“The Beatles said all you need is love,” Larry Norman sang. “Then they broke up.”
Love is the thing we all know we need. And yet love is the thing we struggle so much to get right. We think of it largely in terms of feelings, of “being in love” or “falling in love,” but feelings are fleeting. That kind of love certainly can’t be all we need; it’s so hard to maintain!
I remember some of the best love advice I ever got. It was right before my wedding, and my dad had taken me aside to encourage and pray for me. I jokingly said, “What if I fall out of love?” He returned my sarcasm, “Then you fall right back in!” My dad was really making the point that real love is not something you fall in and out of. It’s intentional. It has movement.
I think of this every time I’m attending a wedding and 1 Corinthians 13 is read. Many couples automatically go to this great “love chapter” simply because it’s all about love. But I don’t think many are paying much attention to what it actually says. Because when things start getting difficult, when conflict pops up — as it inevitably must in close relationships—suddenly keeping no record of wrongs and hoping and bearing all things doesn’t seem to make much sense.
The kind of love that’s real, the kind of love Scripture actually teaches, the love that’s higher and deeper and stronger than all our stupid pop songs and romance novels and chick flicks is impossible to manufacture out of emotions and human ambition.
So how do we get it?