Jentezen Franklin - Making Love Last
Welcome to Kingdom Connection. Thank you so much for joining us today and I am excited about the message that you're gonna hear. It actually was preached at our annual One Marriage conference. God honors people who put Him first in their life, in their home and in their marriage. And there's something powerful about thousands of couples coming together. This conference is always sold out every year. And couples begin to worship together and laugh together and listen to the Word of God and its clear instructions to a successful marriage. And that's exactly what happened in this conference. It was a powerful move of God. I believe this word will bless you and your family.
If you have your Bibles, you can open them with me. I wanna share tonight from Philippians 2. I'm gonna read a few scriptures because I think they're important. And then I'm just gonna teach some principles that God has laid upon my heart. Some thoughts that I wanna share with you. Philippians 2:3. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but for the interest of others. Let this same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of man. I tried to come up with a good title. I had one come to me down there while ago that I'm gonna go with. And they don't even know it in the area that worries about this. But I'm gonna call this "Making Love Last". And the reason I'm gonna call it making love is I just like to say that in church. Making love last. So it's kinda spiritual, but not all spiritual.
How many of you like those kinda sermons? Yeah, I know you do. You bunch of heathens. Turn to your neighbor and tell 'em my sermon, and emphasize the part that you like. Making love last. OK. We got it. You might not remember the sermon, but you've got the title down. What happens in our relationships is we start out with a tremendous expectation. You promised me. You told me you would. You said you would. You committed that you would. Expectation. And in between expectation and the end result, which is behavior, is this little area right here called believes all things. Supposed to be. And what we've gotta learn is this. Expectation is, you know, he promised me he would not be late. He promised me that he would be here at 4:00. But what I'm looking at is, it is 4:30, and he is not here.
Now what has to happen is, what are you gonna do with the gap between expectation and behavior? Is you have a choice. Listen carefully. You are supposed to believe the best, or you can assume the worst. And the reason that a lot of people get in arguments and get in fights is they have expectations, and the person lets 'em down. I knew you wouldn't call him. I knew you wouldn't do it. I knew she wouldn't do it. I bet he's talking to somebody about something stupid. In this gap between expectation and behavior, love does not assume the worst. I knew he wouldn't take care of it. I was waiting on him to not take care of it so I could have more points to tell him how bad he is. Or vice versa. So I could tell her how bad she is. And we assume the worst instead of believe the best. When you believe the best, it kinda goes like this.
Well, something really important must have come up. And you're believing the best. You're hoping for the best. But when you assume the worst, you say things like, I have to do everything, and I knew that he was no good with money, or whatever. And you assume the worst instead of believe the best. Do you tend to go this way when they don't live up to expectation, your husband or your wife? Or do you tend to go this way? Because that's the issue, isn't it? Because when you consistently go this way, you are destroying love in a marriage. Well, what about them? There are certainly places where you have to correct, and talk, and get things together. But the atmosphere of the marriage has to be believe the best instead of assume the worst. It has to be. It has to be. If you wanna make love that lasts.
People who stay in love have the same gap all the time. They start out with expectation, and somebody let's 'em down. But the difference is they believe the best. They believe the best. One writer said people... he did a study of marriages. Researched marriages. And he said that healthy marriages that have lasted 10 years or more have an unrealistic view. Their partner actually rated higher in every single category when they asked about them. And he concluded that love is blind. Listen to these words. And he said that the healthy marriages are marriages that are generous in their explanation of why their mate is not doing what they expected. They're generous, isn't that good wording? They're generous in their explanation to themself of why my mate let me down. They're generous. They believe the best, not assume the worst. I'm preaching better than you're letting on right now.
Literally, love is blind. They find the most generous explanation. And, I mean, I know you can do that because that's exactly what you did when you started dating that person and fell in love with 'em. My God. Everybody tried to tell you they weren't all that. And all you did was gave a generous explanation of... I know, but you just don't know him like I know him. And see, what were you doing? You were believing the best instead of assuming the worst. You chose to give a generous explanation. And the question is, do you now, years later, start off as soon as something happens, and these two come together, and all of a sudden this is all you have. And all of a sudden, this is all you expect. And all of a sudden, you just start saying, this is my life, and this is my marriage, and this is who he is, and this is gonna never change.
And let me tell you something about this. The deal is, no guy or no girl wants to disappoint you that loves you. This is gonna be a strange thing to you, but the truth is, no... I'll speak for myself. I never want to let my wife down. Never have I done it intentionally. Trying to hurt her, or trying... and I know she hasn't me. She's not that kinda person. But what happens is, after you have a few of these expectation behavior, he let me down again, she let me down again, here we go again. We start assuming the worst, and it just accumulates. But when you begin to believe the best, the miracle of this is whatever this person is doing, they start moving in this direction. Because you've created a space. You've created positivity that they can begin to thrive and move in. So do you assume the best, or do you go negative immediately when somebody doesn't measure up to your expectations? I'm almost done, so hang in there.
Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Do you quickly go to negative, or do you assume the best when that person doesn't meet the expectation that you had? The last thing we wanna do is disappoint. But what happens, and it's so true, is we start creating that atmosphere. You create a margin when you believe the best. Let me tell you this: in Philippians 2, what I read at the beginning of this message is one of the most beautiful patterns for marriage, and here it is. He said let nothing be done in selfish ambition. Selfish ambition and vain conceit. In other words, I don't want competitiveness in the marriage. Let her talk, and quit interrupting her. And don't try to correct. Just let her tell it wrong if she's telling it wrong. Then he says something powerful. Rather, in humility. No selfish ambition. No conceit. No acting like you're more important than your spouse. Rather, in humility, value the other above yourself.
