Today, from Chuck Swindoll. What father wouldn't be willing to die for his son? If we are willing to go so far as to die for our children, why is it that we often don't seem willing to live for them? Don't hold back your hugs. Don't restrain your kisses.
If it helps, practice the words, I love you. And when was the last time you did that with an adult son or daughter? Once the honeymoon is over and reality kicks in, how do husbands and wives ensure that their romance remains healthy? And as the years move on and children bring challenges all their own, how does a couple ward off the forces that work against them?
Things like financial pressure, managing a hectic schedule, dealing with unwanted surprises. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll provides a biblical answer that may seem so obvious, so predictable, that we often fail to measure its value. Chuck titled today's message Essential Glue for Every Couple to Apply. Sometime we come across a passage of scripture that is so familiar, we tend to drift a bit when we return to it. Let's not let that happen today as we turn together to the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. If you're not familiar with your Bible, it is in the New Testament. It is among the letters that Paul wrote, and this is often considered the greatest treatise in all of literature on the subject of love. I've heard the passage read where the name of Christ is substituted for the word love.
I'd like today for you to hear this as if for the first time, and we will focus on it in a few moments together. If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me.
Nothing. Love is patient. Love is kind. And is not jealous. Love does not brag and is not arrogant. Does not act unbecomingly. It does not seek its own.
Is not provoked. Does not take into account a wrong suffering. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things. Endures all things. Say these next three words with me. Love never fails. Once again, love never fails. You're listening to Insight for Living.
To study the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now let's resume the message titled Essential Glue for Every Couple to Apply. Love has a language all its own. Isn't it interesting that when it is on display, no words can adequately define or describe it? And when it is absent, no words can take its place. That's why I refer to love as one of those few essentials for life.
I don't use that word often. Webster tells us that essential has to do with that which is absolutely basic, essential, vital. Love is what air, food, and water are to physical life. Love is what the three R's are to a good education. Love is what nine people and pitching and hitting and fielding are to the game of baseball. Love is what 11 people and offense and defense and special teams are to the game of football. Love is the glue, the glue that when applied will bond a family regardless of what the family is going through.
Step back with me and imagine several scenes that sort of say it all when it comes to love. You and I are in an airport and we look over our shoulder and we hear the sounds of a family as the dad gets up to get on the plane. He's surrounded by those who were getting up in years, obviously his parents or hers, his wife, and three or four children whose arms are around his legs.
He's in a uniform being deployed to defend the country or to liberate another. They're saying their goodbyes. The tears, the hugs, the kisses have a language all their own.
No words are needed. Walk with me onto the maternity floor of any of the local hospitals and stand in the shadows and watch as the nurse with a smile on her face brings a newborn into the room for a first time mother and her husband, the dad, standing there and arms are reaching out for that first time for her to nurse. That look. The baby almost gets sore from all the handling of mom and dad that first visit is their love, which really needs no words. Surround and envelop the child. Look into the face of any proud father of the bride coming down the aisle at a wedding, which is my joy as a pastor to do from time to time.
I have the best view. I get to see this man who is getting ready to hand over a Stradivarius to the gorilla who was waiting down front. And he is so enraptured in his love for her, he can hardly remember the one line that is his to say, I'll never forget the wedding when I ask and who gives this bride to be married to this groom? The dad bewildered said, my mother and I. He had to sort of negotiate sitting down by his wife after that and get over my mother. And sometimes words fail us when we come to a treacherous place where love is on display and life and death hang in the balance.
Patrick Morley in his outstanding book Every Man Should Read, The Man in the Mirror, tells the unforgettable true story. The salmon nearly leaped onto their hooks. That was a far cry from the day before when the four anglers couldn't even seem to catch an old boot. Disappointed and yet not discouraged, they had climbed aboard their small seaplane and skimmed over the Alaskan mountains to a pristine secluded bay where the fish were sure to bite. They parked their aircraft and waded upstream where the water teemed with ready to catch salmon. Later that afternoon when they returned to their camp, they were surprised to find the seaplane high and dry.
