Jan 24 2010

Love Dare - Day 19

Love is impossible

 

Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. –I John 4:7

 

The Love Dare starts with a secret.  And though it’s been an unspoken element throughout each day, you’ve likely grown more and more suspicious of it all the time.  Now that you’re this far, it’s a secret you’re discovering for yourself, even if you haven’t exactly known how to put it into words.

 

The secret is this:  you cannot manufacture unconditional love (or agape love) out of your own heart.  It’s impossible.  It’s beyond your capabilities.  It’s beyond all our capabilities.

 

You may have demonstrated kindness and unselfishness in some form, and you may have learned to be more thoughtful and considerate.  But sincerely loving someone unselfishly and unconditionally is another matter altogether.

 

So how can you do it?  Like it or not, agape love isn’t something you can do.  It’s something only God can do.  But because of His great love for you—and His love for your spouse—He chooses to express His love through you.

 

Still, you may not believe that.  You may be convinced that with enough hard work and commitment, you can muster up unconditional, long-term, sacrificial love from your own heart.  You want to believe it’s in you.

 

But how many times has your love failed to keep you from lying, from lusting, from overreacting, from thinking evil of this person you’ve vowed before God to love for the rest of your life.

 

How many times has your love proven incapable of controlling your anger?  How many times has your love motivated you to forgive or brought about a peaceable end to an ongoing argument?

 

It’s this failure that exposes mankind’s sinful condition.  We’ve all fallen short of God’s commands (Romans 3:23).  We’ve all demonstrated selfishness, hatred, and pride.  And unless something is done to cleanse us of these ungodly attributes, we will stand before God guilty as charged (Romans 6:23).  That’s why if you’re not right with God, you can’t truly love your spouse because He is the Source of that love.

 

You can’t give what you don’t have.  You can’t call up inner reserves and resources that aren’t there to be summoned.  In the same way that you can’t give away a million dollars if you don’t have it to start with, you cannot pay out love in greater measure than you own.  You can try, but you will fail.

 

So the hard news is this:  love that is able to withstand every pressure is out of your reach, as long as you’re only looking within yourself to find it.  You need someone who can give you that kind of love.

“Love is from God” (I John 4:7).  And only those who have allowed Him into their heart through faith in His Son, Jesus—only those who have received the Spirit of Christ through belief in His death and resurrection—are able to tap into love’s real power.  “Apart from me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

 

But He also said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).  God has promised through Christ to dwell in your heart through faith so that you can “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 NKJV).

 

When you surrender yourself to Christ, His power can work through you.  Even at your very best, you are not able to live up to God’s standards.  But He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20). That’s how you love your spouse.

 

So, this unsettling secret—as defeating as it may feel—has a happy ending for those who will stop resisting and will receive the love God has for them.  This means that the love He has “poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5) is always available, every time we choose to submit to it.

 

You simply won’t be able to do it without Him.

 

Perhaps you’ve never given our heart to Christ, but you sense Him drawing you today.  You may be realizing for the first time that you, too, have broken God’s commands, and that your guilt will keep you from knowing Him.  But Scripture says that if you repent by turning away from your sin and turning to God, He is willing to forgive you because of the sacrifice his Son made on the cross.  He is pursuing you, not to enslave you but to free you, so you can receive His love and forgiveness.  Then you can share it with the one you’ve been called most specifically to love.

 

Perhaps you’re already a believer, but you would admit that you have walked away from fellowship with God.  You’re not in the Word, you’re not in prayer, maybe you’re not even in church anymore.  The love you used to feel coursing through your veins has dwindled into apathy.

 

The truth is, you can’t live without Him and you can’t love without Him.  But there is no telling what He could do in your marriage if you put your trust in Him.

 

TODAY’S DARE

 

Look back over the dares from the previous days.  Were there some that seemed impossible to you?  Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love?  Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination.

What do you believe God is saying to you?  Is there a stirring in your heart?  What decision have you made in response to this?

