FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Motivation and Manifestation of Love

with Kevin DeYoung | October 27, 2017
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Kevin DeYoung talks about the "Three M's of Love" according to the Bible. DeYoung describes the motivation and manifestation of love.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Kevin DeYoung talks about the "Three M's of Love" according to the Bible. DeYoung describes the motivation and manifestation of love.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Kevin DeYoung talks about the “Three M’s of Love” according to the Bible. DeYoung describes the motivation and manifestation of love.

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Motivation and Manifestation of Love

With Kevin DeYoung
October 27, 2017
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Bob: The Bible teaches that God welcomes sinners into the kingdom. He will welcome in all who call out to him and call on his name. Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung says that has implications for how we live as a family.

Kevin: So here’s the question for your marriage. If you believe with all your heart that you are justified by faith alone, why are you insisting that your spouse be justified by works? Because many of us are. “I’m good at the grace thing God. But that’s not going to work with her. Not for him. He’s got to prove this; he’s got to crawl; he’s got to suffer a little bit.”

This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, October 27th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  

What should grace look like in a marriage relationship?


How are we to be dispensers of grace to one another in marriage? Kevin DeYoung speaks to that today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. When it comes to making a marriage work, we don’t just need to know how.

Dennis: Are you talking about what Barbara asked meto do on Saturday?

Bob: What did she ask you to do?

Dennis: Make marriage work.


Bob: That was just - she just wanted you to work. It wasn’t make marriage work. It was just work, right?


Dennis: Oh, you’re talking actually about a marriage that functions.

Bob: I’m’ talking about your marriage working.

Dennis: Not just working in the yard.

Bob: That’s right. I’m talking about your marriage working together. You have to know how to do it, but then you have to want to do it.


Sometimes the problem in a marriage is that you got somebody who goes, “I just don’t wanna.”

Dennis: Well, you know, and this is one of the geniuses behind the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. We start the conference Friday night and Saturday by talking about why marriage? What is the purpose of marriage? Why did God create this in the first place? I think, Bob, I really do believe that a lot of couples lose their motivation to love because they’ve lost the dignity, or they never had the true view of marriage for what it is.

This is a spiritual institution designed by the creator of the universe who slung a billion galaxies into outer space. And yet he stepped on the planet earth and said, “I’m going to make them male and female. I’m going to give them the assignment of reflecting my image, of reproducing a godly legacy for future generations. I want them to reign together in spiritual battle.


I want them to rule together as a couple.”

I found, Bob, when couples come to the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, I think for a lot of them, it’s an, “Ah ha! Oh, this is what it’s about.” We’ve been missing it because we had dumbed this down about marriage to feelings. It’s not that feelings don’t matter or that feelings don’t come. They do. But marriage is much more than feelings. It is a commitment of the will to love as God has commanded us to love.

Bob: Do you think there any of our regular listeners who are thinking, “I’m so tired of you guys talking about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. You just talk about it all over-“

Dennis: Well, if they’d go, they wouldn’t be tired of hearing about it, because if they’ve been, they’d know how important it is. You and I just talked to a couple yesterday I believe it was who had been to a conference. Their marriage was deeply touched and God used them to bring 56 couples the next year to the Weekend to Remember. Now why did they do that?



Because they got some tools, some training, some hope, some help, and they wanted their friends to be able to cash in on it. So they put together a group of people and came back and had a blast together with their friends.

Bob: I’m headed next week up to Parsippany, New Jersey to speak at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway just outside of New York City. We’ve got getaways happening all across the country over the next several weeks. If you need more information about how you can attend a getaway near where you live, go to our website and the information you need is available there. If not this fall, then next spring, because we have getaways taking place all next spring as well.

Dennis: About 95 of them this year I think.

Bob: Again, is the website and the information you need about the getaway is available there. Alright, we’re going to hear part two of a message today from our friend Kevin DeYoung. Kevin is the pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He spoke at an event we hosted not long ago where he talked about knowing how to make a marriage work.


