“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
That’s what Jesus said is the greatest commandment there is, when He was questioned. And Jesus’ reply is no less relevant today than it was in the days when He walked this earth.
We want to ask you, do you TRULY “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind?”
You may SAY you do; but do you SHOW it by how you live your life? We’re told in the Bible:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. And, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it —he will be blessed in what he does.“ (James 1:22-25)
Does your LIFE show the love you say you have for your God? Or are you merely a Bible-HEARING person, and not also a Bible-LIVING Believer?
Love the Lord
If you say you are a Bible-living Believer who loves the Lord, what about the second greatest commandment that Jesus pointed out? Do you show that you “love your neighbor as yourself” by how you live your life?
How about how you live with your spouse? You can’t get any closer of a “neighbor” than your spouse! Do you love the Lord so dearly, that you are living out the love of Christ with your spouse?
The teachings of 1 Corinthians 13 are more than nice, idealistic suggestions. We must apply them in how we live with our spouse. If we don’t treat our spouse with love… being patient with his or her shortcomings, being kind to in how we speak, not being rude, or easily angered —all we say about our love for the Lord, is equal to the noisemaking of “a resounding gong, or a clanging cymbal.” It’s important to note:
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.“ (James 1:26-27)
The World’s Standards
Are you keeping yourself “from being polluted by the world” and its standards in how you approach your marriage partner? We say, “marriage partner” because that’s what you are to become when you marry. You join in partnership with God to address your spouse’s aloneness. Plus, you are participating as God’s colleague in ministering to his or her needs, and visa versa. But even if your spouse doesn’t participate in partnering with you, you are still to do your part. You are to follow the words of the Lord to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Read what Dr David Ferguson says about partnering with God in marriage:
“[My wife] Teresa and I believe that God is the ultimate source for meeting all our needs. We understand our deep need for God. Nothing else —not possessions, not success, not another person —can fill the God-shaped vacuum within each of us. God alone brings peace and order to the human heart. Yet God, in his unsearchable wisdom, has chosen to partner with us to remove the ‘not good‘ out of aloneness in our spouses. He is still the source for taking away the ‘not good‘ of being alone in our marriages. But he desires to enlist us as his colleagues in the process.”
Love the Lord By Partnering
Keep in mind that you are not your spouse’s Holy Spirit. God is. And your spouse is not to be your everything either. He or she is to be God’s colleague —not His substitute. Author Lysa TerKuerst explains this in the article, Even a Great Husband Makes a Poor God. (We recommend you read it.) Here’s one point she makes (that pertains to both husbands and wives:
“The main thing that has transformed my marriage is my letting God be my God. Instead of focusing on all the things my husband didn’t do right or letting his approval or disapproval consume me, I learned to go to God. I learned to say, ‘Lord, I know You love me, and You love my husband. So please either change him or change my heart toward him or this issue we are facing.’ Sometimes He’ll soften my husband. But more times than not God will change me.”
Don’t allow the world to handcuff you into loving your spouse as it says you should. Look to the Bible as your guidebook to show you how to truly love your spouse.
We’re told in God’s Word:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:13-18)
And no matter how busy you are, don’t forget to hold back enough energy, so you are not too busy to be kind to each other. Keep in mind that if you’re too busy to be kind, you’re too busy. No activities justify being unkind to each other.
“God’s Word says we love Him through the ways we treat, serve, and love others (1 John 3:17: 4:11-21). So, every conversation and interaction in your marriage is a new opportunity to bless your spouse and to demonstrate your love for God as well. Ultimately, how you love and respect your mate reveals every day the sincerity of your love and respect for God.” (Kendrick, from the book, The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions)
So, love the Lord your God and love your spouse as yourself. When you do the Lord will receive no greater gift. He wants you, your love, and for you to love those He loves.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
We talk about this issue and so much more in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. Just click on the linked title or the “Now Available” picture below to do so:
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