The Fruits of the Spirit: Love (A Wife’s Application)
“Love is a shelter
In a raging storm
Love is peace
In the middle of a war
If we try to leave
May God send angels
To guard the door
No, love is not a fight
But it’s something worth fighting for…” Love is not a Fight Warren Barfield
Most of us grow up thinking that love is equated to romance and feeling, and I am no different. Even though I had parents who taught me by action and word that love is so much more, messages in romantic comedies, media, and our culture permeated through. I went through childhood and young adulthood trying to navigate what it means to love, and more often than not, falling flat on my face. Until meeting my One True Love, I had no idea what love really meant.
What I learned is that apart from God, there is at best a very limited kind of love, if any at all. Without God, love is an uphill battle that is more often lost than won. In other words, if we try to love in our own strength, we’ll more often default to the flesh in a fierce struggle, which is why “love” is deemed a fruit of the Spirit. But with God, love is our outpouring because of the love that God first gave us (Matthew 5:39, 44).
Most people understand intellectually that love requires more than just feelings; however, when those feelings are gone, we assume that love has gone with it. By relying on our emotions to give and receive love, we are in bondage to those emotions. “…love [is] not found in what man does or doesn’t do, but in who God is” (Hayley DiMarco). Love is about what the Holy Spirit prompts within us.
The opposite of love, after all, isn’t hate; it’s selfishness.
Often, people in general, but for the purposes of this blog, I’m speaking to the ladies, women have unspoken rules on how love should operate within their relationship with their husband—how they give and want to receive love, or how love is most found in the relationship. Once these self-created rules are broken, we retaliate. This falls in life with involving the self within the definition of love. To say that hate is the opposite of love would be a tragic mistake, because what we feel doesn’t feel like hate, but it IS selfish.
When our well-being, happiness, and giving of love is dependent on our spouse’s ability to follow this subconscious law, we are not living life from the Spirit, but from the flesh. While the reaction of disapproval, disinterest, and arguments may be human, they are not biblical responses—meaning they are not fruitful or obedient to the command to love.
Why does God command us to love?
- God is love. (1 John 4:16) “In a word I think it means something like: God’s absolute fullness of life and truth and beauty and goodness and all other perfections is such that he is not only self-sufficient, but also, in his very nature, overflowing” (John Piper).
- God has loved us. (1 John 4:11-12) We don’t love to be loved in return because this is not how God loved us.
- To love others. (Matthew 22:36-41) Our best way to show God that we love Him is to love our man—the relationship God gave us as sacred, to guard, protect, and cause to thrive.
- We are perfected. (1 John 2:3-5) God makes his love perfect in us so that we can love the unlovely, the difficult, and the forgetful.
“A woman who says she loves God must act in love to her neighbor in order to demonstrate her love for God” (Hayley DiMarco).
How can this be applicable directly to our relationship to our husband???
- Consider him more significant. Don’t stop reading! Hear me out. I am one who is quick to advocate for women in the area of equality; however, when speaking of LOVE, we have to count others as better and more significant than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
- Humble yourself. It takes great humility to take ourselves off the throne and put God there instead.
- Turn the other cheek. (Matthew 5:38-39) When our flesh tells us to retaliate, we must resist in order to live for love. When we want to win the argument, prove ourselves, or make him squirm, we must take a breath and treat the situation how the Holy Spirit drives us.
- Don’t allow his sin to be an excuse for yours. (1 Peter 2:23) Rest in His sufficiency.
- Don’t take his sin personally. (Hebrews 10:26) When your husband sins, prayer is your best answer. There may be times to share spiritual insight, but these must be done not when angry, resentful, or bitter, but tactfully to produce fruit.
- Respect and honor him. (Rom. 12:10; Eph. 5:33) To respect your husband is to treat him with kindness, trust, and honor, admire his manliness and point it out, refuse to complain about him or talk badly about him, especially to others. To honor him is to serve him. You are not his servant, but God’s servant.
“Holy Spirit love doesn’t come naturally…but the fruit of the flesh always destroys and disappoints.” –Hayley DiMarco
*Adapted from The Fruitful Wife by Hayley DiMarco
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March 20, 2019
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