This weekend, Pastors Rich and DawnCheré Wilkerson continued their collection of talks “Love On The Weekend,” a series dedicated to healthy relationships. Whether you spent this past week with your Valentine or single, there is something here for you. Life, after all, is really all about relationships. In this powerful message entitled “Staying In Love” our pastors dove deep into the behaviors that help relationships thrive.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul gives us a picture of what love is:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Falling in love seems to be the easy part, but the real victory is staying in love! God desires for us to live well, and to live well we must first learn to love well. As we seek God’s word we see there are four areas we are to direct our focus for productive, fulfilling relationships.

 

LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS

When thinking of protection, it might be easy to picture a knight in shining armor, willing to die for love. And while physical protection is certainly honorable, it is not the only form of protection we must provide in our relationships. We are called to guard the hearts and minds of those we love. To fan the fire of their purpose. To be in prayer daily that they will have opportunities to connect with Jesus. To pull them out of the pit when they struggle. To encourage and completely forgive. Protection involves shielding our interactions and thoughts with what is true, nobel and right (Philippians 4:8). Whatever we think about dictates the trajectory of our conversation so protect relationships by thinking on whatever is pure and admirable.

LOVE ALWAYS TRUSTS AND HOPES

Trust and hope, the basis of faith, is the constant expectation that God is working even when he can’t be sensed. If there is no trust, there can never be hope. No matter how good or bad things may be today, healthy relationships require having a belief that even better days are ahead.

Three things allow us to build trust: consistency, communication, and caring. Consistency speaks to living according to values, not feelings, that dictate our behaviors. Communication is not just about talking, it’s about tuning in and receiving what’s being said. Can you hear me now? Seek first to understand before being understood and allow disagreements to sharpen and strengthen relationships. And finally, caring requires taking the preference of the other person. In other words, follow the “platinum rule” and love them the way they receive love. Recognize that they may not, and likely do not, receive love the same way you do.

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES

Perseverance isn’t a word loved by many. It’s not glamorous or sexy. In fact, if we’re being honest, it’s probably the part of the relationship building process we dread most. It would be great for things to come easily and to never have any conflicts. But in James 1:2-4, we are encouraged to consider it pure joy when we face trials because trials produce perseverance and perseverance allows us to become mature and complete, not lacking anything. We must allow perseverance to finish its work because it creates a legacy! No, we do not have to be perfect but we may need to modify, get help along the way, and do what it takes to not give up on our relationships.

If you are ever in a place of doubt and uncertainty about your relationship, take the time to believe that the best is yet to come. Understand that trials are meant to refine you as you grow deeper in love. Remember, if you want a love that never fails, always trust, always hope, always persevere. Lay the rest on Jesus and watch him work on your behalf!

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