This devotional episode is based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. We wanted to share how Love covers a multitude of sins and why it is so important that we love with this level of eagerness.
1 Peter 4:7-11 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
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We lift up our hearts to you right now and ask that you would make us a people who love others earnestly. Holy Spirit direct our hearts and remind us of your word. We pray we would above all things love others. We pray we would love our spouse, our children, our friends, and those who are in our life. May your love pour out of us. May your love pouring out of us transform our marriages. We pray others would be impacted by the love we share. We pray we would be able to love so deeply that it covers a multitude of sin. We pray that instead of shame or guilt, people would feel undoubtedly loved by us and by you. We pray for your word to be fulfilled through our choices to walk in love and that your will would be done.
In Jesus’ name, amen!
– [Aaron] Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, with “Marriage After God.”
– [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
– [Aaron] And today we’re gonna talk about how love covers a multitude of sin. Welcome to the “Marriage After God” podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
– [Jennifer] I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.
– [Aaron] And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.
– [Jennifer] We have been married over a decade.
– [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children.
– [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.
– [Aaron] With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.
– [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life,
– And power,
– [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God,
– [Jennifer] Together.
– [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.
– [Jennifer] This is “Marriage After God.” Okay Aaron, so we, we survived kind of a hard week.
– [Aaron] We did survive.
– I mean,
– We’re barely coming on
– Our kids survived.
– The other side of it, yes.
– [Jennifer] But we’re not the only ones going through this, so we thought we would just give you guys a little update of our family and hopefully encourage some of you out there who it might be hitting as well.
– [Aaron] Yeah, our whole family got the flu. It was bad, but not bad. It was kind of a weird thing.
– [Jennifer] Well, I’ll say this, the Lord spared me and gave me the grace to be able to help everyone. ‘Cause I felt–
– And you didn’t even really get sick, you got some of the, like you felt sick.
– Yeah you know the gut pain?
– [Aaron] But you didn’t have any other symptoms, which was awesome.
– And the rosy cheeks. I felt like every once in a while, like I really don’t feel good right now, I need to go lay down, but for the most part, I was able to be there to help everyone. Which made me really nervous, because people were, you and the kids were throwing up and I just thought, me, at this stage of the game in pregnancy, throwing up would not go over well with my body.
– No and so–
– That woulda been terrible.
– [Aaron] We’re definitely thanking God, which we did a lot of, oddly. But not to be too graphic, but I’m pretty sure I put a rib out from how hard I was throwing up.
– [Jennifer] That sucks.
– [Aaron] Yeah, it still is really sore. But, what’s awesome is, a couple of things, I just wanna praise you Jennifer, because I feel like you handled everyone being sick, and the inconvenience of it so well. I think I even told you, I was like, “I can tell you’re walking in the spirit.” Like your attitude was good, how much cleaning had to be done.
– [Jennifer] It was a lot of work.
– [Aaron] It’s no fun when literally all the boys are throwing up and it’s like, there’s no clean blankets.
– [Jennifer] It’s all at the same time.
– [Aaron] Yeah, so we, but we survived, we’re coming on the other side of that. But one thing we practiced, I don’t think we’ve ever done it before, not that we’re not thankful to God.
– [Jennifer] Not in this kind of circumstance, it’s not at the forefront of our minds.
– [Aaron] I did a post a couple weeks ago encouraging men to thank God for everything, if they get cut off in traffic, if something bad happens, even–
– [Jennifer] You didn’t say if your whole family comes down with sickness, did you?
– [Aaron] I know, if something good happens, I just said, say, whatever it is that happens today, thank God for it. And I tried practicing that. And so I’m literally in the fetal position in the bathtub, and I’m trying to thank God. I’m like, “Okay God, thank you. “Thank you for being sick.” And I was like, why am I thanking God for this? Well, thank you for reminding me that I’m human. Like I’m fragile. Thank you for reminding me that one day I’m not gonna have this sickness.
– [Jennifer] Or that we need to pray.
– [Aaron] Yeah thank you for reminding,
– Ask him.
– Humbling me, showing me that my weakness. So there was a lot of things to thank God for for being sick, and I directly thanked God for being sick. And then we of course have thanked God for healing us and sparing our family from being even worse, ’cause it probably could have been worse.
– [Jennifer] Something that really stood out to me is I didn’t know you had this perspective kind of going into everyone being sick, and I wouldn’t say I was there with you in those beginning moments, but you brought the family to the living room, and you said, “You know what, we’re gonna pray, “and we’re just gonna thank God today.” And I think even one of the kids asked, “Why are we thanking God?”
– [Aaron] Doesn’t make any sense.
– [Jennifer] But I was questioning it in my own heart too, like, okay, where’s this going? But it was so beautiful to hear your prayer and you starting out saying, “God, thank you for this sickness.” And it was humbling for me and for my heart to go, “oh yeah” you know? And to have that perspective before him. And then, I gotta share this other experience is just a friend of mine who, their family also got it really bad.
– [Aaron] Pretty much our whole church got sick.
– [Jennifer] But I met up with her for coffee when it was all past and she goes, “You know I just found, we found our whole family “just worshiping God through it.” And it was so cool, kinda the same thing. And I said, “I didn’t really worship him through it, “but at the end of all the laundry being done, “all the bathrooms being cleaned, “and having taken a shower, I came out singing “‘Victory in Jesus’ so, that was awesome.”
