Countdown to Bliss-Day 52

What Does Love Have to do With It? by Zack Valentine

A few days ago I was fitted for the tuxedo I will be wearing for my wedding. It was a truly surreal moment with Valerie being there to help me pick out the right fit and style along with one of two of my future brother-in-laws. After the fittings and the deposit was paid, I couldn’t help but stare at my future bride, but more importantly my future wife. This love story has truly been written by the Creator because I would have never written it to be this way. I am so thankful.Val and Zack-Buckeyes

Over the last year God has really been working on me that I should lead my heart and not simply follow it, that as the Kingdom Man He created me to be, I have to have my emotions in check. I tell my emotions where we are going.

Valerie and I recently had our first premarital counseling session. Pastor Marty Sloan (Harvest Time Church, Fort Smith, AR) offered insight on conflict and focused on how we won’t always feel like loving oneVal and Zack-Arkansas another. I pondered this and came to the realization that eventually I will disappoint Valerie. It is unrealistic for my heart to have that constant, burning, and togetherness thrill at spending every moment with her and likewise for her to feel this for me.

Pastor Marty made a point to tell us that we need to take joy and delight at being in this season and we need to enjoy one another. Our love is fresh, our love is young, and our hope is anchored in past success from our families to have our hearts linger for one another. It was apparent that Valerie and I have to make the commitment to choose to love.

Here is the kicker though, love is impossible.

“Now, wait a minute!” I can hear you say.

Let me elaborate. There is an unspoken secret to this. When Kirk Cameron came to Fort Smith for A Love Worth Fighting For conference, he played various clips from the movie Fire Proof. In it, we see that we cannot manufacture unconditional love out of our own hearts. It is simply beyond and out of our control.

Yes, we can demonstrate kindness.

Yes, we can demonstrate unselfishness.

Yes, we can demonstrate thoughtfulness.

Yes, we can demonstrate being considerate.

However, to love Valerie unconditionally is an entirely different scenario. Only God can help me and help her. Because our Father has shown tremendous and great love (John 3:16) for me and my future wife, He has chosen to express His love through me. Now if you don’t believe me, let me pose the same question that Mr. Cameron did.

IMG_1557“You may be convinced that with enough hard work and commitment, you can muster up unconditional, long-term, sacrificial love from your own heart. You want to believe it’s in you. But how many times has your love failed to keep you from lying, from lusting, from overreacting, from thinking evil of this person you’ve vowed before God to love for the rest of your life?”

Still thinking love is possible on your own?

The Bible tells us that “Love is from God (1 John 4:7).” Jesus even tells us we are facing an uphill climb without Him: “Apart from me…you can do nothing (John 15:5).” He also stated that “If we abide in [Him], and [His] words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7).”

That’s real!

When we submit to God, He can work through us. I can’t live without Him and I can’t love Valerie without Him. I know there is no telling what He can do for our soon-to-be marriage if I put my trust in Him.

“Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7