Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
Real Love in Real Life Resources on sale now.
About this series
Real Love in Real Life
How to Find it, Grow it, and Keep it... Forever!
Real Love in Real Life is a rubber-meets-the-road, 5-part series that covers key issues we all struggle with in every relationship. Whether in marriage, friendship, family, dating, or work, this series will help you discover root causes of failures and dysfunction in relationships. Chip shares how to get beyond insecurities - to be bold in sharing hearts rather than just exchanging words. And he has this crazy idea that God is actually interested in your love life - that there's a secret to real romance and God's interested in revealing it to you. This series will deepen every relationship and help you genuinely give love and receive it in return.More from this series
To start, I’m going to ask you to do something to literally go back in time in your mind and I’d like you to resurrect the earliest moment that you can think of where you actually felt real love.
The earliest childhood memory where you felt, I belong, I’m safe, I’m loved, I’m valuable. What was that moment? I’m sure there are a lot of them, but the way God makes our brains is that certain things that are emotionally charged stick with us.
We have lots of experiences but if they are emotionally charged and resonate somehow with our heart, we can almost go back in time and you can replay that picture.
For me, I was in about I think first or second grade, I’m not sure. And all I can tell you is they had a music class. And they had all these little dots and I couldn’t figure out the dots and they were notes and you had a fluteophone. You had to play the fluteophone. And the following day, after weeks, how everyone was supposed to be able to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the flutophone, I was paralyzed with fear.
And I remember going to bed, my mom came in to tuck me in and I just started crying, I can’t play the flutophone, I don’t know what those dots mean, and I’m super, super uptight and I don’t know why this impression, I remember my mom going, “You don’t have to play the flutophone. It’s okay. We’re going to make it through this.”
And why that sticks in my mind I think about feeling protected, loved, I didn’t have to perform, she was there for me.
My second little picture of just feeling real love was a guy named Kevin King. He had bright red hair, freckles. It was a rainy day, there were worms, I had a brand new cowboy hat. And he put a worm inside my cowboy hat. And we had just moved into the neighborhood and I was a very short, very small, very skinny little kid. And he outweighed me by forty pounds. And we got in a fight and I still have the picture of all the neighborhood kids in a circle as we were fighting. And it ended with him sitting on my chest and I couldn’t move.
And Kevin and I became best friends. And I remember in years later, I remember when I got kicked out of the in-crowd and it didn’t matter what happened, Kevin was always my friend. I remember when his parents, back then it was so unusual, were going through a divorce and Kevin was my friend. We could share anything. He was always there for me.
And then my next moment was I was about twelve or maybe thirteen years old and it was the era where kids grew up a little bit slower and so in the early years you hated girls and then something happened and you weren’t sure but at about twelve or thirteen, I was convinced that Michelle Abraham could perhaps be the most beautiful woman or being on the face of the earth.
And I had these feelings inside. And the Beatles were singing, “Michelle, Michelle, ma belle. Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble.” You know? And I’m walking around the neighborhood, you know? And isn’t it amazing? Those were very real moments.
Here’s what I want you to get. There are three observations I have about real love. Number one is this, is that we all are hardwired to need to be loved just for who we really are. You are hardwired just to be loved for who you are. Not what you do, not how you look.
Second is that no amount of success, fame, education, or power can fill the human heart’s need for real love. We think, we hope, but no amount of education, no amount of fame, no amount of wealth, no amount of power can ever fill your heart for your real need to be really loved just for who you are plus nothing.
And third observation is real love seems really hard to find. Really hard to find. Whether it’s a separation or a divorce or a breakup of a friendship or disunity in a small group; whether it’s betrayal by a friend; whether it’s someone you’re dating and the heartbreak you go through. Real love, someone who loves you just for who you are at whatever stage of life – single, married, divorced, widowed – it’s really hard to find.
And it raises two or three really big questions. Number one, what is real love? Number two, where does it come from? And number three, how do you find it in real life?
And the problem by asking the question: what is real love? – is this. We have one word in English for love and it just can’t carry the weight of all the different kinds of love. We say, “I love you” to a real person, “that I would be willing to die for you,” and I love pizza.
