John 15:9-11 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
I was recently talking to the Lord about marriage and I asked Him to give me a fresh word on the topic. When we’ve been walking with Christ for some time we can tend to hear the same verses preached time and time again. If a preacher gets up and says the topic is marriage, certain scripture immediately come to mind in the Gospels, 1st Corinthians or Ephesians. So it made me laugh a little when God took me too a familiar, yet out of the box verse that seemingly has nothing to do with marriage…. oh but it indeed has everything to do with it.
John 15 reminds us of Jesus’ words to His followers; we are to look to God’s love for Jesus as our guide and example to see love demonstrated, receive love and most important (especially in marriage), how to love others (Spouse). We cannot look to the world, the church or even our own parent when it comes to loving our spouses, because:
*The world tends to treat marriage as a romantic comedy, trashy novel or sometimes both. What do I mean? There is always a happy ending, even if it means disregarding the sanctity and principles of marriage. The world has no standard, instead it has numerous different ones and use whichever one suits their desire.
*The Church because although this should be where we go for examples, but unfortunately the church is made up of man and often when you look to man you open yourself up to disappointment. Today, the numbers are quite discouraging, but more than 50% of these marriages are ending in divorce, there seems to be a huge disconnect!
*Our Parents, even though this is where most of our actions within marriage comes from; whether we want it to or not. Many have parents that have been married for years, some have endured divorce and others have parents who have never been married. Even in the best of situations, if we will be honest, there are many things that we’ve seen, experience or even vowed never to do, that we less than ideal examples to follow. And while we should not blame our parents, because they did not have perfect models to follow either.
However, we do have hope and a guide provided by the Lord Himself. Jesus makes it clear with His own words that His example of how to love was from only one source. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you,” Jesus loved others as He was loved by his Daddy God. God’s love for us is amazing, He gave us His very best when we did not deserve it. God made plans for us (plans to prosper us and give us hope), He made provisions for us and He wrote a book full of love letters for us. So, we have to first decide if God has loved us like this, which is typically the trickiest thing to do. If He has then we are to love our spouses in the same manner.
He then encourages us to live, stay and remain in this love, “Now remain in my love.” The word remain (or abide in the KJV) means to live, dwell or spend your time in God’s love for you. The most important thing we can do in order to love our spouses is to become saturated in God’s love for us. I look at it like this, most of us take showers and not baths. Why? A shower is much faster, easier, cleaner and focuses maximizing time to do other things. However, a bath takes much more time, it is more difficult, it can get really messy and is really focuses on you (you feel refreshed when finished). We do the same with God’s Love, we don’t spend time bathing in it, we allow a little to fall on us so we can get on to other things (there is so much to do). When we really abide/remain in God’s love for us, our self-esteem is improved, confidence is greater and our trust in God goes through the roof. We end up filled and are in a much better place to pour out love for our spouses. When we don’t remain is His love, like I’ve often done, we end up loving out of frustration, disappointment and stress caused by daily life. Remember; you get out what you put in, so when that is how you’re loving; that is what is being received by those you’re trying to love. Your spouse is receiving the frustration, disappointment and stress you’re giving in the form of your love. Did you ever get a gift you did not want 🙂 When we learn to bathe in God’s love for us and get full, we can then effectively love our spouses; and what they receive will become a part of their baths.
How then do we take this bath? Jesus said “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” Keep and Commands become important words for our understanding. The word keep means to guard, protect, build a fortress around; this is something very valuable. The word Commands in this verse denotes a prescription, just like what a doctor would give you to heal an illness. This prescription is the word of God, the bible the precept upon precept that Jesus came in human form to display for all to see or receive in written form; it is the “Prescription of Life.” When we guard and protect God’s prescription for life we bathe in God’s love and are fulfilled.
Jesus told us this for one reason “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (full),” and if you receive this for your marriage today, I declare you marriage will be full of the Joy of the Lord!!!