Love is Impossible

**This is also the first devotion in the section titled 40 Days of Love**

Ephesians 3:17-19

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The first thing that you need to know about love is that it is impossible.  That is, it is impossible without God.  We are naturally sinful people.  We are naturally selfish.  When we love of our own ability, it is because we want something in return.  Breakfast in bed is often out of duty – it’s mother’s day, out of guilt – making up for the fight last night, or as a bribe – you want to buy a boat.  Why is it that “love” is so much more prevalent while dating than married?  It’s because a person is trying to win another over.

Fortunately true love is not just a pipe dream.  It can be accomplished with the help of God.  The first thing that one must embrace to truly love is to accept that God loves them.  If you don’t feel loved, it is difficult to love others.  When you accept God’s love for you, it will naturally flow out of you and to others.

Love is also sacrificial in nature.  It wants what is best for other people, not ourselves.  Once again, this goes against our nature.  We look out for number one first and foremost.  Jesus set the example of sacrificial love for us by dying on the cross.  You will probably never be put in a position to die for a loved one but there will be many times when you’ll need to sacrifice your time, your money, and your preferences in order to show love to someone.

The key to love is God.  It would be great if we could just set our mind on being more loving but it just doesn’t work that way.  Our mind must be transformed by God.  Some people see a dramatic transformation in their life when they surrender their will to God.  For many others there is a gradual change from selfishness to sacrificially loving.  But the first and most important step toward really loving is by asking God to make you a more loving person.  This means that you have to acknowledge that you need help being a more loving husband or wife.

Without God’s help, love is impossible.  With the help of God, all things are possible.  This is the most important thing to remember as you try to love others.

Wives, Love Your Husbands

Titus 2:4

Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.

Husbands are to love their wives.  So there should be absolutely no surprise that the opposite is true as well.  Even though it is not as explicit with wives as it is with husbands, women should still consider that loving one’s husband means sacrifice as has been discussed before.

Titus teaches us that not only should women love their husbands but that women should set an example.  If younger women are not taught how to properly love their husbands it only takes one generation for disaster to strike at the very heart of the marriage institution which God has created.

What example should women set in love?  It all goes back to God’s love.  Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church.  Wives experience and learn this love firsthand and give it back to their husbands.  As wives model this love it is passed on to their children and younger women.

The rules for husbands and wives loving each other are not meant to be gender defining roles but rather examples and reminders for both sexes.

Jesus is the ultimate example of love and we should love each other like God loves us.  And we should be sure to pass this example on to the next generation and to teach them of God’s great love.

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Some people get bent out of shape over the issue of wives submitting to their husbands but they obviously overlook this passage and the realization that what is required of husbands is an even more difficult task.  (The issue of submission is an entirely different topic which we don’t have time to discuss here.)

Love means sacrifice.  This has been repeated throughout this series of devotions.  What greater sacrifice is there than to give up one’s own life?  This is the standard of love that Jesus set when He died on the cross.

This means that husbands have a tremendously high standard of love to live up to.  Frankly, husbands don’t live up to the standard of love that has been set.  (Neither do wives in fairness.)

It’s unlikely that a husband will be put in a position where he will have to sacrifice his life for his wife.  This makes the things that we are unwilling to sacrifice seem all the more trivial however.  Loving one’s wife means sacrificing personal preferences, comfortability, and many other things all for their sake.

Jesus set the ultimate example of love and sacrifice.  Husbands should follow by sacrificing for their wives.

Nothing Separates Us from God’s Love

Romans 8:39

…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What is God’s love?  As was mentioned in the last devotion God’s love takes on many forms.  Romans 8 is discussing God’s love in relation to salvation.  The fuller context of the chapter is how great the power of God is.

While some look to this passage to prove a theological point of whether or not salvation can be lost, that isn’t the context of the passage or the point that Paul is making.  Instead, the point is that salvation isn’t a battle.  There isn’t any question when it comes to salvation; Jesus’ death on the cross is all that is required – nothing less and nothing more.

We often think about good vs. evil as a battle between God and Satan.  Indeed Satan is opposed to God but to even think of it as a battle is almost an insult to God.  A battle implies that the outcome is in question.  God has already won the victory.  It is locked up and secure!

This doesn’t mean that Satan is powerless today and we should take him seriously because he is out to destroy people.  But as far as our salvation is concerned, there is absolutely nothing that will disrupt it.  The power of Satan won’t interfere with our salvation nor will anything else in all of creation.  Nothing will separate us from the love of God.

God’s Love

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When we talk about God’s love there are many different things that may come to mind.  You may immediately think of the children’s song “Jesus loves me, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.”  You may think of God’s love in terms of His forgiveness.  You may think of God’s love being in the form of His blessings.

All of these things are God’s love but Romans 5:8 cuts to the core of it.  You can think of it as a more theological version of John 3:16.  You may think of it as a follow up, a sequel, or a commentary on what we already know.

John 3:16 obviously tells us that God’s love means that He gave us Jesus.  Romans 5 tells us what it actually means that Jesus came.

Jesus didn’t come into the world just to teach or offer a better way of living.  Prophets did that – speaking for God – and teachers explained God’s Word.  Jesus was a prophet and a teacher but we didn’t need just a prophet and teacher.  We had them before.  What we needed was a Savior.

“While we were still sinners” means that we weren’t deserving of God’s love.  There is no reason that God had to do what He did.  Jesus wasn’t required to die on the cross.  But because of God’s love, Jesus did die for us even though we didn’t deserve it.