“For Christ love compels us, because we are convinced that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
This verse has been running marathons through my heart this week….mostly because I have failed miserably at living it out lately.
In fact, there have been many days over the past few months when I have felt hopeless.
Hopeless in myself. Hopeless that I will never be able to love my husband the way I have been called to, the way Christ’s love compels me to…
And I know that at the center of this hopelessness is the sin that allows and even applauds and encourages the judgement that I carry around in my thoughts. Rather than taking the time to deal with myself, I swept my sin under the rug and chose to dwell instead on how I felt I had been wronged, inconvenienced, unappreciated, (insert any other negative emotion here).
And here’s where that got me:
1. I successfully ignored the glaring sin in my own life by burying it under another’s…the one whom I vowed to love and cherish.
2. It left my heart wide open for bitterness and discontentment to start moving in, and begin to siphon out any traces of joy and affection.
If only I would stop fighting for my own kingdom and choose to go to battle for the Kingdom of God! Because the more I struggle to win this battle for self the more the enemy surrounds me and wounds me. And I have come to realize that I cannot take up the Armor of God for a cause that is so completely against His own. When I am fighting for my own happiness and glory I am defenseless, and completely exposed to every attack against me. This is the road to defeat that I have been walking.
But rather than buckling under the weight of this hopelessness and giving into this defeat, I must instead let it drive me softly to my knees as the cross beckons me into the surrender of my kingdom of self.
“My child why do you continue to live for yourself. Has not My love compelled you to walk a different road? To champion the most worthy of causes? Have you not been called to raise My banner in place of yours?”
And as I weep in the arms of my Savior I know the answer is a resounding YES! Yes, I have been called to live for Christ and not for myself.
I must pour myself out at the feet of Jesus and let Him fill me up with a full measure of His perfect love. Because I know that this sinful wife could never love her sinful husband the way Christ loves without being covered and strengthened by His unending grace.
The reason that my love always fails, is because I am incapable of producing self-sacrificing love without the self-sacrificing Savior. That is why marriage is such a deep portrayal of the gospel. Day after day after day I need Jesus. Without the hope of the gospel washing over every bit of my marriage I will only resort to living for myself. And two people determined to live for themselves will never have what it takes to love one another.
Love that forgives the most painful sins, offers oneself with full transparency, serves when no one sees, and gives and gives and gives without any thought or expectation of return. And when selfishness wields its ugly sword, this love, this self-denying, unconditional, in good-times-and-bad, until-death-do-us-part love fights back… and conquers.
And here is what I am joyfully discovering: This love, that can be excruciating to live out and that is only made possible by the hope of Christ poured out on the cross, has given birth to a more unadulterated and sincere form of affection and devotion to my husband than I even thought possible.
So as I resolve to vanquish the kingdom of self I have been promoting for far too long, I am so grateful that even though my love fails, His never will.