Friday, September 15, 2006

The Very Thought Shocks Us All!

This is a continuation of the article in the Housekeeping Monthly of 1955, entitled The Good Wife's Guide. Over time, I'll post some of the suggestions it gives and tell why I think they are not so hilarious. But I do want to start with this thought: The Scriptures quote Jesus saying, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) This verse often brings to mind the extent to which we are called to demonstrate our love for others. We are to be willing to literally give our very lives for them. But this is a case where all too often we feel that we can breathe a sigh of relief, because it isn't too often that we are required to do this, unless one is a soldier (tip o'the hat to me brudders) or a public safety or health worker of some kind, whom I also salute. I'm sure you can think of other examples, but for the most part, most of us don't step into that dangerous a world every day.

Thing is, though, I also think it means less than that, and I think that the other teachings of Scripture would bear me out. I think we need to know that Christ was also saying to us, Put down your own little interests for awhile and serve someone else's. Lay down your life, and take up someone else's cause. See to someone else's needs for a change. Lay down your life, wife, for your husband; and husband, lay down your life for your wife. The Scripture confirms this:

Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.

I am to lay down my desires and put Rich first. Admittedly, that is difficult at times. I'm not a stranger to ambition and pride, and I need to recognise that in the Kingdom, first things must come first in obedience to Christ. Rich is my main ministry, and when that clashes with anything else, the anything else must be pushed aside, gently at first, forcefully if necessary. Similarly, Rich is called to make it his main focus to present me holy to God, to foster my devotion to God, to provide for me, to be my protector and the representative of Christ on earth to short, to love me.

So far, he's doing and always has done wonderfully, but not perfectly. I hope he can say the same of me. We forgive each other! But as I go on with this theme I hope you will bear these premises in mind. They are not given to us as heavy, onerous burdens, but as commands which can give life and can be obeyed if we have the Spirit which enables us, and which we will find will make our lives simpler-- not always easier-- but simpler, and therefore less confounding. God does not lay burdens on us. He spends His time trying to teach us how to bear the loads we must in a way that will not crush us. He is our Comforter, our Good Shepherd, not our enemy or oppressor.


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