– [Aaron] But it is worship. Thanking God is worship. So whatever he gives, I think Job says it, “Should we not thank God for the good and the evil?” Like the bad things that happen? We thank God for those too, because he’s God and he deserves our thanksgiving. And at the end of the day, salvation is so much greater than anything that we can go through. So, at minimum you can be like, “God, thank you so much “that one day I’m gonna be with you.” That is so good.
– [Jennifer] So if your family happens to get hit by whatever bug this is,
– [Aaron] It’s going around, yeah.
– [Jennifer] Whatever’s going around, we just wanted to encourage you guys to move forward with a thankful heart and to trust God and to be prayerful. And also just to be patient, because we know it’s an inconvenience, we know it’s hard, it takes away from your work schedule, it takes away from things on your to-do list that maybe you were hoping to do or whatever it is. We know it’s hard, but if God’s allowing it to happen, we can trust him and walk through it with him.
– [Aaron] Yeah, so that was just a little update on our flu campaign. But we wanna encourage you. We have a new challenge. We’ve been doing a lot of these lately, a lot of new downloads and challenges and free things that you guys can get from us. And our new one’s called the parentingprayerchallenge.com. We launched it last week and this week you get to do it. We’re still encouraging parents to sign up to pray for either their daughter or their son or both. So if you haven’t signed up for the Parenting Prayer Challenge, it’s completely free. We’re gonna send you 31 prompts every day, encouraging you to pray for different things for your child.
– Over 31 days.
– Over 31 days.
– [Jennifer] Not 31 emails in one day.
– [Aaron] Yeah, that’s happened one time. Yeah, one a day, and the whole idea is that at the end of the 31 days you’ve built a habit of praying for your children. I’m sure all you parents love to pray for your children, but we just wanted to give this resource to encourage you to pray more, to pray deeper, to pray more consistently and give you ideas on what other things to pray for for your kids.
– [Jennifer] Yeah, and I’ll add this, it goes hand in hand with our books, “31 prayers for your son and for your daughter.” And if you have those books, oh this’ll be an incredible reminder. It’s kinda like an alarm, right? Because your email comes through and then you’re like, “Oh yeah.” So you can get the book and go along with it that way too.
– [Aaron] Mm-hmm, so parentingprayerchallenge.com, all one word, spelled the way you would think it’s spelled. And sign up for free today. All right guys, we’ve been doing this new thing, we’ve mentioned it a few times this season. We’re trying to do a marriage episode, we’re doing a devotional style episode, a Q&A, we’re trying to give a little bit more diversity on the kinds of things we’re bringing up and this episode’s gonna be a devotional style. We’re gonna talk about some scripture. And something that we’ve been learning, something that I taught on at church. And so we hope it encourages you and why don’t you, Jennifer start off by reading–
– [Jennifer] Oh, I was gonna sit back and let you teach for 30 minutes, yeah.
– [Aaron] Oh, I’ll just do it? No.
– Go for it.
– [Aaron] Why don’t you read the scripture that we’re gonna be talking about,
– And then we’ll go into it.
– [Jennifer] So it’s 1 Peter 4:7-11 and it says this, “The end of all things is at hand, “therefore be self controlled “and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly “since love covers a multitude of sins.”
– [Aaron] This is a great scripture in 1 Peter and we’re excited to talk about it and what it means for us as believers, not only in our marriages, but just in life in general and walking in the body of Christ. And the power that is in our love for one another. And what that means and looks like. So we’re gonna dig into this, these few scriptures, and kinda break it down and talk about some stuff and Jennifer you might have some questions. But we’re just gonna break it down and see how this applies to us in our life. So the first thing I wanna point out is where our perspective should be. And Jennifer you read it, the very first thing it says in verse seven is “The end of all things is at hand.”
– [Jennifer] I feel like there should be an exclamation mark.
– [Aaron] And it’s almost is, it’s a semicolon which says everything I’m about to say is attached to this statement. The end of all things is at hand, and so, we can easily, quickly think this is talking about Jesus coming back, or the end of days, right? But in the New Testament when it talks about the end of days or all things at hand or the end of the generation, it’s mostly talking about all of the things that needed to take place, they needed to occur for the salvation story, for redemption, God’s plan for redemption that he’s been planning and preparing since Adam and Eve in the garden. And so, when Peter says the end of all things is at hand, he’s saying that essentially, Christ has been born, he’s died, and he’s resurrected.
– [Jennifer] Like we have what we need.
– [Aaron] The thing that God has planned to take place has taken place.
– [Aaron] Which means a lot. It means that we can now draw near to God. It means that we now can have salvation and a right relationship with God. Because without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension and him sending the holy spirit there is no, like we can’t be made right with God. So all of those things, the end of all things is at hand. The end of everything that God planned for salvation has been done, as Jesus says on the cross, it is finished. So it didn’t necessarily mean that hey, the end of the world is tomorrow. But it’s also an allusion, it alludes to Christ returning. Because now that the church age has begun, the spirit is living in man, we’re made right with God, the bride of Christ is growing, we have an expectation of Christ’s return. So we’re in this imminent return zone. Like at any moment Christ can come back.
– [Jennifer] And we are, we’re called to walk a certain way.
– [Aaron] Yeah. And so that’s kinda, he starts off these statements with here’s how you should be thinking. Realize first and foremost you have everything you need because Christ died and resurrected. He’s given you his spirit, so now you can walk in his spirit and not the flesh. Like the things that we need to accomplish what he’s about to tell us have already happened and are already available to us and been given to us. So that’s our perspective in our relationships with our spouse, our children, our church body. That the end of all things is at hand. Like first and foremost, I have everything I need in Christ Jesus, to walk this way that we’re about to talk about. And I walk this way because I look forward to Christ coming back, and I wanna not be ashamed at his return, I wanna stand boldly at his return. I wanna be excited for his return.