But he said you have to have the right motivation as well. Here’s part two of Kevin’s message.

[Recorded Message]

Kevin: Here’s our second point. What is our motivation? The method is sacrifice. The method is choice, an act of the will. But what about our motivation? Verse 11 says Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Now this is talking about love in the body of Christ, but if that’s the case with brothers and sisters, how much more in this covenant of marriage?

If God loved us, we also ought to love one another. Some of us have the “I’ll scratch your back so you scratch my back. I’ll try to work on this marriage thing so that you’ll come and be a better spouse for me.” Many Christians have what amounts to Pharisee love.


Jesus remember said you love people so they’ll love you back. You do nice things so people will do nice things to you. The Pharisees get that. The scribes get that. It does not take a work of the Holy Spirit in your heart to get that. Everybody likes that. Everybody likes people to be nice to them. Maybe if I’m nice, they’ll be nice. Maybe if I treat my spouse right, then she’ll treat me right.

OK, well, we’d like to see that, but the Bible gives us something much better, much deeper. Instead of our human instinct that says I will love in order to be loved. The Bible says love because you have already been loved.

That’s the difference between anyone else trying to help your marriage and the Bible trying to help your marriage. Love because you have already been loved. That God in Christ has forgiven you, forgiven you real sins.


That God in Christ will justify you by faith alone. We need theology for good marriages. This is the 500th of Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis on the church door at Wittenberg and all around the world people will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and rightly so.

The central doctrine rediscovered in the reformation is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. That in Christ we have our sins not only forgiven, but positively we are declared righteous, that he who knew no sins for our sake because sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Justification by faith alone. It was the word alone that was scandalous.


Everyone in the 16th century understood all the Christians are justified by faith. Of course you have to have faith. But it was faith plus something. It was faith and then enough works to show that you’re really a Christian. Or it was faith plus the grace working within you. Or it was faith plus your own effort. What they rediscovered was this great gospel truth of justification by faith alone, alone.

So here’s the question for your marriage. If you believe with all your heart that you are justified by faith alone, why are you insisting that your spouse be justified by works? Because many of us are. I’m good at the grace thing God, but that’s not going to work with her: not for him. He’s got to prove this. He’s got to crawl. He’s got to suffer a little bit. You say she doesn’t deserve another chance.


Well, neither do you. And neither do I. We’ve been given this magnificent grace. We’ve been given this castle of grace with servants and fine food and the best clothing. And then it’s like we take a stranger in and we put him out in the tool shed out back. No. No soup for you.

The thing that God may want to work on in this week--you may be here and you know it’s about marriage--but it may just be that God wants to take these few days to convince you again or convince you for the first time that in Christ your heavenly father really loves you--that when you repent of your sins and you turn to Christ,


you know the smile of your heavenly father. Some of us only relate to God as a judge. Ok, I know I’m going to heaven alright, but he’s just an old--I don’t get too close to the judge.

What if he’s a father who loves you? Maybe you haven’t shown grace to your spouse because you really haven’t accepted the grace that God wants to show you. Maybe you’re so critical you think God is always casting a critical eye on YOU.

You cannot truly love until you know how much you have been loved! Don’t miss what Jesus said about Mary. She’s chosen the good part to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from him. To rekindle that first love because you know what’s more than this love? It’s the love that maybe you’ve lost with God.


And then finally the manifestation. You see verse 12. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. You see the argument John’s making? We have a God. He’s invisible. You can’t see him. Now how can you see the evidence of this God? He argues his love is perfected in us. So somebody says, “I can’t believe in your God. I don’t even see him.” You say, “Well, let me show you what this God looks like in his love.” Have you met this couple?

Now this here is about the body of Christ again. It is first of all about the love that people should see in the fellowship of believers. But if this is true, how much more ought it to be true in our marriages relationships that we show forth as Paul says in Ephesians 5 this great mystery. This mystery that is Christ in the church. Do you know that your marriage is supposed to be evangelistic?



