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Love Is Humble

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
July 28, 2020 9:00 pm

Love Is Humble

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 28, 2020 9:00 pm

Favorite love songs can capture the heart and stick in the mind for decades. But they don't usually capture God's definition of real love. FamilyLife Today hosts Dave and Ann Wilson sit down with Bob Lepine to discuss 1 Corinthians 13:4 on why humility is such a key feature of biblical love. The kind of love that forms the foundation of a Christ-centered marriage. A love that is so counter-cultural, the early church actually invented a new word for it. Learn how to get a PhD in this kind of love and turn away from your default setting as a human being - self-centeredness.

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At the root of virtually all sin is pride, and that pride can manifest itself in a variety of ways in marriage.

Dave Wilson remembers there was a pattern early in their marriage that was evidence of pride in his wife, Ann. I had never ever one time heard her admit she was wrong. And when she admitted, I'm like, wait, wait, wait, wait, stop.

And I wrote it down November 10th, 19. I'm like, you just admitted the first time ever. Well, there was there was a pridefulness. I was raised in a family that we were winners. I never heard my dad apologize to lose at an argument meant that you were weak.

And so I thought I could never do that. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. Pride and love can't coexist. So when pride is thriving in a marriage, love will always be diminished. We'll talk more today about dealing with pride in marriage. Stay with us. And welcome to family life today.

Thanks for joining us. Do you guys have like a song that was your song? Like, is there one, if it comes on the radio, do you look at each other like that's our song?

That's it. There's a lot of them, Bob. I don't think we have one.

I don't think there's one. We have some memories. What would what would be one song if it came on the radio? You guys would look at each other with that knowing that's that's our song.

That's one of our songs. I have one in mind. Do you have one in mind? I want to know what hers is because it doesn't matter what I think. Do you have one in mind? Do you have one in mind? I had a different one that I guarantee she's thinking of.

What are you thinking? Oh, I'm thinking of Hey Jude. Oh, you got the guitar right there.

Yes. Why is that? Why is that one of your songs? Because it was the summer of our first year of marriage and we were at Wilmington.

You want me to sing behind her? We were at an athletes in action summer camp. We are taking biblical classes. And in the evening, we were in these dorm rooms, all these married couples living in dorm rooms without air conditioning. It was so hot you couldn't sleep.

So I get this cup of ice and I pour it on the bed, which is ridiculous. And we just laid in it like. And Dave started singing Hey Jude.

Yeah. I thought it would just be a oneness moment. One of those magic moments.

But I really did, which is sort of fun. And that's my wife. She's like making something good out of a bad situation. And so I'm like, Hey Jude. And then she joins in. And we start singing. We're on Christian radio.

We've got to be very careful here. That's about John. It's about. Hey Jude, it's a biblical book in the Bible, Bob. Come on.

She's writing about the book of Jude. Our listeners who don't know, you were in a band in high school, right? Oh yeah, maybe.

I was in a band in high school. So this goes deep with us. Different decades, maybe.

Thanks for bringing that up. What song were you thinking about as the song that was your song? Well, I mean, I was thinking.

Same band. I want to hold your hand. That is way too out of my decade. Bob, what about you and Mary Ann?

Okay, so I would do. You are the woman that I've always dreamed of. I knew it from the start. I told you, different decade. I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart.

And then the one that she really would object to if I picked it out as one would be. You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. I look around me and I see it isn't so.

Oh no. So we'd get to the chorus on that and we'd look at each other. I love you.

I love you. See, these songs, while being wonderful nostalgic love songs, I think miss shaped the way all of us tend to think about love. You're absolutely right. I mean, we think about it in terms of romance. We think about it in terms of passion. We think about it in terms of the. How we feel.

The special feeling that comes up. But the Bible points us in a different direction when it comes to love. Well, that just made everybody go, but the Bible doesn't want that.

