The call to Love one another applies first and foremost to your spouse.
This means sacrificial, unselfish, determined love; the change Jesus makes in John 13 is from “neighbor” to “one another” to make sure the theme is community. Our change is from seeing our spouse as the opponent to the partner, from the problem to the focus of our love. Love confirms the genuineness of Jesus and us as followers! This is also a template on the importance and value of friendships and building an effective church!
(Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)
The prime purpose of marriage is to grow us closer to the love and the Person of Christ and His Likeness.
The call to Love one another is Agape, which means “self giving” and “sacrificial”. Agape love is more concerned with others than self. We are to be more concerned with our spouse than ourselves.
- What would your marriage look like when you are pursuing love in the midst of your toil? How is this the irrefutable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ?
- What and how do you think will help you lead your marriage in the right direction? What can you do to not seek to control your spouse, but rather trust in Christ?
- Do you know that your justification in Christ is sealed and more valuable than you will ever know? How does this affect your righteousness and purity? How will this build your marriage?
When we love one another, we prove and exhibit Christ!
Jesus showed His love by taking our place for the wrath and punishment of our sins. He kindly took our interests over His and paid that price through His sinless life and His sacrifice on our behalf. Love takes the initiative, as Christ did with us, and fosters the Fruit of the Spirit and brotherly love that must empower the Christian life and be the beacon for the life of a church! If not, something is terribly off!
- How can you make your marriage more intimate, communal community, a safe harbor? What can you do to not stay angry and bitter? Be in prayer!
Our challenge is this. Christ’s love was expressed not only in words, but also in His sacrificial death. We may not have to sacrifice ourselves literally for our spouses, but we have to see that real love is sacrificial. Simply and profoundly put, we are to love in this way, placing the other first!
Keep this in mind, a real effectual marriage is never just about you as husband or wife; it is all about us pointing to Christ–He is the pasture to whom we live and lead others, too. He is the Living Water we drink from and lead others to. We lead our family to point to Christ, this is especially paramount for the man, to take the lead. We are to fully, wholeheartedly trust in Christ, who sits at God’s right hand in honor and power in the reality of Heaven. We need to demonstrate our trust, so we as Christians are the examples of a great marriage to the world. We are the product testers, and the forerunners. Why? We are heaven bound; we are to set our thoughts and hopes on Him so others can see where we lead (Colossians 3:15-17).
What does this all come down to? The key to being a good spouse, to being a great love is to get this one simple thing from 1 Peter 3 , ....in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
- Christ’s love was expressed not only in words, but in His ultimate deed. How can His love for you, motivate you to be a better ‘lover’ to your spouse?
- I encourage you to keep spending time in prayer and commit to praying for your spouses when you wake up, when you go to bed, and throughout the day! Approach your spouses about praying together—just 5 minutes a day for starters. If your spouses aren’t open to this, please do not push or feel alone—take it to Our Lord in prayer.
A real mature Christian is willing to be controlled and filled by Christ and not by apprehension, selfishness, turmoil, damaged past, or uncertainty.
(Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; 12:13; Ephesians 5:8-6:9, Colossians 3:19-4:1)
Cherish! The type of love that is to be practiced is the kind the Bible speaks of. This love becomes ‘our treasure,’ an unconditional love that helps fuel one another’s desire to return that love. To give a picture of what ‘cherished’ means, I need to bombard you with more adjectives, and while that still will not fully color in the picture, it is that deep. It means to hold our love dear, so we don’t just feel, but honor and show and our affection. In so doing, we will be able to cultivate care and affection with tenderness. This is like the cup to First Corinthians Thirteen.
Respect! This is the other essential aspect of love is respect. A wife respects her husband and can show him value because she feels protected and cherished. This is like the saucer for the cup to First Corinthians Thirteen.