Somewhere there’s a disconnect there. And so at the time that the New Testament was written there were four major words in the Greek language for love. And so what I want to do to give us a sense of what real love is, is give you a broader, fuller picture of the meaning of real love and these four major words, two of them are found in the New Testament, one of them actually a derivative of it is found in the New Testament, but all four are pictured in the New or Old Testament.
And so let me just walk through it and let me give you a definition first of four specific kinds of love. C.S. Lewis wrote a book. I put a quote in there for you. A great book on these four words if, when I get done, you think, I’d like to learn more about that.
The first kind of love is eros or sexual love. It’s a passionate desire. I didn’t know it, but it’s what I was feeling for Michelle Abraham. And if you’ll notice, there’s a positive example here in Scripture. Open your Bible if you will to Proverbs chapter 5. I think at times Christianity has got a bad rap and we probably owe it to ourselves. But the Bible is very explicit that in the right context with the one that you’re married to, God not only created sex, He thinks it’s really important and encourages us to have really deep, wonderful, satisfying sex lives with one another.
This father, speaking to his son says, think as you listen to this, this is a sexual context, “Should your springs be scattered,” verse 16, “abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be intoxicated always with her love.” That’s in the Bible, a little PG-13, but it’s in the Bible.
Now, notice on the right side, because I am going to make a contrast through our time. Real love versus pseudo love. When the Bible talks about real love, and it talks about eros love, it says, “I love to please you, sexually, to celebrate the intimacy that we already have.”
This isn’t, “You’ll make me complete,” this isn’t, “All there is to love.” We live in a culture where eros love is overshadowing everything, so much so that the word sex and love are interchanged.
But the Bible says that sex is an important part. This passionate desire is God-given. But the goal of that in the marriage relationship is not what I can get. It’s: What can I give? And it’s a reflection of what we will see are these three other kinds of love.
The second kind of love is phileo love. This is friendship love. This is a strong feeling. This is a strong emotional feeling toward another person that says, I want to be there for you.
In the Old Testament, it’s a picture of Jonathan and David. It’s a best friends kind of love. It’s a caring kind of love. It’s a sharing kind of love. It’s the: I’ll be there for you, I’ve got your back no matter what. Thick and thin.
If you know the Old Testament story, you know that Jonathan was the son of the king, but God ordained David to be the next king. And Jonathan, out of loyalty, would pass up not only power and privilege and possessions and even his father’s affirmation to be loyal to his friend.
Everybody in the world is desperate for phileo love. The kind of love that someone says, Through thick, through thin, I’m here for you. The opposite of that, of course, is Judas. There was manipulation, there were other motives, he betrayed Jesus.
So in the New Testament time, there was eros love – sexual love. There was phileo love – the love of friends.
And then there’s storge love or family love. This is a fond affection. We had a staff member who had her first baby and the picture came and those of you who are parents or maybe you’re an aunt or an uncle and when you hold a baby in your arms, you don’t go, Well! So how much money did you make last week? Or, I don’t think you look good in that outfit.
The family love is: you belong and you are valued because you are part of us. We love you! It gets harder as they get older, but we just love you! Right? And no matter what, I could tell you about all kinds of family situations – we are blood! We forgive. Oh my gosh, this is the second time in a recovery program, but he’s my brother. She’s my mom!
There’s this affection, there’s this commitment, there’s this caring for one another that is just in built in us in the family. In fact, open your Bibles, 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 when the apostle Paul is talking about his relationship with the Christians in Thessalonica. They had a very deep and warm relationship.
And it’s interesting, listen to the kind of family type love that is common in the body of Christ. Follow along as I read. “Indeed,” he is speaking to the church there, “just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you, not only the gospel, but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil, our hardship. We worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preach the gospel of God to you, you are witnesses and so was God of how holy and righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each one of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.”
Did you get the family words? Brothers, sisters, we were like a nursing mother, we cared, sacrificial, hard work, moms get up in the middle of the night, dads work and toil. It’s this picture of family love that we belong to one another and so we make sacrifices for one another. And the apostle Paul says that is absolutely true in the family. But it’s also true of the family of God.
And so love number one is eros. Love number two is phileo. Love number three is storge. And love number four is agape love. This is God’s love. One is a passionate desire, the second is a strong feeling, the third is a fond built-in affection. This is a willful choice.