Debbie Downer here today. It's not that the Bible doesn't want that because I've read Song of Solomon. Okay. It's that the Bible says it's bigger, it's deeper, it's more than just those things. And if we think it's only those things, then we're going to find ourselves maybe experiencing some of that. And then wondering where did the love go when the next day we're not in those magic moments, right? What we need.

Yes. Is a book on what God's perspective on love is. Like a love like you mean it.

You mean like the one that came out earlier this month. So, yes, I finished a book earlier this year that is just now out called Love Like You Mean It, where we look at 1 Corinthians 13 and look at how that applies to the marriage relationship. There are characteristics listed in verses 4 through 7 that describe love. Of all the verses on marriage, on love, on agape love, why these verses? Well, because these verses give us, I think, the most compact, comprehensive look at how we're to understand love. And Jesus is the one who said, you want to know how to boil up the whole Bible? When they said, what's the most important thing?

He said, well, it's simple. You've said it three times a day in prayer ever since you were little. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

That's the Shema. And then he says, but there's a second one that's like unto it. And he quotes from Leviticus and says it's to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And loving God and loving your neighbor is not about romantic feelings or about passion.

It's about the hard work of love. If Jesus says all of the law and the prophets can be summed up in these two verses, then what that tells me is that love is at the foundation of everything that we're to be about as Christians. And so we better get a master's degree, maybe a Ph.D. in love, and these verses are our Ph.D. in love. And, you know, it is interesting, we had some fun with some love songs, but every one of those really, whether they know it or not, come out of the real definition of love, which is God's love.

They're an extension of that. They may not even get close to the understanding of it, but it's man's attempt to say, I want to sing about it, I want to write poetry about it, I want to experience it, never even knowing the center of that love is the heart of God. Well, not only that, but you explain the different types of love in the Bible. Tell us what those are again.

This was really interesting, because I didn't know this until I really dove in and started to study. But C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves years ago, and he talks about the four different Greek words for love. And so the Greek word philos is the word that means brotherly love, brotherly affection for one another.

Storge is family, love. Eros is romantic or sexual love. And then the word agape is the word that we've heard that describes the kind of self-sacrificing, committed, self-emptying love. Unconditional. That's the word that's used here in 1 Corinthians 13. Here's what I didn't know.

J.I. Packer says that this word was essentially a New Testament invention. He said, you look at Greek literature, and this idea of selfless, self-sacrificing love is not something that the Greeks or the Romans talked about. But Christians looked at Jesus and said, we have to have a word to describe what we've just seen. And agape is the word that describes the kind of love that was demonstrated by Jesus. We didn't have a word for this until Jesus came along and modeled for us what this love looks like. I didn't know that.

Here's what I disconnected. I don't know if there's a connection or not. But is it true, because I've actually preached this, that the word in English, excruciating pain, is a word that comes out of the cross of Jesus? The painting went through a word that was invented based on that.

So think about the connection there. The way God proved agape love was the excruciating pain His Son went through on the cross, sacrificially, and He calls us to do the same thing, to lay down our lives for one another. Jesus modeled for us something we'd never seen before. And when people thought about God, His love was not what first came to mind. They would think about His awesomeness, His holiness, His creative power. He is the Most High God. He is the Great God, far above us.

Righteous, holy. So the idea that God's loving kindness is better than life was a new idea. The idea that there would be a God who so loved His creation that He gave His only Son. None of the Roman pagan gods would ever do anything like that.

None of the other deities of the other tribes would do anything like this. This is a unique characteristic of God to demonstrate love in a sacrificial way. And we as Christians came up with a word and said that's agape love. That's a self-emptying, self-sacrificing kind of love. That's what's at the core of this passage. And when we get that in marriage and can say, yes, eros is fine and brotherly affection is fine, those are good things. I'm not saying those don't belong in a marriage. I'm just saying if there's not a foundation of agape, a foundation of committed, self-sacrificing, unconditional love, then all the rest of that is like frosting with no cake.