– [Jennifer] It gives those relationships a lot of depth and purpose, how we interact with each other and how we’re supposed to be in those relationships with each other.
– [Aaron] Right and so, if you think about your marriage. You say, “Well, I just can’t because my husband “is this, this, this.”
– [Jennifer] Or together you’re just facing a really hard circumstance.
– [Aaron] Yeah, like we went through stuff. And it’s like, oh, our love for each other is stifled because of this hard circumstance or these character traits in the other person. But if our mindsets are on wow, first of all I can, because Christ did, and I should, because Christ is coming. My perspective and the way I treated you and the way we treat others would totally be transformed because we’re no longer thinking of this immediate, well how did you treat me and how am I gonna treat you?
– [Jennifer] Well, it’s not about us.
– [Aaron] Which is a powerful thing. And this is being taught to the believer, but the ramifications for this is in every aspect of your life. Most directly in your marriage and then also most directly in all of your relationships with other believers in the church. We need to have this perspective.
– [Jennifer] Okay, so, then moving on in that verse, the next word is therefore.
– [Aaron] Yeah and–
– [Jennifer] So the end of all things is at hand,
– [Both] Therefore.
– [Aaron] Yeah, and someone always says, “What’s therefore there for?” I mean you ask yourself, “Well, why is that there?” And it’s attached to the last statement. So, since the end of all things is at hand, be this way. And what does it say right there, Jennifer?
– [Jennifer] Be self controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
– [Aaron] So, in relation to our relationships and in our life and in the way we interact in this world, self-controlled, how often do we say the word self-controlled in our house?
– [Jennifer] Well, we’re in the beginning stages of training our kids, so I feel like we say it all the time, multiple times a day.
– [Aaron] 150,000 times a day. Are you being self-controlled?
– Remember, self-control.
– [Aaron] Be self-controlled, you’re not being self-controlled. You must have self-control. Like over and over and over again. ‘Cause that’s, I mean our kids are learning to have control over themselves, that’s the point. But self-controlled meaning, in my life, am I in control or is my flesh in control? ‘Cause when my flesh is in control, we are not self-controlled. We’re gonna eat as much as–
– We just give way
– We want.
– To whatever we want, yeah.
– [Aaron] When I’m angry, I’m just gonna say what I wanna say. Oh, well, I was angry, that’s why I said that. Well, that’s not self-controlled. That’s just blurting out what’s coming to your mind because you’re angry, rather than considering the other person.
– [Jennifer] Which the mind is the next thing it says.
– [Aaron] Yeah, sober-minded, which yes, this is talking about sobriety, not on drugs, not drunk with alcohol, but sober-minded is much more than just, we talked about this in another episode. I can’t remember the name of the other episode, but it’s having a right way of thinking. A clear way of thinking. So if you think about, we just talked about anger. You know Jennifer, you do something that really frustrates me and then I get so angry I just start saying whatever I want, like I’m not being sober-minded. I’m letting my wrath and my anger control my words and my actions, rather than my mind.
– [Jennifer] It’s like being self-controlled of your mind specifically.
– [Jennifer] Like being able to have those thought processes and walk yourself through it mentally.
– [Aaron] Another example of being sober-minded is fear. So, there’s nothing wrong with natural fear, like you know fire’s gonna burn you, so you don’t touch it, but we’re talking about like there’s something going on in the world and it’s causing us to have this anxiety and fear which causes us to make decisions and not seek out wisdom and oh, we’re gonna go do this thing because XYZ over here, I don’t know how that’s gonna turn out, therefore we’re gonna. And so that’s not sober-minded either. Instead of thinking through what is reality, thinking through what is the repercussions if XYZ happens or if we don’t have what we need or if, like thinking sober-minded is rather than operating in the fear and just making decisions off that, you’re operating in knowledge and wisdom and you seek counsel and you’re slow to act, slow to speak. So that’s the idea of sober-minded. So since we know that the end of all things is at hand, meaning we have everything we need in Christ, meaning all of the things that God planned for redemption has happened, you have the holy spirit, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
– [Jennifer] So real quick, I just have to, just hearing you repeat that, it says, “Be self-controlled and sober-minded “for the sake of your prayers,” that means you’re praying. So it’s almost like it’s saying be self-controlled and sober-minded and prayerful. Like be a person of prayer.
– [Aaron] Right, and we just talked about being sick. If our minds were in this position of thankfulness and we were just wallowing in the suffering, ’cause throwing up’s not fun, not feeling good is not fun, and we could just sit there and be like woe is us. And we’re not even being sober-minded in that. But instead we’re like, “Thank you Lord.” It actually helped us elevate above our current circumstances to be able to see it from a heavenly position. Like, okay, well, just because this thing is happening, doesn’t mean I stop being a Christian. Doesn’t mean I can now act XYZ, be this way, say these things. No, I actually even in this, can walk this out. Because we know all things have been fulfilled in Christ, and his return is imminent, even in my sickness I get to say, “Well if Christ was to come right now, “I wanna be like him, wanna look like him.” This is how we must live as people who claim the name of Jesus. We can’t claim the name, but not walk it out.
