This three – part series has centered around the concepts of servanthood and humble obedience. The true root of each section involved our deep love for the Lord and each other. So, too, will this one – in the 24/7 relationship we have of marriage. In its own way it is the most difficult of all because it is so very intimate. For those of you who are husbands reading this, please be aware that its truths apply to both genders. That is fortunate since when the marriage in Heaven is discussed, Jesus refers to His Spouse as His Bride, implying both genders – male and female.
Without the love of my Heavenly Husband I am not able to love my earthly one as my heart desires. From my Jesus I have discovered that love is gentle, peaceful, tender, and forever desiring to give, to sacrifice and to forgive.
LOVING ONE ANOTHER
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to completion in us.
– 1 John 4:7-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
God is love. How easy it would have been to have substituted the word “ power “ for love. Sadly, there are households – even Christian ones – where there are power struggles in the home, where authority is fought for, where “rights” are claimed. However, God is not about power. His very essence is love. It is a love that was willing to die for a totally unworthy people. It is for that reason that He is called the Lamb of God. A lamb does not roar or fight like a lion; a lamb does not frighten another by its dominating demeanor. A lamb comes close and cuddles and is kind enough so that even a child is not afraid of it.
The Lamb of God speaks of a Bride in His eternal kingdom. Genesis 2: 24 speaks of a marriage where the two cleave to each other and become one flesh. The Lamb of God was a servant here. His future bride is given the intimacy of an earthly marriage as one tender preparation for that heavenly marriage.
In order for me not to repeat myself, I will refer you back to the beginning of Lesson One (February 2) in the series titled “Marriage in the Bible” on how this perfect earthly marriage began and Lesson Two (February 15) where – I hope – a clear and complete explanation of submission and headship follow. The exegesis of those two terms details how both spouses stand on solid Biblical ground as, yes, servanthood and humility are involved in their marriage. However, for this series we are discussing servanthood to the Lord, to each other and the one we married. Therefore, we will concentrate on that.
SERVANTHOOD TO THE LORD IN MARRIAGE
In the initial post of this particular series we discussed the awl ceremony based on the premise that servants had decided to not go free but to remain with their masters forever because they loved their masters with all their hearts. That’s the concept of what an earthly marriage is based on too. The two parties being so kind, so self-sacrificing, humble and loving to each other that they never want to leave. All of the commitment on both sides happens because “The Door” – Jesus – worked in their lives in a powerful way. While I realize that all this paints a very rosy picture, I am also not unaware that the Bible gives cause for a married couple to divorce, but always with adultery as the sole reason (Mark 10:1-9). Additionally, 1Corinthians 7:10-11 allows the alternative of separation, with its specific conditions. I always try to shy away from adhering to the exact phrasing of God’s Word. Therefore, I want to insert a true story of a woman I personally knew who totally adhered to the directions in 1Corinthians 7. “Mary” was a very attractive woman in her mid-thirties who had two children. She also had been repeatedly physically abused by her husband. The day finally came when he drew a knife on her with the very obvious intention to kill her. She left the marriage and her home, got a legal restraining order against him and preceded to form a life of her own. According to the words of 1 Corinthians7, she never remarried. The Lord opened up a way for financial success so she need never worry. Her children grew in the Lord and both married Godly spouses. She herself became a noted spiritual counselor in her community and church, becoming a deacon at the church she attended. She blessed so very many and was so very blessed herself. Why? Because she obeyed the Word of God.
WHICH ONE OF US IS THE GREATEST?
As you remember in the previous post the apostles – the “ prickly people” – created great discord among themselves as to who was the greatest. Transfer that to a marriage as a husband tries to have unbiblical headship over his wife. Then think of a wife who nags or henpecks her husband wanting her own way. Both are striving to become “the greatest. All this was so displeasing to Jesus that He made their behavior the object of the very last lesson He taught the apostles and, through them, the church. Refresh your memory by returning to the list on “servanthood to each other” the one directly preceding this one where Jesus’ response to this friction was to deeply humble Himself and wash the apostles’ feet. Are we willing to be that humble as servants to our spouses?
It won’t be fair if I go on without be very honest with you. John and I have been married for almost 53 years, for 40 of those years we have been saved. We were saved within four months of each other. We’ve always had a good marriage even before we were saved. However, there were these itty-bitty irritating things he did, these lacks he had – he simply was not the perfectly perfect husband I knew he could be if I simply helped him along a little bit. A few gentle “correcting” comments here, a few more pointing out of how he could do things better so he could “improv,” coupled with some “minor” outbursts when he simply wouldn’t listen to how right I was. And then, one fine day, in His blessed faithfulness, the Lord showed me something that changed all that. I was reading about how you form an idol. You pick up some clay, mold it with your own hands, in your own image and worship this thing you have made. It won’t speak to you; you can’t cuddle with it; it won’t bring you love. And in that gentle but firm way of His the Lord showed me what I was doing. Did I want some wife-made idol that I had formed with my own hands or did I want the man of God for a husband that He was shaping by His Spirit? When I finished confessing and crying, I knew what I had to do. If my husband did something irritable, I first humbly asked the Lord to forgive me for my sin of irritability, of not loving him as I was commanded to do. Then I turned him over to the Lord and humbly asked Him to do with my husband as He wanted. The result of this beautiful plan of God is that the husband He has given me is perfect for me, one I defer to, praise, love and admire exceedingly(Ephesians 5: 33 Amplified Version ) . In addition, I believe he is pleasing to God.
To catch up on previous posts within Part I of this series called, “Personal Relationships based on Servanthood: To the Lord, To Each Other, To Our Spouses”, click on any of the links below.
Part I: Servanthood to the Lord
For General questions or comments, please click here
I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.
“Ruth and Boaz” Dante Gabriel Rossetti [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.