And it may taste sweet for a moment, but it'll make you sick to your stomach after a while. And we've already talked about previously with you love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13, love is kind.

Let's talk today, because this is one that, again, you would not initially think of putting this in as a description of love, but it's beautiful in verse 4 of chapter 13, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant. Define this for us. Well, this is the opposite of who we are. So, arrogance is the default setting for every human being. We are all born addicted to self. We are all born with self-interest as the operating principle from which we function. And self-protective.

Right. We are all asking the question, what would please me? What would make me happy? What would keep me safe?

What benefits me? So, every decision we make, that's our default. And some people may be saying, what's wrong with that? That is protecting ourselves. And it's okay to be aware of threats and bodily harm.

I mean, we're not saying, no, you could be oblivious to that. But when your default setting is what pleases me, then everybody else is just around for your benefit, right? And this is where I think in a marriage, we've got to recognize that the thing that makes a marriage work is not, am I happy in this marriage or are you happy in this marriage? The thing that makes a marriage work is, is God happy with our marriage?

And when we start to make that our focus and we say, God is happy in our marriage when we are sacrificing to serve one another, now all of a sudden we have a whole different purpose and understanding of marriage. So, if you sat down with a young couple about to get married and you saw that one of them was very selfish and maybe even narcissistic, would that be a red flag? Would you say something?

Huge red flag. And I think you'd have to say something. I've talked with young couples. I've said to young women, watch how your fiancé treats his mother. And if he treats her with respect and treats her with courtesy and honors her, then that's a good sign that he's going to do the same thing for you.

But if he disregards his mom, if he dismisses her, that's a good indicator that someday he's going to feel the same way about you. I think we have to look at how fundamentally self-centered are we, recognizing, again, that's the default for all of us. When that becomes so dominant in our lives that it controls everything we do, yeah, there should be huge red flags that go up. Which begs the question, if that's our default setting, how do you?

How do you get a reset? Yeah, because I know if you would ask Ann, you can ask her right now, to describe me when we started dating, that's the word, isn't it? Yeah, I wasn't interested in Dave Wilson because I thought he was arrogant. She was completely wrong, of course.

No, it was the truth. I thought the world revolved around him, and that worried me. I thought, what would it be like to marry him if everything's about him? And so I'm asking the question, why'd she start dating me?

Something changed. There's an old joke about somebody asked a wife, how is it that you stayed married for so long to this man? And she said, well, we have this in common, we both love the same person, right?

And when that's the case in a marriage, when that is the default setting and we act out of that default setting, it sends us toward isolation. So the reset for arrogance is to understand what's true about you based on what the Bible says about you. So here's what the Bible says about you, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are an image bearer of God, you are just a little lower than the angels.

I mean, there are these wonderful things. Your worth is established at the top of creation. God puts humanity and says, this is my great creation, so you have incredible worth. God also says that you are wicked and sinful and self-focused. And just like Adam and Eve in the garden, you say, I know what God says, but I think my way is better. And that's what the Bible defines as sin, it's rebellion against God and his ways.

And anybody who is focused in life on saying, I think I know what's the right thing to do all the time and nobody can teach me anything and we're going to operate based on what I think is the right thing to do, they're going to be in for a long, hard road. The way to reset is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you in due time. That's what the Bible says. So, God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.

So, we have to humbly go before God and confess, Lord, I think too highly of myself. I remember doing this in my college years. Were you arrogant? Sure, I was.

Yeah. Yeah, and somebody called me out. Actually, a guy sat down with me and we'd been at a summer camp. I was one of the counselors at the summer camp and the camp leader pulls me aside middle of the week and he says, we've been praying for you this week.

That's always a good one. I said, what? And he said, you just always want the spotlight on you, don't you? And I thought, wait, you don't even know me, right?