– [Jennifer] Mm-hmm, okay so before you move on, I feel like maybe some of our listeners would have the same question, and that is, it says “for the sake of your prayers” so does that mean your prayers are in trouble if you’re not being self-controlled or you’re not being sober-minded? What does that mean?
– [Aaron] Yeah, I mean, in 1 Peter I think we get another picture of that when it talks about husbands walking with their wives in an understanding way, it says for the sake of your prayers. So, there is a way that the believer can walk that would hinder our prayers. And it could be put this way, someone told me once, “God’s not gonna tell you “to do a new thing until you’ve done the old thing.” Like the thing he’s asked you to do already. And so it’s almost like this, we’re looking for a new word from the Lord, we’re looking for guidance and wisdom. And he’s like, well, but you’re not even loving your wife right now.
– Mm-hmm, I have a really good example of this when it comes to kids. Olive, just I think it was yesterday, she came up to me and she was like, “Mom, I don’t have anything to do.” And so I gave her something to do, it was a small task. And she turned around really quickly and said, “I don’t wanna do that.”
– [Aaron] What else can I do?
– [Jennifer] What else can I do? And I looked at her, I said, “Sweetheart, “can you go do what Mommy asked you to do?”
– [Aaron] Right. Yeah, and there’s even a scripture that says, “Go back and do the first things “that you’ve been told to do.” Like you’ve left your first love, we learned in Revelations. There’s this idea of like, God’s already given us some commands, given us some things to do as believers. In his power, to do it, and we wanna skip over those things and we’re gonna talk about this. We wanna skip over those things to get to the other things. We’re like, “Well, I don’t wanna do that thing.” Loving that person’s difficult. Or, praying for that person, ehh, let’s pray for this big thing over here.
– [Jennifer] Or how about, “I’ll be self-controlled, “but I don’t care about being sober-minded.”
– Exactly yeah.
– You know what I mean?
– [Aaron] Which doesn’t make any sense because,
– [Jennifer] I know.
– [Aaron] If you’re not sober, like let’s talk about being drunk, you’re not in self-control either. Those things go hand in hand. So yes, the Bible teaches that our prayers can be hindered. I don’t know exactly what that means, does that mean that God doesn’t hear ’em at all? Or is it that I am hindered? Like I’m not gonna want to pray more. I don’t have a desire to, I’m frustrated. No, Lord, I don’t want to. It’s like when our, like you said our kids, when they have an attitude, Wyatt crosses his arms, puts his head down, it’s like he doesn’t wanna look at us.
– [Jennifer] Or like that example you gave of us being sick, if we weren’t sober-minded and self-controlled, we wouldn’t have prayed in thankfulness, so yeah, hindered in a way that if we’re not walking that way and we’re not being that way then we won’t be praying at all.
– Yeah so,
– We won’t be a people of prayer.
– Regardless of how it plays out, I don’t want either of those things. I wanna be able to come to God boldly and I also want God to receive me and hear my prayers. The Bible tells us that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, it’s in James. And I want my prayers heard. I want them to avail much. And when I pray for my family, when I pray for health, when I pray for opportunities, when I pray for other, my family members, when I pray for the lost, I want those prayers to be heard and to have power with God. So, God says, “Well be sober-minded and self-controlled “so that your prayers won’t be hindered.” Then I should just do that.
– [Jennifer] Do it.
– [Aaron] It’s not easy all the time, but that’s what we get to do, because the end of all things is at hand, so I should be able to do it. Okay, so let’s move on to this next part of this verse.
– [Jennifer] Well the next verse.
– [Aaron] Yeah, the next verse, there ya go. Verse eight starts off, it says, “Above all.” Okay, and I just wanted to highlight this idea, so if you’re in your Bible, which that’d be awesome if you were, you should be. It says, “Above all,” comma, “keep loving one another earnestly.” And I just wrote down some ideas of what’s the all? Like above all, above how generous you might be financially, like, “I’ve given so much.” Above being right, like “Well I know “that this scripture means this.” Above memorizing every scripture, above being debt free, above your health, above your safety, above all. Above everything that you see as good, ’cause these things are good, for the most part, don’t neglect to do this thing. So, above all, do this thing, right?
– [Jennifer] Do you think it’s easy for us in our flesh to justify like, “Well, I don’t have to love that person, “and we don’t even get along, but I’m doing this “over here, so, I’m good with God because this over here.” Do you hear what I’m saying?
– [Aaron] Yeah, we do this all the time, and there’s a scripture that I’ll bring up that shows this hypocrisy. Like, “Well no, that person doesn’t need to be in my life, “because of XY and Z, but, you know what? “But I read every day, I’m in the word every day.” “Oh but I pray, I’ll pray for that person. “I don’t have to love ’em, but I’ll pray for ’em.” I think something that I’ve heard a lot, and it doesn’t make any sense, but we say this, “Oh, I love him, I just don’t like him.” Almost as if love is this general like, yeah we’re in the same city, but I’m never gonna talk to him, I’m not gonna be kind to him, I’m not gonna be cordial, I’m not gonna even, I don’t wanna go out of my way for them. I’m not gonna give to them, I’m not gonna help them, I’m not gonna. So what love is that?
– [Jennifer] If you’re doing that, I was gonna say, what’s your definition of love?
