Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Matthew 22:37-38 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Well, I’ve been asked lately about how to develop this actual love for God. You see, it’s very difficult to truly love someone you’ve never experienced. You and I must experience the Lord’s power and love for ourselves in order to truly fall in love with Him. Otherwise, we have head knowledge from the Bible, but no heart knowledge!
Looking back at my own journey with Christ, I realized that I’ve grown to truly love Him as I earnestly sought His help through prayer and then saw Him answer those prayers in loving and powerful ways. I experienced God!
So I urge you to begin seeking the Lord with your whole heart. Come to Him with your deepest needs, but make sure you’ve done your best to obey Him first. After all, God says in James 5:16 that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. So, in other words, God powerfully responds to the person who truly seeks to obey His commands and follow His promptings. After you’ve done all you can do to obey the Lord, pray earnestly for His help. When He shows up, take notice! God just connected with you and allowed you to experience His love, power and help! Now, you have heart knowledge of the Lord!
Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope! You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening. You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions. You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability. Now what?
Well, first, don’t give up praying. In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” So, keep asking God for a miracle. However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses. Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done. Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue. Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:
1) Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?
2) How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?
3) Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.
We’ve all heard of self-talk, but allow me to introduce a different kind of internal narrative that can be just as negative as your self-talk. It is the internal talk about your spouse!
The things you say, whether out loud or in your head, greatly influence the way you feel and act. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. In other words, when your inner spouse-talk is constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws or rehearsing the past ways he’s let you down…your words reinforce a negative attitude and behavior toward your husband. If not corrected, this negative attitude and behavior on your part can eventually lead to prolonged bitterness, depression, and even the death of your marriage.
Ladies, we must do what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5…”take every thought captive”. Start noticing the things you are saying in your head about your husband. If a negative thought enters your mind, don’t give it room! Instead, look for something positive to say about your husband. He DOES have some positive qualities. Make sure you spend time engaging in positive inner spouse-talk more than the negative kind!
We all inevitably go through stretches in our marriages (or with kids, finances, health, etc!) that are pretty rough on our hearts. Yes, we can persevere, pray, and trust in God during those times, and all those things are super important. But sometimes, we just plain need comfort. We need to sit in the lap of our heavenly father and have Him hold us tight.
Here is what I have discovered. Reading the Psalms slowly and out loud is like a warm embrace from my heavenly Father. As those words roll off my lips, I can almost feel His love and compassion flow over me. I sense the tenderness of His heart toward me. I gain hope once again.
Try it for yourself. I would suggest some of these Psalms: Psalm 103, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, and Psalm 37. God longs to comfort you. He loves you. As Psalm 103 says, “Our Father is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
Have you lost that “in love” feeling with your husband? Are you feeling like there should be more in your relationship? There could be some major problems in your marriage that need to be addressed. However, it could be that you’ve fallen prey to the notion that your relationship with your husband should resemble the thrill of new romance portrayed in chick flicks and romance novels.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love watching a good romantic movie like The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. I enjoy reading Christian romance novels. However…you and I have to be so careful that we don’t start subconsciously thinking our marriages should have that constant thrill of new romance. That’s unrealistic. There is no way we’re going to be “twitterpated” (like Thumper in the Bambi movie) all the time! Also, our husbands couldn’t possibly be as breathtaking as the men portrayed in the romantic comedies or as perfect as the men in the Christian romance novels! It’s all a beautiful delusion from the enemy who wants to destroy your marriage. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”
And here’s one more caution. Did you realize that many romantic comedies actually promote a woman leaving the man she’s with to find the “true soul mate” awaiting her? Yikes! We get so involved with the romance story that we don’t even notice this is the case! Think of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. She pines away for the man who’s already married to someone else. In Sleepless In Seattle, Meg Ryan’s character is engaged but feels there must be someone better out there. The list goes on and on. So, let’s be careful to avoid unrealistic expectations of our men and our marriages.