The Heart of Marriage
Dennis & Jill Eenigenburg
6. WHAT IS THE PAINT FOR MARRIAGE?
Answer: Divine Love
At the beginning of this study we compared marriage to a portrait. In a way unique only to marriage, a portrait is being painted, in a spiritual sense. A physical portrait has several components: artists, a canvass, a brush, paint and a subject.
Let us consider these elements in the marriage analogy.
1. The Artist is God.
2. The canvas is the marriage relationship.
3. The brushes are the Husband and Wife submitted to God’s hand on their lives.
4. The paint is the divine love that abides in every believer.
5. The subject being painted is the image of Christ made visible in our marital relationship.
What does Scripture tell us about Divine love?
1. Scripture tells us God Himself is the embodiment of Love. 1 John 14:6
2. Scripture tells us love is experienced in a trust and obey relationship with God John 14:6b
3. Scripture tells us love reveals us as His disciples. John 13:35
4. Scripture tells us Jesus revealed a new kind of love. John 13:34
Jesus revealed a love that was not practiced or perceived by the Israelites in the Old Testament era. Jesus revealed a love that is not practiced or perceived in our world. It is a love characterized by grace, sacrifice, forgiveness and selflessness.
The Greek word for love is AGAPE. This is a self giving love that demands something from us. It is a radical commitment to place the welfare of others ahead of one’s self. It is the willingness to sacrifice time, energy and resources for the benefit of others. In the context of marriage, it is a radical commitment to seek God’s best for your spouse no matter what the cost.
Both husbands and wives are called to love each other. Ephesians 5:25 Titus 2:4
Unlike the brushes used by painters, human brushes have a mind of their own. It is necessary for human brushes to willingly submit to God’s will. If you are exhibiting these qualities in your marriage it shows you are yielded to His will. If you are not exhibiting these qualities in your marriage you are not yielded to His will. Christ’s will regarding love is described in all its spectrum of colors in I Corinthians 13:1-8a. The importance of God’s love in our lives and marriages is made clear in the first three verses.
I. The Portrait of Christ’s glory cannot be painted in our marriages without Divine love.
A. Without Divine love we amount to nothing 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
B. Without Divine love our works amount to nothing 1 Corinthians 13:3
II. The Portrait of Christ’s glory can be painted in our marriages with Divine love.
The spectrum of Divine love is described beginning with 1 Corinthians 13:4:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant
A. Paint your portrait of Christ and the Church with the color “Patience.”
Love is “always patient.” The word used here can also be defined as long-tempered. It is used almost exclusively of patience with people. It refers to a wronged person who has the ability to take revenge but chooses not to retaliate.
B. Paint your portrait of Christ and the Church with the color “Kindness.”
Kindness and patience are a unique pair. Patience will take whatever is necessary to reflect Christ’s image. Kindness will give whatever it takes to reflect Christ’s image. God Himself is the perfect model of kindness. Titus 3:4-6
Husbands and wives must be willing to serve each other, seek to make each other’s burdens lighter. Self-sacrifice is the key to active kindness.
C. Do not paint your marriage portrait with the color “Jealousy.”
Jealousy is like a two-headed monster. One head wants what other people have and the second head wishes others did not have their possessions. Jealousy is like a poison to a marriage relationship. It is an expression of selfishness that can destroy the oneness and happiness.
D. Do not paint your marriage with the color “Boastful Arrogance.”
A loving person does not brag about his or her own accomplishments. They are humble even in success. They know that all they are and all they have is a gift from God. James 1:16-17
Jesus, although equal with God, did not arrogantly cling to His rights and His position but emptied Himself to be our Servant. Someone has said, “Arrogance is big headed but love is big hearted.
Paul continues to describe Divine love in verse 5 — “does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered”
E. Do not paint your marriage portrait with color of “Unbecoming Behavior.”
A believer abiding in the Love of Christ refrains from inappropriate behavior. Titus 2:1-3
Love never resorts to tactless or ill manners. Offensive and unwholesome words and deeds are foreign to love. Love seeks to show honor and respect for others and is willing to adjust to the needs of others.
