GS24-18 Step Up to Pursuing Love

Step Up To Pursuing Love
Bill Giovannetti
It's the Summer of Love, Jesus style, here at Pathway. This is part of our larger series called Giant Steps. We're looking at God's wisdom on how to live a great life.

Step out of the bad stuff, the destructive stuff.
Step into the good stuff, the healthy stuff.
Step up to the amazing stuff, the noble, heroic choices that make life awesome.

So, January, February, March, April, and May... we talked about all that stuff. And now, June, July, and August, it's all about love.

Today, my talk is: Step Up to Pursuing Love

In other words, this is something to go after. It's there for you, but there has to be intention. Three times, the New Testament tells us to pursue love:

"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." (1 Corinthians 14:1)
"But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:11)
"Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22)

There is something about these qualities, and especially about love, that you need to pursue.

You have to get off of the couch and into the game. It won't come knocking at your door. Love is there for you, like diamonds and gold are there for you, but you have to want it enough to go unearth it, and dig a mine, and take hold of it.

I'm calling this The Summer of Love, Jesus Style.

Why Jesus Style? Because love, American style, is messed up. The way our culture does it causes a lot of pain, and drama, and heartbreak. It's a dead end.

How many of you know if you travel the same road as everyone else, you are going to end up at the same destination as everyone else? And when it comes to love, what's happening today for most people isn't that great.

Could it be that God has something higher and better for His people? I'm inviting you into a pursuit of love that is very different than this world has to offer. No apology for that.

So that's one reason why it's the Summer of Love, Jesus Style. But the bigger deeper reason it's Jesus style is this: The kind of love God builds into your life only reaches its highest potential if you have first stepped fully into God's love by being saved.

Being saved is the one thing that makes anything Jesus Style possible in anybody's life.

This is because of something that happens in you when you get saved.

In that moment God turns on the internal switches—way deep in your soul... all the deep internal switches that have been turned off.

How did they get turned off? Because you were born a fallen member of a fallen race... all those internal circuits get turned back on when you are born again as a much-loved child in the family of God.

Being saved gives you a new power to receive love and to give love in a way you never had before.

And you can be saved, and born again today. You can have all your internal circuits to pursue real love activated, and switched back on, by being saved today.

I'm going to show you how to do that.

Actually, I'd like to walk you through being saved—yeah you—right here today. That's coming. Don't worry; I won't single you out. It won't be weird.

Once you are saved, then everything else here applies.

So, here are FIVE LAWS OF PURSUING LOVE, from a biblically wise point of view.
"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy."
(1 Corinthians 14:1)

Five Laws of Pursuing Love

Law 1: The Law of SIMPLE FUN
Not every date has to be epic, and not every person you hang out with has to be your future spouse.

This is for people who are still single and maybe looking for love.

Last time, we went over the 12 steps of bonding. You can break those steps into 3 zones:

Friendship Zone
"I have considered it desirable, however, to send you Epaphroditus. He has been to me brother, fellow-worker and comrade-in-arms, as well as being the messenger you sent to see to my wants." (Philippians 2:25)

Romantic Zone
"So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her." (Genesis 29:20)

Marriage Zone (Sexual)
"Look away, for your eyes overcome me! Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats frisking down the slopes of Gilead." (Song of Solomon 6:5 NLT)

I'm leading to something. Here's the difference between the Friendship Zone and the Romantic Zone:

When you're in the Romance Zone, you focus on each other.
When you're in the Friendship Zone, you focus on something else.

In the friendship zone, there's you, there's the friend, and there's the third thing.

What is the third thing? When you hang out with your friends, you get together to do something. See a movie. Collect coins. Play football. Serve God by helping in Awana. You're on a mission. You're doing homework, going shopping, whatever. Whatever...

Friends don't get together to stare into each other's eyes and share little jokes. That crosses over into the Romance Zone, and if you're married, that's a Red Alert.

Friends get together to do a project, solve a problem, share a hobby, play a sport, create a business, or play a video game. There's a reason to get together, and it isn't "us."

What I'm saying is that if you are going to pursue love, you have to start by making friends with people of the opposite sex, the more the better. I'm not telling you to lower your standards; I'm telling you to change your goal. Make it friendship for now.

What that means is hanging out in groups... go ahead and plan that.

And that means including in those groups someone of the opposite sex that you probably don't want to get married to, and go do fun stuff with other friends.

Keep it light, and just have fun. I want you to take the pressure off. I want you to make it easy for yourself and for others.