I mean, we've known each other for four days and all of a sudden you're drawing all these conclusions about me. And then I remember backing away and saying, okay, God, was that you speaking to me through him or is that just this guy and he's off base? And God said, no, that's me. And I went away going, he was right, I've got an issue with pride, with arrogance, with wanting to be in the spotlight. And then I spent about a year, and here's what I found, when I would say to people, yeah, I'm wrestling with pride and with being self-focused, I found they were like, oh, man. I thought, oh, this works.

That works. Yeah, I can get more attention. It's like a humble brag. Yeah, if I'm doing the whole humble thing, people will really think I'm more spiritual.

So there was probably a good year. So you just twisted it a little bit. Exactly, where I'm getting the attention by pretending to be humble. Well, I didn't have that part.

I didn't necessarily need the spotlight. But what I realized after we were married a while, I realized I would make a mistake, and I had a really hard time apologizing and admitting that I was wrong. I wrote down on paper the date. This is how long were we married yet?

Yes, we'd been married like a couple years. And I had never, ever one time heard her admit she was wrong. And when she admitted it, I'm like, wait, wait, wait, wait, stop.

And I wrote it down November 10th, 19th. I'm like, you just admitted the first time ever. There is a pridefulness.

And I think that that's very similar. I was raised in a family that we were winners. I never heard my dad apologize. To lose at an argument meant that you were weak.

And so I thought I could never do that. So you were raised in a culture like ancient Rome because pride was considered a virtue in ancient Rome. Humility was considered a weakness. So the ancient Romans would never stand up and exalt somebody by saying he's a very humble person.

That would have been a slander against that person. But the Apostle Paul in Romans writes and says, By the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. A sober assessment, that means I'm aware of my gifts and my strengths, but I don't exalt myself based on those things. I'm aware that God gave those to me, and I'm to steward those and use those for his glory.

And I'm no more special than anybody else just because I have a particular gift and somebody else has a different gift. So Paul's words were radical. They were radical. In that context. Yeah, and they're radical in the context of marriage.

Yes. I'll tell you a story. Mary Ann came to me. We'd been dating for a couple of years. And she said, you know what would be good? We should memorize some scripture together.

And I said to her, that's a great idea. Now, I was thinking, well, why would you memorize it? I mean, if you need it, it's in the Bible.

You just go look it up. Why don't you memorize scripture? But I said, that's a great idea because we're dating, you know, and so you lie to each other when you're dating like this. And I said, did you have any particular verses in mind? And she said, I was thinking we should memorize like a chapter. And I said, wow.

And I'm thinking, are you out of your mind? A whole chapter? Who memorizes a chapter in the Bible? But I said, wow, because we're dating. And I said, did you have a chapter in mind? She said, yeah, I did. She said, I thought it would be good to memorize Philippians chapter 2. And I nodded like, oh, yeah. And I'm thinking, is that Old Testament or New Testament? I don't know. I'm three verses in, and I read, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility regard one another as more important than yourself. And then it goes on to say, don't look out merely for your own interests, but also for the interests of others, and have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed as God, did not regard equality with God as something to be close to.

Ooh, look at you. Can you still do the whole chapter? No, I can't do the whole chapter. That's pretty good. But those are such good verses.

I'm convinced in every marriage, if a husband and wife would apply Philippians 2-3, and would say, I'm going to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility, I'm going to regard you as more important than me. How long do you think we could get? Do you think we could go years, days, hours? You know, you can do that on your own strength if you're really good for maybe a week, right?

That's if you're really good. But you can do that in the power of the Spirit day in and day out, and when you stumble, you can correct and you can go back. You ask, what's our default setting? How do we reset?

You go back to the reset, the spiritual reset that God does when he brings new life to us, and you go back and say, that's how I'm going to live my life. I'm going to live my life not with arrogance, not with empty conceit, but with humility. I'm going to say, you're more important than me. If husbands and wives were arguing, no, you're more important than me. No, you're more important than me.

