Devotion #173

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35 ESV

Jesus commands us to love like He does. If we’re going to be able to do that in our marriage, then we must take the time regularly to reflect on how He demonstrates His love for us, how He chooses to puts our needs first every single time, how He compassionately shows grace and mercy for our foolishness, how He forgives the unimaginable.

Jesus loves us sacrificially. He chose His love for us first as He endured the wrongful accusations, the mocking, and even the beatings without a word, and as He went to the cross to take our punishment, all so we could live in community with Him for all of eternity. Do we love our spouses with that same “you before me” mentality?

When we are prompted to say those three little words to our spouse, it’s generally an emotional response to something they’ve done for us. They do a nice thing for us and we say “I love you.”  We don’t generally say “I love you” when they’re being difficult, when they’re wrongly accusing us, when they’re mocking us, or when they’re not treating us as we want to be treated. But Jesus did. From the cross, He said, “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Despite all the horrible things done to Him in the previous 24 hours, despite the weight of all of our sin hanging on Him at that moment, He cried out to our Father in heaven and asked Him to forgive us. He had every right to demand the wrath of God to come down and wipe everyone out because of the way they wrongly accused Him, mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him, but He didn’t. Our forgiveness was more important to Him than even justice in that moment because of the depths of His sacrificial love for us.

Jesus calls us to love as He loves—that means we are to love others with an “I love you before me” kind of sacrificial love. That can be something as simple as letting your spouse choose the TV channel or doing the dishes when you feel like falling on the couch…or it can be something much harder to endure.

Sacrificial love understands that God works on all of us in different ways and at different times. Since He grows each of us in His own time, sacrificial love accepts the shortcomings of another person—their failures, their strongholds, their issues—knowing that God is always at work, revealing new things to us all the time. Sacrificial love doesn’t have any expectations for the way a person is supposed to behave, but rather focused on how we are supposed to behave. Despite the fact that I may be wrongly accused, mocked, treated disrespectfully, I am still called to love my spouse sacrificially. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done, I am still called to love them.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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