“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
This verse I relate to my marriage. It’s one I have started preaching to myself often, to remind myself. Because honestly, I need this verse, along with Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.“ — in Vegas neon in front of my eyes.
This is what I do, I meditate on a verse and then I take it apart to see what gold it has for me. It helps give the verse (and truth) roots.
Be on your guard.
We have to be vigilant: over our hearts, which can be led astray; over our thinking, which can become negative or defeated; and over the enemy, who seeks to divide and destroy us. Be on guard against all kinds of doubt: self-doubt, doubting my husband’s character, doubting God’s goodness and faithfulness to be present with us always. This is what I challenge myself with: stay on guard against selfishness when it rears its rather larger head. For me? Be on guard for the moments when I become easily offended over something small because of my own pride or insecurity.
Stand firm in the faith.
Our faith is what sustains our love. It’s the reason for our love. It’s the source and strength and purpose of our love. The best way to love my husband is to love God first, in all scenarios. For me, it’s a step of faith to always believe the best about my husband, to choose compassion and kindness when my flesh wants to get frustrated. It’s a way of trusting the Holy Spirit to work in and through me.
Be people of courage.
It takes courage to live in a covenant marriage: the courage to lovingly confront, when appropriate, but also the courage to receive a confrontation. It takes courage for me to be an active help-mate for my husband. It takes my own studying of the Word — my own ongoing conversation with His Spirit — so that I draw from His Truth to be bold. It takes courage to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.
I need strength to forgive, strength to pursue intimacy, strength to persevere if we are carrying our marriage seemingly by ourselves (but always with God within us, of course). It takes strength to push through apathy, to fight back physical weariness and spiritual temptations to become one as a couple. For me, it takes strength to be honest, to lovingly confront sin or struggle, to confess fault.
Do everything in love.
This sums it up, doesn’t it? Living a life motivated by love. A sacred marriage calls me to be someone who knows I am deeply loved by God, someone who opens my heart, daily, to receive his love, who lives empowered by his love, and who is passionate about spreading that love. Being continually made into the likeness of Christ, we become a people carried by love. We become givers of it, expressers of it. I think it’s a special, exciting, rich purpose given to us by our Father.
So I pray these words over myself, my man, and over all those who love Jesus and embark in the adventure of loving others.
And I ask God for the help to walk it out… and He goes. Because He’s good.