The tides fluctuated 23 feet in that particular bay and the pontoons rested on a bed of gravel. Since they couldn't fly out till morning, they settled in for the night and enjoyed some of their catch for dinner and then slept in the plane. In the morning, the seaplane was adrift so they promptly cranked the engine and started to take off. Too late, they discovered one of the pontoons had been punctured and was filled with water. The extra weight threw the plane into a circular pattern. Within moments from liftoff, the seaplane careened into the sea and capsized. Dr. Phil Littleford determined that everyone was alive, including his 12-year-old son Mark.
He suggested that they pray, which the other two men quickly endorsed. No safety equipment could be found on board, no life vests, no floats, no flares, nothing. The plane gurgled and submerged into the blackness of the icy morning sea. The frigid Alaskan waters chilled their breath. They all began to swim for shore, but the riptide countered every stroke. The two men alongside Phil and Mark were strong swimmers and they both made sure, one just catching the tip of land as the tides pulled him out toward the sea. Their two companions last saw Phil and Mark as a disappearing dot on the horizon, swept arm in arm out to sea. The Coast Guard reported they probably lasted no more than an hour in the freezing waters.
Hyperthermia would chill the body functions and they would just go to sleep. Mark, with a smaller body mass, would fall asleep first in his father's arms. Phil could have made the shoreline on his own, but that would have meant abandoning his son.
Their bodies were never found. If I could pause before I read Morley's two very penetrating questions, can you imagine what that dad said to his son as he embraced him before they sank? Can you imagine how tightly he hugged him? Morley asks, what father wouldn't be willing to die for his son?
And then, if we are willing to go so far as to die for our children, why is it that we often don't seem willing to live for them? I haven't read you the story to play on your emotions. I respect you too much for that.
I've read you the story to make you think. To urge you not to wait until there is a disastrous last moment where death hangs close and its hot breath is on your neck. Don't hold back your hugs. Don't restrain your kisses. If it helps, practice the words, I love you. Say them.
Use the first person singular pronoun. Don't settle for love ya. We say that to our dogs. Love ya. Love ya. We say I love you to people. When was the last time you did that with an adult son or daughter? Cynthia and I have made it a practice throughout our marriage and certainly in the rearing of our children that we would never stop saying that.
Every chance we got. Interestingly, we now hear in return the first person singular and the two that follow, I love you. This message today is all about that.
All I have to say is contained in the first half of this grand treatise on love that you're so familiar with when it's read to you, your lips move. I hope today that familiarity will not breed indifference. I hope you will hear these things as if for the first time, though our time is limited, I plead with you, take them personally. I don't care how you were reared.
I don't care what's been done to you or against you. I ask you to take this personally. This is for you. This will impact you. My comment to Cynthia after I read it last night just before we went to bed was that if we read this every day, our lives would change in a month.
They would be transformed in two. Just reading them. The apostle begins with three statements regarding priority. The first priority in verse one has to do with words and love is so much better than that. The second has to do with, oh my, knowledge, prophetic gifts, the whole ability to act on faith and love is better than that. And the third verse has to do with sacrificial living right to the point of martyrdom and love is better than that.
Revisit them with me quickly. A higher priority than words is love. Verse one, if I spoke or were able to speak with the tongues of men and of angels, if I had the language of the angelic creatures, if I knew how to communicate with those who are six winged, who filled the throne room of God, if I had the giftedness to hold vast audiences in my grip with my words, if I had the eloquence to say things as had never been said before and I lacked love in the saying of them, I would come across as a noisy gong or an empty brass cymbal. If I could speak with any language in heaven on earth, I might as well save my breath. No amount of linguistic skill, no amount of eloquence can replace the presence of love. Without love, I have nothing of value to say.
Stop and think. If I confront someone with words that lack love, I offend them. I don't help them. I hurt them. If I attempt to comfort someone who is hurting and I express my compassion in words without love, they would rather I were not even there.
It comes across as insecure and flat. If I instruct other people with words that lack love, they may hear words but they will resist the application of them for fear that they might turn out as I am. Heady, high-minded, gifted with words but lacking the touch of love. The point without love, we have nothing of value to say.
The second verse. If I am gifted in the realm of prophecy, I know all the mysteries and I have all knowledge. Just think about that for a moment. Highest priority here is spiritual giftedness and spiritual depth. If I had the kind of faith that can move a range of mountains from one part of the continent to another just by claiming the moving of the mountains and yet lack love, I am nothing.
