(This is our kitty, Smidgeon. She was enjoying Evie's reading time the other day. Put her right to sleep!)
I am continually amazed at how God works in our lives. I Peter 3:4 reminds us that one of the goals we should aim for is to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Years ago, I began to ask God to give me just such a spirit. Little did I know that in my stubborn arrogance, I would have to be wrung through a wringer washer in order for this to start to become a reality for me! But in the process of learning, the Lord directed me toward what it takes to gain that quiet spirit.
One of the places in Scripture that became my mantra was in Colossians 3:12-14. There is so much to say of these verses, but for today, I will focus on verse 14. "And over all these virtues put on LOVE, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (NIV, emphasis mine)
Another is I Corinthians 13:3, the last part of the verse, "but (if I) have not LOVE, I gain nothing." (NIV, emphasis mine)
And finally, I John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not LOVE with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (NIV, emphasis mine)
Did you know that love is a choice? I mean, I have heard many times, and I continually tell my children that love is not a warm, fuzzy feeling, but rather something we choose to do whether we feel like it or not. And for the most part, that is true. However, I didn't realize that in saying it this way, I was making love a chore, kind of like doing the dishes after every meal. You do them, whether you feel like it or not.
I love my husband. Now, some days, I LOVE my husband. Other days I...(sigh)... love him. Once in a while, that love is a chore. And, unfortunately, he knows it. But what would happen if we proved our love with actions like I John mentions? What if, instead of loving my husband whether I feel like it or not, I simply chose to be madly in love with him? What if I chose to be delighted to see him, I listened with eyes wide open looking only at him? What if I smiled at him when I saw him or winked and caused my eyes to twinkle at him? What would that do for him?
Recently, the Lord has opened my eyes to men whose wives either love them as a chore, something they 'must' do, or worse yet, whose wives pick, belittle, ignore or publicly mock them. I see men who are treated with contempt and sarcasm. I see men, brave men, strong men, capable men who walk with their shoulders hunched, exasperation in their eyes because that ONE woman who vowed to love him and honor him, till death do us part, has chosen to love him as a chore and his life is miserable. He walks around defeated.
Contrast that with a man whose wife loves him cheerfully, adoringly and willingly. He walks with a light step, has all the confidence in the world that come what may, He will conquer it!!
Yesterday, my Pastor made a point about why you choose to marry someone. The modern concept of "he meets my needs" is common, but unacceptable for the Christian woman. The Pastor made the point that we should be doing everything in our power to be meeting HIS needs. (The effects of this, by the way, can be quite wonderful! ;-) I took this a step farther, and asked myself, why did I choose this man to marry? Oh yeah, his good looks and fine build certainly helped my choice, but over the years, I have come to hold the verse in Psalms dear to my heart that says, "God puts the lonely in families." (Psalm 68:6) Because in our situation, my hubby joined a ready made family of 5 girls and their momma, I have been blessed with the perspective that enables me to want to go beyond "love" to bless and encourage my husband, to laugh with him, to play with him, to be with him. And what a joy he is to me in return when I am loving him with my actions and not just in words.
So, you might be wondering how this helps us toward our goal of a "gentle and quiet spirit"? It works like this, when we love our husbands in a way that helps them to feel secure and safe, it flows over to our children, to our neighbors, to our extended family, and so forth. And when we work to fill our homes with love, our hearts begin to fill with joy, peace, contentment and gentleness. It is a stepping stone toward the ultimate goal. And, without love, you have nothing.
Ladies, would you choose to LOVE your husbands today? Would you choose to love them completely, happily, thoroughly? The effects may surprise!
Have a blessed day,