Although the fundamentals of true love remain the same in any relationship, we've been looking at love in the arena of romantic affection between a man and a woman. And we've found true love can be described as sacrifice and tragedy. Yet all of us know love of this kind is hard to find these days. The reason for this apparent scarcity of true love is simply that the state of being required to foster love is often missing or misunderstood. That state of being is covenant relationship.
© 2003 By D. Eric Williams
When we talk about covenant relationship, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is marriage - a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, "till death do us part." Well, that puts you on the right track, but there are plenty of marriages out there where sacrifice and tragedy are completely foreign concepts. The covenant I'm referring to is the covenant relationship between a person and Jesus Christ.
You see, the sacrificial, tragic love we've been looking at is drawn from the tragic tale of Christ's descent and death for the sake of His Beloved the Church. The details of our discussion have come from the thirteenth chapter of the book of first Corinthians in the new testament. And it's important for us to understand the whole concept of true love was created by God Himself. In other words, romantic love isn't the product of evolutionary progress; it is part of the image of God in mankind. That's why the idea of true love resonates with every human being.
Yet, it is impossible to truly love another outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Certainly, love happens "by accident" from time to time to those who are outside of the "tribe" of the "Hero". But unless you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus, you will find it impossible to consistently love in the way you should. I don't necessarily mean you will drift in and out of relationships your entire life. You may. Or you may do what is right and remain faithful to one love in a committed marriage relationship. In either case, unless you are in covenant relationship with Jesus you'll be aware there is something missing. You'll know there could be more - that realization lies deep within every human being. But you won't know how to get it.
I'm not saying Christians automatically love as they should. Many Christians don't really understand the covenant relationship they have with Jesus and so are not able to really understand the covenant relationship they have with their spouse. The truth is, learning the art of sacrificial, tragic love is a life long pursuit. My wife and I are in our twenty-first year and I can assure you I don't always love as I should. Let me be honest; I rarely love as I should. Indeed, in many ways I feel I've only begun to understand what true love really is. Nevertheless, in Christ and in Christ alone, there is assurance that one day I will comprehend love completely.