I Promise Devotion- 1/22/2016

This Week’s #ipromise Principle- The presence of God is a promise to live, not an experience to chase.

Today’s #ipromise Principle- Love others as they are, not as they ought to be or as you want them to be.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-12

“I’ll love you if…”
“I’ll love you when…”
“I’ll love you as long as you…”

Have you ever heard any of these statements? Have you ever said any of these statements? Often, even if we don’t say it out loud, this is exactly the way that we approach our relationships with others. Our love for them, and kindness toward them, is conditioned on them meeting a certain set of demands and living up to a certain set of standards (even if they are unspoken). These standards may not be bad in an of themselves- for example, the expectation that someone speak to you with kindness and respect- but any time our choice to love another becomes contingent on their choices, it ceases to reflect the love which God has shown us in Jesus, and the love to which He has called us to demonstrate toward others in Him.

This is true in all relationships, but it is intensified in marriage like in no other relationship. To love another person unconditionally is inescapably demanding; to love them unconditionally for a lifetime is all but naturally impossible apart from God’s strength! Our text today instructs us in what it looks like to “love for the long haul”- “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” You may find yourself today in a difficult season in your marriage, a time when obedience to God’s command seems especially wearisome.

Be encouraged and challenged by God’s example of unconditional love toward you. He remains faithfully present with His people even in our darkest and most desperate times. It is His love, grace, and steadfast presence alone that can melt our hard hearts and bring about lasting change. In the same way, God desires to give you His supernatural strength to love well, as He loves- without the “if’s,” “when’s,” and “as long as you’s” to which we are all so prone. What would it look like today for you to “bear…believe…hope…and endure” all things so that God’s love can flow through you toward your spouse, or toward someone else whom God has called you to love?

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