December marks six months since the best day of my life. On June 11th, I said ‘I do’ and married my best friend! I will never forget the beauty of that day as we were able to express our love and commitment to each other in front of our close friends, family, and most importantly, the Lord. Throughout these past six months, my husband Dean and I have been learning what it means to love each other as husband and wife. In this time, we have seen many depictions of love taught by the society around us, and we have together come to the conclusion that there is something so unfulfilling about the love displayed in our culture.
“This worldly train of thought displays a faulty understanding of love from the very beginning.”Love seems to be expressed as a sort of exchange or trade; “what can this person do for me?” When this transactional give-and-take runs dry, there is no longer a desire to remain in that relationship, which leads to what many would call, “a falling out of love.” However, I believe that I can argue from a biblical perspective that this worldly train of thought displays a faulty understanding of love from the very beginning. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul reveals a description of love that puts this previously mentioned cultural notion to shame. The verses are as follows:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7I do not know about you, but that does not sound like the picture of love our world puts on display. This is a love that’s genuine; a love that does not depend on what you can do for me, but instead on how I can serve you. This love reveals its commitment to the other person through thick and thin. This love keeps no record of wrongdoing, but chooses to celebrate the relationship with true joy. It does not envy or compare, but delights in the blessings others receive. This love is not just for those who are like you, but for everyone you come into contact with: the outcast, and abandoned included. Dean and I have been learning this sacrificial love together, and what a joy it has been! I would be lying if I said we don’t fail daily at displaying this, but I can say in certainty that there is an everflowing stream of grace for each other and from God as we navigate the ups and downs of our new life as husband and wife.
“The most beautiful part of 1 Corinthians…”The most beautiful part of the message of love displayed in 1 Corinthians 13, however, is not Dean and I’s relationship, or any earthly love story for that matter. Instead, it is Christ’s love He has so graciously given to us, who are a member of His bride (the church). As I previously mentioned, Dean and I can not go even a whole day without failing to love each other well in one aspect or another, and this is also the truth for every relationship on this planet! Jesus, on the other hand, went a whole lifetime without failing in His love for others. He loved those around Him perfectly, (even those who wished Him harm) and spent over three decades on Earth without a single sin. Even when experiencing an excruciatingly painful death at the hands of the Romans, He still showed them love. Through His death He bore our every mistake: past, present, and future, and when He rose again three days later, He proved that death could not overcome Him. When we turn from our sins, and put our full trust in Jesus, we receive the grandest, and purest form of love, which is given from God the Father as we are welcomed into a relationship with Him. Through Jesus, our sins are covered, and we can begin to love Him and love others just as we are called to do through God’s word.
“Jesus has changed everything”Without the love of Jesus, I can firmly say Dean and I would not have the relationship we do today. Jesus has changed everything in our marriage. Even when life gets tough, He is ever present to provide forgiveness in every sin we commit against each other. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection stand as proof that He is love incarnate, and the ultimate example that we as Christians should strive after to care for those around us. Therefore, I urge you as you go about your holiday checklist, and navigate your relationships this Christmas, to do so with the ultimate depiction of love as your example. If you find yourself in a painful position this holiday season, remember Christ’s sacrifice for you. Jesus does not promise a life without pain, but He does promise to be there with His followers through that pain; and that is true love. Seek Christ today, friend. His strength is enough to carry your heaviest burden.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Lilly Kooper, CORE Leadership Mentee
Lilly is studying ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University where she is working on her Master of Divinity Degree alongside her husband, Dean. After completing her degree, Lilly desires to glorify God through missions and outreach. She enjoys being out in nature, reading, and leading a bible study with her husband.