Summary: Love is more an action than an emotion.

8 Words to Change Your Family: Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Rev. Brian Bill


How many of you need to make an “I’m sorry” phone call to your mom today? I’ll be picking up the phone this afternoon. Moms teach us so many things.

• My mother taught me MEDICINE: “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to stay that way.”

• My mom taught me about GENETICS: “You are just like your father!”

• My mother taught me about my ROOTS: “Do you think you were born in a barn?”

• My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until your father gets home.”

• She also taught me RELIGION: “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

• And the all-time favorite thing my mother taught me was JUSTICE: “One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.”

Actually, I’ve been blessed because our daughters are turning out to be more like their mom…and that’s a good thing.

We’re in the second week of our “Eight Words to Change Your Family” series. Last week Pastor Jeff preached a very practical message on the topic of Vision. He helped us see that the decisions we make today will affect the next 100 years through our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. Here’s his outline by way of reminder.

Value God’s vision for the family.

Impress the faith.

See past today.

Initiate family worship. There are additional devotional guides at the Resource Center.

Our character matters.

Negotiate the minefields of marriage.

Our word for today is love. Since this is Mother’s Day, this has great application to moms, but in a general sense, we all need to learn to love more fully and more completely, whether we are dads or moms, or children or grandparents or siblings. I’m aware that Mother’s Day is a difficult time for some of you.

• Maybe you want to be a mother but you can’t be for some reason

• Perhaps some of you have not had the best mother in the world

• Some of you have had a mother who has died

• Some of you mothers have lost a child to death

• Some of you mothers feel the pain of a wayward child

• And, some of you are flying solo as you work hard to nurture your child’s faith

Do you remember that commercial for peanut butter that goes like this – “Choosy moms choose Jiff?” I want to state a deep truth that runs counter-cultural and is even counter-intuitive for many of us. Here it is: Love is more an action than an emotion. Choosy moms choose love because love is a choice.

My mind went to Deuteronomy 30:19 this week: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” The challenge for me is this: Will I choose life so that I and my children will live? Will I put love into action even when I don’t feel like it?

This past Sunday night during our small group we were talking about how to apply last week’s sermon. One of our group members shared something very profound. I called her this week to make sure I heard it right and to ask her permission to share it. This is basically what she said: “I saw some things growing up related to someone harboring bitterness and a lack of forgiveness. I am a lot like my parents but I don’t have to do like they do. I can choose differently. It’s still a choice. You ultimately choose how you will be. I am like my parents but I am different because of my relationship with my true Father.”

I’ve been rolling this around in my head all week: “It’s still a choice. You ultimately choose how you will be.” What she’s really saying is this: Love is more an action than an emotion.

In the famous “love passage” that is read at most weddings, 1 Corinthians 13 helps us understand what love is and what it looks like in daily life. This crown jewel of the Bible establishes the fact that love is not primarily an emotion but an action. The kind of love that you and I are called to demonstrate must be seen and experienced. Love is a choice.

When Paul wrote this chapter, he was not thinking about weddings or romance. Chapter 13 comes right in the middle of a lengthy discussion on the use of spiritual gifts in chapters 12 and 14. All sorts of disputes and divisions plagued the Corinthian church. They argued about which gift was the greatest; they were selfish, they were taking each other to court, and they were impatient with others. Sounds like some of our families today.

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