Jan 27 2010

Love Dare - Day 22

Love is Faithful

 

I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.  Then you will know the Lord. – Hosea 2:20

 

As Christians, love is the basis of our whole identity.  Our spiritual rebirth came about because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 

When asked to clarify what the greatest commandments of all were, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … your soul … your strength … your mind … and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

 

Our love for each other is supposed to be how people distinguish us as Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).  It is the root and ground of our existence (Ephesians 3:17), meant to be expressed with passion and fervency (1 Peter 4:8).  It is a quality that we are to “abound” in more and more (1 Thessalonians 3:12), always getting better at it, becoming increasingly defined by it.

 

So if love is what we were created to share, what do you do when your love is rejected?  How do you handle it when the one to whom you’ve pledged your life stops accepting the love you’re called to give?

 

The account of prophet Hosea is one of the most remarkable in the Bible.  Against all logic and propriety, God instructed him to marry a prostitute.  He wanted Hosea’s marriage to show what Heaven’s unconditional love looks like towards us.  Hosea’s union with Gomer produced three children but, as expected, this woman who had long made her living in immorality was not content to stay faithful to one man.  So Hosea was left to deal with a broken heart and the shame of abandonment.

 

He had loved her, but she had spurned his love.  They had grown close, but now she had been disloyal and adulterous, rejecting him for the lust of total strangers.

 

Time passed, and God spoke to Hosea again.  God told him to go and reaffirm his love for this woman who had been repeatedly unfaithful.  This time she had reached a new low and had to be bought off the slave block, but Hosea paid the price for her redemption and bought her home.  Yes, she had treated his love with contempt.  She had dealt treacherously with his heart.  But he welcomed her back into his life, expressing an unconditional love.

 

This is a true story, but it was used as a picture of God’s love for us.  He showers His favor on us without measure, though in return we often don’t pay attention.  At times we have acted shamefully and deemed His love an intrusion, as if it’s keeping us from what we really want.  We have rejected Him in many ways – even after receiving His gift of eternal salvation – and yet He still loves us.  He still remains faithful.

 

Even so, His love doesn’t keep Him from calling us to account for our mistreatment of Him.  We pay more of a price for our rejection than we often realize.  Yet He still chooses to respond with grace and mercy.  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).  In Him we have the model of what rejected love does.  It stays faithful.

 

Jesus called us to this kind of love in the passage known as the Sermon on the Mount.  He said to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

 

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same"  (Luke 6:32-33).

 

"Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men" (Luke 6:35).

 

From the vantage point of the wedding altar, you would never have dreamed that the person you married might later become to you a kind of "enemy," one you would need to love as an act of almost total sacrifice.  And yet far too often in marriage, the relationship does indeed dwindle down to that level.  Even to the point of betrayal or, sadly, to  unfaithfulness.

 

For many, this is the beginning of the end.  Some respond by rapidly moving toward a tragic divorce.  Others, more protective of their reputation than even their own happiness, decide to keep the charade going.  But they have no intention of liking it--much less of loving each other again.

 

This is not the model, however for the follower of Christ.  If love is to be like His, it must love even when its overtures are returned unwanted.  And for your love to be like that, it must be His love to begin with.

 

You can give undeserved love to your spouse because God gave undeserved love to you--repeatedly, enduringly.  Love is often expressed the most to those who deserve it the least.

 

Ask Him to fill you with the kind of love only He can provide, then purpose to give it to your mate in a way that reflects your gratefulness to God for loving you.  That's the beauty of redeeming love.  That's the power of faithfulness.

 

  

Today's Dare

Love is a choice, not a feeling.  It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction.  Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it.  Say to them today in words similar to these, "I love you.  Period.  I choose to love you even if you don't love me in return."

 

I have chosen the faithful way. (Psalm 119:30)

