Chuck Swindoll quoting the revered C.S.
Lewis. To love it all is to be vulnerable, love anything and your heart will certainly be wrong and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell.
Risk it. Yes, love is a risk. But people who apply this essential ingredient to their marriage will stick together for a long time. Even when life delivers disappointment, when our expectations fall short, and the fire that once burned bright begins to dwindle into a flicker, love is worth the risk.
And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll reminds us how to stoke the fire. And if you missed Monday or Tuesday's program, we'll begin with a helpful summary about the essential glue that will hold couples together. We're drawing our application from 1 Corinthians chapter 13. 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. 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 the 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, but this is macro-thymia, long-tempered.
Isn't that interesting? Love is long-tempered. Love doesn't have a short fuse.
John Chrysostom used these words to describe the term. It's used of one who is wronged and has it in his power to avenge himself but restrains from doing so. All of us are stronger than at least one other person or we maybe are able to pull rank on at least one other, maybe several, and even though that's true of us, when we have that opportunity and they've done us wrong, we restrain from getting back or getting even. Love does neither. Love is also kind. What a great word. We've lost it in our evangelical churches, I'm afraid. We sort of left it when we left the Methodist Church, huh? We heard a lot about it when you were a Methodist.
Here we are, an independent kind of gathering, and Paul revives it. It's not a Methodist term. It's not a Presbyterian term.
It's not a religious term. It's kind. Kind. It means friendly, helpful, free of pettiness and criticism. As a matter of fact, this word kind is used of aged wine that has mellowed. I like the word mellow. Love is mellow. Doesn't mean weak.
It means, well, as A.T. Robertson called it, gentle in behavior. Remember the words of Jesus, come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is what?
There you have it. Same root word as kind. My yoke is kind.
My burden is light. I would love to meet up with more kind Christians, wouldn't you? Just kind, mellow, gentle. They sort of disarm us, don't they? Love is not jealous, love does not brag, and love is not arrogant.
Let's group those together. The first term has in mind the idea of holding people loosely without suspicion. When you hear their name, you don't get suspicious if you love them. Furthermore, love does not call attention to itself. This term, brag, see it here in the verse? Love does not brag.
This is called in Greek language or in Greek classes, hapax legomena. It means once spoken, only once spoken. It's the only time in all the Bible, all the New Testament, where the original term translated brag appears.
So Paul picks out a term, extant in his day, and he puts it in here under the Spirit's inspiration. Bragging is what we do. Arrogant is what we are. It's why we do it. Love doesn't do either. Love isn't either. Love doesn't call attention to itself, doesn't seek to be noticed. Love also refuses to act unbecomingly. Verse 5, it doesn't seek its own will or way or rights.
Talk about convicting. The word unbecoming is the idea of being rude or crude. It's the thought, positively, of being tactful, being courteous, saying thank you, answering, you're welcome. Love is charming. It doesn't act unbecomingly.
And I love this. It doesn't seek its own. Being right in our theology doesn't give us the okay to be demanding in our relationships.
Remember that. It doesn't give you the freedom to pull rank on those that are biblically ignorant. How pleasant and surprising to be around individuals who are well known and gifted and in demand, who never make demands or expect special treatment. There's a great proverb that says, let another man praise you and not your own mouth, a stranger, not your own lips. You do good work, they'll find you. They'll sing your praises. Just be sure you don't believe it. Don't read your own clippings.
And for sure, don't write them. Love doesn't seek its own way. And don't you love is not provoked and doesn't remember wrongs done to it? It's an accounting term.
It's the idea of taking into account or keeping on a ledger. But first off, this provoke. Love is not provoked. It means to have an outburst of irritability.
It doesn't fly off the handle. Irritability is a disgrace to the Christian family. I mean, I have to tell you, another church, another place, I was going to do a funeral for a man who had died in his late 40s and left a wife and three daughters. Teenager, one was in her 20s. And man, it was a hostile environment. So I show up and I come with my little Bible and a pen and pad to take some notes. And before long, one of them throws something at another. And the other one gets up and boom, punches out her sister. I'm like, great. All of a sudden, the mother climbs over the table and she's over, she's got the girl, teeth, hair and eye coming out all over the place and falling down. I get in the middle of my, no, no, boom, I get in the jaw and I'm thinking, look, I'm just a little minister trying to do this funeral.
