Why is it so hard to have a healthy, whole relationship? Maybe when we understand what real love looks like, we can understand where the challenges lie. Insert your name in each of the blanks below and read the statements out loud – this is a love test!
The Love Test
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
______ is patient and kind; ______ does not envy or boast; ______ is not arrogant or rude. ______ does not insist on their own way; ______ is not irritable or resentful; ______ does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ______ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
How did you do on the love test? What percentage of statements that you read were actually true? if you failed the love test, let’s be honest – we all do. There is a way to actually be this person – patient and kind, not envious or boasting, not irritable or resentful (even when not caffeinated)… it’s through the inner working of Jesus through you.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
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.
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of your spirit, you become the hands and feet of Jesus. The more you die to self and decrease, the more the Holy Spirit possesses you. Where there is a root of love, there is the fruit of joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, endurance, kindness, meekness, and gentleness.
If you go into a marriage relationship and you have a secular definition of love you’ll never love your spouse completely. We are trained from a young age by culture to think that love is a feeling. And that feeling may get you down the wedding aisle, but it won’t get you beyond the wedding day. Real love is sacrificial. It’s the God-kind of love.
Walking On Water
In Matthew 14, Jesus’ disciples are in a boat. Jesus comes walking on the water. They think he’s a ghost, but Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus. Why does he believe he can walk on water?
To understand why we have to look at the cultural context. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, with Jewish disciples, living in a first-century Jewish world. Jesus grew up in a region called the Galilee. People in this region believed that God had spoken to Moses and had given him the first five books of the Bible, the Torah. Torah was the center of their lives and the focus of their educational system. Most Jewish boys would go to school in the local synagogue around the age of 6. This was the first, basic level of education. By age 10, each boy would have Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy memorized (impressive!). After this level, most kids no longer attended school and would instead begin apprenticing in the family trade.
The very best students would keep studying at the next level. At this next level, the best of the best would memorize the rest of the Hebrew scriptures, Genesis to Malachi. The last and final stage was where the pupil would go to the rabbi and request to be able to follow them, take the yoke of the rabbi, and become his disciple.
So this powerful rabbi comes to town, Jesus. You hear about him – he has supernatural powers to heal people. You’re a fisherman, and you think you don’t have what it takes to operate at higher levels in society. This rabbi, Jesus, comes to you and says, “Hey, come follow me!” He sees potential in you that no one has ever seen. You don’t even believe in yourself the way Jesus does. To have a rabbi means not just to learn what they learn, but to do what they do and to follow after them.
When Jesus beckons Peter to come out of the boat, it’s because Peter sees him in the distance and believes that his Rabbi has called him to something bigger. These disciples hadn’t made it to the upper levels of rabbinical education. They weren’t considered smart enough by their former teachers. But Jesus, this rabbi, saw something in them that others hadn’t. He was teaching them supernatural ways. He was taking them all the way.
What Boat Are You In?
The question today is, what boat are you in? Your boat represents your family. Your anger problems. What is Jesus calling you out of? In your boat, everybody is poor, but Jesus is calling you to something greater. In your boat, everyone has anger problems or stops before their breakthrough. But Jesus is calling you out of your boat. He wants to take you all the way, too. Maybe in your boat, everyone gets a divorce. But Jesus is calling you to be a water-walker.
Research published by Carnegie Mellon University in the past decade showed that social support and belonging can reduce stress, heart disease and improve quality of life. Healthy relationships are healing relationships.
Healing Relationships Vs. Hurting Relationships
Trust, honesty, and compassion are the three elements of a healing relationship. Trust means you feel emotionally and physically safe and you don’t have to be on guard against being hurt by the other person. Honesty is where both people in the relationship can reveal their true feelings without it causing harm to the other. Compassion is where both people have the ability and willingness to understand one another and express kindness. These three elements don’t just apply to marriage relationships. These elements are necessary for your relationship with Jesus and your relationship with others.
On the flipside, pride, deception, and anger are the three elements of a hurting relationship. What kind of relationships do you want? Healing relationships or hurting relationships?
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Another translation says, “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” What if your warfare looked like patience? What if you set your heart to stay patient and your breakthrough comes through patience?
Conquer Your Tongue
Instead of conquering anger, many become captives of their passions. Instead of thinking before speaking, they speak before thinking. Your tongue is like a little rudder on a big ship called your life. And whichever way you speak, that’s the direction your life follows. You say it, you believe it, and it happens. If you don’t think God can do it, you will be right. Not because God can’t do it (He certainly can), but because you have tied his hands with your unbelief. Jesus went into regions where they didn’t believe in Him and no miracles were possible in those areas. Lack of faith caused a lack of miracles.
Conquer Your Anger
The battle facing you exceeds any military expedition. A city can be taken with a single siege, but you will fight the passion of anger for the rest of your life. Wars are fought by the efforts of many, but you must fight anger alone. The vigilance, effort, and patience needed to rule anger causes most men to forfeit the battle and become slaves to their own feelings.
Repairing and Rebuilding
Life is like a precious piece of porcelain dinnerware. As we go through life, we can collect chips and cracks. And sometimes situations completely shatter us. We just want to go back to the way things were before the relationship or the experience traumatized us. In our culture and society, we tend to throw things away. We look at the fractures and the pieces and get overwhelmed, thinking that the pieces can never come back together again.
It’s impossible to go back, but all we can do is begin the hard work of repairing and rebuilding. Kintsugi is a Japanese process of repairing broken objects and turning them into something even more beautiful than they were previously. In this art form, instead of hiding the cracks, they fill the cracks with gold, highlighting them. Kintsugi celebrates the rebuilding process. The thing that was worthless now carries more worth than an unbroken item.
Allow Jesus to put you back together. There’s no wasted pain. Show off your healing. Give your brokenness meaning, don’t throw away the pieces. Show off the hard work of rebuilding. Show off how good God is. The cracks are a part of your story, not the end of your story! Don’t hide, highlight!
Check out our YouVersion plan “Rip Up the List: Renew Relationships” where Pastor Mike takes you on a 7-day journey through the seven phases of romantic relationships. Each day you will be challenged to rip up the list of failures and mistakes and pursue relationships that reflect God’s heart.
My Breakthrough Community is full of people just like you who are hungry for more of God. If you are interested in learning more, consider joining the Breakthrough Community!
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