Nothing. Love is more valuable than prophetic knowledge and utterance. Love is more valuable than biblical awareness. Love is more valuable than personal faith. Believe it.
It says it. And yet we find ourselves pursuing an answer to the mysteries and an understanding of knowledge and unraveling all of these incredible statements in the Bible about faith. But Paul says, love, that's the ticket.
That's the one essential. And touching is close to home if I give everything that I possess, everything but the clothing on my back, everything I purchased, everything I own, everything that has my name, everything that fills my home including my home, my vehicles, everything that I own, everything I possess. And on top of that, I give my body to be martyred for a great cause. And the giving of my things or the giving of my body to death is done without love.
According to this, it profits me nothing. One man put it in these words, love is all important, not verbal eloquence, prophetic utterance, incredible faith, compassionate benevolence, sacrificial martyrdom. So no matter what I say, what I believe, or what I do, I am bankrupt without love.
This is a very good time for all of us to pause and do a quick analysis of our love life. If it gets too complicated to get outside the circle, just stay within the circle of your family. If your parents are living, embrace them in your mind. If your children are at home or have left, if you have no children, if it's just you, you're still part of a family. Stay in that circle.
Go there. Now if you're like me, it's helpful to know exactly what this has reference to. I mean, is this a gushy mushy kind of puppy love that kind of warms me up and makes me feel good and that kind of thing?
It is not. A few people have put it better than Dr. Ron Allen in his footnote on the Nelson Study Bible. Listen to what he says at the base of 1 Corinthians 13. The word agape, translated love, describes a love that is based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved. It is a giving, selfless, expect nothing in return kind of love. Our modern throwaway society encourages us to get rid of people in our lives who are difficult to get along with, whether they are friends, family, or acquaintances. Yet this attitude runs in complete contrast to the love described by Paul. True love, he concludes, puts up with the people who would be easier to give up on.
Convicting, isn't it? Well, when it works its way out, now that we know the priority of it, what are the characteristics? Give me some for instances, I'm hearing some of you say. Well, if you look at the list in verses 4 through first part of 8, you'll come across over a dozen characteristics. Each one of them is unique, each one of them worth your time to think about, apprise your life on the basis of what is said, and interesting, you'll find that there are more negatives than positives. More love is nots than there are love is.
Love doesn't is more often than love does. Let's sort of bunch up the group into chunks we can bite off and digest, okay? Let's take patience and kindness together.
Let's kick it off right there. Love is patient, love is kind. We have a term, short-tempered. Interesting, that would be in Greek, micro-thumia. Thumia is a word from which we get our word thermometer, the idea of heat or passion, or in this case, temper. But this is macro-thumia, long temper.
Isn't that interesting? Love is long temper. Love doesn't have a short fuse.
We're not finished yet. There's still much to discover in this passage. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, Essential Glue for Every Couple to Apply, and this is insight for living. The Scriptures are filled with the kind of counsel and advice we heard today.
In fact, nothing surpasses the wisdom offered in the Bible. And for husbands and wives, it's so important to consult the author of marriage. Along those lines, I'll remind you Chuck has written a daily devotional that provides this same kind of direction for life and relationships. It's called Wisdom for the Way, and this substantial book contains a chapter for every single day in the year.
Think of all the competing voices you hear throughout an average day, from daily news sources to the constant stream of trivial information online. This devotional, Wisdom for the Way, will guide your thoughts and help you stay on target. And it's available for purchase when you call us.
If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org slash offer. These daily programs are made possible because people like you give generous gifts. And through your support, people all over our country and even around the world are learning to place their trust in God. For example, I was encouraged to read a recent letter that said, I started listening to Pastor Chuck when I was in prison.
And now seven years later, I'm clean and living my best life. Thank you Pastor Chuck and Insight for Living. Well, as one who financially supports Insight for Living, you play a significant role in providing this daily program to men and women like this one who found a new life in Christ. So thank you for including this nonprofit ministry in those you support. To give a contribution today, simply go online to insight.org slash donate, or call us if you're listening in the US, dial 1-800-772-8888. Join us when Chuck Squendall describes the essential glue for every couple to apply, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Essential Glue for Every Couple to Apply, was copyrighted in 2004, 2006, and 2022. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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