“Tempering is a heat treatment technique applied to ferrous alloys, such as steel or cast iron, to achieve greater toughness by decreasing the hardness of the alloy” (Wikipedia). I refer to this as an analogy to the process of God perfecting His love in us toward others, especially for our spouse. We often resist the “heat treatment” process God take us through to develop His character in us. But He allows testing to strengthen relationships rather than weaken them.
Of all the character qualities God is honing in us, love is the most difficult. In its true sense, love is a quality that gives sacrificially to someone else we value, whether we think they deserve it or not. God teaches us this quality because of the image God has placed in human beings (Genesis 1:26).
As we have noted before, the marriage institution is designed to be a direct reflection of the Creator. Therefore, love must start at the level of God’s design, “agape – sacrificial love”. Our culture and experience has influenced our understanding of love so that it is degraded to a point that the word is used with no personal commitment behind it. Please read the following verses and honestly allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of areas in your love for your spouse that need surgical repair. Ask Him to renew your mind and heart with this truth, and then put it into practice.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).
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