How bad would our marriages ever get? I mean, I do think one of the first, if not the first thing Christ does in your life when you surrender fully to Christ is he resets the selfishness. That's where he starts. It's like the title of your chapter, chapter four, it's not about me. It's where he starts first, because that's the sin nature.

It's the core. It's always been about me. It's like, nope, from now on, it's not about you. It's about me and about others, and so you bring that into a marriage, it's transformative. And I think you have to reset that button every day, and I think that button starts with first of surrendering everything to Jesus, and that's a hard place to go because our pride gets in the way, our arrogance.

Do I really want him to have full control? And I think for, at least for me, that's when my life really began to change. I think if you look at most couples who are in conflict, who are in isolation in marriage, you're going to find arrogance there. You're going to find pride there.

You're going to find somebody who's saying, I don't care. I deserve this. I don't deserve this. So, I is the next word. When people say, why are you dissatisfied with your marriage?

The next word is I. I'm not getting what I want, expect, or deserve. And if we can start to say, okay, that's not insignificant, right? We're not trying to say that doesn't matter, but what we are trying to say is, let's ask the question first. How do we make this a marriage that God rejoices in? Because when you're in a marriage where God is rejoicing, you're going to be rejoicing, right? If you love Jesus and you're in a marriage where God is pleased, you're delighted.

Whatever the circumstances, you're delighted because God is pleased with your marriage. And so, that's where I think we've got to get to. I got to tell you guys, it's been encouraging. The book Love Like You Mean It has been out for less than a month now, and I'm already hearing back from people who have gotten copies of this and have written me to say, we're thinking differently about love as a result of going through this book. This has deepened our understanding of what our relationship is supposed to look like and be like.

It's so encouraging for me as an author to get that kind of feedback. And of course, that's my prayer in writing this book, is that there would be many couples who would benefit from looking at what the scriptures have to say about what real love looks like, and then beginning to learn how to make that a part of the fabric of your life. The book we're talking about is Love Like You Mean It, and if you don't already have a copy, you can go to to order yours, or call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the title of the book is Love Like You Mean It.

I know we have a cruise with that same name, so the cruise does not come with the book, but I borrowed the name for the book because that's what this book is all about. What's the right way to love? Again, order online at, or call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Here at Family Life, our whole reason for being is to help strengthen marriages and families, to effectively develop godly marriages and families. We believe that godly marriages and families can change the world one home at a time. And so, every day on this program, the resources we make available, they're all about bringing you practical biblical help and hope for your marriage and for your family. And along with the book Love Like You Mean It, we've got a free resource we wanna make available to you that's all about taking your marriage from good to great. This is all content we're opening up online, a couple of video courses we're opening up online, one that will help you understand the differences between men and women.

Jeff and Shanti Feldhahn provide that. There's another one on resolving conflict from the art of marriage. There's a message from Dr. Julie Slattery about resolving conflict and what's the right way to do that so that conflict resolution can be a win-win. There are messages from Paul David Tripp and Vody Bockham and Gary Chapman. And there are downloadable conversation starters for the two of you to help strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

That's what the Taking Your Marriage from Good to Great resource is all about. And as an added incentive to help you get engaged with this content, once you've downloaded it, you're automatically eligible. We're gonna draw one name from everybody who downloads this. Somebody is gonna come to Family Life and sit in on a Family Life Today recording session and then have dinner that night with Dave and Ann Wilson. So to be eligible, go to our website and sign up for the Take Your Marriage from Good to Great downloadable resource.

No purchase necessary. The contest ends August 14th. Restrictions apply.

Official rules can be found at slash good contest. Now tomorrow, we wanna talk about how important it is for husbands and wives to pursue godliness and righteousness in their own lives and in their marriage because for love to thrive, you have to be actively working against unrighteousness. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.

Hope you can join us for that. I wanna thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. ["Pomp and Circumstance"] Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today, hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-03 15:26:46 / 2024-03-03 15:38:28 / 12

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