– [Aaron] And that’s my point is we, okay, I’ll just do this. So the point of everything I said above all, or not that we shouldn’t do those other things, ’cause I never want someone to be like, “Well, all we have to do is love others, “and we don’t have to be generous, “and we don’t have to read our word and memorize scripture.” These things that are actually really good for us. “And my health and my, all these things don’t matter, “as long as I just love.” No. All of those things matter, but we don’t neglect this one thing, and often it’s the one thing we neglect. We work on all those other things, ’cause we have, those are easier, those are personal. We can control ’em. We can’t control other people and that’s why it’s so hard. And I think of this in Matthew 23:23 Jesus says this, he says, “Woe to you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, “for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, “and have neglected the weightier matters of the law.” And then get what he says, “Justice, mercy and faithfulness. “These you ought to have done “without neglecting the others.”
– [Jennifer] Like do it all.
– [Aaron] He’s like, “Yeah, you spent time, “you outwardly show all these good things that you do, “yet you’ve neglected justice, like you don’t care “about those in your midst who need justice “and you’ve been unjust.” Or showing mercy and faithfulness. You haven’t remained faithful to your spouses, you haven’t remained faithful to your people, you haven’t remained faithful to, and he’s saying these things you should have done without neglecting those other things that you do. And so that was the point I was getting at is like yeah, all those other things are good, but we cannot throw out loving one another earnestly.
– [Jennifer] So you used the word earnestly, why don’t you define that, just for our listeners really quick?
– [Aaron] Okay, ’cause it’s a pretty powerful word and it’s how he wants us to love each other. It’s not like, “Hey, I love you, yeah I’ll see you later. “Oh yeah, we’re good buddies.” It’s something deeper than that. He says, “Love one another earnestly.” And the definition of earnestly means with sincere and intense conviction. It’s so powerful. It’s not just a, in passing a word you just say about someone, it’s a life lived out way of loving. It’s a my actions and the way I think reflect the deepness of my conviction and belief about how I love you. And so a perfect example is in marriage. I love you, and it’s not just a word. I show you by how I take care of you. And how I show up every day and how I sit and talk with you. And how I ask for forgiveness, and I’m patient, and all these things are the actions of my love for you.
– [Jennifer] Yeah, I think that’s really important to point out, because I think in marriage specifically, you can text each other back and forth, I love you, or say it at the end of a phone call, conversation. Saying it in passing or before you leave to go to work. But are your actions proving what those words actually mean? So you’ve convinced yourself in your mind, yeah, of course I love my husband, of course I love my wife. And I tell them every day.
– [Aaron] How do they know?
– [Jennifer] But, are your actions supporting your words?
– [Aaron] Yeah, and so let’s break down this definition a little bit, it says with a sincere and intense conviction, that’s the earnestness. Sincere means free from pretense or deceit. Proceeding from genuine feelings. So I don’t just say it, it’s not just a word that I use so that I look good with my other Christian friends and brothers and sisters.
– Or that you know you should use because you’re married.
– [Aaron] Yeah, like, “Oh yeah, of course I love so-and-so.” But yet, you don’t truly believe it in your heart. You struggle with believing, like well, do I love him? I mean, I could move on. I’m not going to, ’cause I don’t wanna look bad. That’s not love, it’s a free from pretense or deceit. So there’s nothing, you’re not saying it to receive anything like, “Oh good, so good that you love that person.” And you’re not saying it out of, it’s not a lie. When you say you love someone it’s truthful. It’s a genuine, genuineness, a real thing from with inside of you. And then that second part, intense conviction. And I smashed two definitions together, ’cause the word intense and conviction I put them together and it’s a highly concentrated and firmly held belief in what you are doing, right? So, it’s not going away. My love for my brothers and sisters in Christ, my love for others in the world, my love for my wife, it’s real and it’s going to drive my actions and my decisions and my attitudes and it’s gonna cause me to repent and it’s gonna cause me to change and grow because that conviction is solid. It’s there, and when I’m challenged in that conviction, when the listener is challenged in that conviction of love, they get to ask themselves, “Well do I truly love so-and-so?” And then they get to remember, well, the end of all things is at hand, I must love so-and-so, regardless. Without pretense, it needs to be truthful and powerful. That’s what that word earnestly means.
– [Jennifer] I love that definition of intense conviction that you shared, and it makes me think how intentional this type of love truly is, because–
– [Aaron] That’s a good word, intentional.
– [Jennifer] Yeah, it’s intentional because you’re motivated by your, like it said, “firmly held belief in what you are doing” so everything that I do in our home, everything I do with our kids, everything I do with you, comes out and is an overflow of this belief that I have that I truly love you and that genuine feeling that you talked about earlier. And that’s such a different situation when you compare it to just saying the words I love you or just going about your day without any motivations as to why you’re doing those things, you know? It makes me think of the type of motivational speaking you hear when it comes to entrepreneurship, where it’s like, “You gotta know your why.” You gotta know your why.
– Yeah, what’s your why?
– [Jennifer] What’s your why? So it makes me go there when I think about in marriage, why are you doing all the little things that you do throughout your day? It’s because you love that person.
– [Aaron] Mm-hmm, and it’s not superficial, and it’s not just a word, but it’s an actual held belief. Like “No, I love my wife. “I love John over there.” Like truly love them, not just, “We’re Christians “and we love each other.”
– Right. And if we truly consider this you guys, then when we get into a hard spot in marriage, when we get into conflict or something happens unexpectedly that you don’t desire, you can continue on, because there’s this hope knowing that, “Well no, I love them. “You know, I know this is hard, but God’s given me “a love for them.”
