The Love of Love
About the Guest
Bob Lepine (also known as Dr. Love) talks about what REAL love looks like. Both funny and gut level, Bob Lepine helps married couples discover keys to what to do on those days when you're "just not feeling it".
Bob LepineBob Lepine is the Lead Pastor at Redeemer Community Church in Little Rock, Arkansas which he helped plant in 2008. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Great Commission Collective, a church planting ministry connecting more than 150 churches world wide. Bob also hosts Mornings on Family Radio, a network of more than 70 radio stations in the US. He is also well known to radio and podcast listeners as the long-time co-host of FamilyLife Today® and as the on-air announcer for Truth...more
Bob Lepine (also known as Dr. Love) talks about what REAL love looks like.
The Love of Love
Bob: It’s a classic tune from the Beatles, right? But is it true? Is love all you need?
All you need is love.
Bob: And what kind of love exactly?
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today® for Thursday, September 8th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk about the real thing today, because ain’t nothing like the real thing.
All you need is love,
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. This is kind of taking me back, you know. Good memories here.
All you need is love (playing in the background)
Dennis: I tell you, folks. If you only knew how much Bob loves music. I mean, he really does love music. It hearkens back to the days when he was a manager of a radio station. He knew all the songs, all the lyrics, and so we asked him to give this message on our first ever Love Like You Mean It® cruise.
Bob: That’s the good memories I was talking about, not the song lyrics.
Dennis: Oh, yeah.
Bob: I was talking about –
Dennis: No, no, no, no.
Bob: I’m talking about --
Dennis: You loved giving this message and starting it out with some great oldies to kind of blend in the theme talking about what music presents as the truth about love.
Bob: Well, here was the setting. This was day one of the Love Like You Mean It cruise back last February. And by the way, we’re getting ready to head back out next February, Valentine’s week, for the second Love Like You Mean It cruise, and before we’re done today we’ll let you know about a special deal we’ve worked out for FamilyLife Today listeners this week.
But, this was Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14th. We’d just gotten on board the ship, and I had the assignment of giving a Valentine’s night message, and I wanted to talk about what genuine love looks like. It just occurred to me that we don’t have a lot of sources telling us the truth about love.
Dennis: And there’s where you called upon your vast, encyclopedic knowledge – or should I say “google?” – his google knowledge of all music –
Dennis: -- since the beginning of time.
Bob: Make it an adjective – googlic.
Dennis: I just wish you folks – well, you need to come this year. That’s what you need to do. You need to join us. But you should have been there last year because Bob Lepine, co-host of FamilyLife Today, had a lot of fun up front with the audience, and you start by involving one of our favorite musicians from Nashville.
Bob: Well in fact, he and his wife have been guests this week on FamilyLife Today, and he just happened to be on the cruise, Michael O’Brien, and so I thought, “Okay, I’m going to demonstrate, I’m going to illustrate how we get lied to about what real love is, and I’m going to get Michael O’Brien to help me.”
Dennis: And you’re going to want the sound track from this.
Bob: I think we have been lied to about romance and love from popular songs. I think that if you grew up listening to pop radio, you heard song lyrics that lied to you about what real love is like, and it gave you a warped sense of what to expect when Valentine’s Day came around.
In fact, as I was thinking about this -- Is Michael O’Brien, is Michael out here in the – Michael’s over here on the side. Michael, come up here, will you? Michael O’Brien, ladies and gentlemen.
Bob: Michael is going to be doing a concert on Wednesday night. He’s going to lead worship for us and then do a concert on Wednesday night. But he and I were talking about this, and I said, “Would you mind coming up and just demonstrate my theory, my hypothesis that we have been lied to by popular love songs?”
So, for example, you know that great Percy Sledge classic, When a Man Loves a Woman, right?
Michael: Uhh – Michael Bolton version.
Bob: Oh, come on. No, no.
Bob: Give us a little When a Man Loves a Woman.
Michael: When a man loves a woman,
Bob: Oh, yeah. C’mon.
(crowd screaming and whistling)
Michael: Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else.
Bob: Okay. Hang on just a second. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold it. Hold it. Okay. When a man loves a woman, he can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else.
Michael: That’s right, man. That’s right.
Bob: Okay, so like if the game is on, like football, okay?
Bob: You see where I’m going with this?
Michael: I do.
Bob: Alright. Okay. Keep going. Keep singing.
Michael: If she’s bad, he can’t see it.
Bob: Oh, now, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait –
Michael: Oh she can do no wrong.
Bob: Now, c’mon. Wait.
Bob: Now, c’mon.
Michael: That’s a good lyric right there.
Bob: It’s a great lyric. It’s a lie, Michael. It’s a lie. Forget that song. Let’s think about – think about – You’re probably one of those boy band types, weren’t you? You look like you could be in a boy band.
