The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. Hebrews 1:3
What does it mean to walk in love? Does it mean that you hang on your mate all the time and they are the center of your world? Does it mean that with marriage you become focused on each other more than anything else? Perhaps walking in love means that you set aside your “normal” life and learn how to become dependent on each other for what it takes to make the marriage work. Or does it mean that you surrender your will, mind and emotions to your marriage instead of God?
You may think those ideas are pretty far fetched, however for some this is their idea of a perfect marriage. A marriage is not suppose to stop your life, it should support your relationship with God and begin to grow you stronger in that relationship. As the two flesh become one, it means with God in the center and not that the marriage out weighs all else in your life. God purposed for us to have a mate which is why He created woman for man to have communion with. God delights in the union of a man and his wife but He did not intend for the couple to stop walking with Him.
So to me, walking in love is grace. God graced two persons with a love that led them to marriage and now He wants to take that union and grow a relationship based on walking with Him. He longs to be in the center of your life and it should not change with marriage. If a couple seeks God first in their lives then their relationship will thrive and God will increase the love as time aspires on.
I encourage each of you who are in a marriage and you have wandered away from God being the center that you take some time to recenter God in your life. Take time this week to seek the face of God in your marriage. Are you still in love with your first love, Jesus? Do you still seek His approval over your spouses? God wants the both of you looking to Him for the answers to your marriage. Choose to seek Him now and begin truly walking in His love.
The Message (MSG)
Content Whatever the Circumstances
10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
2 Corinthians 4:15
All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
Ever wonder how sometimes we have no understanding of how we end up where we do? We have been given a free will and often we as humans just take advantage of it thinking we know more than God does. Twenty years ago I made the choice to marry a man I thought I could fix. I knew he was a drinker but I thought for sure I could cure that. Before we even got married I got pregnant with my son, this made me think that I had no choice now but to stay. I could not see that God had a much bigger plan for my life, yet what happened over the last 20 years has given me the ability to love with a compassion for others like I might never have gained.
As I watched my husband spiral out of control, I felt so stuck and lost in a relationship that I soon realized had nothing to do with God. As I stood by my husband even in his complete brokenness I felt empty as if I had no purpose but to keep this man alive for his children. I was lost. I was alone. I was hurting. I was confused and broken. My heart was shattered in a million pieces yet I stood beside him until three years ago. While I sat in an emergency room watching my husband fight for his life from a drug overdose/suicide attempt, I cried out to God. I finally wanted out. I could not stand beside him any longer.
Three years have passed and I am now divorced. It was not a choice I found easy to make, however it was by God’s grace that I was released. I was willing to stand and wait for my husband to be healed. I would have done anything God said to do, but He was silent for so long on the subject until I was willing to just surrender it all and leave it at the cross. I was alone for the whole three years up until God gave me the release to pursue divorce. Within a few days of my release, God gave me a chance at life again.
He sent a man into my life who would show me what a right relationship was. He stands now beside me even in my brokenness. He seeks God first and brings me only things which will edify me. He understands my weaknesses and does his best to love me right where I am, insecurities and all. As we have chosen to be married due to what God had began in our spirits, we spoke about how I needed to feel release from my ex-husband. We talked with our pastor and he said that some day, my ex-husband would thank John for taking care of me, realizing that he couldn’t. We figured it would be years down the road as it was a huge statement to receive.
This is how great God’s grace really is. First the phone call a few weeks before the divorce went through and then at the courthouse the day of the divorce. After all was said and done and the judgement for divorce was granted, he called me over and said how happy he was for me and that he wished me the best. I felt overwhelmed at his kindness and grace only to watch him them walk over to John and speak the same thing to him. Grace, true grace. Only God can instill that grace in another human being. Even though I know my ex-husband was hurting, I knew he meant every word of what he spoke.
