One Sunday while at church listening to a message from Philippians, my mind started to wander a little bit to the blog here. Not only was it a good message for any Christian, but it would really work well in the our marriages as well. Here is the passage I am referring to
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Now, Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while he was in prison, so “make my joy complete” is talking about him since he started the church there in Philippi, but let’s look at these verses and a few others with a little twist.
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, As Christians, we should have joy and encouragement with Christ as our head.
if any comfort from his love, Jesus’ love for us paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. In that, I take great comfort
if any fellowship with the Spirit When the Holy Spirit indwells us upon our salvation, we should feel a deeper sense of fellowship with Christ since he lives within us.
if any tenderness and compassion As a Christian, don’t you see things in a different light? Don’t you tend to look on others with more compassion than when you were a nonbeliever?
2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Likeminded…like Christ, we should strive to love one another as Christ loved us, we should strive to be more like Christ in what we say and what we do, with the same purpose as Christ…to love and serve others.
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
These last two verses are the ones that made me stop and think. I was in the process of reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman at the time as well…why? Because I didn’t know WHAT my love language was…go figure. So there I was reading about all these married folks who don’t know why their marriage is falling apart….and it is because they are not speaking the same language…love language that is. The purpose behind this book? To teach you how to recognize the love language you speak and what your spouse speaks, and how to USE that knowledge to show love to your spouse. To fill their love tanks. Chapman asks the folks in his book to consider their spouse before themselves. At that time, I believed my husband’s love language is Words of Affirmation. Now I believe that it is a combination of that and physical touch. I try as much as possible to make sure he knows how much I appreciate what he does because he does A LOT in this household. I had to drop my own “selfish ambition” in order to meet a need that he has. I leave him notes on his Facebook page to publicly let everyone know how much I love and appreciate him. I am turning into his biggest cheerleader. Why? To get rid of my own selfish ambition and to consider him over myself. Yeah, it’s real easy for me to follow my own interests and needs, but Jesus wants us to go beyond that and put the needs of our husbands before our own needs. Is that an easy job to do? No, but it is SO worth it. Not only do we make them feel good, but it feels good to do it, too.
Think about this….(Philippians 2:5-8)
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!
What did Jesus owe you? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yet, he voluntarily took on human nature and became a servant. He was obedient to his own death. A death he didn’t deserve, but he loved us that much. Commit to serving the needs of your spouse. Move toward sacrificing the things you want for the things your spouse wants and needs. I need to try to take this challenge on more for my hubby. Will you join me?
What really scares me sometimes, about putting all his needs before mine, is that I will end up getting taken advantage of. I feel like I have to communicate my needs to him somewhat regularly, or else he thinks everything is perfectly fine. I have the desire to just love and give and sacrifice for him, but I guess I’m afraid he will kind of grow complacent in thinking I don’t have needs….I feel like this made a lot more sense in my mind than it does written out here…
For example, when you said “Move toward sacrificing the things you want for the things your spouse wants and needs.” I do this often, in small ways. I constantly sacrifice my favorite foods or treats to make sure he gets some, and I have often sacrificed my interests and worked to become interested in things he likes, like video games, shooting ranges, and even taking boxing lessons! I sometimes feel like he doesn’t really appreciate those sacrifices; and that he also doesn’t do the same for me. I guess what I was trying to say is that it scares me to fully dive into being completely sacrificial (or as close to ‘completely’ as I humanly could) because it seems that he wouldn’t notice it too much, and would also feel like things were fine and would end up not meeting my needs.
And of course, this is totally selfish of me, because I know I should be doing it without expecting anything in return, but it’s hard to feel as though you’re expected to keep giving and loving if you don’t always feel that full ‘love tank’.
Think about it though…. as Christians, our goal should be to emulate Jesus. Did Jesus come to the earth to meet all our needs? Did he ever expect anything from anyone else? He came to seek and save the lost. His life wasn’t about him, it was about YOU. Mark 9:33-35 says ” They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” That’s what Jesus did. He washed the feet of 12 disciples… one who would betray him.
You never know what God is doing behind the scenes when we choose to serve our husbands. Yes, things don’t happen in our time, but God’s timing is perfect. He could be using you to show your husband something. Maybe he is using you because someone else is watching you serve your husband that needs to see it…..
It is not easy. I am not the greatest at it, either, but I still haven’t given up trying. I know it is what God wants me to do.