Agape love is unconditional. Others-centered. Sacrificial. An absolute commitment. It comes out of the very character and the nature and the heart of God. You’re the object of His love, even before you knew Him. He created you. He loves you. Love always has the best interest of the other party. He wants to connect with you. He is for you.
There is nothing you can do to ever get God to love you more. And, actually, there is nothing you can do to get Him to love you less.
He has demonstrated His love toward us in the most profound way by what Christ did on the cross. Now, because love requires a willful choice on two parties, He loves you, He loves me, He so loved all the world that He gave His Son, but you don’t have to accept His love.
You can say to Him, “I don’t want You to love me.” Now, He will still love you, but you don’t get the consequences of experiencing His love if you choose to reject His love. You say, Well, why is this so important? If you do not have God’s love living in you, you will not have the power to love yourself, to love your family, to love your friends. And one day, unless God calls you to singleness, to love your mate.
In fact, here’s what I want you to get. God is the source of love. The Scripture says God is love. God is love! But His love isn’t just a feeling or an emotion or a desire. His love is an unconditional commitment.
In fact, on the bottom of your notes, here’s how God loves you. Love is choosing to give another person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost.
When you think about the cross, God gave us what we needed the most, when we deserved it the least, at great personal cost. And so why is this so important? Listen very carefully, this is the pivotal moment in this message if you’re either going to understand real love or it’s going to go right over your head.
If you don’t have the source of God’s love living within you and you become a secure, whole person, deeply loved, then all of your life and all of your relationships will be all about get, get, get, get, me, me, me, me, trying to get someone to love you physically, someone to love you as a friend, someone to love you as a family and you’ll come up with all kinds of whacko ways to try and do it that don’t work. But if you can understand the love of God and experience the love of God, then you have His power to begin to give, even if people don’t respond.
In fact, let me read a quote by a couple that teaches at Seattle Pacific University.
They have a class called, “Relationships” that every freshman takes. It’s voluntary but it’s the most sought after class. And Les and Leslie Parrott say this. This is one sentence that every student has to memorize. It’s the only thing they have to do in the class.
If you attempt to build intimacy with another person before you have done the hard work of becoming a whole and healthy person, every relationship will be an attempt to complete the wholeness that you lack and end in disaster.
If you attempt to build intimacy with a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a child, a parent, a friend and don’t first have a healthy, whole, I am loved, I am secure, I don’t need to impress, I don’t need to manipulate, I don’t need to get, I don’t have to have someone or something to make me complete – all those songs we sing: “I can’t live without you,” and, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” or every popular song about, “I will die without your love,” is a lie.
If you can’t live with God and His love first, you have nothing to give. You are just a getter, getter, getter, needy, needy, needy. But if you experience the supernatural, agape, power of God’s love within you, then you have a reservoir to love people in ways that are supernatural. And it produces amazing, deep, real love.
Now, here’s the question, right? How do you know God really loves you? We have got the Sunday school answer, right? I know God loves me because Jesus died for my sins. Right? You got that one?
And how many of you, when you hear that, just be honest, you can be honest in the privacy of your own mind, God loves me. He died for my sins. How many of you emotionally go, Wow! I really get that! My experience is we intellectually have that but we don’t viscerally or emotionally get what really happened and what God actually did. It’s sort of like a thought, it’s sort of like a phrase instead of a reality.
So what I want you to do, I want you to turn to Romans chapter 5 and I want to give you a very specific, clear picture of God’s love. And then I want to explain what that is and how it looks.
We’ll begin at verse 6. In the mind of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and when He sets His gaze and affection on you, personally, and the Bible says He loves you, I want you to get a picture of not just theologically what happened, not just relationally what happened, but also emotionally what actually happened and what has actually occurred to every single person, whether you receive it or not. But this is His love.
Verse 6, you see, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless,” picture yourself at the end of your rope, you have got nothing to bring, “Christ died for the ungodly.” The word for here literally means in the place of.
“For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die.” How do I know God loves me? “But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not when we got good, not when our morality cleaned up, not when our behavior changed, not when we tried harder, not when we were more moral. While we were yet sinners, or still sinners, Christ died in our place.
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him? For if while we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son. How much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through His life?”
Now, before I go on, my experience with us, unless you have done some theological thinking or training is you would go from this passage and you might even be in a course and they would take you to Romans chapter 3. And then it would use a lot of big words about: You are justified and as a result of being justified, how did that happen?