Today as I look forward to remarriage and a bright horizon of moving into the realm of a right relationship ordained by God, I am filled with such wonder at how God does what He does. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that our steps are ordered by the Lord, therefore, everything we endured in our lives up to this point is God’s true grace on our lives. Even when we make the wrong choices, He sees fit to continue to give us grace until we are back on track with our destiny.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Correcting Another Believer
15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
Resentment. Anger. Attitudes. Offences. Misinterpretations. Grudges. Dishonesty. Hard Feelings. Hurtfulness. Trash is ugly in its’ self, however it gets uglier when it belongs to someone else. Where I am going with this is simple, if you have a problem with someone, instead of taking it out on another unsuspecting person, go to the person who offended you in the first place and take care of business. There is no excuse for pushing your anger towards one person onto someone else who has no idea what is going on. Others hurt and offend us on a daily basis. Sometimes we allow this to build up over time and it consumes us internally until one wrong word from someone else and we lose it. We begin to throw daggers and harsh words at this person and they find themselves getting defensive and then it’s just full blown warfare. And why? All because we begin to operate out of woundedness.
How many times do we do this? We are fearful of going to the person who hurt us in the first place and we begin to start wars everywhere we go, even at the bank teller or the cashier at the grocery store. Perhaps we get angry at the drivers around us when really they did nothing wrong. Whatever the situation may be, we direct our anger often times at the wrong people. How can we stop this insane cycle of undeserved blaming and lashing out? Simple. Go to the person who offended you, hash it out, ask for forgiveness, make amends, do what ever it takes to make it right so you may begin to heal the wound that was inflicted upon you.
Let’s compare this to a leaky faucet: until you fix the leak, it is going to continue to drip causing you frustration and aggravation. Until you actually go to the faucet and fix it physically, you are going to have to deal with the constant irritating drip. It will drip until it drives you crazy and you just explode on the next thing that comes you way, like the dog or your husband or your unsuspecting six year old. We often lash out all of a sudden like a volcano that has been brewing and bubbling for awhile and the victims are usually ones who have no idea that we are harboring some wound. How unfair to them that we explode from some simple thing which sets us off.
This is where respect comes in. You have to have enough respect for your fellow humans to correct wrong behaviors or straighten out wrong perceptions. Who are you angry with? Has someone wounded you and you have yet to deal with it? Do you see this person everyday and pretend things are okay when underneath you have this bubbling molten ready to erupt? I challenge you today to search your heart and ask God to show you how to handle the situation and then pray He gives you the right opportunity to approach this person or persons. God will give you the grace if you are willing to be face to face.
So, you accepted Jesus as your Savior, what exactly does that mean? Well, you won’t be headed to hell, for the Lord says in His word that all who call upon His name and accept His son will be saved. Plus, you have the added bonus of instant forgiveness through Jesus who died a crucial death to save you from your own sin. And, you will forever be adopted into God’s family where you have many brothers and sisters to help you along your path in life. Now, how should we live to show others this tremendous change of heart we have?
We can read the Bible and say, “There I did my devotion and now it’s me time.” Then we go about our day not having another thought about God and then repeat it again tomorrow and over and over and over again. At some point, God loses our interest or we just get so secure in the knowing we are saved by grace part, we forget to actually DO the things it says to in the Bible. When was the last time we truly loved our neighbor? Or helped a needy person on the street? Have we visited those in prison? Have we given a cup of cold water in His name? There are many things in the Bible we just want to say we believe in and then we do not act.
Once again it is an issue of taking the Bible as a whole and not just fitting those things which appeal to us into our lives. God calls us to a life of obedience and acting out the Bible is a part of that. I know I get so busy with life sometimes I forget for a moment that I am nothing without Him who sustains me in all that I attempt to do in this life. Everything I do should be to glorify God, even my job or grocery shopping. I should always be on the look out for opportunities to share God with others around me. Now I am not saying pushy evangelism, just a hug or a compliment or simply doing something out of your norm for someone else is acting within God’s word. Isn’t that what we are called to do, be abnormal in this world, different from the rest?
God is not a difficult task master, He is merely trying to teach us to love. God is love and He creates it through us. He takes great pleasure in seeing His children treat each other with love and respect. I urge us all to be the saved Christian and begin to take ownership in our calling. We are called to be fishers of men, are we fishing? Did we even stop to get the pole? Read the Word daily and let it renew your mind, let God work through you to show His love. Be obedient with the tasks God assigns you. Let the flesh go and live life in the spirit for in the end this will be all that matters, nothing of this world will go with you. We are given one short life in which to show others the Jesus in us, are you up to the challenge?