He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end… So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
Yesterday I shared part of the story of our marriage, in “Marriage, Conflict, and Reconciliation.” First of all, thank you for all the responses. I have prayed for the marriages of every one of you who sent messages. I know the struggle. You are not alone. In your strength you can’t do it, but in God’s you can!
No matter how cold your marriage is or how many fights, affairs, or addictions have plagued your home, reconciliation through Jesus is possible. Maybe you are reading this today because God is calling you to begin the journey of reconciliation through your love, sacrifice and service.
Today I want to challenge us with some scripture that we may not always apply to our spouses. If you are anything like me, when I want to read something from the bible about marriage, I tend to go to passages that say “marriage.” But, there are so many passages that give us principles to live by besides the ones that are specifically dealing with the husband and wife relationship.
I have shared a few today. Meditate on your relationship with your spouse and read these passages. Then ask the Lord to show you where you need grow. Let’s start with a passage from 1 Cor 13.
But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal… I may… know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love.
- Love is patient and kind.
- Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.
- Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily.
- Love does not remember wrongs done against it.
- Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth.
- Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.
- Love will never end.
For me this could say, “You could cook three meals a day, have all the laundry caught up, look great and have a lot sex. You could hold your tongue and serve like crazy, but if you don’t have love, it’s just show. If you don’t really love you are fake and what you do is meaningless. You have to love.”
Jesus was clear that love is simply the most important thing we can DO. I think we’ve been deceived to think love is a feeling of warm gushies. Love isn’t how you feel. It is the motivation and driving force behind your actions.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:37-40
So what does love look like. Check out these from Romans 12:
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them… Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other…
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud… And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace… Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
How about these from Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5?
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way…
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God… settle your differences quickly…
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.
Ok… that’s enough to make me hang my head. If Jesus is teaching about our relationships with the world, how much more do these apply to the one we have given our hearts to in the covenant of marriage. If I am supposed to be happy about persecution and let people slap my face twice and if my anger is the same as MURDER- Let me tell you, I have failed miserably.
It is my prayer that we all will defy the world’s influence and love like Jesus today… even when it’s hard.