By Faith Oyedepo
Dear Reader, you are welcome to the last edition in the series for the month. I believe your home has been experiencing a positive transformation. One of the most important lessons we learnt is that love must be expressed in words and actions. It is my prayer that you will be a diligent doer of God’s Word in Jesus’ name.
It is also critical to note that love must be expressed in thoughts. Love essentially starts from the heart and eventually finds expression through the mouth and by actions. Couples must learn, beginning from the thoughts of their hearts, to love their spouses. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). When your heart is full of loving thoughts, it readily finds expression in the words you speak. If a man for instance, uses abusive words on his wife, he is speaking out of the abundance of his heart. Until he changes the contents of his thoughts, he cannot speak otherwise.
However, to effectively express love in your home, you must practice it the Bible way. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TLB) tells us practically what love should be. It says: Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
Personally, when reading this scripture, I try to put my name in it; asking myself if I have been loving just the way this scripture describes it. I will be taking this step-by-step for better understanding.
Love is Patient and Kind:
God’s Word instructs that we love with patience; that is, not being easily provoked. You should be willing and ready to accommodate whatever behavior or excesses your spouse possesses. Jesus exemplified kindness. Many of the miracles He did were out of compassion; even when the people didn’t deserve His kindness. So, your spouse might not deserve your kindness, because of his or her character; but loving the Bible way requires that you still express practically and genuine love in kindness and patience.
Love is Never Jealous or Envious:
Can you imagine Jesus being jealous of the achievements of His disciples? Love rejoices and desires that your spouse excels or succeeds at any given task. The truth is: the reason why some partners get jealous at the successes of their spouses is because they have not seen themselves as partners but opponents. When you understand that your husband or wife is your partner, you realize that whatever success one person achieves, is also enjoyed by the other.
Loving your spouse as Christ love the Church means, being the catalyst for the other person’s success, not a deterrent. Whatever I have come to know in God today, the bulk of it was learnt from my dear husband. Were it not for his love and encouragement, I don’t know what life would have been like for me. So, do not fail to render your support to your spouse, for the end result will be enjoyed by both of you.
Love is not Boastful or Proud:
Being boastful means always bragging about your accomplishments or how better off you are compared to your spouse. Some spouses get carried away by their responsibilities in the home. They feel because they are the breadwinners, all other members of the home are less important. The truth is: Your humility goes a long way in creating the right atmosphere in your home. When you remain, humble God keeps lifting you and supplying all your needs (James 4:6).
Love is Not Selfish, Haughty or Rude:
Me, myself or I, has destroyed so many homes. Marriage is built on selflessness and courtesy. Couples must learn to pay the price of selflessness if they want an enviable marriage. Being rude to your spouse is not love; just as derogatory remarks and sarcasm do not please God. If you disrespect your spouse, you will be passing across a wrong message to your children and other family members, because your spouse will be mostly respected by others, just the way they see you respect him/her.
Love does not Demand its own ways:
Love is not self-willed; it does not demand always for his/her own rights. Love is not forceful, but pleasant. The Bible says: Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 16: 24). You could exact your authority over someone pleasantly, without making the person feel inferior. Love makes you speak politely at all times, no matter who you are talking to, or the relationship you share with that person.
Love does not hold grudges or notice when it’s wronged:
A grudge, is an angry feeling against a person for something he has done in the past. This leads to unforgiveness. Meanwhile, love is expected to forgive and forget as it does not keep records of wrongs. Love approaches the other party as if he/she has never wronged you. If you claim to love your spouse, then you must learn to forgive all wrongs, and practice that in advance. This means, you give room for his/her mistakes and let go of all. Keeping grudges create vacuum in the home, which becomes a breeding ground for other negative vices. You must not allow it!
Remember that the love you express to your spouse today goes a long way in creating a better and brighter future for your children. It becomes difficult for children to love, when they see their parents fighting and arguing in their presence. The best way to teach them is by example. Tell them you love them and ask them if they love you too. It is not enough to buy them clothes and shoes, give them your time and attention too, but most especially give them an atmosphere of love.
When you study the lives of some of the great, positive, history-making figures, you will often find that they speak of the influence of a parent. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “All that I am I owe to my angel mother.” General Douglas Mac Arthur said, “My sainted mother taught me devotion to God and a love of my country which have ever sustained me. To her I yield anew a son’s reverent thanks.” It is my earnest prayer that your children will arise and call you blessed, sharing wonderful testimonies of how you have impacted their lives.
In conclusion, brethren, God is love! To bring God’s righteousness, peace and joy into your marriage and home, you need to beborn again.
Having a Christian home begins with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. If, peradventure, you, the reader, is not born again and you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Saviour, then say this prayer in faith: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me with Your Blood. I accept You as my Lord and personal Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Thank You for delivering me from sin and satan to serve the living God and thank You for accepting me into Your Kingdom.
Congratulations! If you prayed this simple prayer of faith with me, you are now born again and a child of God. He loves you and will never leave you. Read your Bible daily, obey God’s Word and seek Christian fellowship (John 14:21).
With this, you are guaranteed all-round rest and peace in Jesus’ Name! Call or write to share your testimonies with me through [email protected], 070263854 or 081413202004.
For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work, Building a Successful Home and Success in Marriage (Co-Authored).