Read His Words Before Ours!
“I’m not staying in this tiny town!”, I declared, my voice full of hurt and anger.
“And I’m not leaving,” my husband responded with just as much conviction.
We stared at each other, feeling every inch of the emotional chasm separating us. We had only been married eight months, yet we had already hit a wall strong enough to break us up.
I had grown up in a big city and always imagined raising my children near my parents. But, I married a boy from East Texas, with roots as deep as pine trees are tall. His family owned land and cattle in a small town and one week after we were married, we moved there, five hours away from my family.
While I could see the cracks forming in our young marriage with every stance I took, my pride kept me from letting up. I wanted to move to my hometown and live near my parents, and if my husband wouldn’t agree to that, then maybe we weren’t meant to be after all.
. . . . .
It pains me to look back at that time in my life. I couldn’t see how tightly the vine of pride had wrapped around me, squeezing the life out of my marriage.
Pride has no place in love.
This is what 1 Corinthians 13 teaches us.
To be proud is to be self-reliant, self-preserving, and self-focused.
Pride leaves no room for an “other”.
If your world is consumed with making sure
your needs are met,
your rights are not trampled,
or your kingdom is being built,
then you have no time to meet the needs of others, to speak out in their defense, or to build them up. Blinded by pride, one can never experience true love, nor can you extend it.
The antidote to pride is humility. C.S. Lewis once said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” By this definition, to be humble, is to be focused on others. As a Christian, it means to be focused on God. And in humility, we have no better example than Love incarnate: Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:5-8 beautifully depicts the humility of Christ:
“…who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be explained. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death- even to death on a cross.”
The love of Christ is unlike any other precisely because it is humble.
He did not seek His own best interests, or His own desires, or His own will.
He did not “puff himself up” or think himself too good to die for us.
He laid every right aside for the good of the world, in obedience to His father.
We see God’s selfless love throughout Scripture, not only on the cross, but also in the desert. As a “stiff necked” people, the Israelites rejected Him time and again, but God remained faithful.
He always sought them out.
He always won them back.
He never stopped loving them, no matter the cost.
And that’s the heart of it, isn’t it?
True love always costs us something.
In fact, true love costs us everything; it costs us our selves.
We see this everywhere from motherhood and marriage to friendships. We see it in our relationship with God. To truly love God is to lay down our will and humbly submit to His.
In the world, selfless love is a dangerous proposition.
In Christ, there is no safer bet.
The world warns that no one will care for you if you don’t care for yourself. But Christ’s perfect love drives out that fear. Wholly taken care of by His perfect love, we are free to love others without thought for ourselves.
. . . . .
After some time had passed, my husband broke our silence. This time, the anger in his voice was gone, leaving only sadness and desperation.
“I’m doing everything I can to make you happy here, don’t you see that? Why won’t you just give it a chance?”
As tears filled his eyes, my heart began to break. I loved this man. What was I doing? He was doing his best to make me happy in our new home. My pride was the only thing standing in our way to a strong marriage and a new life together.
In that moment, I chose to let go of my plans and trust God. It was a decision I had to make every day for the next year, as God faithfully worked in my heart to help me choose our future over my past.
Pride threatened to destroy my marriage, but humility saved it; taking my eyes off of my pain and setting them on God’s plan. Though it was a difficult time in our marriage, we experienced the truth of 1 Corinthians 13 first-hand.
Love is not proud, it is humble and fully rests on His love for us.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!