(Ladies, I originally wrote this for men and left the language that way in the blog post. Please swap out “wife” for “husband”, “her” for “him” etc. as these principles should apply to you as well)
Your love for your wife cannot be rooted in her love for you.
You cannot wait to do nice things for your wife until she does nice things for you.
You cannot do nice things for your wife, expecting her to do nice things in return. There is no “magic nice thing” you can figure out to do for your wife where she, in response, will finally become the woman of your dreams.
This merry-go-round approach to marriage is one that simply gets us nowhere. It’s rooted in selfishness, it’s not sustainable, and at the end of the day, it’s not love.
Your love for your wife must be rooted in God’s love for you. This is the model of love that Jesus showed to us—that he tells us to show to our wives. It’s the only model of love that is sustainable through the ups and downs of life, and is the only model of love that has any true power behind it.
What happens when you plug an extension cord into itself?
Exactly—you get a big circle of nothingness.
But what happens when you plug one end of an extension cord into an electrical outlet on a wall and the other end into an electrical product with a plug?
You get toast!
You get television!
You get power.
The only way for power to work is for it to start from a power source. You can’t plug a toaster into a TV and expect anything to happen. You can’t connect two dead wires and expect the living result of love: for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
A marriage’s love needs to be plugged into the ultimate power source: the love of God that adopts us as sons.
Again, we’re not just looking at Jesus’ example of love for us on the cross. We need to look beyond the surface of that moment to where even Jesus found his love. Jesus never could have showed us the unconditional love he did on the cross if he didn’t know who he was as God’s beloved Son.
In fact, Jesus couldn’t have walked around Palestine for three years being threatened, misunderstood and rejected if it weren’t for knowing who he was as God’s beloved son.
Before Jesus ever performed a miracle, or preached a sermon, or did anything impressive, the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove with his Father’s voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17)”
This statement tattoos itself onto Jesus’ soul. Starting with the very next scene of his life, his temptations in the wilderness, moving throughout his turbulent ministry, up to the time he hung on the cross, we consistently see Jesus going back to the Father as the foundation of his identity.
People were constantly telling Jesus who he was and who they wanted him to be, which isn’t much different than what we experience today. Everyone is a judge and jury, and the sad reality is we base our lives around these messages of approval and disapproval, doing whatever it takes to feel accepted, approved, and valued. The difference we see in Jesus, and the model we are to follow, is that he already knew who he was. His Father told him.
The question is, do you know who you are?
And if not, where are you looking to find this answer?
There’s a good chance you are looking where most men look for their approval, acceptance, and validation.
Read Today: Matthew 3:13 – 4:11
Questions for Reflection:
1. What things do men look for in our culture to find their identity, approval, acceptance, and validation?
2. In what ways do you look to women to find your identity, approval, acceptance, and validation?
3. How do you feel when your wife isn’t showing you approval and attraction, but other women are?
Prayer for the day: Father, begin to show me that all I need is You. Begin to show me how all other sources of approval and acceptance are counterfeits. Show me that the only verdict that has authority on who I am is the verdict You bestow on me. Let me live in this truth; the truth that I am Your son whom you love, and in whom you are well pleased.
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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