 

This is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  (Matthew 19:26)

 

 

 

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 (18) -

1/24/2010 1:40:59 AM
Shel United States
Shel
I am so anxious to read the love dares, I am up this early! And this one spoke to me and made me cry. I am saved but I have been struggling with some things during the dares. The praying I do everyday I try to do with a pure heart. However, with my husband having an affair, the human side of me craves to feel wanted, needed and loved. I have a friend who I only chat with but he gives me all of this. I thought I was OK because we have agreed to not meet in person to resist any temptation. But I know it is wrong. I know that I can't expect God to bless me when I pray to him with an unclean heart. So I am asking all of you to pray for me a little extra this time. I love my husband and I want him to love me again. I need stronger faith this will happen and stop trying to get what I'm missing so much. I need patience. I miss the intimacy we once shared, emotionally and physically.  Please pray for us!
1/24/2010 6:33:15 AM
Bev United States
Bev
Wow, I was just thinking this yesterday. That I should just give up cuz it is impossible for me to do this kind of love.  But I will believe God, He can do anything.
1/24/2010 8:28:10 AM
Lisa United States
Lisa
Wow! Amazing that this dare would be today.  Just last night when I prayed for my husband I was wondering if this was working.  We have actually been getting along a lot better but I was worried that I felt like I was just going through the motions and when there were no more dares I couldn't keep on.  Much of today's reading spoke to my heart.  I guess I have a lot more praying to do.
1/24/2010 9:06:30 AM
Jill United States
Jill
That would be John 15:5, not 1 John 15:5 ...
Smile
1/24/2010 11:26:30 AM
RS United States
RS
I have been reading posts from the last week as I have not have a chance to stay upto date.

I have noticed a few people who are crying out to be noticed and no one is responding. (OK, at least not directly) Please don't think no-one cares. Sometimes someones post grabs us and we respond to that perticular post and sometimes we answer in general, and sometimes we don't respond where you can see or hear, but we pray. AND each person who has posted (myself included) has been prayed for, numerous times.

I would like to respond to them (lovingly I hope): I understand you are hurting and ALL of this is a sore point with you, BUT if you will STOP and listen, you are being selfish and impatient. Yes, your mate may not be doing the DARE or much of anything else for your marriage, but this IS really about you. We ALL need love and encouragement, and we want if from that certain someone. Unfortunately, sometimes, that certain someone is clueless or has closed off their heart, mostly because of things we have done. I have been on both sides of that fence, being clueless and closing my heart off, and of course I have had it done to me also. I give/gave and give/gave and think I have/had nothing left to give when I would get a little morsel, and that would refill my tank or at least give me more to go on.

And lastly, to the post that said this book is a cookie cutter answer to all problems (or something like that). YES, it is, BUT GOD is what makes EACH of these DARES individual to EACH of us.

Oh, and it comes from the BIBLE so it comes from GOD.

