Selfless Love (Part 4 Back to the Word on Marriage)
Ok, as a head’s up this blog isn’t just a post specifically about marriage, though that is the angle I shall be approaching it from.
On the contrary, we would all deeply benefit to learn from God’s Word on this topic, married or not.
Now, let us begin…
There seems to be a growing trend in our culture and it is rather frightening.
It is the growing trend of me-centered, me-focused, me-oriented culture.
One doesn’t have to look far to see this, IPhone, FACEbook, INSTAgram, EASY Bake Mix, SAME DAY Delivery, ONE HOUR Photo Prints and so the list goes on.
Now, I am not saying any of these things are bad per-say. On the contrary, I am grateful for one hour photo prints. They have been a lifesaver when I need a quick turn around on prints.
Yet, all these instant, quick, easy and snappy conveniences in our culture have highlighted an issue that is deeply rooted in the human heart. This issue is selfishness.
Now, this struggle with selfishness is nothing new. In our sinful nature, we are naturally selfish and life is all about well, me, myself and I.
Sadly, this sinful condition has wormed its way into the views of many when it comes to marriage.
As I said in an earlier post, I don’t need to dig deeply into the mess our culture is now, we are all well aware of this cultural phenomenon that is burying 1 out of every 2 marriages in destruction.
My goal is rather to turn our eyes to our glorious Savior and see His great love for us. I pray this snapshot of our Savior will encourage all of us to look to Him for the strength to be selfless, not only in our marriages, but in our families, with our friends and those we interact with on a daily basis.
Allow me to quickly define our words before we explore this in some depth.
Self - a focus on one's own interests or pleasure above the needs of others.
Selfless - Concerned more with the needs of others than with one's own needs.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come!”
The angels continue in their worship and adoration of God Almighty, as all Heaven rings with the praises of the King of kings and Lord of lords. What a splendid and awe-inspiring sight! Never do they cease their praises to the One who alone is worthy of all worship, honor and praise!
Now for me, I so easily contextualize and downplay the holiness of my Savior, so allow me to elaborate on His holiness.
He is so holy He cannot tolerate sin in His presence. He cannot overlook it, His radiant holiness demands that He punish it and right He is to punish the horror of sin!
It is a putrid, filthy, unclean thing that destroys lives with the worst kind of destruction imaginable. Being a slave to sin is the absolute, most hideous bondage one could ever be in.
Yet amazingly, despite this disease of sin mankind is affected with, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God loves His wayward creation and desires to see them reunited to Himself.
It seems in more recent blog posts, I’ve talked a lot about the sinfulness of mankind.
Yet, in a culture that has downplayed the seriousness of it, we’ve lost a sense of ghastliness when it comes to sin.
Yet Scripture is not bashful in being candidly honest about how horrid our sin is in the sight of God.
If you haven’t read the book of Hosea in the Bible, it is a read that will leave you in awe of the selfless love of God. For truly, it is a love we will never fully be able to wrap our minds around.
To summarize, God tells Hosea to marry a woman who will be unfaithful to him. God used this as an illustration of the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel to Him as their God.
As God predicated, Gomer was unfaithful to her husband and somehow, became enslaved due to her sin.
The picture is so vivid and yet, makes one uncomfortable. For in Gomer we see our own state before Christ. Chasing after the pleasures and cares of this world, concerned with nothing but our selves and what we think will satisfy us.
Now, I realize there are those who would protest against this next statement, but Scripture is very clear when it comes to how marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the Church.
Any time we as believers chase other gods and seek to find satisfaction in them rather than the Lord, these actions are affairs of our hearts.
Praise God for His never-failing love for us as believers, but truth is, we still drift to Gomer-like behavior in our lives, even as believers. Or, at least I do personally, to speak to myself.
Yet, how does the Lord treat those He loves? Oh, He disciplines them all right, He loves us too much not to do so.
Yet, when we find ourselves shipwrecked, held captive by some sin we have allowed to lurk at the doorstep of our heart for too long, what is the response of the King?
It is found in Hosea 3.
God tells Hosea to seek out his wayward wife and bring her home.
Do you know what Hosea’s name means? Salvation. Doesn’t someone else in the Bible have a name that means “Salvation?” Can you guess who? Jesus.
I can’t fathom the pain, the hurt, and the betrayal Hosea had to feel toward his wife. Yet, what does he do? He seeks her out and buys her back, for a pittance in those times too. It seems Gomer wasn’t worth much to anyone, except Hosea.
I can’t help but get teary-eyed in reading this beautiful picture of selfless, unconditional love God paints for us.
It is simply breathtaking. Wow, to love like that? Talk about selfless, right?
If that seems incredible, just wait.
Jesus did more than seek us out in the affairs of our hearts, He DIED for you and I.
I was His enemy, HIS ENEMY! I rejoiced when He went up on that cross. REJOICED! I ran from Him, I had chosen my own way, pursued the gods of this world, my desires, my passions, my lusts.
Yet, there He is, dying for ME! For ME!!!
I was worse than Gomer, WORSE. She rejected her earthly husband, I rejected the King of kings.
Yet, He dies for me just the same. He cries out for my forgiveness and as He dies, He cries out, “It is finished!”
Selfless love, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? So beautiful. Costly, but oh, so beautiful.
This selfless love is the love Jesus has for me, for you.
Even now as I am a believer, He still loves me with this selfless love. For you see, I’m not always faithful to Him as I should be. I still wrestle with sin, I still wrestle with my humanness. And yet, I’ve never had to fear Him telling me to be gone. I’ve never had to fear Him leaving me. He’s never given up on me, never once.
Even when I stray, He comes after me. For He did not buy me back with some barley and silver, but rather with His own precious blood.
Isn’t it wonderful being a Christian?
Oh, how I desire to be more like my Savior. I desire to fully conquer the sins I still wrestle with as a believer. I wish my unrighteous anger, ungodly fear, covetousness, selfishness, pride and many other things would just go away.
Yet, I’m human and this sanctification thing is a lifelong process.
That’s why the selfless love of my Savior brings me to tears. He’s never let me go and He never will. Rather, He is gentle, firm yes, but gentle and loving as He walks me through this sanctification journey.
How can we not see why marriage is so under attack in our culture? Look at the beautiful, stunning picture God has painted for us in the example of His Son’s love for the Church?
Satan hates this beauty and that is why he continually fights to destroy it.
For when this kind of selfless love is displayed in a marriage, the glory of God is showcased to the world, to the utter disgust of Satan.
For that matter, selfless love of any nature, places the glory of God and His love on display to a dying world that needs to see what real love looks like.
Truly, on our own, we cannot love like this. It is only in the power of the Holy-Spirit indwelling in believers that can produce this type of love, a selfless love.
My prayer is that I will love selflessly like my Savior. May I love my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my neighbors, those-annoying-people-I-have-no-patience-with and all those the Lord places in my life with this selfless love.
A love that doesn’t just place myself second or even last. No, I desire a selfless love like Christ’s, where I am not even in the equation, because I am loving solely out of care and concern for others, no self needed…or wanted.
Yet truly, once again I cannot love like this apart from the Savior. It is a work only He can produce.
Fill me with Your power Lord Jesus, may the filling of the Spirit continue to be kindled in my life and may I love selflessly, as You love me.
For Your glory and praise, amen.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
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