I know that love costs. You do too. But sometimes we forget. Love is more than the warm and fuzzy word that makes us feel good. Love comes with a lot of expectations, doesn’t it?
There is the saying that actions speak louder than words, which is often used in referring to love. It means there needs to be something behind the word. There must be evidence. Yes, it’s going to cost you something.
Oh, I don’t mean the wining and dining, as in a love relationship, though that’s not bad. It’s going to cost so much more. You see the butterflies in the belly will eventually vanish. Even the looks will gradually change, and not necessarily for the better. So, what’s the cost?
For me, it means I don’t get my way all the time. It means I may have to compromise, even forfeit what I may want to do, for the desire of someone else. It means when someone isn’t like me (and no one is), I have to take time to learn who they are. It means that although, someone may not do things the same way that I do, that it’s okay. It means I give someone a pass if a minor offense is committed. It means I’m not clapping my hands when someone fails, but happy when they succeed. It means not always having to defend myself even when I am obviously, right. It means apologizing when I’ve wronged someone.
Now, none of that is easy, because by nature we are selfish. It really is all about us.
Most of us are familiar with the famous love chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13, provided below, that we often hear recited at weddings.
The Way of Love
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ESV (Emphasis mine.)
Beautiful words for a wedding, but real life? Not easy. But denying self is exactly what love will cost, whether in a love relationship, family, or brothers and sisters in a church.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 KJV
Last Sunday, our sermon came from Romans 14 through 15:13 – Welcoming One Another for God’s Glory. I was really blessed and encouraged by it because it challenged each person to love for the glory of God by loving one another through our differences, and being willing to deny ourselves for the purpose of living together in Christ. Specifically – “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:2
Jesus tells us that we prove our love by obeying his commandments. (John 14:15) Obeying his commandments require we deny fulfilling our own sinful desires, and rather seek to please him.
More importantly, Jesus proved his love by fulfilling the desire of his Father in heaven to be our perfect sacrifice through his life, death, and resurrection, so that we can be reconciled back to God. Love costs Jesus his life.
I suppose we just have to determine whether we are willing to pay.