“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV)
Do I want to be known as a disciple of Jesus? Absolutely!
The verse in John is pretty clear about how to do that…love one another. I have heard many messages on this verse over the years, stressing the importance of serving others. See the needs of people around you, acknowledge the blessings God has given and then generously share to meet those needs. Share them with friends, with co-workers, with strangers, those who are widowed and orphaned.
I have been pondering lately how often the relationships outside of our own homes are illustrated. I am not saying that is a bad thing, on the contrary, I try to be better about serving others all the time. I deeply believe in pouring out.
But, an honest evaluation of my life would show, that I have in the past been guilty of sacrificing opportunities to love and serve those within my household, so I can instead serve those outside my household; putting lower priority on those I hold greatest responsibility for. Not a great spot to be in.
What if I changed a couple of words in this verse?
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciple, if you love your husband.” John 13:35 (NIV) (bold words are edited)
Loving my husband is not very glamorous. Acts of love and sacrifice for him are probably not going to be easily noticed. My husband himself may not even notice them. Isn’t it more likely that serving someone outside of our homes will bring us praise and recognition? Aren’t the acts of love that are not glamorous, not recognized and not extraordinary the ones that God often uses the most to reveal Himself, to grow us and to illuminate His kind of love?
Humbling questions that reveal how self-serving my actions and my motives really are. I do like to feel good and words of praise go a long way in my book. Richly loving my husband can be short on praise many days. That is in the short run, but what about a bigger picture, a long run?
Can loving my husband reveal that I am a disciple of Jesus?
I definitely think so! There’s so much in the scriptures about being a loving wife or about relationships that can be applied to a marriage.
I love the way the Message puts 1 Peter 3:1-6, “The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty.
What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.
The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.”
What if the most important person that I need to show myself as disciple of Jesus to IS my husband? To captivate him by a “life of holy beauty”. An inner beauty, gentle, kind and loyal, giving my husband the utmost respect.
I have spent some time over the past week just trying to list the people who are impacted or who witness the love I show for my husband. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
- Our Children
- Our Families – parents, siblings, nieces & nephews, aunts & uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.
- Our Friends & Acquaintances
- Our Co-workers
- Members of our Community
- The Owners & Employees of the establishments we frequent
- Anyone who sees us together
As I was attempting to create this list, it quickly ballooned so that I can’t even list how many people are impacted. This is especially true when I think of the depth of the impact our marriage has on these lives. If I can model a good marriage to my children, who can go on to have good marriages & model that to their children, what an incredible legacy I will have left.
Will loving my husband well win me any awards or accolades? Probably not. Will it always feel pleasant? It has its moments. Will it have a huge impact upon others and reveal my discipleship. Yes, I’d like to think so.
Moving forward, I’d like to make sure that my husband is well loved and then go forth to confidently serve others from that place.
I adore Eric so much. He is an incredible husband. I think the love that we share is a precious treasure. There have been hard times, yucky times, wonderful and joy filled times. Times of tears and times of laughter. I pray for more time together. I know that if we are blessed with time together there will be more of all these experiences, good & bad.
I am so grateful for his patience with me, when I run off and try to be superwoman to the rest of the world…leaving well, a mess, for the best in my world. That’s not very super of me. May I love him well each opportunity I get, to the best of my ability.
Who is the “One Another” in your life that needs the focus of your love? A spouse, a child, a parent, a significant other, a friend?
Small acts can go a long way to show big love. For Eric, it’s pie and cookies, or rubbing his neck & shoulders. What small thing can you do to show big love today? A love that by itself can reveal your priorities without a lengthy descriptive caption.
Forgive me for all of the times that I misplace my time, talent and treasures to love those farther from me, sacrificing the well being of those closest to me to do so. I am so sorry for all of the times that I am impatient and frustrated with how unnoticed and unrewarding loving my dear husband can be.
Lord, may we realize how precious each day is and savor the moments we have with those closest to us. Lord, may we try to not control or assume what is best in our circumstances, but instead may we come to You, trusting that there is so much more beyond what our vision can see, what our ears can hear and what our hearts can feel. You are capable of impacting so many through acts that we don’t even realize others are noticing.
Help us to love well those right in front of us in the smallest moments of our day with a life of holy beauty.
In the name of Jesus, amen.