It was redemption and redemption then leads to propitiation where the just wrath of God was placed on Christ. And then this begins this process where you have a new standing with God. And justification and propitiation and redemption and a lot of really big words that are really, really important that the average Christian, probably seventy years ago, knew like that and understood what they meant.
And so I want to do my best to tell you how Jesus’ death reveals God’s love. This is how Jesus’ death reveals God’s love. And this is without any of the big words but all the big words are there. And, by the way, can we just personalize this? This is you. Not the person next to you, not the person behind you, the person in your seat. When Jesus died, He paid for your sin.
See, there was a coup and there was a rebellion. And we sang a song earlier about: He is my King. Well, He was the King of all the universe and there was a huge rebellion and at the heart of rebellion in my heart and your heart and everyone’s heart is: I want to be king. I want to call the shots. I will live independently of God. I know better. I’m going to do my own thing. And down deep, I don’t think God has my best in mind.
And in the midst of us being in rebellion against God, when Jesus died, number one, He paid for, you had a debt, an insurmountable debt, that you could never pay. And the reason that Jesus was fully God and fully man is He had to be a human being in order to die and He had to be fully God for His death to account for or cover and atone for all the sins of all people of all time.
The second thing that happened is He freed you from slavery. The word for redemption is out of the slave market of sin.
And Paul takes that imagery and he says, “You were a slave of sin. You were a slave to your passions and to your selfishness and to your addictions and to your manipulation. You are a slave to your ‘me-ism.’” And what He did is He not only paid for your sin but He took the chains off and He freed you once and for all. He bought you out of it. And the purchase price for you, you want to know how much you’re loved? The purchase price for your life was the death or the blood of Jesus. That’s what we actually read.
The third thing that happens is Jesus absorbed the just anger of God. That’s a part of theology that people don’t talk a lot about. I want you to imagine the most horrendous act that anyone could do against you or maybe one of your children or a close friend. And I want you to imagine just the anger if someone killed one of your children or willfully ran over your mate or your best friend with a car. With no sense of remorse. The anger that you would have because life was snuffed out.
What sin has done is destroyed relationships. Sin introduced death. God, are you ready for this? He is mad at sin. Colossians 3, he says, “Consider your earthly members as dead to immorality and impurity and evil desire and passion and greed, which literally is idolatry, because these are the things that the wrath of God is upon the sons of men. And in these you once walked.”
So God is a just God. And so He is very angry when kids get abused. He is very angry when I am selfish. And so the only way for God to appease His anger is when Jesus was hanging on the cross. The reason He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Because your sin and the anger of God, the propitiation, we read it earlier, it was placed on Jesus.
So He paid for your sin, He freed you from slavery, He absorbed the just anger of God. Guess what? God is not mad at you. God is not down on you. He is never down on you.
Our job is not to go into all the world and convince people and tell them how bad they are, put their arm behind their back, straighten up your life. Ours is a message of the gospel. It’s good news! Guess what? You’re forgiven! Guess what? You’re already loved! Your sins are paid for, you’ve been freed, the just anger of God is absorbed and then Jesus transferred His righteousness to us.
It’s the second half of justification. So when you receive Christ as your Savior, literally, there is the Jesus the column and the “you” column. And all the sins on your column are deleted. And all of His righteousness is drag, paste. And this isn’t theory. This is the love of God.
The God that you worship, if you could grasp it, looks upon you through the lens of the blood of Christ as a righteous son or a daughter. You’re the object of His affection. He wants to love you, direct you, bless you, help you, fill you, meet the deepest needs and the greatest delights of your heart.
And then, finally, you are friends. That’s what the word reconciliation means. Real friends! I’ll never let you down. I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake you. The Scripture says there’s a friend that sticks closer than to a brother.
And all this stuff we talk about here like BIO – come before God. “I” – do life “in” community. “O” – be on mission. You know what it is? We are trying to help people like, Would you like to know how to become a good friend with someone? Hang out with them. Right? Just hang out with them.