Christ in the church. Have you ever noticed in Ephesians 5 that God gives instructions directly to us at our point of fallenness?

So he says in Ephesians 5 to the woman the sort of overarching instruction there is submit to your husband. Respect your husband. Why? Because the prototypical sin of Eve in the garden was to usurp his authority. As a result of the curse, there is this conflict and this unwillingness to respect her husband just like at the very beginning when she grabbed the fruit and ignored the command and gave it to him. And so the command for the woman is respect your husband.

Do you see for the man? Just so you know the instructions for the man are like three times as long there. For the wife, it says love. Now the wife may think that is lame because we already have to love. But notice what it says there. And sacrifice. This is a love as Christ loved the Church and laid down his life for her.


Will you be a man, not just a sacrifice and to love and to show forth God’s love in these ways? But how about some of the ways that are harder for you?

Men, let us be the ones in marriage who often say the word “Let’s.” Let us go out for dinner, let’s talk about that, let’s get a baby sitter, or how about words that are very hard for some of you men. Let’s pray. Those are scary words for some men. And there are wives here waiting years and years to hear their husband say those two words, “Let’s pray.”

Would you show forth in your relationship what it means to love your wife like Christ loves the Church?


 And wives, will you show your husbands what it means with gracious, graceful, intelligent submission to your husbands? Here’s what love look like. It’s 1 Corinthians 13. You choose to be patient when your husband struggles as a leader. You’re kind when your wife is critical. You do not envy what the other one has in terms of gifts or position. You do not boast in your strengths while ignoring your weaknesses.  You are not rude to each other, especially in public. I shudder when I see couples that are rude to each other in public. I think what it must be like for you in private?

You do not keep a mental journal of faults and hurts. You know, they’re always ready to pull down the file folder, “But three weeks ago you said that.” You do not delight to hurt each other.



You rejoice when you have occasion to see the truth, even when you see the truth about your own sin. You always protect each other. You always want to find a way to trust each other. You always hope that God can change one another and yourself, and you always persevere in God’s grace knowing his love for you.

So let me just leave you with one final question. It will sound flippant and I don’t mean it to flippant or funny. I mean it to be deadly earnest because if we are supposed to make the love of God visible and if our marriage is supposed to show forth Christ and the Church, then we have to ask ourselves the uncomfortable question, “What do people see in our marriage?” Do people look at your marriage and think, “There must be a hell.” Or do they think, “I don’t even know who this God is, but there must be something to him.”


I‘ve heard about this Jesus and I don’t like a lot of Christians and they seem kind of hypocrites and I don’t know about the Church, but I know these two people in this marriage have got something that is not normal. It’s not your goal to be normal. It’s your goal to be godly.

Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange. And our world is crushing in on us to say, “Here’s what normal is.” It’s in our entertainment. It’s in our billboards. It’s everywhere. “Here’s normal.” That’s not what God calls us to. I call you to something supernatural. Christ and the church that someone might be able to look in and say, “That’s a little bit of how God and his people love each other.”


The secret to a happy marriage is to learn that there is much more to your marriage than being happy. If your marriage is to show forth Christ and the Church it means that ultimately God is the end of your marriage. The secret to a happy marriage is to make the marriage about God and not about your happiness. Let’s pray.

Our heavenly Father, we know what your word tells us. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. Teach us this paradox of the Christian faith that we will be raised up when we get low. We will be found when we are lost. We will only live when we carry a cross.



We thank you for the gift of marriage. We thank you for the glory of Christ. We pray that one would serve the end of the other. In Jesus name. Amen.

[End Recorded Message]

Bob: Again, that is Kevin DeYoung with a great message reminding us of what biblical love looks like, what’s the method God gives us for making a marriage work, and then where does the motivation come from? If our listeners tuned in late today and would like to hear all of Kevin’s message, they can go to our website The message is available there and you can download it or you can stream it for free from our website.

