Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Learning and Loving

God has brought to my attention time and time again the importance of loving Him with all my heart, soul and mind. I can be overwhelmed by this thought and by pondering what it means, how do I get myself to stop thinking about me and love HIM.

Well, one big way is by showing love to those around me. The book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas is very good. It's giving me much to think about.

From the book:
Mark Twain tells the sobering tale about deeply exploring the Mississippi River he loved so very much. After virtually memorizing the river's bends, twists, and turns, and navigating its waters with rapt admiration, he chagrined to wake up one day and find that the river had lost much of its poetry. The mystery of that mighty waterway had been replaced with a boring predictability. He had literally loved his love out of that river.

Every marriage goes through this stage. An enrapturing love quiets down to a predictable routine. The mystery is replaced with an almost comical familiarity--the wife knows exactly how the husband will sit on the couch, the husband knows exactly how his wife will answer the phone.
As our partners and their weaknesses become more familiar to us, respect often becomes harder to give. But this failure to show respect is a sign of spiritual immaturity more than an inevitable pathway of marriage. Consider Paul as he wrote to the Corinthians. Even though he was addressing a church full of quarrelers (I Cor. 1:11), unlearned and simple people (1:26), "worldly" infants (3:1-3), arrogant egocentrics (4:18), a man sleeping with his father's wife (5:1), greedy men suing fellow believers (6:1) and childish thinkers (14:20), he still honors them by saying, "I always thank God for you..." (1:4). He knew them well enough to be familiar with all their faults, yet he continued to be thankful for them. Why? The key is found in the second half of verse 4: "I always thank God for you because of his grace given to you in Christ Jesus".

...spend more time looking for evidences of grace than finding fault. Giving respect is an obligation, not a favor, it is an act of maturity, birthed in a profound understanding of God's good grace.

(Taken from pages 56-57)

Now, that just gives a girl a lot to think about. How often do I think more about how my husband irritates me than looking at the way he is a testimony on his job, or how he reads and prays with the kids, or how he hugs me and tells me he loves me, or how he thanks me for taking such good care of our kids and home?? These are the evidences of grace...the good work of Christ in his life. Think on these things. Like Mark Twain and his love of the river, I surely don't want the mystery of my marriage and my man to be replaced with boring predictability.

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