F. Do not paint your marriage portrait with the color of “Self-seeking.”
Love never acts for its own advantage over the needs of others. It is never motivated by the desire to gain its own rights, possessions and honor. Love is totally unselfish.
G. Do not paint your marriage portrait with the paint of “Quick Provocation.”
The one who loves as Christ loves is not embittered or enraged by abuse, wrong, insult or injury. It accepts the opposite of love and gives blessings to one’s enemies.
H. Do not paint your marriage portrait with the color of “Recorded Offenses.”
Love does not keep score of evil done to it. Love does not look for ways to get even with the offender. Love rather seeks to forgive and release the offender. It absorbs hurt as the sea quenches a spark. It pardons as God pardons sinful man.
Continuing in verse 6 Paul gives some import contrasts in Divine love — “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth”
I. Paint your marriage portrait with the color of “Grieving Evil and Rejoicing over the Truth.”
Love finds no pleasure in wrong. Love grieves over wrong because it recognizes the offense it is to God and suffering caused by evil. It also grieves for those who will ultimately suffer eternal punishment for lack of saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Love finds pleasure in every progress that truth makes in one’s heart and in the hearts of others. Truth brings men to salvation. Truth brings men to holiness. Truth brings men to the blessings of God. Love celebrates the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
In verse 7 we find the ability of love to exceed the challenges life places before us — “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.
J. Paint your marriage portrait with the color of “Bearing up under Suffering.”
Consider it all joy, my beloved brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Love endures sufferings and accepts hardship without complaining. It knows that trials are opportunities to trust God and develop spiritual maturity. It reflects Christ’s willingness to suffer greatly for those He loved.
K. Paint your marriage portrait with the color of “Consistent Faith.”
Love is not blind belief. Love puts its trust in the revealed Word of God. It sees clearly the evidence of God’s existence through his conscience, nature and the Word. He refuses to be distracted by the world’s values and the world’s ways.
L. Paint your marriage portrait with the color of the “Blessed Hope.”
Love recognizes that it may never receive the reward for its faithfulness in this life. But love is expressed because it pleases Jesus Christ the lover of our souls. Love “hopes in all things” promised in the future. Love know its true reward will be hearing, “well-done thou good and faithful servant.”
M. Paint your marriage portrait with color of remaining “Faithful under Pressure.”
Love does not run from pressure but runs to the Lord for strength in time of need. Love does not turn away from difficult marriage relationships nor does it shirk difficult responsibilities. Love is long-suffering and refuses to give up in defeat. Nothing deters love from its convictions.
REMEMBER: DIVINE LOVE NEVER FAILS TO REFLECT THE GLORIOUS IMAGE OF CHRIST AND ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES IN OUR LIVES
TAKE IT TO HEART PROJECT:
At this point we want to stop and let you take a close look at your love life. What paint are you using on the canvas of your marriage and relationship with others? As you re-read the definitions of the paints, ask God to help you see clearly your strengths and weaknesses. Listen to the Holy Spirit to direct you to 2-3 of your strengths and 2-3 of your weaknesses. After evaluation, ask someone else to affirm or disagree with your self assessment. In the end chose one paint you wish to eliminate and one you wish to use more consistently.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
I express this quality of love:
1. Almost always 3. Sometimes
2. Often 4. Almost never
A. Christlike love is always… (1 Corinthians 13:4)
____ “patient” – suffers long even when wronged repeatedly. It refuses to yield to just resentment.
____ “kind” – full of goodness, illustrated by the constant need to make oneself useful. It conquers idle selfishness and comfortable self-pleasure. To put oneself at the service of others.
|B. Christlike love is… Not this…
is not jealous” – Love never detracts from the praise that is due another nor tries to make him seem less and self seem more. When love sees another as prosperous, gifted, or rich it is pleased and glad of his advantages. It is satisfied with its own portion and glad of another’s greater portion.
does not brag” – It never boasts of its own accomplishments and qualities. Has a proper estimation of his importance. Content to allow accomplishments to go unnoticed rather than bring credit to himself.
is not arrogant” – Love does not have a superior attitude. Snobbishness and an inflated ego have no part with love. Love always projects humility and regards others as more important. Love handles success graciously.