– [Aaron] Yeah. What I think is really cool, I just thought about this, often we think about this idea of growing in love, which we do, we change and our level of love deepens.
– It deepens, yeah.
– [Aaron] But it’s actually, the way this is stated, it’s actually a starting point. We start at this basis of love for one another. Not build into it. It starts at this place and I thought that was really cool. I just was,
– I like that.
– [Aaron] I was just thinking it’s like it’s not, yeah, it does grow over time, but it’s also, like you said, even in those hard times, you default to that position of love. Not default to, well we’re not in love because, or we’re building in love and the default position is no love. That’s not actually, I mean marriage starts, usually, for the most part, with a deep conviction of love. And so the default position is love. And I didn’t have the scripture originally here, but I thought about this and I think it goes perfectly well. What this level of love is supposed to look like, it’s supposed to be remarkable. It’s not supposed to look like the love of the world. Like the world loves itself. There’s people that they love their own and they do a good job of that, but the love that Christians are supposed to have for one another is supposed to be remarkable, miraculous. And Jesus puts it this way in John 13:34. “A new commandment I give to you, “that you love one another. “Just as I have loved you, “you also are to love one another. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples “if you have love for one another.” So it’s not like, if we do these great things, or if we have this great band, or if we preach this great message, it says if you love one another the way I loved you, the whole world will know, oh that’s a disciple of Christ.
– [Jennifer] Yeah.
– [Aaron] That’s remarkable. So I get, the question I have in your marriage, in your relationships at church, would the world look at how you love them as remarkable? Like that’s a remarkable love. How could he love like that? How could she love like that after so much has happened to her, after this or that? It’s a remarkable love and it can only be done with Jesus Christ. That’s what he says, “If you love as I have loved you.” Which is an amazing, amazing kind of love. It’s literally remarkable. And I have some notes here and this is, this is exactly why churches fall apart. This is why friendships dissolve, this is why marriages end. When we let the intensity of our conviction to love each other soften. We got to that point a few years into our marriage. Our conviction to love one another, because of the things we were going through, got weakened.
– [Jennifer] I was gonna say, I don’t feel like softens is just the right word because it sounds mushy-gushy, but I mean we’re talking about the dissolving of that belief and conviction.
– [Aaron] Yeah. And it’s not that those things that were happening had some external power to weaken our love for each other superficially,
– We chose that.
– We let our love, yeah we chose it, that’s a good word. And so, I just wanna ask you, as we get into this, have you let your love, the earnestness of your love for your spouse, for other believers, weaken? For whatever reason, because someone hurt you, because someone said something harmful about you, because someone didn’t pay you back?
– [Jennifer] The relationship’s messy or hard or challenging and you just wanna,
– Walk away.
– Walk away.
– It’d be easier.
– [Aaron] There’s been so many times I’ve thought to myself, it would just be easier to move.
– [Jennifer] Well, we thought that in the beginning of our marriage when we were facing hardship and we got to the point at the end of three and a half years where we were, so incredibly close to walking away convinced in our selfish flesh that it would be better for each other if we just separated.
– [Aaron] Move on.
– [Jennifer] And instead, God got ahold of our hearts in a remarkable way and, I mean he brought the message to you first and then to me, but it’s a choice.
– [Aaron] Yeah.
– [Jennifer] And are we gonna let our circumstances dictate that choice or are we gonna choose it in our hearts and move past the circumstances? Or even if we have to deal with the circumstances for the rest of our life, and that was the commitment we had to choose. There came this pivotal moment where, people who’ve read our books, they know what I’m talking about, but we’re standing in church, Aaron, and you’re sharing this heart that God has given you for our marriage to continue on regardless if anything changed. That is remarkable. And that saved us, that saved our marriage.
– [Aaron] And here’s the difference in the types of love. The love that the world has for itself, and the love that we are to have for our brothers and sisters and our spouse. The love that Christ gave to us was unconditional. The love that we try and walk in is often transactional. You do this, I’ll do this. You give me this, I’ll give you that. Oh you didn’t do the thing, or you weren’t the certain way? Then I’m not going to. Jesus it says, “Yet while we were still sinners died for us.” So even when we were weakest, when we couldn’t save ourselves, Christ died. Christ gave himself up for his bride. And this is the message that Christ gave me that day, reminding me, he’s like, “Hey are you gonna love “your wife unconditionally, or transactionally? “Are you gonna love her regardless if she ever gives you “what you think you deserve, what you ought to have? “Or are you gonna love her like I did “when you could do nothing for me, “and I still died for you?”
– [Jennifer] John 13 comes back to my mind like you said. Jesus says, “Love as I loved you.”
– [Aaron] And you know what this sincerity and intensity, this earnestness sounds very familiar to how Jesus said we would worship God. He says this to the woman at the well, in John 4:24, he says, “God is spirit “and those who worship him must worship “in spirit and truth.” Spirit and truth. And this isn’t talking about worshiping each other. But it’s how we love each other, in spirit and in truth.
– [Jennifer] It reminds me of the definition going back earlier to those genuine feelings.
– [Aaron] Mm-hmm, it’s not from pretense or deceit. It’s no, I genuinely love you. I may not know how to do it well, but I’m going to default to love, I’m going to default to giving you the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to love you regardless if you give me what I deserve. And then in Matthew 22 verse 37-48 says this, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the lord your God “‘with all your heart and with all your soul “‘and with all your mind. “‘This is there greatest and first commandment. “‘And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor “‘as yourself, on these two commandments “‘depend all the law and the prophets.'”
