Loving sacrificially is the ultimate goal I aspire to achieve in all that I do, however . . . one thing continues to creep in and hinder this holy objective . . . “ME!”
For years, and when I say years I mean my whole marriage, I have lived with the mindset that a husband and wife should make their expectations clear and commit to fulfilling them. As long as both agree to do this, both will continue to have those expectations met, and “feel” happy and loved. (Just so you know, this is NOT an example of sacrificial love! This is some crazy concept that I conjured up in my controlling mind.)
At the time this sounded reasonable in theory, and yet over ten years of marriage it somehow failed at being properly executed. “Feelings” of happiness and love frequently eluded us, and instead frustrations and resentment became familiar fixtures in our home.
Day to day, life generally played on very nicely . . . that is until we would bump into one of these rigid fixtures. It typically looked something like this:
“I made the dinner, so you should do the laundry.”
“I filled the trash, so you should empty it.”
“I put the kids to bed last night, so tonight is your turn.”
I kept trying to work under this theory that everything should be equal. That all things should be done to what my standards and expectations dictated.
Whenever that didn’t happen, whenever “I felt” I was fulfilling my half of the unspoken arrangement more than he was . . . I would go on strike.
I would refuse to make dinner, I would let the trash overflow onto the floor, and the kids could just go to bed when they got tired. (Totally pathetic. I know!)
As if that wasn’t enough to express my deep displeasure, I would also withhold my love. I made it very clear that he was not to talk to me, shouldn’t dare look at me, and if he wanted to continue to live . . . he best not try to touch me until he met all of my expectations!
This cycle repeated for years.
Then one day after displaying these behaviors, I felt the Lord speaking to me and He asked, “Is that how I treated you? Did I wait till you did everything my way, and then I loved you and meet your needs?”
My answer was a resounding “No”. That “no” began to echo off the hardened interior walls of my heart, loosening the calloused layers as the fullness of my first, sweet encounter with Christ replayed in my mind . . . afresh and anew.
No . . . no . . . that was not at all the way Jesus treated me. In fact it was the complete opposite.
He pursued me, even as a sinner that was violating His ways.
He helped me, even though I gave Him no thanks.
He accepted me, even when I rejected Him.
He loved me. Right were I was. Just as I was.
When I was a disobedient mess. A hopeless cause. A shame filled, broken nothing . . . He loved me. And that love is a transforming power that set me free . . . and forever amended me.
That love, in the bible, is referred to as “agape love”. It is an unconditional love, a sacrificial love, that is always giving. It devotes total commitment to seek the highest best for another person, no matter how they may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not, merited or not, requested or not.
From this a familiar verse took on a fresh meaning to me. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
This command includes me loving my husband. I am to love him, as Christ has loved me . . . sacrificially.
That means with out expectations, regardless of his responses, and even on days I don’t think he deserves it . . . I am to love him regardless of how “I feel”.
As I began to listen to Christ, and place this command into action, something changed.
Within my husband.
A brand-new level of freeness was born into each of us. I saw how that same sacrificial love that first transformed me all those years ago, was now flowing through me again, refashioning me more into His image, while remolding my marriage as well.
This type of love, this sacrificial love has to be the most powerful force in the world. It took Jesus to the cross. It sets sinners free. It restores broken souls, and even broken marriages.
But we must first be willing to deny our own wants at times, set our needs aside, and live as Christ.
We have to get the “ME” out of the way.
Whether this is something you are struggling with in your marriage, with a family member, or even a coworker, the bottom-line is all the same. We must be willing to lay down the “ME” and be filled up with the “JESUS!” Only then will we be able to love sacrificially, and see the true powers of our Great Lord! His ways will always be exceedingly better than any crazy concept we conjure up in our minds.
I want to see His amazing powers alive in our lives and relationships, and if you do too, let’s pray for this together.
Dear Lord Jesus,
The prayer of my heart is to be filled with more of you and less of me. Help me everyday to live as you have commanded me. Help me to see and understand your love on a deeper level, and fully receive your love, just as I am. Help me to let go of my ways, my hurts, and my frustrations so I can fully walk in Your ways, Your love, and Your peace. Lord Jesus, I bring my broken life, my broken pieces to you, and ask to be a vessel that you pour your love through onto other people. May your powers and ways be alive in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This is the seventh post in a series on becoming “Spirit Led Wives”. If you have been following these posts we have dove deeper into understanding more about our role as wives, and how to actively live and love as Christ. These past seven weeks have led us right to Valentine’s Day. In honor of this day that we celebrate love, here is a chance to receive some love from me in the form of a giveaway.
To enroll to win this “Coffee Cuddle Kit” all you have to do is first leave a comment below about someone you love (it can be anything about anyone you love) and second share this post on your Facebook page. (For easy access go to Seven Swans Ministries Facebook Page and click share under this post.)
Wednesday I will randomly select someone to win and message you through Facebook.
Praying all you Ladies feel the love of Christ this week and show His love to others!
Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: [btn text=”Facebook” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://www.facebook.com/sevenswansministries.org?pnref=lhc”] – [btn text=”Twitter” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://twitter.com/sevenswansmins”] – [btn text=”Pintrist” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://www.pinterest.com/sevenswansmins/”] – [btn text=”Website” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://sevenswansministries.org”]