Would you like to feel the love of God and get a hug from God? Well, He lives inside fellow Christians and He might send an angel someday to hug you but probably not. Or very rare. But He doesn’t need to. The very life of Christ lives in each one of His followers. And when I hug you or you hug me, when you meet a need for me or I meet a need for you, when you love one another, it’s the living Christ in His body in community. And when we are on mission, we are just passing on this agape love.
And so you love, who are we to love? Love our neighbor as ourselves. Husbands, love your wives. Love your enemies. Forgive the person who betrayed you. Forgive the ex who did what they did. Forgive the boss who ripped you off.
You say, Well, I can’t do that. Of course you can’t. And so here’s the design I want you to get. I want you to see God’s design and I want you to think of agape love, storge love, phileo love, and then eros love. I want you to think of a reservoir, okay? And I want you to get this picture that at the bottom level, if you don’t experience the agape love of God, if the water doesn’t come up here, you will not be a good parent. You will not have a good marriage. You will not have a fond affection.
And so agape love is number one. And then when you are filled up with agape love, this choosing. By the way, it’s a choice. It’s hard. You don’t feel like it. But as you choose, God gives grace.
And so after the agape love then the goal and the design was you would experience in your family. We are good at this when they are babies, right? They cry, we don’t go, “Shut up! What’s wrong with you? I told you three times! If you don’t get into a good school I’m not going to love you.” They’re a baby, right? God’s goal is that the agape love, we would train early on that our children would grow up in a world where they would feel like: You are valued and loved for who you are and not for what you can do. You are deeply loved just for you.
And then what happens is, the next one is phileo love. In every culture, girls have cooties. Because God wants us to develop same-sex relationships that are deep and strong.
I have been married thirty-eight years. I’ve got a great marriage, I’ve got a great wife. I will guarantee there are things about my life my wife does not understand, will not understand, and can never grasp for one simple reason: she’s a woman.
And there’s a reason why, in the developmental process, God gives us this love and then He says, I need a mom and I need a dad in every ideal situation. And I want you to nurture and care and strengthen and sometimes it’s soft love and sometimes it’s tough love. But I want them to be to you like I am so that they can experience that. And then as you go off on your own, I want you to have a relationship with someone who understands, as a man, what it’s like to be afraid, what it’s like to be insecure.
Or as a woman – what’s it like when you’re a young girl and you are developing and what’s it mean to be feminine? And so God wants us, early on, to have these really strong, same-sex relationships that are completely non-sexual so you are understood and loved.
In fact, I will talk more about this later but the reason a lot of marriages are in trouble is because you are asking your mate to deliver a whole bunch of stuff they are not equipped to. Your mate can deliver some things, but only another woman is going to help you grow in certain areas, if you’re a woman. And only another man can help you.
And it takes time and energy and every, single person needs to have at least two or three, or at least one relationship of someone of the same sex that it’s no holds barred. They are never shocked, they love you, they are there for you, they’ve got your back, you can be completely vulnerable.
Because the only alternative is to fake it or to hide it and it’s in hidden struggles where the enemy begins to blow up our life.
And then finally, when we have this design of God’s love and we have this family relationship and we have friends like that then as we mature, He wants us, apart from those who are called to singleness, to actually have a sexual relationship that is not about us.
So many people in marriages, the whole thing is, if you talk to people who are experts in the whole, by the way, every couple has sexual struggles. Okay? If you haven’t had any, bless your heart. You will. Because usually it has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with communication, unresolved anger, stress, problems, fatigue, overwork, misplaced priorities, money problems.
And when all those things start happening there’s a little line on the dashboard of your marriage and the sex one goes, Eeerrrrrrmmmrmrmrr.
And so God actually longs for a couple to be experiencing agape, storge, phileo love so that their sex life is not about techniques and level of experience but a desire to be others-centered and please and care for and love my marriage partner. And it’s amazing how that changes things.
Now, unfortunately, as you look at God’s design, there’s sin in the world and so if you’ll go down to agape love, you’ll notice I put a negative: 1 John 4:19. And in 1 John 4:19 it says, “God is love.”
And then it says something very interesting. It says, “But if I say I love God and hate my brother, the love of God is not in me; I am a liar.” And so what I want you to know is I have tried to give you the: this is real love – agape, storge, phileo, eros. But because of the human heart and sin, there’s also a counterfeit.
See, if you look on the left side, pseudo-love is about getting. And you might write the word: me. Just write the word me above that. And under real love, write the word: others.