Michael: Oh, gee.
Bob: Don’t you think he’s got that boy band look to him, huh?
Bob: Yeah. Yeah. So like, give me – how would the Backstreet Boys lie to us?
Michael: (laughing) Oh, man.
Bob: C’mon, give it –
Michael: I don’t care what you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love me –
Bob: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it. Whoa, hold up.
Michael: Who you are, yeah, what –
Bob: Yeah, that’s -- that’s – that’s lovely. But Michael, that’s a lie, that’s a lie.
(pervasive, continued laughter)
Michael: That’s beautiful.
Bob: I don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, where you’re from, as long as you love me? I think he cares –
Michael: That’s love.
Bob: -- who she is, what she’s done, where she’s from, all of that. Okay, skip that one.
Bob: Go to – let’s go to another boy band.
Bob: Oh, come on.
Bob: C’mon. You know these guys, right? (singing) dah, dah, dah. C’mon. They had that big wedding song, right?
Michael: I’ll love you forever.
Bob: Yeah, right.
Michael: In the lifetimes before.
Bob: In the lifetimes before? What is that?
Michael: And I promise you never, will I hurt you anymore.
Michael: I give you my word,
Michael: I give you my heart,
Bob: My heart, yeah.
Michael: This is the battle we’ve won,
Michael: And with this vow, forever has now begun. This is my best part, here. Just close your eyes.
Bob: Close your eyes.
Michael: Each loving day, I know this feeling won’t go away.
Bob: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait – hold – hold – hold --
Michael: Till the day
Bob: Yeah, fine, fine. Okay, go ahead and finish that line.
Michael: Till the day my life is through, this I promise you. This is promise you.
Bob: Oh, yeah, okay. Did they say in that song, “I’ll never hurt you,” something --
Michael: Yeah, exactly. It’s a good lyric.
Bob: It’s a lie, Michael, it’s a lie. Okay, skip the boy bands. Let’s go to –
Michael: Thank you.
Bob: Let’s go to – You like country music?
Michael: A little bit.
Bob: How about Garth? Do you like Garth?
Bob: Well, how would Garth lie to us in a love song?
Michael: I’d go hungry; I’d go blind for you.
Bob: Yeah, see what I’m talking about?
Michael: I’d go crawling down the aisle for you.
Bob: I think that’s enough of that.
Michael: I wouldn’t even do that.
Bob: No, right, yeah. So, there are some redeeming songs. I’m thinking of that great Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell classic from the ‘60s. Give me a little of that, right?
Michael: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby, ain’t nothing like the real thing.
Bob: Yeah, yeah.
Michael: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby, there ain’t nothing like the real thing.
Bob: Michael O’Brien, ladies and gentlemen.
Bob: Alright, let’s focus on the real thing. Lucky for you tonight, I am here tonight as Doctor Love, and I’m going to share with you what I have found from the Scriptures as I have been looking at the real thing. What does real love look like? Not just the romantic, quiver-in-the liver Valentine’s Day passion, but I’m talking about the real thing.
And as much fun as the romantic part is, and it ought to be an aspect of your relationship, it can’t be the foundation of your relationship. You try to build a relationship on that feeling, and as we’ve just heard, you’re going to wake up some morning and it ain’t going to be there, and you’ve got nothing. So you’ve got to build it on something stronger than just how do you make me feel today, or how do you make me feel tonight? You’ve got to have genuine love.
Love is a big theme in the Bible. In fact, there is a lot about love, about God’s love for us in the Old Testament. Jesus comes and says the great commandment is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor. The Bible has a lot to say about love, but I want us to zero in on a half of a chapter in Romans chapter 12, which is where we’re going to find the Bible explaining to us characteristics of genuine love.
Before we look at the passage in particular, let me give you a context for the book of Romans. The book of Romans starts off in the first three chapters with this basic thesis: Everybody has messed up when it comes to a relationship with God. And then in Romans 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, the Bible explains to us what God did in response, which was not to wipe us out, which is what we deserved, but instead, what God did in response to our rebellion was to move in to reconcile our relationship with Him by offering His son as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sin.
And Romans 9, 10 and 11 explains God’s plan for the people of the Jewish nation. And then, once that’s all done, we get to Romans chapter 12 and Paul says now because of all of that, because of what God did for us in Christ, because of how even in the midst of our rebellion, Christ died for us, we should respond rightly. And so he says, “I urge you, therefore, Brethren, to offer your whole life as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
You get to Romans chapter 12, verse 9, and the writer makes this statement: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
“Contribute to the needs of the saints. Seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
We read a passage like that and we think, “Well, this describes how I should act toward other people at my church.” Yes, that’s true, but it also applies to how you should deal with one another in marriage. I mean, you do go to church together, right? So you ought to have this kind of genuine love for one another. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to have this kind of love for somebody you don’t know as well as your spouse. The better you know your spouse, the harder it is to have this kind of genuine love.