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

Comments (26) -

1/27/2010 5:40:26 AM
Sandy United States
Sandy
I did exactly what Lisa was talking about early on in our marriage..in spite of my husband telling me very cold things.  I knew it wasn't true, thanks to the Holy Spirit, but it was so hard to hear my husband say, "I don't love you anymore, (and) I don't feel the passion for you, (and) I can't be happy with you, (etc...)"  I knew this wasn't the case, and so I would say, "It's okay, I still love you."  It blew him away.  He would look at me like I was an alien and say "why, how can you say that to me?"  I would say, because I choose to and if it's my choice, and since it's not based on your actions but my heart's intent, you don't get to change my mind.  I would share God's love with him which was as forgein as my loving him in spite of his ugliness.  He was telling me he was leaving me as soon as our baby was born (1st child) and I lived a long time with that.  Years later he told a friend, "My wife loved me even when I didn't deserve it/her.  No matter what, she loved me...You can't help but love someone who loves you through something like that!"  What a blessing and testimony to answered prayers, but more importantly a faithful God who walked me through that dark time and helped me come out with a testimony of what God will do when we are obedient!  We've been married 18 years and are going strong.  My husband gave his heart to Jesus in 2008...it's amazing!
1/27/2010 5:51:34 AM
Carrie United States
Carrie
Plain and simple  UNCONDITIONAL LOVE...
1/27/2010 6:09:16 AM
Michelle United States
Michelle
Lisa & Eric,
    You commented on a woman who was trying the Love Dare and her husband didn't want to do it.  You should know that there are two books out there.  It is actually difficult to find the book that is mentioned in the movie.  It is found in Christian book stores.  And, that is probably the one that would help a spouse with a hesitant spouse.  The book that I found everywhere is for couples.  The couples book is for COUPLEs, and it would be difficult to go through this book with a difficult spouse.  Maybe you could let people know of the different books.  Michelle
1/27/2010 6:23:38 AM
Jennifer Newsham United States
Jennifer Newsham
I just finished reading "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. This devotional really spoke to my heart this morning in a way that I wasn't expecting. You see just last night I journaled about how I have tried to do The Love Dare in my own strength up until this point. I feel like this is God's reminder to me that He will be with me even when I don't know how to receive His love. He will make my marriage the best it can be! Praise the Lord for His amazing faithfulness!! What a mighty God we serving!!
1/27/2010 7:02:34 AM
kay United States
kay
Sandy said almost exactly what I would.  I've been in a lousy marriage for 30 years.  My husband, told me he wanted a divorce the week after we did not observe our 30th anniversary!  What a wake up call.  After spending months drawing closer to God, He has healed hurt I held onto.  Being healed, I can give the love He has given me.  No looking back.  My husband is uncertain about what he wants at this point.  I am doing the love-dare.  He doesn't know it.  Got put me on the path.  What we all want is GOD's love!!!  I'm loving secretly doing the love-dare and trusting God to grow the seeds that I can randomly sow!
1/27/2010 7:37:11 AM
Marilyn Argo United States
Marilyn Argo
After 5 years of me crying and complaining, I filed for divorce, then the Lord really worked on me.My husband is back and Iam doing the love dare.
My word is better.I closed my eyes and ask the Lord for a word.Better covers so much territory, but Iam so blessed the Lord got a hold of me and I can learn to love my husband like the Lord loves me
1/27/2010 7:50:17 AM
Natalie United States
Natalie
I just wanted to say good luck to Kay it takes a strong chirstian to do what you are doing. Im praying for you.
1/27/2010 7:54:24 AM
Broken Hearted United States
Broken Hearted
It has been a hard week.  Last week to find out that my spouse has had 3 affairs and then still finding out details of lies.  Hard.  But I am trying to do the dares even when I don't feel like it.  Yelling at God a lot.  Trying to listen and trying to hold on.  I hear that if you do something consistently for 30 days it becomes routine and habit. I told spouse today that I love even though I am not sure I do.  God can heal that. Please pray for me.
1/27/2010 8:05:47 AM
julia United States
julia
WOW! to pray for those who have mistreated me--i have mistreated the LORD and he forgives me over and over again--his mercy and grace is new each and everyday--THANK YOU GOD for your unconditional love!
1/27/2010 8:24:32 AM
C United States
C
I have been praying and fasting for my marriage as I was hit with a bombshell in December when my wife told me that she no longer wanted to be married after 17 years.  She has been my one and only love since college, and I find myself in a place I would have never anticipated.  So yesterday, after getting off my fast, I was praying in the parking lot and turned on the radio and you guys were talking about the love challenge, and it was like you were describing my exact situation.  I knew at that moment God had spoken to my heart and provided me with direction and hope...He is faithful...so I am with you all on the Love Challenge and going deeper in Christ.
1/27/2010 8:45:22 AM
Thankful United States
Thankful
I haven't been doing the Love Dare because I thought it had to be couples.  My husband, while we have what I feel is a normal marriage with its up and downs, he does not have the faith that I do.  He goes to church for our family, but wouldn't go if it wasn't for our kids.  He never went with be before we had our kids.  I knew that he would not do this with me, so I didn't look into it.  I am glad you said that we can do it alone.  I am going to go back to day one today and start.  I know I am going to be behind everyone else, but I am going to do it.  We have been thrown into a terribly hard situation the last few months and I hope this will help bring us back to center with our relationship instead of the letting the stresses get to us personally too.  What is the name of the other book for doing it alone?