And then underneath that, pseudo-love has two real things: insecurity; control. Every pseudo-love relationship is insecurity. I don’t measure up. Something is missing. I need, I need, I need, I need. So I’ve got to get, get, get. So I try to control.
Notice how it goes. In the sexual love, I love you as long as you satisfy my lust. And then you know what? If this isn’t working, I go to the next person. Or if you gain a little bit too much weight, I go to the next person.
Or if I’m not satisfied, I’ll just log on online. Or I’ll have an affair. Or I’ll fill my life with romance novels. Or I’ll watch a bunch of movies so I vicariously am living my mind in my…because it’s about me. It’s about satisfying my lust. That’s me-centered.
Phileo love, when it’s about you, insecurity and then control is: I will love you so that I won’t be alone. It’s not a love that: How do I help you? I love you so I won’t be alone. Have you ever had one of these? Someone is really friendly and they are a really good friend until their life starts working out. And they just move on.
Anybody had a friendship where you feel used? Okay? Me. I have. There are few things that tick me off more. Because you think it’s real, you think the people are really for you. And then there’s pressure, there’s difficulty, or you get into a crisis and you look up and, so, where did your friends go? Guess what? They aren’t friends.
Notice in storge love – and with the best of intentions – I love you because you enhance my worth. It’s very subtle. I don’t love you for you. I love you if you’re on the traveling team, I love you if you get As, I love you if you go public, I love you if you’re good looking and stay good looking. I love you as long as you enhance my worth. You’re a valuable part of this family.
And sometimes it’s verbal and sometimes it’s non-verbal. And sometimes we reframe the whole thing. I really love my children so they have to be successful so I really push them so I really do this and I really do that.
At the end of the day, you need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: Is this really about them? Or is this really about you? Some of you are living such ridiculous schedules. You don’t eat together, you don’t talk, you don’t go to bed at a decent hour, your life is pulled from here or there. And you think providing all these opportunities for your kids…
I’ll tell you what your kids need is you. And three or four nights sitting around a table eating a meal that someone in the house actually cooked. And talking about how life is going and having the TV off for three or four nights a week and playing a board game and tickling one another. And you would be shocked at the real love. We are chasing phantoms. Our children or our mates are not to enhance our worth. They are our opportunity to do what? Love them just for who they are.
In agape love it has even creeped into the church. We’ve got a whole generation of people. I love You, God, if You bless me. If I am wealthy. If I am healthy. If You make my life work out.
Or the flip side, a perverted side of love and other religions is: this God will love you if you pray five times a day. This God will love you if you do this, this, this, and this. This will God will love you only if you go on…
And there is an endless round of works, works, works, works, works. You don’t give to get. Agape love is a choice of giving other people, no matter what, what they really need when they least deserve it at great personal cost.
And what I want you to know is that if you have never experienced the agape, supernatural love of God, ask Christ to come into your life and to forgive you, and He will. And if you’re not experiencing His power, then start getting to know Him as a friend and I will tell you, He just wants to help you.
This is a summary of what we learned. One, we are already deeply and completely loved. And I have given you a passage to each one. I encourage you to check that out on your own, already.
Number two, we must receive His love by faith before we have the power to love Him, each other, our families, our neighbors, and our enemies. So just ask yourself, Have I received Him by faith?
Three, pseudo-love promises life but destroys us and our relationships. If the reservoir fills up this way with God, it goes the other way here, right? It’s all about sex, then maybe you become friends, then maybe you become a family or cohabitate for a while until it works. And then pretty soon, if it doesn’t work, then you serially move on to the next person and the kids are here and the kids are here and the alimony is there and the money is there and the pain is there and it brings death.
Four, God has a specific design and process for us to experience real love and a real life. It’s a very clear design from the bottom up.
And number five, love never fails. It covers our past, our faults, our mistakes, our sins. It redeems, restores, forgives, and births new life and new relationships.
I love that picture of agape love being learned in a family and then a family passing it on so we can be those kind of friends and then we meet the right person at the right time and we have all those and we express it physically and the very thing that we then experience, sexuality certainly bring pleasure, but it brings life. New life.
God’s love birthed life. His plan - as we experience His love - is to come together and we birth new life. And then we share that life with all the world.