Dennis: I’d just like to encourage you as a listener if you’ve not had a getaway weekend, and by the way, on Friday night at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway we ask people to hold their hands up who’ve never been before.


We’ve been doing these things for 41 years folks. It astounds me. Ninety percent of the audience have never been to a Weekend getaway for their marriage.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: We go on vacations together. We go to ball games together. But to go together to the spiritual island of sorts held at a very nice hotel and to sit under some teaching that’s entertaining, and to complete some projects together as a couple. You’re not asked to do anything publically. We’re not going to embarrass you or your spouse in any way. I think it’s just a great investment, not only in your marriage for today, but for the rest of your lives.

Earlier I was talking with a couple whose marriage had been touched profoundly by our conference. I told them of one of my favorite letters which came from a single woman in Washington, D.C. who won the tickets to go to a Weekend to Remember by being a radio listener


Bob: She wasn’t even married, right.

Dennis: That’s right and decided, “I’m going to send my parents.” And she thought,” There’s no way I can get then to go.” But you know what. She got them to the conference and said, “I sent to you a pair of people who had lost hope in their marriage, lifeless, loveless. I said I used to pray as a little girl that they’d stop fighting and start loving. She said,” I sent you that and you sent me back two people who are talking about their legacy, who are talking about their future together and have given me hope as a single woman that someday maybe marriage would be possible for me.”

Bob: I remember she said my dad is calling my mom my wife instead of your mother.


And then she said they’re holding hands. It’s a little creepy.

Dennis: Exactly. If you haven’t been, trust me. I’ll stop doing this someday.


You won’t have to listen to me anymore. But for right now, get to one of these conferences. Bring some friends. Bring your kids. Make a family event together. But on Saturday night, split up and go your own separate ways for dinner and just have a delightful evening.

Bob: Have a date night together.

Dennis: Yes.

Bob: You can find out more about the FamilyLife Marriage getaway when you go to In fact, this weekend we’ve got a getaway taking place in Carlsbad, California. Next weekend I’m going to be in Parsippany, New Jersey for the Weekend to Remember getaway. We’ve also got getaways happening next weekend in Estes Park, Colorado; Destin, Florida, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Louisville, Kentucky; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

We have getaways continuing throughout the fall and into the spring. Go to and make plans for you and your spouse to have a great weekend away together at a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. Again the website


If you have any questions about the getaway call 1-800-FL-Today and we’ll answer any questions we can. 1-800-358-6329. 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “TODAY.”

You know I mentioned all those cities where we’re hosting Weekend to Remember getaways this weekend and next weekend and then continuing into the rest of the fall. The Weekend to Remember is just one of the ways that we are seeking to aggressively provide opportunities for husbands and wives, moms and dads, families to grow in godliness.

We’re working right now on a resource called, The Art of Parenting™, that will not be available for another six months, but our goal with The Art of Parenting is to help moms and dads understand the biblical priorities of parenting. And to not just understand them intellectually but to know how to apply them as they raise their own children.


Our goal here at FamilyLife is to effectively develop godly marriages and families. This program is designed to provide you with practical, biblical help and hope for your marriage and your family every day.

We’re grateful for those of you who have caught the vision for this ministry and want to see it expanded to more couples, to more families in this country and all around the world. Thanks for your financial support that makes that possible. If you’re a long time listener, if you’ve benefited from the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we want to ask you to consider paying if forward and helping others grow in grace and godliness because of what they hear on this program. You can donate to support this ministry online at or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today, at Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.

With that we’ve got to wrap up for the week.


Thanks for being with us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend.

I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to talk about the biggest issue that faces middle schoolers today--Junior high kids ages 12-15. What is it that they’re wrestling with? John Majors will be here Monday to help us understand how we can guide our kids through the difficult years of the early teens. I hope you can join us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a Cru® Ministry.

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