Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Loving Each Other Like God Loves Us

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:10-13

I was talking to a friend the other day and he commented that I was spoiling my wife.  I responded by saying, “My wife is the most important person on this planet, as far as I am concerned, why wouldn’t I shower her with blessings and attention?” Husbands – wives – is that that how you see your spouse? Are you willing to lay your life down for them – if Jesus said we should for our friends – how much more for the person that we have committed our lives to in marriage? The thing is – for a marriage to be what God intended – it doesn't take two, it takes five. Where both the husband and wife are submitted, by faith in Jesus, to God the Father by the indwelling and submission to the Spirit and to each other.

To love others the way Jesus said we are to love others requires that we be “right” spiritually. It all begins there – with our relationship with God. I am not suggesting that people apart from God cannot love. What I am saying is that for our “joy to be full”, for us to experience what it is that God intended in the marriage relationship, it must be lived out as each of us walks in obedience to the Lord. Loving my wife is a natural manifestation of my love for God. How much I love my wife and the way I love my wife is a reflection of how much and the way I love God. I am not making this up – although as I type, I did not think this was the direction I was going this morning.

That guy that suggested that perhaps I was doing more for my wife than was necessary? He is a Christian so I could speak to him “spiritually’. I say this because the natural man cannot understand spiritual truth – it is foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14). So I pointed him to the Book of Ephesians.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:25-27

What did Jesus do for the church? He laid his life down.  The way husbands and wives love each other should be a bright light in a dark culture.  Do you remember the words you spoke at your wedding?

“…. to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you."

There is an assumption in those words, that you each are submitted to God and obedience to Him by the power of the Spirit and not the strength of your will. Enter Satan with the words, “Did God really mean that?” What if you decide it just isn’t working? I would suggest that it is a love problem – not between the husband and wife only, but between one or both of them and God. I can’t love my wife the way God says to love her if I don’t first love Him.  Pretty simple – but often overlooked or just ignored. Two cannot become one apart from the “glue” that sticks and holds them together – their faith and the Spirit of God. God is the root – Jesus is the vine and we are the branches – the fruit – our love and the quality of our marriage is a result of that. That is why we are warned to not be unevenly yoked.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Many marriages start out with God no where to be found. Even though the ceremony may be in a church and the vows before God said. That is just part of the ritual. When the couple leaves the church building, they leave God behind. They may both not even be Christians. I know that I was not when I married Martie. It is by God’s grace that we both were born again some years later.  So today, the words I shared with my friend would not have come out of the mouth of the man who made the vows that he might not have been willing to keep – what's more, would not have been able to keep on his own. But because I abide in Christ – there is fruit.  Husbands – wives – I am not suggesting you decide to love each other more – but that you decide to love God more – and loving each other will be the fruit from your staying connected to the root.

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