But I want to address the five characteristics that I think come from this passage that apply to our marriage. Number one: Genuine love is devoted. It’s devoted love. Number two: It’s honoring. Genuine love is honoring. Number three: Genuine love is harmonious. Number four: Genuine love is forgiving, and number five: Genuine love is anchored in Christ.
So let’s step back. “Let love be genuine.” This love that it’s talking about is a love – The Bible has four different Greek words that get translated love in our Bible. Some of you know this. There’s the word ‘eros,’ which means sexual love or intimate, romantic love. Then there’s the word 'philios' or 'philia,' which means brotherly affection or liking somebody, being drawn to that person, friendship. Then there’s the word 'storge,' which talks about the love that exists within a family, and then there’s the word 'agape.'
The word agape is a word that means the kind of love that God has for us. It’s an unselfish, self-sacrificial, unconditional love. Pastor Kent Hughes describes the love this way: “It is a God-like love that loves regardless of the circumstances, a deliberate love that decides it will keep loving even if it is rebuffed.”
You get the picture? This is not some “here’s how I feel today,” soft, squishy, mushy kind of love. This is a strong love, a powerful love, a rugged love, a love that is proactive, that leads, that initiates. It’s steadfast, it’s immovable, it’s a rooted love that’s not going anywhere, and it has to be genuine, not counterfeit, genuine or real.
In fact, that Bible verse, “Let love be genuine,” is translated a number of different ways in our English version. In the old King James it said, “Let love be without dissimulation,” which is kind of a funny word that we don’t use much, but what it meant was, “Let love be different than an actor on a stage who’s wearing a mask.” That’s really what it goes back to.
The word that’s translated there is the word that we get our word ‘hypocrite’ from. So that’s why the New American Standard says, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” Let it not be phony, let it not be like you’re wearing a mask when you’re doing it, let it be sincere or genuine. It must be real. The New Living Translation: “Don’t just pretend to love others, really love them.” And the Message says, “Love from the center of who you are, and don’t fake it.”
So our love is to be strong, committed, God-like love. It’s genuine, it’s sincere, it’s not pretend, not fake, coming from the center of who we are. But then this question comes around, “So what happens on those days when you aren’t feeling it?” What happens on those days and this happens in marriage, doesn’t it – when you just aren’t drawn to the other person. You’re not feeling love toward the other person.
I thought about that – All I could think about was Randy Jackson. You know Randy, right? Because he’ll hear these singers on American Idol, andwhat’s he say? “I’m not feelin’ it, dawg.” Right? “Nah, I’m not feeling it.” Right? And there are days in our marriage where it’s “I’m not feeling it, dawg.” Probably shouldn’t use ‘dawg’ when you’re doing that.
But there are days when we’re just not feeling it. Now here’s what I want to suggest to you. If you’re not feeling love toward your spouse, the issue is not that your spouse is not inspiring you properly to feel love toward her or him. See, that’s what we think. “If I don’t feel love toward you, then the issue must be you. You’re not doing those things that stir up love in me, so why don’t you do those and then I’d love you?”
No, if you’re not feeling love toward your spouse and you want that feeling back, what do you do? You don’t do what Barry Manilow did, okay. You remember Barry? I used to listen to Barry. I’m not going to get Michael up, because Michael wouldn’t do Barry. If I asked him to he wouldn’t play it.
Doctor, my woman is coming back home late today. Could you maybe give me something ‘cause the feeling is gone and I must get it back right away, before she sees that I’ve been up down trying to get the feeling again.
Right? We all want to do this a little bit? Not on the boat. Okay. If you’re not feeling love toward your spouse, it’s not that you need a pill, it’s not that he needs to act differently or she needs to dress differently. Those aren’t the issues. If you’re not feeling love toward your spouse, you know what the problem is? You are not receiving the abundant love of God into your life from which love for your spouse would overflow.
You see, the reason that you feel love toward your spouse or toward anyone is because you have received and drunk in and experienced and meditated on and been filled up with the love of God that just abounds, overflows. Philippians 1, Paul prayed “That your love would abound more and more.” It’s this idea that just you can’t help it. When you are connected to God, receiving His love, rejoicing in His Spirit, what pours out of you is love, no matter what the other person is acting like.
So if you’re not feeling love toward your spouse, the issue is not your spouse. The issue is how are you and God doing? And that’s the source of genuine love.
