Thank you for reading Standing Firm, a weekly men's devotional written by Dennis Wingfield for Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12
In these five verses, the word “love,” and derivatives, appears 13 times. In the English language, we have one word for “love” that can have many different connotations. I love pizza, drag racing Mustangs, my children and my wife yet in far different ways. In Greek, the language John used to write this letter, there are four different words for “love.” The love that John was referring to in this text is “sacrificial love.” God the Father has demonstrated this love through the atoning sacrifice of His Son on the cross. As God has loved us, so are we to love others, especially our wives in covenant marriage.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14
Jesus is the epitome of sacrificial love, offered through His free will, for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus became man to carry out the Father’s mission of healing and forgiveness. In marriage, husbands and wives are to love each other as the Father has loved us. Husbands and wives are to be ministers of healing and forgiveness for each other. Marriage is not about what I can get. Rather, it is all about what am I willing to offer. Husbands and wives are to make a sacrificial gift of self to each other - time, emotions, devotion, fidelity, commitment, honor and respect. This is not an exhaustive list but all are acts of sacrificial love for the other.
Marriages are falling apart because we have lost sight of what it means to love as Christ has loved us. It is a sacrifice to offer forgiveness and healing to the one that has wronged us. As Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, extending forgiveness to another is a dying to self. It is giving up your right to be angry for a wrong committed against you for the sake of the relationship. Forgiveness is hard, yet love always seeks to bring healing and wholeness to the relationship. Forgiveness is an act of the will, freely given for the good of the other. God has given us His Son, to show us how we are to love.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11
The path to joy is through self-sacrificial love. It is in giving that you will receive. I have witnessed the power of self-sacrificial love. My wife told me time and again that she did not love me and would never be coming home. God gave me unconditional love for my wife. I had to die to self – my wants, my desires and my dreams. I had to offer forgiveness to my wife in spite of her actions contrary to our covenant marriage. In due time, this forgiveness touched her hurting heart. It brought healing to our broken marriage. God restored that which was long dead and buried. The key to healing was sacrificial love. Lay down your life for your spouse. Love her as Christ has loved you both. May God pour out His abundant love on you both and bring healing to your marriage. I pray that God will bless you as He has blessed me for the glory of His name.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal...if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. Love is...not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs...It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
God bless you, my dear Brother in faith.
“Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” 2 Samuel 7:29
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children… Ephesians 5:1