Odd how God’s Holy Spirit so often brings the text preachers are planning to preach to bear on their own souls first. Or, maybe it should not strike me as so odd, since preachers really have no business in pulpits if God’s Word is not actively shaping, molding and squeezing them, too!
Yesterday, I began a 9 sermon series on the Family called “Heavenly Home Work.” We began yesterday by exploring True Love, with 1 John 4:7-11 as our holy text. Of course, the thrust of the text and the sermon was the truth, “God is love.” God defines love. He is the essence of love. God does not change, therefore love, which flows out of His character, does not change!
God’s love was manifested best through the bloody cross work of His perfect Son Jesus. Jesus did not follow the “you fill my love tank and I’ll fill yours” philosophy. Nobody seemed remotely interested in filling Jesus’ love tank while He hung on the cross enduring God’s holy wrath against countless sins of countless sinners like me. But, in the face of raw hatred Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”
That’s True Love. It is a settled act of the will that causes one to always act sacrifcially and willingly for God’s glory and the good of the beloved. That’s what I preached yesterday. True Love changes everything, not the least of which is our marriages!
But, apparently my thick skull needed a powerful reminder of how wonderful it is to be loved in this way – like God loves. So, here goes a confession . . .
Saturday night I took a shower and got ready to get into bed. My wife was already in bed. She simply asked as I began to climb in bed if I had remembered to turn the water off to our home (we have a leaking sink that requires we shut the water down at night until we can get the sink fixed). Simple question. No ill will intended by my wife.
I snapped at her and said some ugly things as I stomped down stairs to go do my “duty.” I was frustrated. I wanted to just go to bed! I did not want to have to go ALL THE WAY down stairs to save us some major water bill dough! I was a selfish brat and my wife bore the brunt.
Do you know what happened? Five minutes after I climbed into bed and began to get nestled under the covers, Michele turned towards me and softly said, “I love you, honey.”
Now, Michele had no idea what the Holy Spirit was up to in my heart just then! The conviction hit home. I had just snapped at my wife sinfully for no good reason. And, her answer was just to love me. True Love. It cannot be stopped!
I asked Michele to forgive me the next morning. Funny thing is she remembered none of it – she sleeps soundly!
Friends, I cannot tell you the joy and wonder of being loved by my wife in spite of myself. I get glimpses of Jesus’ love for me every time my bride chooses to love instead of treating me like I deserve.
Like God, Michele just loves me because she loves me. God help all us husbands and wives to reflect His love and beauty in the same way. God give us True Love.
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you” (Deut 7:7-8).