By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.1 John 4:13-15 ESV
When you declare that Jesus is the Savior of the world, you are confessing the deep brokenness that exists within you. You are confessing that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness, that you struggle with the selfishness that plagues all of humanity. It takes a great deal of humility to own that truth. Our natural tendency is to minimize our own sin, to shift the blame to someone or something else, to justify our responses or our actions. On our own, we are a prideful, self-righteous people. We need to be humbled so often.
John brings us back to this truth in the middle of a passage on how to demonstrate love because he knows this truth needs to be at the forefront of our minds if we are going to love well. If we want to demonstrate the kind of refining love in our marriages God calls us to show, then we need to come back to this truth over and over again. We are a broken people in need of a Savior. John takes our self-righteousness and places it up against the love of our Father in Heaven to cause us pause. He wants us to reflect on who we are without the righteous saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The kind of authentic love that marriage demands is the kind of love that commits to facing this truth daily. Humble yourself before God and your spouse and examine your heart. If we are going to rise above the temptation to walk away, we must commit to admitting our own weakness, our own sin, our own failures to our spouses. Far too often, our self-righteous attitude only comes up against the darkness that exists in our hearts when it’s thrown at us in conflict, where the temptation to defend, make excuses, or shift the blame is magnified. It’s so much easier to point your finger at the sin of your spouse than it is to look into your own heart. But here, God is pleading with us to recognize our brokenness outside of those moments and humble ourselves. If we want to love well, we need to make the daily commitment to admit our brokenness.
We have such a tendency to point the finger the other way when confronted, to turn the mirror in their direction, to make sure they understand we are not the only sinner in the room. Love is being committed to examining our hearts when our spouse confronts us with a difficult truth, and resisting the urge to defend or excuse our behavior away. It means battling the temptation to close your mind and your heart to what they see in you. It means quieting our inner lawyer, shutting down our need to win, and keeping the finger pointed at ourselves. Love means being willing to examine what your spouse brings to you in the light of God’s Word, to own your sin, and to confess it to your spouse and God.
Love means recognizing that God specifically chose this person as the refining tool you need to grow into the man or woman He wants you to be. He has so much for purpose for your life while you are here on this earth, but before you can accomplish any of it, He needs you to be ready, to be refined. Lean in to the person He’s sent into your life to refine you, and allow Him to soften your heart.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