Monday, February 13, 2017

Serve your spouse

Last time I wrote to the husbands, letting them know that they've died. That was Lesson 1. The truth is, both spouses who are in Christ have died. And they're both called to serve.

In a few weeks my first book will be published. It's an exciting time. It's also a challenging time. The book is for young Christian husbands (like me) who need advice for living out a godly marriage (like me).

That's what my book is about and that's what these posts are about as my book's release date approaches. Here's the Lesson 2 for my fellow Christian husbands and their wives.



You're a Servant

Have you embraced this truth? Here is what Scripture has to say:

"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:43b-45

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
Galatians 5:13

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord...Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
Ephesians 5:22, 25

As I stated in the last post, if you embrace the fact that you've died, "every other lesson makes sense." Hopefully you've embraced it.

Through your death in Christ, God has given you a new life. Behold, all things are new (2 Cor 5:17). This new life is a life full of serving other people, being gentle and patient with them as you exercise the powers of love and unity through the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:1-3). Furthermore, Peter says that your calling in this new life is to bless others (1 Pet 3:8-9).

If you're married, these qualities of your new life are worked out at home just as much as they are anywhere else. Based solely on the Ephesians and 1 Peter passages linked above, here's a list of attributes you've been called to possess:

  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Love
  • Unity
  • Peace
  • Unity of mind
  • Sympathy
  • Brotherly love
  • Tender heart
  • Humble mind
  • Blessings for others

There's a bit of overlap there, but it helps to focus our attention on the fundamentals of servanthood.

Take that list and apply it to your specific context. Think of your spouse and his or her specific needs. How can you serve with humility and love, bolstering the unity of the marriage bond?

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Every marriage is different because every person is unique. There is absolutely no set way for any husband or wife to serve correctly; all we know for sure is that there is a calling to serve. And then serve some more. This kind of thinking (servant-mindedness) will lead a person to treat his spouse the way God intends. Here are some basic statements that define service within your marriage.
  1. Your spouse's needs are more important than yours. It is impossible for a person to serve if he considers his needs to be more important than the needs of others. Jesus considered others' needs to be more important than His and we should, too (Phil 2:3-8). 
  2. You have to choose agape on a daily basis. Every day is an equal opportunity for making good choices or bad choices. Agape love, the sacrificial love shown by Jesus, is ours for the taking every waking moment of our lives. Each day presents the opportunity to stoop low and wash somebody's feet. Start with your spouse's.
  3. You must deny yourself. You've died, remember? Check out Matthew 16:24
What does servant-love look like in your marriage? It could be implemented in a variety of ways. In some marriages, set cooking and cleaning responsibilities and leading regular family devotions might be viewed and received as servant-love. In other marriages, sharing the burden of different house chores and making time to talk interruption-free every night is considered servant-love. You can be a servant just by frequently asking your spouse if he or she needs anything as you make a trip across the house. Complementarianism plays itself out in different ways.

Here's the bottom line: You're a servant. God wants you to serve your spouse. Review the bullet list that contains the attributes of your new life in Christ.

Make her needs more important than your own.

Choose to sacrificially love him daily.

Deny yourself.

Serve.

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