love

Today is Day 20 of Happiness Month and it will be continuing all month long. This all started at the Secret Society of Happy People and if you want to pop over there and become an Amused Member, you can get a Free 31 Types of Happiness poster. As you can tell by my daily #HappinessHappens tweets and Facebook posts, I’ve been a member for a long, long time!

Today, to add happiness to your life:  Love!  Love is an choice to act in a loving way, but nothing can bring happiness like loving someone. So love your spouse, your children, your dog or your cat. Spread the love!

The word “love” is both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it means:

  • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend
  • sexual passion or desire.
  • a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person;sweetheart.
  • a term of endearment, affection,or the like “Would you like to see a movie, love?”

As a verb, it is an ACTION, and it means:

  • to have love or affection for: “All her pupils love her
  • to act in a profoundly tender,  and passionately affectionate way toward someone
  • to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
  • to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
  • to embrace and kiss (someone)

Love is something that we have largely been misinformed about, in this day and age. Despite what the media and Hollywood have shown us, true Love is not star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together against all odds, whose eyes meet across a crowded room and they just “know.”  Nope.  Love is active.  Love is a choice–just like happiness.  And it’s not about my spouse “completing me” or just naturally knowing exactly what to do to meet all my needs flawlessly either!  Love is about me making the choice to treat my spouse in a way that puts his/her best interests in mind.  I think of HIM or HER before I ever act, and when I do act, it’s in a way that shows him/her respect, honor, and love!  Remember I Corinthians 13?  It tells us:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Over the next days, we’ll be going over all 31 ways to Add Happiness Every Day. You know too often I hear young people say “He doesn’t make me happy” or “I wish she would make me happy” but you know what? Happiness is not something that someone else “makes” you feel. You make choices in your life that can affect your happiness….and ultimately you CHOOSE whether to be happy every day or not. You can also choose to do things that would add happiness to your life every single today.

The Alabaster Jar
Advertisements

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

Romans 6:23   “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 10:4  “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 10:9-10  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

If you really want to save your marriage after infidelity, the thing that will help the most is being a Christian.  Our nature is to be sinful people, and the “wages” of that sin–the consequence–is eternal separation from God.  We are spiritually dead.  If you want, you can envision drowned people in a huge sea.  The ocean is the sin that we are in, and since we are drowned, we are dead and powerless to help ourselves.  Thankfully, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to fulfill the Law and take the punishment of our sin in our place.  The price has been paid!  Those whom He has chosen, He picks them up from the death of drowning in sin, and He breathes life into them so they are able to believe and profess with their mouth that they have been saved from death!  So start here … with these verses. 

  

Matthew 19:26  “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It may seem hopeless, and it may feel futile and discouraging, to hold on to a marriage after infidelity, but there is hope.  God can change a person from the inside out.

Mark 10:6-9   “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

These verses give us some background that marriage was something ordained by God.  They also tell us a lot of facts about what God thinks about marriage.  They say we are to leave the authority of our father and mother’s home.  They say we are supposed to have a physical relationship.  They say husbands and wives are united … we are ONE.  And it says right there that man does not have the authority to tear marriage apart–only God has that authority.  So let’s keep in mind what God thinks about marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5  “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

These verses show us that moral sexuality is pleasing to God.  Please note, however, that our sexuality is not self-centered–to get what we need–but rather SPOUSE-centered.  We are told our bodies belong to each other -AND- that we should not go without sex because we help each other with sexual self-control.  Have you been withholding sex to control your spouse?

1 Corinthians 10:13  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

This is a promise.  God IS faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But note that it doesn’t say it will be easy or that you won’t be hurt.  It says that others have been tempted by the same stuff that is tempting you, and that God will give you a way to deal with it.

Galatians 6:9   “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Everyone gets tired…gets discouraged…feels dejected.  Do not give up.  Keep planting the seeds of doing good, even sometimes in the face of evil.  Do the right thing.

Ephesians 4:15  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

This verse has to do with honesty and openness.  I’m sure you would LOVE it if your spouse or “soon-to-be-ex” was honest with you and openly let you into their life and heart.  But how honest are YOU with your spouse?  Do you “speak the truth” to them?  What about when you think they’ll get mad?  Do you lie to avoid their anger?  Speak the truth, lovingly.

Ephesians 4:32  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

If you had gotten from God what you deserve, you would be spiritually dead.  If your spouse got from you what they deserve for their affair, they might be on the curb with divorce papers.  But God forgave you and gave you a way to be saved–can you forgive your spouse and give them a way to rebuild (if they are truly repentant)?

Philippians 4:13   “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Oh this is probably one of the most misused verses in the Bible.  It DOES NOT mean that you can do whatever you want and God with give you the strength to do it.  It means that the things that please Him are not always easy…in fact it’s hard to resist our nature and live like a Christian!  But not only does God call us to obey, He also gives us the strength to do the things He asks.

