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"That Love Which Is Of God"

Chapter XVI



We often hear the little saying "fall out of love" or "fell into love," but there is such a lack of knowledge of what real love is, much less how one gets into the real thing, or how one get sout of it, that it needs expounded.

Not long ago in counseling with a young lady about her feelings for her husband (who was not what he should have been), I asked her to explain what she actually expected of her husband, if he were to fulfill to her what she thought love should do. She, typically, stated that he would provide her needs, stay home with her and the children, etc. Then it was shown to her that all that is nice, deserved and right, but it is not actually love. One could pay for and receive companionship; charitable institutions will provide material needs (to a point). This, of course, is if that is all one wishes, but is that really proof that another loves? No, love is one giving himself to another. If it is "love as Christ loves," then it will be sacrificially giving "beyond themselves" in the evil times without need for reward or praise to keep on always giving.

So many now have so cheapened love to something one can buy, to something sensual, to something shallow, until few know what the real thing is. How cxan a young per-son wait carefully for "true love"if they don't even know it is that one for whom they must serve? It is a drawing toward another with such an intense desire to spend a lifetime with them, around them, at their feet. "In love preferring"above all others very differently explains love from anything seen today. If parents don't have this, if they strive and envy (carnal) all the time, how shall our children learn love? Love's ruin is ignorance as it was in Hosea's days when he said, "...my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Remember that love grows: "...but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). Love, my friend, is learned; it is never fallen into. One "falls" into love (agape) by growing affectionately in the knowledge thereof.

Follow these thoughts and try them for truth. Is it not true that in I John 4:19 God says, "we love (agape) Him, because He first loved (agape) us" ? God first gave Himself affectionately to us "while we were yet sinners."God proved His love toward us "while we yere yet sinners" (Romans 5:8). In I John 3:16 again we read: "Hereby per-ceive we the love of God, becaue He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.˛

True agape-love is perceived, learned or grasped by "a loved"observing of acts of "a lover" toward that loved. In God's case this was and is observed whle man's natural state is anti-God. Romans 8:7 says, "The carnal mind is en-mity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God." Again in Galatians 5:17: "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit..." And in Jeremiah 17:9: "...the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..." You see the mind was not pro-God; this was and is the state of natural man when God began loving the soul. "But God com-mendeth (proved) his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). This proving was "becaue he died for us" (I John 3:16). While we "watched him there," God says that "hereby perceive (understand) we the love of God.˛

Love is a growing thing spiritually and human love in the home is a form of divine love. One perceives love toward God in what he sees and grasps of God's act in Calvary. One likewise perceives a spouse's love (or future spouse) by what one grasps through observing that one's acts toward them.

True love (agape) is to be weighed for real character. True love does have agape character! One can know what true and genuine love (agape) is! We are reminded when discerning the love of God, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whethere they are of God" (I John 4:1). Jesus said to some of His day, "search the scriptures" (John 5:39). We are told in II Corinthians 11:4: "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus..." We are told to look for certain fruits of true agape-love and we are told that Lucifer will be counterfeiting agape. What are we to be looking for? Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.˛

In II Peter 1:4 we know that there is a divine nature and from that nature comes divine fruits, divine acts. Let it be said again, no one "falls"into love (agape)! Every one "grows in grace and knowledge of the Lord;" everyone "hereby perceives the love..." This is the same formula used between spouses or future spouses. This is the why of courtship: to grow to this knowledge, to perceive the fruits of genuine love (agape).

Now as one grows into love, one grows out of love. "Love is" being blinded to one's faults enough to see the assets as towering over the faults. "Love is"majoring on the assets and forgetting the faults. For the truth of this, again see I Corinthians 13:4-8 and reread chapter nine.

This is why a courtship is a necessary part of pre-wedding bells. Yet true courtship is not sexual. It is a looking for the signs of real love (agape). No unsaved person has or will ever have, without Christ, agape-love and no amount of looking fwill find agape in the unregenerate.

Whken we understand that true agape-love is under-stood by growth, we will be set for a "long-term"romance with Christ. If weunderstand that it will get deeper and truer with time and walk, we will find saints digging in deeper and pling to endure to the end. Out will go emotional and quickly spiritual relationship ideas and in will settle anticipation toward a future of greater wondfer and majesty with Jesus Christ.

Let it also be said that one must keep close guard on the heart or he will "slowly" slip, often without notice. No one "falls"into love and no one "falls"out of love. As one grows into love, one likewise slides from love, little by little (see Hebrews 2:2; 3:12, written to saints’. Generally it begins with slack Bible reading and prayer life, then missing church etc. So with our home life, we grow out of love by becoming slack in romance toward each other, then missing opportunities to be together, then . . .

Herein is love's ruin of "falling." It is never instantly found or realized, nor is it lost instantly. It is slow, often subtly so, until it is irreparable without drastic measures. One must diligently guard his heart and actively romance the Lord, his spouse, etc., or he will grow to hate the same.