Please don't give up. Praise GOD!
1/24/2010 1:05:57 PM
Sparrow United States
Sparrow
Wow, this is an answer to a prayer for me.  I had started to follow the love dare and lost track for almost a week now.  I just happened to click on it today and it really hit home.  Just amazing!
1/24/2010 1:20:08 PM
Doris United States
Doris
Sometimes miracles take time
1/24/2010 5:25:24 PM
Bob United States
Bob
I followed the Love Dare from a distance for the first week or two. My wife & I are divorced; though she once was a devoted believer(& bride) the enemy wore her down, much due to my emotional neglect. She has been living with a guy for more than three years. I jumped on board earlier this week; though she has walked away from the covenant, I can see how much she gave to this relationship for so many years without much reciprocation. If I can be a bridge to bring her back to Jesus, let it be!! I owe it to her...
1/24/2010 8:35:41 PM
Rebecca United States
Rebecca
RS....very well put.
1/24/2010 9:07:20 PM
Anddy Nakim Malaysia
Anddy Nakim
What is love ?. its only an emotional expression from the heart of the person through the eyes focused on. The beauty the ugly and whatever things you are going to describe. Its like having a camera what scenery you wanted to click. Which area which angle or which position. this is how love from a person to another person.A lot more to add. It depends on you how you see how you wanted to see. But becareful you are not alone. You see things with your nafs too. At last what happened. Four legs on bed. Result. You satiate your nafs and it becomes bigger wanting more and more.
1/24/2010 10:59:24 PM
John United States
John
My wife and I have been doing the love dare since day 1.  At the start I found myself almost dreading  the time we had to do it.  over the next couple of dares I found myself more and more looking forward to them.  I can't believe how much my point of view has changed in the coarse of 19 days.  I now have a powerful hunger for the dare.  I look forward all day long for the time for us to lay down and read the dare together.  God has truely turned my heart around 100 percent. Not only have I found myself doing the little things in our relationship that mean tne most, I've actually been longing to do so.  I love my wife with all my being,and This has made me realize just how important she really is.  I've been taking time out of my day to stop what I am doing and just pray and give praise to God for bringing this into my life.  I have noticed myself longing to be with her more and more,and also longing to go to church,and spend the quality time with her and our children that I often took for granted.  This is not only making our marriage better,it's making me a much better christian.  This was placed into our lives for a reason,and I praise God for giving this wonderful gift to us.  Thank you for the love dare, This has absolutely saved my relationship,and opened my eyes.  I pray for everyone with the courage to take the dare.  It is a true blessing.  P.S.  I love you Jenny......
1/26/2010 10:55:39 AM
Rivers United States
Rivers
I too have missed a week! I read todays dare and felt God speaking to me! I love my husband and I long to be a good christian woman/wife! Please pray for me! That I would grow in patience! ... You are all in my prayers!
10/10/2010 7:56:00 PM
C_C_Love United States
C_C_Love
I might say, it just hit the spot. As much as I love God, I need to accept that I've been wrong about the way I had choose to follow him. This dare makes me realize the difference between loving you, and loving the others but loving Jesus first!
I;m doing this dare to learn about me and to begin me 15 years relationship with my boyfriend all over again with the right foot. I will pray for all just like I want to pray for me. Blessings!
2/9/2011 10:36:12 PM
suzana Malaysia
suzana
I too have missed a week! I read todays dare and felt God speaking to me! I love my partner and I long to be a good christian woman/wife! Please pray for me! That I would grow in patience! ...I fail to realise that You simply won’t be able to do it without Him( Jesus).“Apart from me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5)...its very true....waiting for my miracle    
3/5/2011 5:05:03 PM
Jason United States
Jason
I just want to say thank you Klove for putting these dares online like this, I realize it has been over a year since you did this for your listeners but I am in a dark place right now and this has spoken to me along with your station online, I steam Klove through the internet because I am stationed in South Korea. Now for a little back ground...

My wife and I have been married for 3 years coming this April and have been together for 4 years.  We've had some good times and some bad times and some real horrible times, we have 6 children, I had 1, she had 3 and we have 2 together.  I have had problems dealing with any sort of conflict with her, I have lied to her, called her horrible names, cursed out, told her I hate her, told her I wished she'd die, told her I don't love her, been physical with her...all this happens when we get into arguments...we have tried to work things out and things get better for a few months then I get upset during an argument and it starts all over...

Well in June 2010, I had to come to Korea for a year because of the military, I tried everything to get out of it because our relationship needed a lot of work and I knew this was most likely going to break it.  Things were good for a couple of months before I left, and they were good for about a month and a half while I was away...then we argued a couple times and I would hang up on her and I was back to getting upset...

I hastily decided in July 2010 to move my daughter with my family in California, telling my wife I wanted a divorce...I opened my own account, and stopped my money from going into our joint account...all I could think about was how miserable I WAS, not how she felt but how I felt...

My wife, bless her heart, started trying super hard to change my mind about everything because she knows how I am, strong willed and bull headed and sometimes I make really bad choices in the heat of my RAGE/ANGER, so she kept the faith, that I would change my mind...all the while I put a huge strain on everything, her, our kids and I got my family involved in our problems once again...she even wanted come to Korea to see me in Oct 2010 and I rebuked her time and time again...all her efforts, she sent me a sermon series from our church about staying in love and I said some horrible things like I should burn it or something, I told her she is wasting her time and energy hoping for me to change...God, why was I so selfish/evil?

