Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine's Day: A Word to the Wives

*This is a long post because it was originally written as a devotion for the Monthly Mom's Ministry I lead at church.

I love Valentine’s day but honestly, it can be one of those holidays that’s more depressing than delightful. We as women tend to compare and despair. There’s wisdom as a wife I’ve finally begun to learn over the past few years that I pray places truth in your heart and joy in your marriage.
When we think about love, what Scripture usually comes to mind? The love chapter, right? Grab your Bible and Read 1 Corinthians 13.

Here’s what we do when we hear the infamous love chapter: We try to be more __________ and we fail. And we get frustrated and discouraged when our husband isn’t loving us like that-because that’s what he is supposed to do. I want us to take a different approach to this verse and from that learn an important truth. Let’s look at this set of verses in context. The point of this passage is not for us to make some hopeless attempt at loving our spouse or for us to hold this expectation over our spouse. The context of this passage is to show us Christ’s love for us and in us. Go back to your Bible and read it like this: Jesus’ love for me is ________________ so through me Jesus is _______________.

Here’s the principle:
When we receive His love, we begin to give His love. I’m not talking about our salvation. This is about His daily love that is poured into my life. Stay with me, because there is no amount of marriage therapy that can revolutionize your marriage than this one simple thing:

The best thing you can do for your marriage is to love Christ.

I’m serious. Release your husband from fulfilling in you what only Christ can. Here’s the truth we need to take to our hearts as women: My identity is found in Him not my husband. We have made idols of our marriages. Perfect love is from Christ and in Christ. He never intended for us to go looking for love to be fulfilled in our human relationships. Do you know what we do to our husbands when we seek them to satisfy? We set them up to fail. Think about it. When I look to Tim to satisfy my need for value and worth, what do I become? Needy and naggy. Nothing he does is ever good enough. He walks in the door and the griping and whining and complaining starts. And do you know what every husband is thinking? “All I can do is fail.” But what if your man walks in the door to a wife that is complete and whole in Christ? She is secure and satisfied and still in the patient, kind, gentle, perfect love of Christ. He walks in the door to a woman who is strong and sound. I’m not talking about a self-sufficient woman. This isn’t speaking of a silent or superior woman. This a Christ sufficient woman. 

In no way am I suggesting not having a need or expectation of your husband. The point is this: When Christ is satisfying in me what only Christ can, I am free to enjoy and delight in my husband. When he gets it right, I am deeply blessed. And when he gets it wrong, I’m ok because what he does, does not define who I am-ladies, he’s free to be human! And guess what this freedom does? I become a joy and delight and blessing to him because my marriage is no longer about myself and my needs-because those are now met. I’m no longer desperate but a delight. Let me tell you, there is nothing more attractive to a man than a sound, Godly woman. This is exactly what Peter was talking about in 1 Peter 3:3, “Do not let your beauty be merely outward…..rather let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.” The original language here of gentle and quiet spirit means a heart that is at rest, peaceful, whole, complete. Simply stated: You win your husband with your heart. There is no amount of pretty that can compete with a peaceful spirit. The beautiful thing is this: you begin to see that principle of “When we receive His love, we give His love” played out in your marriage: I begin giving my husband the love of Christ rather than seeking my husband to fill the needs of my heart. The result is that your husband is drawn to Christ.

It’s funny, we try to do what we think is the “Godly” thing by forcing our husbands to be more Godly. You know what I’m talking about. We give him guilt trips about not being spiritual leaders. After nagging and griping haven’t worked we try to push him. Really, we are still just looking for him to be better to us. And it doesn’t work. Because only the Holy Spirit can change hearts. When we just stop. Shut our mouths. Seek Christ. The heart work begins. We can force a behavior change but only Christ can cultivate heart change.

Here’s the love God intends for you to know:

“This I pray. That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you being rooted and firmly established in love may be able to comprehend with all (that’s you and me) the saints what is the length and width and height and depth of God’s love and that you know (this word means a personal, intimate experience) the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge so that you may be filled with all the fullness (means complete, literally ‘I have all I need’) of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Wives. We have got to quit going to our husbands empty and expecting him to fill us. Christ wants to fill you with the fullness of God through His love for you. Your husbands are absolutely commanded to love you as Christ loved the church but he can only do that if he is centered in Christ. And he only has the freedom to have a Christ centered life if you have released him from having a you centered life. When Christ is your center and Christ is his center, you have a marriage that lives out the love of Christ. Ironically, the marriage you’ve been trying to force to create becomes a reality. Only Christ can create that kind of love. 

Here are the two truths I want you to remember:
1. My relationship with my spouse is a reflection of my relationship with Christ.

2. My relationship with my spouse is a result of my relationship with Christ.

Here is my challenge to you:
1. Focus on your love relationship with Christ.
Get to know Him. Spend time with Him. Read His Word. Worship Him. Let Him love you. A great place to start is by going through the Psalms-these are David’s love letters to God.

2. Read the love chapter with the context of Jesus’ love for you.
Ask God to begin to open your eyes to the ways you are seeking your husband to be what only Christ can be.

3. Read Song of Solomon.
It’s the month of love and this is the book of love! God created marriage and this is how He intends a couple to delight in one another. Forget Lifetime, Hallmark and stupid Soap’s! This is the real deal. Yet, you can’t delight if you’re a desperate….love Christ most and your marriage will be your greatest blessing.

4. Read through Proverbs and find every proverb you can on being a wife/woman.
Seek where God needs to work in your heart and life. Ask God to remove that nagging wife from your life. The best quote I’ve read recently about Proverbs is this: You can’t be the Proverbs 31 woman if you aren’t living 1-30. Remember, Christ creates this kind of woman when we allow His work. So don’t read these truths thinking you have to make yourself become this unattainable thing-it is the love of Christ at work in you that creates this kind of woman. Doing it yourself is like trying to force your husband to become a Godly man.

Have a blessed V-Day!

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