1/27/2010 10:08:09 AM
Anonymous United States
Anonymous
I too am doing the dare alone and w/o my husband knowing.  We have been married for 16 years, but separated for two.  We were in counseling for about a year and then right before Thanksgiving, he said he didn't want to continue working on things.  At that time, I felt that if he didn't want to make things work than why should I keep trying?  Doing the Love Dare has been extremely difficult, but it has also opened my eyes to so much.  I don't know what's going to happen to my marriage, but I do know that I'm becoming a better person by doing the Love Dare.
1/27/2010 11:09:48 AM
TL United States
TL
My husband and I attend a bible believing church faithfully and I have a wonderful personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are in a small group with 5 other couples who decided to do the Love Dare fall of 2009. My husband did not do it and read one page. It's hard going to our small group meetings knowing he's the only one not doing it.  Anyway, it's been such a blessing for me to do and it's changed our relationship.  One prayer I have is that my husband's heart would be softened and that he would let Jesus in to be Lord over his life.  One area of concern is his drinking.  I hope he will let Jesus in soon so he can be transformed by God's will and find Christian men as friends.  But, the Love Dare has done amazing things in our marriage even though he's not doing it.  It has changed me dramatically and it's amazing when I treat him lovingly (even when I don't feel like it), he responds lovingly too - Praise The Lord!
1/27/2010 11:12:47 AM
Shel United States
Shel
This one really made me cry. It was hard to read and took me a while to finish it. As the ones reading comments everyday will know, I am dealing with an unfaithful spouse who does not know God. But the 1st thing God pointed out to me were my faults. God is drawing me closer to Him so that I may draw my husband closer to Him, as well. I am the only Christian in my husband's life. He needs me. Even with all the pain he is causing me, God is giving me the strength to stay and to love and pray. Today's message really spoke to me also by letting me know that the other woman, who knows about me and is begging him to leave me, needs prayer and forgiveness, too.  And now I can truly and honestly pray for her.  Thank you God, for loving me! Bless you all!
1/27/2010 11:33:07 AM
Reggie United States
Reggie
Doris,
    My friend dose no Jesus very well,she is the one that helped me find him. She is like a mom to me,helps me see Gods word. We both use each other as a sounding board and i belive God is useing me to help her not to throw her 30+ marriage away.
  Ive aways been a loner even when my parents where alive. Then found Jesus,and thout ok wit him is all i need. Man was i wrong,I no now that God puts people in our lives to teach,help and love us.(a reason,a season or a life time) We all need a sounding board(even if its on here) cause God does speak to us thor them.
  Marriage is a blessing (love) from God if we keep God in the marriage. If we stop taking care of ourselfs and look to our spouse to be our only friend,thats to much for them to handle and it makes them withdraw from us.  
1/27/2010 11:36:48 AM
Laura Richards United States
Laura Richards
Thank you, Lord, that You are faithful. Even when we are not. Even when our husbands are not. Praise you, Lord, that You are a God of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th + chances! Heal the marriages represented here today!
1/27/2010 11:48:38 AM
Amanda United States
Amanda
I am doing the Love Dare alone by choice.  I went a mission trip and saw "Fire Proof" for the first time at the beginning of this month.  Watching that showed me how much I was putting conditions on my love for my husband and not giving him the honor he deserves as my husband.  When I came home and saw this, it was if God had actually said "Here you go Amanda!"  My husband is a Christian man, and we've been married 7 years now.  I haven't told him I'm doing the dare, because I feel if I tell him I'll be doing the challenges out of obligation and not truely from my heart.  I can't wait for the dare to come to an end on Valentine's Day!  Not because I don't want to do it, but because that is the day I'm going to tell him I've been doing it and don't have to keep this a secret from him anymore!
1/27/2010 12:21:27 PM
Kathy United States
Kathy
My heart is very heavy. My husband said some of the most hurtful things to me last night that he has in some time.  He has gotten angry with me before, but I have always taken the abuse and said nothing to him except "I am sorry".  Last night he told me has hasn't even liked me for about 6 months.  He is a christian, or at least says he is.  I told him I was doing the love dare (he did not know) and he was not happy about it.  He told me I shouldn't be reading crap about trying to save our marriage.  I told him the "crap" was from the bible.  He really couldn't argue that point.  I need prayer.  I have taken verbal abuse until I can't take much more.  I know I am suppose to love unconditionally, and it breaks my heart to know that God feels the way I do.  I know God is faithful and can do miracles, however, what do I do when my spouse doesn't even want to work on our marraige.  Do I just let him stay and treat me bad and have "relationships" on the internet?  I am so confused.  Please keep me in your prayers.  I don't know how much more of this I can take.  
1/27/2010 4:24:27 PM
Sandy United States
Sandy
Kathy,

