“One of our neighbor couples invited us over for dinner the other night,” Stan commented one morning. “It was a small dinner to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Just the four of us.”
“How long have they been married?” I asked.
“Next year will be their fortieth anniversary,” Stan replied.
“Forty years,” I commented. “That’s quite a milestone.”
“It is,” Stan said. “We talked about that last night. The husband particularly had some great things to say what a difference his faith walk has made in his view of marriage.”
“How so?” I asked.
“He said he and his wife weren’t committed believers when they got married and it was almost fifteen years later that they both became Christians.”
“And becoming Christians made a difference in their marriage?” I asked.
“Big time,” Stan replied. “And the husband indicated that for him it all came from reading and focusing on what the apostle Paul wrote in a single verse in his letter to the church in Ephesus.”
“A single verse,” I repeated. “Must have been some verse! What’s it say?”
“That husbands,” Stan said, “are to love their wives just as Christ also loved and gave Himself for the church.”
“Just as,” I replied. “Isn’t that a high standard?”
“Not only is it a high standard,” Stan said, “I would say it’s a really high standard! Consider what Jesus did in loving and giving Himself for the church. Out of the love of the Father in giving Jesus, and out of the love of Jesus in going to the cross in obedience to the Father, all who believe have the incredible gift of life eternally with God when it’s time, along with the gift of the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity.”
“Wow,” I responded, “taking the ‘just as’ view of Jesus’ love would have to make a huge difference in a marriage, don’t you think?”
“Indeed I do, my friend,” Stan replied. “Indeed I do! In a marriage and in all of our relationships.”
Bible verses to consider:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus so that all who believe can have life eternally with you when it’s time. Thank you, too, for the gift of the eternal life of being able to know you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. The truth of Scripture is that we are to love “just as” Jesus loved. That is a very high standard that I can meet only by and through following as you lead me. I confess that too often I don’t even attempt to love in the way you intend. Please forgive me. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, love “just as” Jesus loved. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His precious name. Amen.
Think on this: Do you think that loving “just as” Jesus loved is an impossibly high standard? Why or why not? Can you do it on your own? Remember that the first-listed fruit of the Spirit is love. How does that relate to being able to love “just as” Jesus loved? If you sense your love may not rise to the “just as” level and you want to do something about it, how is that going to happen?