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Believe the best of your spouse, and actively encourage them to do the right thing, obey God, and stop doing what they know is wrong.

Hebrews 13:4  “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Just so you’re not believing those crazy justifications like “We were called together so we could serve in the Youth Group Ministry”–here’s a verse that says right out that God is not pleased with adultery.  So you’re not nuts.  God does not tell people to break their covenant and be unfaithful in order to serve Him–just the opposite really. 

James 1:19   “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Did you notice something interesting?  It doesn’t say “No matter what, don’t ever, Ever, EVER become angry.”  It can be righteous to be angry, and anger handled correctly is not sinful.  But the big message here, of course, is to listen a lot more than you speak, and when you listen don’t just be plotting your response.

2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The moment you sinned, God could have demanded the price from you immediately–He had the right.  But He was patient with your unfaithfulness to Him…and now you can model His behavior by being patient and giving your spouse every opportunity to do the right thing.

1 John 4:7-8  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Please do not be confused: Love is not the same as being a doormat.  Love does not mean “walk all over me.”  It means making the choice to act lovingly toward someone even with they are not acting too lovely, and it means doing what is in their best interests.  

Think of a parent who loves their child.  Does a loving parent just let their child steal a candybar in broad daylight from the grocery store?  OR does a loving parent see the theft and then let their child experience the repercussions of their action (taking the candy back, paying for it, being embarrassed) so that the child learns that stealing has painful ramifications?  If they let the child steal and just cover up the theft, the child will never learn the lesson!  

Same with adultery.  Being loving does not mean “pay no consequences”–it means that you will do what is loving and allow your adult spouse to live through the painful consequences to learn their lesson, but you don’t add vengeance and  spite.  Be loving–love them enough to do what is best for them.

Love is not Selfish

You know, sometimes there are things that people want me to write about that seem so basic to me that I think “Wow people have GOT to already know that! ”  It feels like that is such a beginning foundational truth that surely people know that already!  Yet more and more I’m coming to realize that people do not live with examples of lifelong faithfulness anymore and do not see mature, healthy, Christ-like relationships modeled…so we don’t know what to do!   Like so many things in our U.S. culture, we have things exactly backwards, and when we look at things like keeping our marriages affair-free from a backwards viewpoint…well we get confused!  Prior to this I wrote a couple articles about some topics that we look at exactly backwards: “Crossing the Line” is about how we usually ask if sexting is an affair since it wasn’t physical and we want to know just where the line is so we can go right up to the line but not cross it–and instead we should find out where that line is so we can stay as far away from it as possible!   “Sex and Marriage…Marriage and Sex” is about how we tend of think of sex from the point of view of getting our own need met and our own horniness rather than seeing that sex is about thinking about our spouse and what THEY need physically and meeting that need.  And finally “Fidelity is not asking’ How Far Can I go?‘ ” is about how we, here in the U.S.A., think infidelity and cheating are wrong, but then want to do everything we can get away with…rather than looking at how to be 100% FAITHFUL in our marriages, or asking “What is fidelity?”  and how we can act that way.

Selfishness is another one of those topics that we get exactly backwards.

In our advertising, our movies, our books…everything tells young people today that focusing on yourself is the way to be happy.  Love yourself!  You are entitled to high self-esteem (even if you’ve been a complete jerk!).  You deserve better!  When you’re in-love, the person you’re “in love with” completes you and meets your needs (flawlessly and naturally, without effort).  If it feels good, do it.  If you’re unhappy, leave–it’s your spouse’s fault because they “made” you unhappy.  Some of the New Age gurus even go so far as to say that each individual is a small bit or spark of God!!  If you look in the dictionary, the word “selfish” is defined as:

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only foroneself:

3.  self-interested, self-seeking, egoistic; illiberal, parsimonious,stingy.

Yet I Corinthians 13: 5 tells us the exact opposite… that “[Love] does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking,  is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.”  This means that to keep your marriage affair-free, the focus needs to shift from “me, me, Me, Me, ME!” to being devoted to and caring for another human being–namely our spouse!  Our primary (first and foremost) concern would be the interests, benefits, and welfare of someone other than ourselves–and that would be the interests of our spouse, the benefit of our spouse, and the welfare of our spouse (because doing so is what God told us to do, and even before our spouse we want to do what pleases God!).  It means we REGARD others and think of how what we do and say will affect them.  It means that our actions would be characterized by and manifest concern or care for our spouse!

Can you imagine the impact to marriages if people were taught that before they got married?  Can you imagine how that would put a hedge of protection against infidelity if you thought about how “chatting and”texting” or “going to lunch with that person from work” would affect your spouse?  How affair-free would your marriage be if your actions were characterized by care for your spouse?    WOW!  Just wow.  We have the whole selfishness thing exactly backwards.