I went home in Dec 2010 for 29 days and spent time with her and our kids, it started out horrible as I cussed her out over the phone because she wasn't at the airport to pick me up, I thought she wasn't coming and I was very angry...as I was cussing her out she showed up behind me and tapped on my shoulder...she had left the house later than she wanted to because she had to load up the vehicle on her own...I feel like scum...the time we spent together was good, we had our bumps but it was good...of course I never resolved any of our problems because I never have...

I had to come back to Korea in Jan 2011, had surgery on my left knee on 20 Jan & proceeded to get into a huge blow out with my wife, hung up on her and didn't speak to her for about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks besides 2 or 3 emails concerning taxes, she asked what to do, I told her we should still file together, she didn't agree and filed on her own, I blew up yet again and sent her a long e-mail, telling her we should just divorce then, that we will never be able to reconcile our differences, that we drive each other insane but I do love her...I believe that was the beginning of Feb 2011...

A few days after I sen that e-mail, I sat down and watched Fireproof for the second time (first time I saw in theater with my wife, it spoke to me but I didn't listen) and it hit me like a ton of bricks...I cried and all I could think about was my wife, especially the beginning when he yells out her...I raise my voice often in conflicts with her...God finally opened my eyes to my selfish ways...the whole time I have been with my wife I have been selfish and I never ever saw it or realized it, in everything, during our arguments as soon as I felt hurt/attacked, I wouldn't even consider what she was saying our how she felt, it was all about my feelings not hers ever...what a fool I have been...I selfishly blamed her almost all our problems, when in fact I am responsible for all of them by acting out of RAGE/ANGER and SELFISHNESS, never thinking of her...

about a week later came Valentines day and I sent her a pajamagram but more importantly after watching Fireproof a couple more times and crying as I related to everything wrong I have done in my marriage, I decided to do the Love Dare and I wanted/needed to start right away because I knew I was losing my wife, my family and I found this online...I have been using these posts from day 1 on 14 Feb 2011 and they have been super difficult because of the distance between my wife and I so I have not been able to perform a couple of them but I do my best.  It has also been difficult because it has been obvious to me that my wife has given up, I believe the incident after my surgery was the straw that broke her back and she has lost hope and faith, because of that she won't take my calls, I have been able to get through a couple times but most times she won't answer my calls...I have been texting her through my e-mail account and occasionally I get replies...I finally am getting what the scriptures say about you reap what you sow and I believe I am reaping what I have sown into our relationship over the past 4 years and I am ashamed/embarrassed of how I have acted and how I treated my wife...I am not mad at her for the way she has responded to me because this is all my fault...

I only pray that God opens her heart back up to him and that he heals her heart and that she will be able to forgive me one day, I pray that he gives me the strength and courage to follow through with this transformation I am going through, that I see this not only till the 40 days are up but for the rest of my life and I pray that through Jesus Christ, my wife and I are reconciled, my wife and our family is healed and we can live together again to join our walk of faith in and for his glory...

I am not sure if anyone will even read this post because it is over a year since this was done on KLove, but I just want to thank Klove for not only doing this when they did to help those of us who struggle in our relationship with God and in our marriages/relationships but for them to keep this Love Dare up on the internet or I never would have found it and wouldn't have been able to start it right away...I bought the book for my wife just to follow if she wants but hopefully to start as well although I don't think that would happen right now...when I started on the 14 Feb, I didn't just start the Love Dare, I also started reading daily scriptures and finally started praying and talking to God...I pray and hope for the best and I thank God for finally removing the blinders I had on covering my eyes and my heart...now I can start treating my wife how she deserves and was meant to be treated whether she wants me anymore or not...Thank you God and I pray for all those people that started this dare last year, that God has blessed them in their journey, that they changed their heart and that their relationships are a success in God's glory...Amen