– [Jennifer] I remember we read this verse to our kids and they got really confused, because we’ve taught them the 10 Commandments.
– And they were like, “No no no, that’s not the.”
– [Aaron] No, you have to honor your mom and dad. Like, yes. And what I explained to ’em is, and this is what Jesus says, he says, “Anyone who does these won’t break any of the laws.” Because when you love your neighbor, you’re not gonna steal from them. When you love your neighbor, you’re not gonna lie to them. When you love your neighbor, you’re not gonna covet their things. You’re gonna say praise God that you’ve given them those things, God. Praise God. They’re gonna use ’em for you, I hope. We don’t covet. When we love God we don’t dishonor our parents. When you love your parents you’re not gonna dishonor them. And so, that’s the kind of love that we get to have for one another. And it’s actually, it’s one of the greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love each other as ourselves. To love each other with that intensity. Okay, so we’re getting up to the last part of this section of scripture and it’s the most powerful one. It’s actually the title of this episode. And it’s the reason why Peter is commanding us to love each other in the first place. It’s the reason why he’s saying to do these things, it’s the reason why he gave us the mindset of hey, the end of all things is at hand, be this way, love this way. So before I move on to this next portion of this scripture, I’m gonna read the whole scripture again. It’s 1 Peter 4:7-11. “The end of all things is at hand, “therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded “for the sake of your prayers. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, “since love covers a multitude of sins.” Okay, so here’s the–
– You slowed down there at the end Aaron,
– I know it’s,
– [Jennifer] Is that important?
– [Aaron] Well, it’s the most powerful section of this scripture, I believe. And what’s amazing about this is it’s the opportunity that believers have to love like Christ. What did Christ’s love do?
– [Jennifer] Saved us.
– [Aaron] It covered us. We’ve just been teaching the kids through Adam and Eve, the story of Adam and Eve and how they were to, God told that surely on the day that you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will die. And guess what.
– [Jennifer] Well the kids asked the question,
– They’re like,
– But they didn’t die!
– [Aaron] Yeah, they didn’t die. Here’s what’s amazing is something died instead. They covered themselves with fig leaves, God covered them in skins. So an animal had to die. So even then, way back in the beginning, in the very first people, God showed his redemption plan. That he was gonna substitute the death that we deserve for another. And so it was a picture right then and there of what Christ was gonna do. And this is what the believer gets to do. This is the remarkable love that the world’s gonna see and be like, whoa, those people are God’s, Christ’s disciples, because Christ died for them, and look how they love each other.
– [Jennifer] They wouldn’t be able to do it without him.
– [Aaron] Yeah, and so love covers a multitude of sins. So here’s a question, I taught this at church and I asked this question, and it was hard for me to get it out without crying. But I said, “Who doesn’t want their sins covered?” I said, “Raise your hand.” How many hands do you think went up? None. So I ask the listener, do you want your sins covered? Do you thank God that his son Jesus and the blood that he shed covers your sins completely? That you are made white as snow? That you are clean before God? Okay, so if we can answer that question with “Yes, praise God,” then our love should do the same. Our love has that same power. I personally love the fact that God no longer sees my sin. I personally love that who I was before Christ is now dead and buried. But, what we often do is we highlight other people’s sins. And what it does is it raises us up and puts them down. Oh so-and-so, I can’t believe they would treat me that way. You can’t believe it? I mean how else do we deserve to be treated, really? We deserve hell. That’s what the human state deserves.
– [Jennifer] There’s other times in marriage that we hold their sin against them.
– [Aaron] Absolutely, yeah.
– [Jennifer] So, whether it’s for ammunition later, or maybe you’re not intentionally thinking that, but all the sudden it comes up again, and you haven’t covered their sin in love. You’ve been hanging on to it out of bitterness and anger, and you’re gonna spew it out back in their face to make them feel a certain way.
– [Aaron] Or waiting for them to trip up and it makes you feel better, because as long as their sin is greater than your sin then you’re not a sinner. That’s like the logic we use. I know that we struggled with this. You believed because I struggled with certain things you didn’t even wanna see your own sin. Things that you were dealing with, your own pride, your own bitterness, your own angers, ’cause I was the sinner in the relationship. I was the one that needed to repent, I was the one that needed to change. And I did, I mean it’s not like I didn’t. But we do that, we look, we long for the sin in others. Oh, since they’re that way, I can be this way. Rather than wanting to cover those sins. Rather than wanting to overlook them and remind those people of who they are in Christ, without pretense, without this idea of like, I’m gonna point this out, because I wanna hurt them. Or I wanna feel better.
– [Jennifer] I think just kind of glancing back over those first few years of marriage, something else that I’ve struggled with is holding on to the sins that you struggled with even after saying I forgive you or trying to make up and resolve things. Because I had this belief about you that you were gonna fail me. So I was building a case, right?
– [Aaron] You were waiting for me to, yeah.
– [Jennifer] The next time you messed up, I go, “See, this is the type of person that you are.” And I held up a mirror to show you your sin instead of pointing you to God and saying, “But he’s redeemed you.” You know what I mean? I didn’t give you–
– Why you acting like this? God’s redeemed you.
– I didn’t give you the positive message, because I truly cared about restoration at that point I was looking for a case in order to get out. To leave, to say, “You’re this way, and I can’t handle it.”
