October 23, 2008
No Small Affair
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)
A few years ago, I sat with a beautiful young woman and watched the tears stream down her face. Six months before our meeting, her world was filled with so much – a loving husband, a healthy toddler, and fun friends.
Life was full.
But some part of her heart still felt restless, unsettled, and a little empty.
She started to feel detached from her husband and disappointed in their relationship. Why couldn't he make her feel loved? Wasn’t he supposed to right her wrongs, fill up her insecurities, and give her a lasting feeling of love?
Then one day she met a man who said things she'd longed to hear her husband say. He made her feel pretty and witty. Soon, she rationalized that she'd never really loved her husband in the first place. A web of lies was spun. She fell into the arms of the other man.
She had not wanted to come to the women's retreat. She knew it might make her feel guilty and she was past having any guilty feelings. She was just waiting for the right time to leave her husband and start over with the new love of her life. But her friends had started to grow suspicious of her pulling back from so many church activities. So, to appease them, she went.
Over the course of the weekend, the walls she'd so carefully constructed to keep everyone at a distance and her secret safe started to crumble. By Saturday night, she sat down with me and confessed her affair. She desperately wanted to know how I felt so full of God's love. She was now convinced it wasn't the love of another man her heart craved; it was the love of God.
Chasing love outside the will of God invites the exact opposite of love into our lives. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 is picture of God's perfect love. It is patient. It is kind. It does not envy... it is not self-seeking... it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth... it always protects... it always perseveres. Love never fails. The things we chase in this world are opposite from God's love. False attempts at love will make us impatient, unkind, envious, self-seeking, resistant to the truth, reckless and temporary.
1 Corinthians 13 is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with another person. It is a description of God's love. This kind of love can be ours as we become more Christ-like. It is never focused inwardly. It is never about what I'm going to get from another person. It is deciding that this is the kind of love I will give away.
I am challenged by this. Because our souls were designed for God's fulfilling love, if we aren't staying closely connected to Him everyday, our hearts will start to feel empty. Restless. Unfulfilled.
Let us never get to the place where we think we are strong enough to not be tempted in this way. If we are all completely honest, we are only a few bad decisions away from the same kind of mess my sweet friend is now trying to untangle herself from. While I have complete hope in God's ability to restore her, the consequences of her chase for love will be severe on many levels.
The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting and perfectly satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing the wrong kind of love and start living out the truths of God.
Dear Lord, help me rest in the security of Your love. Make me wise in how I guard my heart. May I never get lured into any kind of worldly, fake love. But if I ever start to get drawn away, God surround me with people who are bold enough to speak truth into my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog
Who Holds the Key To Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
Oh sweet friends, can we make a commitment together today? If something or somebody in this world seems appealing enough to draw our hearts away from the truth of God, let’s commit to being women who will readily admit it to another godly woman and ask for help.
Who are my friends that help hold me accountable? Who are my friends that I can foster this kind of mutual openness with?
Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (NIV)
Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 23 October 2008.