If I can get out of this with my life, I'd appreciate it. Here's this Christian home, correction. Here's this home where alleged Christians live. It's not the first time they've had that kind of fight.
I mean, they were too good of shots to be at this for the first time. You know what? First place and often the most often where this kind of thing breaks out is under a roof with the doors closed. Love doesn't go there. It doesn't make a disgrace of life. Get control of your temper. It's very unbecoming.
If you're not careful, your fist will solve it for you and you got two of those and only one mouth and they'll gang up on you, especially when they swing at you first. And tying in with that, it does not take into account a wrong suffered. Warren Wiersbe writes, one of the most miserable men I ever met was a professed Christian who actually kept in a notebook a list of the wrongs he felt others had committed against him.
Forgiveness means that we wipe the record clean and never hold things against people. You keep a list, dump it. Burn it. You know why? Because your list is poisoning others because you don't keep it to yourself. Dump your list. If you're going to apply 1 Corinthians 13, you got to live without a list.
It's okay. We've all been hurt. Everybody in this room has that in common.
Like Peggy Noonan said when she covered a story, we've all been shot. Get in and drive. Just reduce them to putty with your love. It works like a charm. It doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but it rejoices with the truth. Finds no pleasure, never sympathizes with wrongdoing or wrongdoers.
Then what does it rejoice in? Truth, truth. Truth and love have been lifelong friends.
They always go together. Where you find love, you find truth, which means sometime as a lover of another, you have to tell them the truth. But remember the other guideline. You do it with courtesy. You do it with kindness. Love thrives on truth. Love always speaks truth. When you seek the highest good of the other person, it requires truth. Where there is love, you will find transparent and unguarded honesty, even if the honesty is not easy to express.
And now the final four. The all things. It bears up under the load of all things. It believes the best in the midst of all things. It hopes through the struggles of all things.
Don't let all of that get by you. It endures with great courage the all things life has. I love Alfred Plummer's line, when love has no evidence, it believes the best.
When the evidence is adverse, it hopes for the best. And when hopes are repeatedly disappointed, it still courageously waits. I can tell by the look on some of your faces that you're waiting, and I commend you. Keep waiting. Love waits. Verse 8, we read it together, love never fails. It never lets you down.
It never causes you regret. It never promises more than it can deliver. Well, we've heard of the priorities, we've seen the characteristics, we need a plan to implement this. How can we put it into our lives, what is necessary? How can we get it going? Let me give you three simple little three word statements that will help make it stick when it comes to love. First, write it down.
This is a good place to start. Express your love in your own handwriting. Not a computerized note, not an embossed deal, not a typewriter, write it, your own handwriting, a note, a brief letter. Don't simply think it, express it from your heart. Most of us have no idea we feel as we do about someone else until we write and tell them. And you know what, sometimes people frame those notes.
It's incredible. I was in a home several months ago, walked up the stairs to see the upstairs area and I happened to notice something that looked familiar, my handwriting, framed. In the hallway I go, oh man, did I spell everything right? You know, they framed that, they framed the letter, they framed it. It was just a note to thank them and tell them how much I appreciated them. They framed it and put it in their home. They'll do that with your note.
I've got them in my possession. Someone else took the time to write a note and it said to me something I didn't know they felt that way. What a great gift to give at Christmas time, notes of love that you sign, you lick, you stamp, and you wait.
Days later, on the other end, you're not even there, somebody's reading something that'll give them the courage to step into January. Some of you were such great models of that, I learned from you and I thank you for doing that. Second, risk it often. Don't miss this little part of it. Risk it often.
See, I can hear some of you saying, well Chuck, man, I did this one time and a guy walked all over me. Well, do it again. Bless your heart.
It's okay. Well, hang it. Just go ahead and risk. You know what? It's good for you.
It's really good for you. Let that love out. Let it go.
C.S. Lewis wrote some of his best words in his work, the four loves. To love it all is to be vulnerable, love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrong and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries.
Avoid all entanglements. Lock it safe in the casket or the coffin of your selfishness, but in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell. Risk it. Risk it.