Don't compete with them. Value them. They are, Jesus, Paul wrote 2,000 years ago, if you want to know how to love somebody, here's how you do it. Not with selfish ambition, and conceit, and competition. But rather, in humility, value the other person above yourself. Treat them like they're more important than you are. The most important person in the room. Have you ever been in a room where somebody famous was? Have you ever met somebody famous? Have you ever been in a room where somebody who is like a household name? I have. And I'm gonna tell you, it's an intimidating thing. And when there's somebody famous in the room, I'm talking about big name person. I promise you, you defer all attention to them. You don't interrupt them when they talk. You don't not notice them. You don't treat them bad. You don't overlook them. You don't walk in front of them. You don't do any of that because you value, my goodness. The most important person in the room is not me.
Lemme put it this way. Have you ever been to a wedding? Well, of course you have. You know what? Listen to me carefully. The person that was most important, this is gonna be mind-blowing to some of you, was not you. It was the bride. And when you walked in, nobody could care less. Nobody turned around. Nobody stood up. But when she walked in, every head, that's how we're supposed to value our spouse. You're the most important person in this room. Lemme finish this. One translation said value others above yourself. One translation said with a sense of awe. When you first fell in love, he called. You'd say, awe. She kissed you, and she was the most important thing in your world. In your life. I know you know how to do this. People who stay in love do it intentionally. They value her. They value him. The most important person. And I wish that I lived this. I wish that I did this as much as I need to do this. But I'm learning. And here's the thing that got me in this. Is Jesus... then Paul, in a brilliant move, he moves from value one another. Then he says this in verse 4. Not looking to your own interests, but to the interests of the other.
Oh, now he's gonna get practical. Now he's gonna say the way that I know that you're valuing them is you're not just interested in what you're interested in. But you're interested, their interest is your interest, too. By intention, you express interest in the things they're interested in. And that's hard because I'm interested in what I'm interested in. I am not interested in what you're interested in. I'm interested in... welcome to marriage. You should've stayed single. Because marriage means I've gotta be interested intentionally in what she's interested in. I just can't do that. I'm not gonna fake. Well, when you fell in love, and he said, hey. Hey, I love to run. You wanna go running? You like to run? I love to run. You've never ran one quarter of a mile. You had to call your best friend and get a pair of tennis shoes. All you had was high heels. But you fell in love with... come on now. You fell in love with him, and his interests were... I can ask some people, what does your husband do? Something on a computer. I don't know. You don't even know what his world's like.
Now here's the beauty of this. You did it when you were dating. You valued them. They were the most important person in the room. When she walked in the room, it was like a rock star walked into the room. Not only that, but I valued what she valued. You wanna do this? You wanna go to the mall, Jentezen? When I met her, I loved the mall. I loved the mall. Come on, church. I'm preaching the truth. This is love. Real love. Let me finish. Then Paul, in a brilliant move, he lays it out. And then in a brilliant move, he says let me tell you who models this. Watch him now in Philippians 2:5. Jesus, when He was equal with God, did not consider equality with God to be taken advantage of. He never played the God card. When He wanted a relationship with you and me, listen now, He's the rock star. He's God. He's the most important person in the room - Jesus. And not one time, when He wanted a relationship with you, did He pull the God card out and say, hey, me and my disciples are here.
Give us the front row. Give us the best table in the restaurant. He never did it. He humbled himself. He valued you so much that even though He's the rock star, He's all about you. You're in the room, and He's all, oh my God, about you. About me. He was equal with God. He was not less than the Father. Less than the Holy, He was equal, and yet He came down, He humbled himself. He said, I opt all the glory that I can have and being right all the time. I could walk around all day. And I'm so holy, I could say you're a sinner, and you're a sinner, and you're sinner. And I'm right, and you're wrong, and I'm right, and you're wrong. And He'd have been exactly right. But He said I love you so much that I will opt being right all the time for a relationship with you. And I'll come down, listen, and I'll humble myself, and die in obedience on the cross, and show you how to value somebody else's interests, and value somebody else in the room besides yourself, and lay down your life so that you can value somebody else more than you value yourself.
And Jesus is saying, I want you to value your husband that way. I want you to value your wife that way. That when they're in the room, they're the rock star. They're the most important person in the world. Jesus said, I can have, I can have, I can be personally right... listen carefully, I'm done, but listen. I can be personally right all the time. And this is so important for like successful people, you know? Built a big business, or pastors, and people who've had some level of success in their life.
We think that that title and that glory makes us somehow greater than our mate because they don't get the credit that we get. But look at Jesus. That's what messed me up. Just look at my Jesus. He was equal with God, but He said it ain't about me in this room. It's about that leper over there. Ain't about me in this room. It's about that woman in adultery five times. But I love her. And boy, I see value in her, and I'm interested in her. And I know everybody should be making a big deal about me, but it's not about me. And then He says, that's how I want you to love your husband. That's how I want you to love your wife. I want you to love 'em. And you say well, what if they don't give it back? They may not. But when you do it, God's gonna honor it, and it's gonna change your heart.