– [Aaron] Yeah. And that leads me to this question, do we see our spouse’s sins against us as special or less deserving of forgiveness and grace? Do we see the sins and shortcomings of others towards us as less deserving, as special? Yeah, yeah, I’ve done things, I get it, God forgives me, but what they’ve done? No, what they’ve done is not forgivable. What they’ve done is, you can’t tell me to love that person. Well, you know what, I don’t. I’m not telling you anything. God says it, okay? When you give that word picture, ’cause I think it perfectly sums up this idea of when we love the way Christ loves, what it does.
– [Jennifer] Well, I was just thinking about this idea of covering a multitude of sins by our love, the word picture that I got in my mind to help me understand that is a blanket and it’s function. When you think about a blanket and being wrapped up and curled up on the couch with it, it provides warmth and comfort and padding and it consumes you.
– It protects you.
– [Jennifer] It protects you, it’s just all around you and it was a really beautiful picture for me to understand how God covers us. Kinda like even as you said, going back to Adam and Eve, how he covered them, ya know?
– [Aaron] And then the picture I got, and the Bible even uses it, says that our sins are made white as snow. And we live in a place that snows. And you see all the landscape, there’s all the colors, the grass, the concrete, the trees, the houses.
– [Jennifer] Pretty soon everything starts to fade away.
– [Aaron] It snows and guess what. Everything’s the same color.
– Everything’s white.
– Everything’s white. And beautiful and it could be on the dirtiest, muddiest area, and it’s a beautiful white field. And that’s what Christ’s blood does is it covers us. And out of our thankfulness for that, we get to love others the same way. And this isn’t an overlooking of sin, this isn’t a pretending sin hasn’t happened. And I’ll talk about that in a second. But it’s the way we love that no one, no one’s sin is special that doesn’t deserve our forgiveness, because what we’ve done is so worthy of punishment. The littlest sin we’ve done is detrimental to our own nature. And Christ has forgiven that in us. And I was reading in Leviticus this morning, and it was talking about all of the sacrifices and all the atonements and the priest is supposed to do this and all, it was so weird, I’m reading, I was like, “I wanna watch a video on this.” So I watched the Bible Project’s video on atonement.
– [Jennifer] Oh they’re good.
– [Aaron] Yeah, it was good. And I almost started crying in Starbucks, ’cause I go to Starbucks after the gym, watching it because it was explaining how the atonement was a replacement and it was talking about the two types of evil, it was the sin against your brother or God. And it washes that away. But the other thing is the broken relationship aspect. Let’s say you stole something, you paid it back, right? But there’s also now distrust and fear that’s in the relationship. And so that has to be atoned for as well. And so there’s this picture of the priest sprinkling blood over the temple and the Tent of Meeting, right? And it showed this picture of, there was all this black looking weeds on the ground, and every time the blood hit the ground it turned to normal. And it said the blood also brought us into a safe relationship and a love relationship. And that’s what this love does when it’s covering. It’s not just pretending things didn’t happen, it’s actually mending relationships so that we can walk with people not in fear, not in angst or anxiety, but we can actually walk with people in freedom and in love and in purity. That’s what this does. And I wanted to share that ’cause it literally almost made me cry when I was thinking what God’s done for me, and how he’s, he didn’t just fix the offense, he also fixed the relationship that was broken because of the offense.
– [Jennifer] It’s remarkable.
– [Aaron] Yeah. So, I just wanna quickly, we talked through a lot of the scriptures, but I wanted to quickly say, this isn’t to say we ignore sin, because that actually is unloving. Ignoring someone’s sin is unloving. The loving thing to do is to address the sin, not out of our own vindication, trying to get something paid back to us, but out of, like you said, pointing them back to the truth of what God said about them. Or if they’re not a believer, to repentance and salvation. So the loving way to, we deal with sin lovingly. And we come to people in truth and our position is of we wanna see the best for you. We want you to be in a right relationship with us. As Matthew 18 says, it’s like you’ve won your brother. That’s what you go to them for is for the purpose of winning your brother, not for winning the argument or winning the, oh see, all I want is an apology and we’ll be good. No, you’re going with the intention of hey, this is broken right now. We need to fix this. Love covering a multitude of sins isn’t to say that the sins just disappear. It’s to say that we deal with them the biblical way, the loving way for the purpose of reconciliation, ’cause that is the ministry we’ve been given is reconciliation.
– [Jennifer] And we do this for people because we desire the same reciprocation, right? Of love?
– I want it.
– [Jennifer] I want people to overlook and cover the sins that I’ve committed, even the slightest or smallest, there’s no degree. It doesn’t matter. If I’m imperfect, I want someone to love me still. And I think that’s important to remember, especially in marriage.
– [Aaron] So I hope that bit of scripture encourages you in your walk. As usual we pray before signing off, so we’re gonna pray. Dear lord, we lift up our hearts to you right now and ask that you would make us a people who love others earnestly. Holy spirit direct our hearts and remind us of your word. We pray we would above all things, love others. We pray we would love our spouse, our children, our friends and those who are in our life. May your love pour out of us. May your love pouring out of us transform our marriages. We pray others would be impacted by the love we share. We pray we’d be able to love so deeply that it covers a multitude of sin. We pray that instead of shame or guilt, people would feel undoubtedly loved by us and by you. We pray for your word to be fulfilled through our choices to walk in love and that your will would be done. In Jesus name, amen. Hey thanks for joining us for this episode. We pray it blessed you, of course. And don’t forget to join the Parenting Prayer Challenge. That’s parentingprayerchallenge.com It’s completely free and we pray it blesses you. See you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.