Thank you Klove...
3/11/2011 1:59:12 AM
Bill United States
Bill
Jason, I read your post, and I am praying for you. I am a few days behind you. I too have had anger issues. I too have been reading my bible daily.  At least a proverb and a psalm or two.  I found it the most helpful to me to pray the psalms as if it was me. To read them outloud as if it was my lamentation. (psalm 119 & Lamentations are also good for reading aloud and personalizing). I started reading daily a few  days before starting love dare, God is renewing my heart daily. Praise be to God, for he is good!
Bill
3/15/2011 6:55:58 PM
Jason United States
Jason
Bill,

Thank you, I will be praying for you as well.  

I have been fortunate enough to be able to come back home for a week and a half...my wife had surgery and I talked to my supervision and they allowed me to take additional leave...what started out as trying to save my marriage and show my wife that I am truly changing has gone off course...I did everything I could to show her that God is changing me and that I want to serve her and love her as Christ loves her...the first week went real good, of course I have gotten negative feedback but I kept on the path...

However, today things took a turn for the worse and I lapsed just for about 2 minutes to the nasty person I am changing from...which just destroyed the new path I was showing her I was on...she is definitely dead set on divorcing me now...I know I am not perfect but I need that person i was to be dead...I can not ever lapse like that so all I have now is prayer and faith (although I admit is wavering a bit) that god will bring me through this...I was praying that it was God's will for us not to be divorced but I am starting to think that maybe I should let her go...she says she feels trapped and all she wants is out...by me not wanting a divorce and wanting to work things out and not signing the papers, she feels helpless, hopeless and trapped...she expects me to drag this out and make it ugly...which is what the old me would do...I try to reassure her that I will not make it ugly but I really don't want this...she says if I truly do love her and god is truly changing who I am then I should show her by letting her go with everything and to work on me and maybe later in the future we will be together again...

Oh, God...please guide me and tell me what I am supposed to do...is this your will? do you want me to let her go? Do I sign the papers? Do I try and wait it out while you work on her healing her heart and removing the hate she has for me? Please Father, instruct me in what my actions/response need to be and I pray that your words flow through my mouth anytime i get an opportunity to speak to her, to be strong enough not to switch back to the person i was in an instant...why is this so hard for me Lord?  Thank you for all your blessings and please continue to bless my wife, please enter heart and do what ever work you need to do for her spirit...Amen...
3/17/2011 10:58:15 PM
Bill United States
Bill
Jason,
As I read your post I couldn't help but think about a few verses in answer to your decision.
The first is Malachi 2:15b-16   15 "Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.

 16"For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."

This is what you have been working for these last Copley of weeks, you are trying to protect her from yourself. That is what the dare is all about, I know, I am doing it too. I slip and speak harsh or rude, and I can see the same old pain in her eyes.  

The second verse, Matthew 19:3-7

 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

   4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The key parts of this this are that Jesus said our hearts are hard, and that Jesus says not to divorce for "any reason" as the Pharisees put it. I am sure we both realized that our hearts are hard, and that is why we are here on this blog. Additionally my wife and I said long ago that divorce was not an answer, and it has helped us to not bring it up as an option in an argument and instead realize thar we were in this marriage for life and therefore needed to make it work.

I am not trying to preach at you, or tell you are doing it wrong,  because I know I am I at times.  I have read the dares and day  reading for day 19,20,21 & 22 and have realized yet again that  my attempts to do this on my own isn't working. It will not work until I trust fullyn him, and trusting Him to change my heart and let him work on my wife's heart.

Last thought.  You need to have your weapon loaded with the best ammunition possible to attack the enemy and drive him off. Satan is the enemy, our best ammunition is having bible verses memorized that we can think of and repeat outloud when tempted. Like Job's " I have made a covenant with me eyes not to look at a woman in lust"  or proverbs whennit says "a gentle answer turns away wrath"

Having verses ready to fire enables us to defend when attacked by Satan, even if it means we sin first and then realize.  Fire it off anyway!  At some point you notice that you are quoting your verse before you are attacked.

Still praying for you,
Bill
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