Well, we’ve been listening to the first part of a message from the Love Like You Mean It cruise earlier this year, a message on what real love looks like.
Dennis: And as you were speaking there, Bob, I was thinking about 1 John chapter 4, where we get love in high definition, I mean high quality. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” The way we learn to love is first of all by knowing God, experiencing His love, and then we become – well, we become those who have been mentored by God, trained by God in knowing truly how to love another imperfect human being.
Because that’s what marriage is all about. It’s not about romance, just about falling helplessly over a cliff and spending the rest of your lives, hopelessly and helplessly under the swift currents of love. No, you’ve got to have a love from on high. You have to know the God of all love, the God who demonstrated His love for us “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And you know what? That’s what you have to do to make a marriage great. You have to die for your spouse.
Bob: There’s got to be a little more fiber in your love than just the sentiment, right?
Dennis: Honestly, it’s back where you started the message, Bob. We have such a squishy, worldly view of love. Barbara and I have just celebrated our 39th year of marriage, and I just feel like even in the last decade I’ve finally begun to settle in and begin to understand what love is really all about. It begins with a commitment, but then it’s followed up with forgiveness and grace and manifestations of that commitment over a lifetime. Marriage is a great place to demonstrate love.
Bob: You know, I think both you and I were surprised by the number of couples we talked to who joined us on the Love Like You Mean It cruise earlier this year who said that not only was it a fun vacation and a great getaway, but it was a great spiritual week for them and for their marriage as well. The messages each night, the workshops that went on during the day, the Christian music that was on board the ship, and just having the whole ship to ourselves made for a really great week.
As you know, we are getting close to selling out this year’s cruise. It’s going to be Valentine’s week again, February 13th through the 17th. We leave from Miami on Monday morning, head out in the Caribbean and come back on Friday. Along the way folks are going to hear from you and from me and from Voddie Baucham and from Gary Thomas, the author of the book Sacred Marriage. We’ve got Sanctus Real joining us this year; Paul Overstreet is going to be with us, Matthew West and others. It’s going to be a great event for couples.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently, and they are celebrating one of those milestone anniversaries. He said, “I decided that this should be our anniversary getaway this year.” I thought, “That’s a great idea,” and I told him about the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners this week. If you sign up before the end of the week, when you’re registered your spouse comes at no additional cost.
But that’s this week only, and you have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener. So call 1-800-FLTODAY or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. If you go online there’s more information about how to get in touch with us and how to get registered for the cruise. If you call 1-800-FLTODAY and let folks know you’re interested in the Love Like You Mean It cruise, we’ll get you taken care of.
Again, you need to let us know that you’re a FamilyLife Today listener when you get in touch with us, so you can take advantage of this special offer this week -- you come on the cruise and your spouse comes at no cost. So we hope you’ll be able to take advantage of it, and I hope to see you next February in Miami as we head off on the Love Like You Mean It cruise.
Now I just want to make sure that those of you who are regular listeners and who also get in touch with us and help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, help us cover the cost of producing and syndicating this daily radio program, keeping our website up and going, I just want you to know how much we appreciate when you do get in touch with us, and when you help support the ministry.
We are listener-supported; without your help this program could not continue to be heard on this station or on our network of stations all across the country. Those of you who are monthly legacy partners, we’re very grateful for your ongoing financial support. Those of you who just from time to time will call or go online and make a donation, we appreciate that as well.
In fact, this week if you make a donation to help support FamilyLife Today, we want to encourage you to request a copy of Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s book, Two Hearts Praying as One. It’s a book that Dennis and Barbara wrote to help couples be more regular in the spiritual discipline of praying together, and there may be no better indicator of health for a marriage relationship than how regularly a couple prays with one another.
If you’d like to get a copy of the book Two Hearts Praying as One, when you make your donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, just type the word “HEARTS” in the online key code box, and we’ll send a copy of the book out to you. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone and ask for the book on praying as a couple, and again we’ll send it to you. We do appreciate your financial support.
And we hope you’ll be back tomorrow when we’re going to hear more about what makes love real love. I hope you can tune in 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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
*Song: All You Need is Love
Artist: The Beatles
Album: Magical Mystery Tour, (c)1967 EMI Records
*Song: When a Man Loves a Woman
Artist: Percy Sledge
Album: When a Man Loves a Woman, (c)1966 Atlantic
*Song: As Long As You Love Me
Artist: Backstreet Boys
Album: As Long As You Love Me, (c)1996 Jive Records
*Song: This I Promise You
Artist: ‘N Sync
Album: No Strings Attached, (c)2000 Jive Records
*Song: Make You Feel My Love
Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Time Out of Mind, (c)1997 Columbia
*Song: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
Artist: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Album: You’re All I Need, (c)1968 Tamla
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