Devotion #149

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10 ESV

If we honestly compare the love we demonstrate to our spouses with the sacrificial love God shows us over and over again, we are going to fall miserably short. We don’t even come close. If we’re truthful about how we act in our marriages, even in our best moments, we are going to find shameful behaviors that do not measure up to God’s definition of love. His definition of love is humbling, but this is how He positions us to learn, isn’t it? He knows we’re going to hear God’s word more clearly through humility than we are through any intellectual endeavor, so He humbles us by holding up a mirror. Many of us choose to turn away because it’s too painful to look. We need to take a hard look; we need to allow Him to humble us so that we can change. Without the reflection, we can get pretty self-righteous, thinking we do a great job of loving our spouses well…or we justify the reasons we fail to love by citing their hurtful actions.

If we’re being honest, one of the most difficult parts of demonstrating the sacrificial type of love God calls us to, is that our spouses don’t treat us the way God treats us. They’re inconsistent and conditional in their love for us, they often don’t seem to acknowledge or care about what breaks our heart, they can seem insensitive to our pain, or they can have a bad day and lash out at us. God isn’t like that. He always cares, He’s never too busy for us, He’s always there to fight for us, He’s always there to protect us, He never lies, He never leaves, He never changes. It’s so much easier to love someone you can count on.

Loving someone who fails to love you is significantly more challenging, but it’s what God calls us to do. It’s what He did for us. He didn’t wait for us to demonstrate love to Him before He started showing us how much He cares. He loved us first because He knew that loving us well would draw us to love Him well.

The same is true in marriage. I’ve recognized love starts with me. If I want to know a more loving marriage, I need to first focus on loving my husband well—not how well he loves me. I have to be the love I want to see in my marriage before I can expect it to be demonstrated to me. I need to show the grace, I need to forgive the offense, I need to serve before I expect any of those things to be given to me in return. I don’t keep a scorecard and expect it to be fair because God doesn’t do that with me. He simply loves me, over and over again, regardless of how I treat Him. And what I’ve found is the love in my marriage grows bountifully out of those moments when I simply love where my husband has failed. God steps into those moments and creates something beautiful out of something that was once very broken.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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