You could have been reading my diary several years ago.  Would you be interested in talking to me?  I will give you my email if you're interested.

In Him,
Sandy
1/27/2010 5:53:04 PM
Frances Kent United States
Frances Kent
I read the love dare book. I took that 40 day challenge hoping it would help me and my husband. He knew i was reading it day by day and kept asking me was i doing these things because of the book.  As I read each day what god wanted me to do I realized how much i was the one being stubborn about things.. I turned away after reading the book feeling no hope for my marriage. We went on for months not having the relationship god wants us to have. I finally knew i had to do something. I went to church last sunday with that feeling i hadnt had in a long time. I knew god was thier with his hands on me touching me and praying for me and my husband. Its been a few weeks now and i know god is thier helping me. I feel so much better now knowing he is thier.. He is amazing in so many wonderful ways. I thank him everyday for what we have. We are working at our relationship each and everyday. We have two children together.. So i know how important it is to do so. Your music and ministry u do on the radio is so amazing and touching to me. I listen every time i get into my car or work truck.. Thanks for all u do helping those like me.. god bless and love you all bunches!!!! frances
1/27/2010 8:11:34 PM
booklady United States
booklady
I'm always behind reading and posting because I am unable to have KLove access at work.  

I was getting ready to do today's dare when my husband made a comment that really hurt my feelings.  Before I could "bite my tongue" the old negative ways returned and I said to him that he made it hard for me to say "I love you today. PERIOD. No matter what".  Then he mentioned he had "agape" love for me, but he felt I didn't for him.  I asked him had he been reading the book; no answer.

He is right, his love for me is unconditional; I'm the one with the issues.  That is a hard pill to swallow, but that is the reason I started the Love Dare because I knew this about myself.  He is always the first to show love of the day with a hug, kiss or kind word.  I have to constantly remind myself is time for a hug/kiss or to show more affection.  It isn't because I don't love him...more of not taking the time to show it.  We like many others are always in a rush to get here or there or do this or that.

So I haven't completed today's dare.  This morning, I vowed to do it in person by the end of the day and now feel like a failure.
1/27/2010 8:25:10 PM
Patti United States
Patti
I watched the movie "Fireproof" which is the movie about the Love Dare. The most amazing point I got out of the Love Dare is, it is not only salvation of the marriage,but also salvation in Christ.  The scene were the husband gets so frustrated because he is doing everything he possibly can to show the wife love, but she repeatedly shuns his efforts to love her. He pretty much says, "No matter how much I show her I want to have a relationship with her, she acts like she doesn't care." That, for me, just brought to light how God is trying to show us that he loves us and wants to have a relationship with us and yet by not accepting Him, we are acting as we don't care.  People should not only look at the Love Dare as a way to work on their marriage relationship, but also their Christian relationship.
1/27/2010 8:53:20 PM
yeny United States
yeny
as I write this there are tears coming down, there is a lot of painand fustration.When is it enough? I feel like just giving up... please pray for me and my husband.

1/27/2010 11:50:03 PM
Shel United States
Shel
Kathy, I am praying for you and your husband. Please keep on the love dare, it will bring you closer to God. When God is first, everything else will fall into place.
1/28/2010 5:03:10 AM
Rae United States
Rae
We are forgetting here that in order for you to love and be loved you must love yourself first. Then when you find peace with who you are you can find God and His love. Then you are able to love and be loved in the way this book is talking about. Love yourself, love your God and your relationships will fall into place.
1/28/2010 7:12:41 AM
Christine United States
Christine
Hi Michelle, do you recall the name of the book that you mentioned would help with a spouse that did not want to do the Love Dare? I have been following along with the daily postings and can relate to several of the people that have made comments.  However, I am hesitant in trying this because of the fact that my spouse would not want to do it.  So, if there is a book that would help me to help him...I would like to know the name to try it.  Thanks!
Comments are closed