Intro note by Danny: I recently had the privilege of doing devotions for our brother Enoch's wedding, and as I reflected on marriage extensively there, it dawned on me how God has imparted so many lessons into this most important of human relationships by comparing His relationship with His Son to marriage, and by Christ's relationship to the church to marriage. The world is interested in these things, as we are in a worldwide epidemic of failed marriages. Due to our understanding of the Divine Pattern, we have a unique message on this issue.
Our sister Sabrina has been writing relationship devotionals on this topic, and I wanted to share part of her Day 5 devotional with the hope that the reader would go and finish the article and check out the other ones. She hits on a most powerful idea, while softly reminding us that man's wisdom on this issue is flawed and lacking. May the reader be blessed:
Serving our Spouse
We often like to ask our older married friends, if they could share one golden nugget of wisdom to newer couples, what it would be. In response, one couple shared a principle that has helped them to keep in mind, which is that, “If the husband is always looking out for the needs of the wife, and the wife is always looking out for the needs of the husband, then everyone’s needs are always met!”
Now, while this seems like a great principle in theory, the actual outworking of it to produce a consistently joyful marriage would unfortunately be a highly unattainable experience. We’re all faulty human beings, and for the majority of relationships the question would naturally arise, “Well, what if my spouse isn’t doing their part?” If spouses only commit to caring for the other’s needs with the expectation that their needs will be cared for in return, disappointment is inevitable.
And when this disappointment inevitably comes—whether your spouse drops the ball for a just one moment, many days, or several years—the real life question that we need addressed is, “How do I continue to serve my spouse when they are not serving me?” And by God’s amazing grace, we have not been left without the answer.
Selfless service is the foundation of God’s kingdom. Though this earth has been marred by sin, we still see evidences all throughout creation of the fact that nothing was designed to live for itself. Where selflessness reigns, life and relationships flourish.
The bright beams of this agape love that we still see shining through God’s creation are a reflection of His own character. His love and blessing and mercy ever flow out unconditionally to His creatures, and our experience is dependent wholly upon whether we choose to receive or reject them. This principle was magnified for us to witness in the earthly life of Jesus. The Son of God was fully at rest in His reception of His Father’s blessings, never fearing that anything good would be withheld from Him. He took no thought for His own temporal needs—where He would sleep, what He would eat or drink, or how He would be clothed. As He testified:
Matthew 6:32-33 “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
The focus of Jesus’ earthly life was solely to do the will of His Father in manifesting His love to human beings—aka. meeting our needs. He was wholly focused on serving His Father, and thus serving us (His bride, Rev. 19:7), and trusted wholeheartedly that His Father would take care of all His needs.
Just as the marriage relationship is designed to reflect the relationship between the Father and Son, it is also meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and His church. As Paul counselled the believers in Ephesus,
Ephesians 5:24-25 “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,”
I want us to deeply consider the implications of Christ being in the role of “husband,” and ask ourselves, “Is His wife meeting His needs?”
If we are being honest, we would have to say, “No.” Of course the degree to which the bride of Christ has offered true respect, trust, and devotion to Christ has fluctuated throughout history, but as a whole, the bride of Christ has never fully met Christ’s needs in returning the love that He has shown her. In fact, the love He has shown her far outweighs any love that she could ever hope to show in return.
So the question then is, how does Christ continue to serve her so selflessly?
And the answer is that she is not the source of His love.
Please re-read that statement. Let it sink in. Christ’s bride, His wife, never has been and never will be His source of love.
So then, who is?
To read the rest of this article, go here: http://thehopeofglory.org/growing-in-grace-couples-devotional-day-5/