The marriage relationship reflects Jesus’s love for us in many ways, and sometimes we face challenges in marriage that are similar to the challenges we experience in our walk with God.
Today in this devotional based on the song “Falling In Love“, Phil shares a short testimony from his marriage, and how what he’s learned in creating a strong marriage has helped him grow closer to Jesus.
Fifteen years of marriage has taught me many things, but one of the glaringly obvious lessons I have learned is that a healthy relationship with my wife takes consistent intentionality. Now, I’m a blessed man who has married way up in every way. My wife, Mallory, is my dream girl—beautiful, fun, talented. She is a true joy to know. But even with all of that wonderful-ness, once the honeymoon phase was over, I realized that to have the marriage I wanted was going to take some work. Preemptive thoughtfulness. Going out of my way to let her know I care for her. Dying to my own wants to help fulfill hers. Listening when all I want to do is get my point across. Consistent intentionality in my love for her.
I’m far from perfect in all these things, but I believe I’ve gotten better and better with practice. But you know what I’ve found out about all this? The more I love her, the more I love her! You get that? The more I show my love through action, service, patience, humility…the more I want to serve her, the more I feel love towards her. I have found the same principle rings true with my relationship with God. The first line of this chorus says, “The more I praise You, the more I want to.” The scriptures say, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8), “…seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). The scriptures welcome us into a real relationship with God with promises of reciprocation from Him.
Here are three ways to help cultivate our first love and an ongoing love with Jesus:
1. Jesus tells the Church of Ephesus at the beginning of Revelation, “You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4). What does returning to your first love look like?
2. Slow down. Dallas Willard famously said, “Hurry is the great enemy of the soul.” More often than not, it is not our desire or intention that is off, but our calendar and priorities. Carve out time to abide in Jesus each day.
3. Think of ways that you may be doing things for God where He may be inviting you just to be with Him.
In the midst of our busy days, it can be easy to say “I don’t have time” when it comes to sitting down and studying the Bible. But the truth is that we don’t have time not to spend time with God. We need Him to sustain us.
Start small: simply read one verse a day or listen to an audio Bible for a few minutes while you’re in the car. Soon, like Phil said, you’ll find yourself desiring more and more of God the more you study His Word.
What gets in the way of spending time with God in your life? What’s one way you could overcome that hurdle? Share your ideas in the comments!
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