Devotion #143

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7-8

There is a reason we find these exhortations to love all over scripture—this is something we need to get right, yet it’s a place where we so often fail. If we get this one thing right, if we learn how to truly love God and one another, then nothing else really matters. This is the big revelation from Scripture; this is the big take away God wants you to understand. Everything else He says in scripture stem from this one thing—love. It is the greatest commandment. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” If we are loving God and loving others above ourselves, we’ve got it right. But if we are not, we are standing in the way of the blessings God wants to pour into our lives.

Loving others is easy when we’re talking about someone that’s easy to love. It was easy to love your spouse in the early years because let’s face it—they were still working to impress you. Early on in our relationships, we are much quicker to accept each other’s faults and minor annoyances. We show grace for their shortcomings because we’re often more focused on appearing easy to love ourselves. Love comes easy in those days because we’re living the fairytale. We feel God has blessed us with this person to bring us joy, to share life’s experiences, to be filled with His love.

But we must understand that these reminders in Scripture are not for when our spouses are easy to love, they are for when they are hard to love. When you’ve lived with the same person for years or decades and the façades have been broken down, when minor annoyances have grown to major frustrations, when they continue to prioritize their needs over yours, when you’ve made it quite clear what your expectations are for your relationship and they continue to ignore them, when you’ve had the same argument over and over and nothing seems to change, when sin has broken the trust between you—these are the times the commands in this passage are intended to address. Nobody needs a reminder to love when it’s easy. God spoke these words for the times our relationships are not just challenging, but heart-breaking.

God designed marriage because He knew putting you in a relationship with one person for the rest of your life would eventually break down the barriers that keep you from seeing your sinful heart. Remember, His goal is to grow you to be more like Him. He wants us gentler, kinder, more patient, more forgiving—the reality is we can’t grow in the fruits of the Spirit if we’re not challenged in those areas. You just don’t grow kinder or more patient if the only person you need to wait on is yourself. If we’re not living with someone in constant need of forgiveness, we’re not going to become more forgiving. 

The marriage you are in was hand-picked by God especially for you. Think about that for a minute. God is sovereign over all—He chose your spouse for you. At this point of your relationship, you may think you made a mistake in choosing to say I do, but God was sovereign over that decision. You may have made it, but He allowed it. And the God who created this great big beautiful universe doesn’t make mistakes. He selected that person just for you, and He did it with one purpose in mind—to bring you to a deeper understanding of what perfect love is. He didn’t bring you that person to make you happier, He didn’t bring you that person so you could live the fairytale—though it may have felt like that once upon a time, that was not His ultimate goal. His ultimate purpose in bringing you that person was to teach you how to love like He loves. He knows your heart better than you know your heart, and He knew exactly who you needed to chasten you.

Don’t stress over living up to the fairytale. Your love story, no matter how simple or how elaborate, was designed by God. He created and He perfected it. He wrote it. He’s the author and the finisher. He is working to perfect you through your imperfect story and show you His perfect love. Don’t quit before you get to the ending. There is a happily ever after if you are willing to learn how to love as He loves.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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