You can anticipate my third simple little statement. Do it now. Don't wait until tomorrow. Be a bad hair day or you'll have indigestion or, you know, you'll change your mind.
The enemy will convince you that it's not worth it. Don't wait. Don't wait. Dads, moms, don't wait until it's a critical life or death hour. Don't wait until it's your mom's deathbed or your dad's last few days on his feet or your kids.
Ann Landers column received this. Where did the years go? Man writes, I remember talking to my friend a number of years ago about our children. Mine were five and seven then, just the ages when their daddy means everything to them. I wished that I could have spent more time with my kids, but I was too busy working. After all, I wanted to give them all the things I never had when I was growing up. I loved the idea of coming home and having them sit on my lap and tell me about their day. Unfortunately, most days I came home so late that I was only able to kiss them goodnight after they had gone to sleep. It's amazing how fast kids grow. Before I knew it, they were nine and eleven. I miss seeing them in school plays.
Everyone said they were terrific, but the plays always seemed to go on when I was traveling for business or tied up in a special conference. The kids never complained, but I could see the disappointment in their eyes. I kept promising that I would have more time next year.
But the higher up the corporate ladder I climbed, the less time there seemed to be. Suddenly, they were no longer nine and eleven. They were fourteen and sixteen.
Teenagers. I didn't see my daughter the night she went on her first date or my son's championship basketball game. Mom made excuses and I managed to telephone and talk to them before they left the house.
I could hear the disappointment in their voices, but I explained as best I could. Don't ask where the years have gone. Those little kids are now nineteen and twenty-one. They're in college and I can't believe it. My job is now less demanding and I finally have time for them, but they have their own interests and there is not much time for me. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little hurt.
Seems like yesterday they were five and seven. I'd give anything if I were able to live those years over. You can bet your life I'd do it differently, but they're gone now. So is my chance to be a real dad. No one says on their deathbed, I wish I had spent more time with the business.
You'll probably never be on a float plane that creams and crashes and wind up in the water with your son or daughter. But chances are good that you'll look back with regret if you don't capitalize on loving them now like God does us. While we were yet sinning, Christ died for us.
Isn't that great? He didn't wait for us to get good. He reached out and risked when we were bad.
Paid the price in full. Let's bow together. If you've never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, the good news is that his love will never grow cold. He'll love you all the way to your death. He's paid the price for your sins. It's your move to come to him. He'll be all over it.
All over it. Just come by faith. You don't even have to know the right words.
Just place yourself before him and take him as your savior. If we can help you, contact us. Write us a note.
Tell us. We'll help you get going. Lord, we've got a lot of tough and bad habits to get over. Help us with them. We've got a lot of honesty we have to face to start doing this now.
We've got a lot of notes we need to write. We've got a lot of love we need to give. Give us the courage to risk and then the joy of seeing the benefits. Warm us with these thoughts, our Father, as we hear the songs of the season. Hold us close to yourself, just as that daddy held his boy until they died. Keep us near this truth, Lord. Start with me. I have so far to go.
Thank you for your patience. Now to him who is able to guard us from stumbling and present us faultless before his presence with exceeding great joy, do the only wise God, our savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power now and forever. And all his people said, Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. He titled today's message, Essential Glue for Every Couple to Apply.
And to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, right now I'm pleased to tell you that Chuck has written a book that parallels this teaching series on insight for living. In fact, it shares the same title, Marriage from Surviving to Thriving. In this book, more than 200 pages in length, Chuck goes into greater detail on today's topic. And there are seven other chapters on a wide variety of common issues.
You'll be encouraged when you read Marriage from Surviving to Thriving by Chuck Swindoll. To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash offer or call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. In the last several weeks, we've heard from thousands of friends from all around the world who've affirmed the value of these daily visits with Chuck. Many have told us that they can trace their listening back 10, 20, 30 years and more.
It's wonderful to see what God has accomplished through this legacy of God's faithfulness. Someone left a note recently that said, I've listened to you on KTIS radio in Minneapolis since the late 70s. I'm 81 years old and still listening to you, Chuck, on the same radio station.
Well, we believe the best days are yet ahead as we deepen our friendship with partners like you. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Or give a donation online at insight.org slash donate.
Join us again when Chuck Swindoll explains what families need to thrive, Thursday 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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