“WHAT MATTERS MOST”
By Pastor Donald Parker
What matters most to God, is LOVE! Love describes the character of God. 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love.” That’s the character of God; and he demonstrates his love to us every day. Love is important to God; it’s what matters most to God. When Jesus was questioned by one of the Pharisees as to what was the greatest commandment? Jesus answered and said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Love is the essential ingredient in all relationships. In any relationship you want to see last, love is the essential ingredient. Love is not just an emotion or a thought; love must be demonstrated; love is action.
In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus about how they are to live. He gives them, and us today, instructions for a godly lifestyle, and godly behavior. We can use these same instructions and apply them to our marriage, or with any other relationship that we want to see last. Paul writes, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (vv. 26-27).
When we say things without thinking; just spouting off at the mouth, then our anger can hurt others and destroy our relationships. If we keep it bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships, rather than destroys them. If we hold onto our anger, we give Satan an opportunity to divide us. And that’s exactly what he wants to do; steal your joy, kill your love for one another, and destroy your marriage or any other relationship. If you’re angry with someone right now, don’t let the sun go down without working on mending your relationship.
Paul continues and says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (vs. 29 NLT). First Paul instructs us not to sin in our anger; in other words, don’t be unforgiving and go to bed mad. And now he tells us not to say mean and hurtful things to one another.
Foul and abusive language of any sort should never come out of the mouth of Christians, because of our new life in Jesus Christ. The old ways or gone, a new life has begun. Foul and abusive language shouldn’t be in the lives of Christians.
All that stuff that pours out of our mouths; the yelling and cussing at our spouse isn’t at all being like Christ. And I can promise you it will never help your marriage or any other relationship. What Paul says to do instead, is use words that will be helpful and encouraging.
With regards to a marriage relationship, you need to understand that marriage between a man and a woman is God’s idea; and without Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage you won’t make it. God honors a marriage where Jesus leads and directs the couple. If you want to stay in love forever, you start your relationship with Jesus.
Paul goes on to say, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (vv. 31-32). If we will be compassionate with one another; if we will forgive one another; if we will put Jesus at the center of our marriage, then we can stay in love forever, just the way God intended.
We married our spouse because we fell in love with them and we want to stay in love. But sometimes we get mad at each other, and all this anger starts pouring out. We must learn to be forgiving, and stay up late, if need be, to get our hearts together. If you want to stay in love forever, you must learn to speak words of kindness and build each other up. But our marriage can’t be all God intended for it to be without Him being at the center of it. You need to understand that, our soul’s greatest need is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and our marriage’s greatest need is Jesus!
To learn more about how much God loves you and cares about you, come join us at First Baptist Church Van Horn, Sunday mornings at 11am.