Devotion #38

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14 ESV

As believers in Christ, the most beautiful thing about us is how we love—it’s not how we sing, how we clean or organize, how we dress or what we own—it is how we love. Period. The most beautiful thing about us is the way we love. The way we love should stop people in their tracks and cause them to take notice. Does the way you love your spouse cause them to take notice?

We demonstrate love for our spouses when we put their needs before our own, and when we love until the end. Love is thinking about what the other person needs, it’s thinking about what would bless them even when they’re difficult, even when we’re hurting. Love is asking the question: what is the most considerate thing I can do for my spouse in this moment, even when they are not considering the same for me. Love continues to give even when I feel I am the only one giving. Love is willing to receive injury rather than to inflict it. When push comes to shove, biblical love accepts the push rather than gives the shove. Love does not keep track of the offenses, but lets them all go because forgiveness is our priority when loving others. 

Being a broken person with a tendency toward satisfying the desires of my heart and justifying my responses, I’m constantly coming up against this truth. I have to be willing to let go of the offenses as fast as they come in if I am going to love my spouse in the way the bible instructs me to love him.

But there is no way I can do this on my own; none of us can do it on our own. This passage reminds us how we are to accomplish this impossible heart transformation—we forgive as we have been forgiven. We need to spend time daily in meditation of the gift of forgiveness we have been given; daily we need to focus our thoughts on the fact that we are not being thrown into the fiery pits of hell for our own offenses because He has forgiven us. 

When we do that, our perspectives shift, and the major offenses become minor. We let go of those things we want to hold on to, we let go of the things we use to justify our righteous position against our spouses, and we love in return. If we ever want that difficult person in our life to change, to see the love of Christ, and to love others as Christ loves us, then we must be Christ to them—we must forgive all offenses, not just some, and we must do it immediately, in the moment, as He has forgiven us. When we love like that, our spouses experience the love of Christ, and nothing has the power to transform our spouses like that. We can argue with them, we can demand they change, we can pray they act differently, but if a heart transformation is what we want out of our spouse, then we need to do this well. We need to love them as Christ loves us, and this begins with forgiving them as Christ forgives us. 

Jesus didn’t hold grudges, He didn’t push back, He didn’t go to His friends or family members with stories of how horrible we are. He didn’t put on a front to some, then talk about others behind their back. He didn’t boast about how loving He was, then roll his eyes at our ridiculousness. He absorbed the wrong and showed love in return. Focusing on His forgiveness has grown my love for my spouse in ways I could not begin to match on my own. It’s allowed me to lay down my expectations and pick up His priorities.  It’s allowed me to absorb the offense, and love him in response. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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