Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 13, 2019
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 1 Corinthians 7:4 (NRSV)
As a pastor, I often am invited to officiate at weddings, which is a great joy and delight. In these services, I do my very best to remind the couple of what they are truly saying “yes” to, what it is that they vow to the one they love. Christian love is meant to be a living reflection of the love shown to us in Jesus, and men and women are able to embody this through their own gift of self.
For many years I’ve struggled with the idea of a “soul mate,” that one perfect person in the world that is meant for you and will finally complete you and make you happy. As romantic and dreamy as this may seem, it pushes against and undermines the very definition of Christian love. As Christians we look to the other, not for what we gain from them, but to see how we can give ourselves away for their sake. St. Paul holds out a bold vision of mutual self-giving. The wife does not exist simply for her own pleasure or gratification but to give herself for the good of her husband. Likewise, in the very same way, the man doesn’t get to call the shots and demand from his spouse what he wants, when he wants it! He is also meant to daily subject his own desires to those of the one he loves.
True love is found when we help someone else discover who they are meant to be in Christ. We wake up daily and ask ourselves, “how can I give myself away today for the sake of my spouse as a way to model the self-giving love of Jesus?” In a similar way, for those who are not married, this remains a model for every relationship you find yourself in. Rather than seeing others for what they offer you or how you benefit from the relationship, seek to be the friend and colleague that listens, learns and lifts others up!
As those who know and live in the perfect love of God, we are able to extend this life of love to others around us. We can model a new way of being in relationship, one that embodies the radical selfless love of Jesus. This is far too rare and infrequent in our world today, yet by the power of God at work in you, may your marriage and friendships be a great and glorious exception!
“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” 1 John 3:16
Father, teach us what it truly means to love others as we have been loved, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Are you living for what you get out of your relationships, rather than focusing on what you can give?
True love is found when we help someone else discover who they are meant to be in Christ. #wisdomhunters
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