Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Love Journey: Serve the Lord

on February 17, 2014

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

I would like to recap a few things before I get into today’s Roman’s 12 verse!

First of all, I just wanted to make sure I reiterated that I am not teaching anything from a point of “self-knowledge”.  God is showing me what it means to be a truly loving person through my study of these verses, and what comes out of my head and on to this screen is exactly what I am currently learning from the Lord.  By no means, do I feel like I “have it all figured out” or even close to that!  I am a divorced woman, who was – quite frankly – an awful wife to my ex-husband.  I did not know even the slightest thing about what it meant to truly love someone.  I was also not walking with God during that marriage.

As I prepare for my upcoming 2nd marriage in July, God has been calling to me to learn about what it truly means to be a godly wife, and a loving person in general.  What I am learning is humbling me to a whole new level.  God is so gracious in that He is not condemning me for my past failures – but rather strengthening me and building me up for my future relationship with my soon-to-be-husband.  I am so incredibly thankful to be on this journey with both the Lord, and you!

The second thing I want to do is to touch on what He has shown me so far from Romans 10: 9-21 about what it means to truly love: (Love – a CHOICE to exist in relationship with another person….romantic or otherwise)

1.  Love must be sincere.

2.  Cling to the good

3.  Be devoted to one another

4.  Honor each other above yourself

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Zeal, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something

I think God is showing us here, that one of the key ingredients to a great loving relationship is to develop and maintain an enthusiasm for serving Him, for growing spiritually – both individually, and as a couple or friendship or parent/child relationship, etc.

I have to admit, that this would have NEVER crossed my mind in the life I lived prior to beginning my walk with the Lord.  I probably would have looked at the words in that scripture and asked “What on earth does that have to do with love?”

Today, I have experienced this exact verse in a very tangible way.  I’d like to share a story with you about a friendship that I have.  Today, it is an absolutely amazing and beautiful friendship, a relationship that I couldn’t imagine living my life without. It wasn’t always that way.

My friend Jen and I have been in each other’s life for about 13 years.  We met while working, and became fast friends.  The thing that brought us together and was the “glue” that bound our friendship, was the fact that we both were constantly complaining about our husbands.  I know this sounds harsh (and exactly the opposite of the purpose of this study – but just hold on a sec….) but it is true.  Every time we came together, we would end up talking about how our husbands irritated us to no end, how our marriages were  places of constant discontentment and disappointment, rather that a place of love and security like they should have been.  We loved the fact that we weren’t alone, and this simple fact kept us together in a relationship for a long time.  I mean, we start relationships with people (outside of our immediate family) because we share commonalities, right?

Anyway, I moved to a new location for work, and our friendship began to wane.  We would come together every now and then, picking up right where we left off.  Eventually, we found out that we both were having our first child at the same time.  After that point, our kids kept us together.  Our friendship was surface at best.  We discussed the problems in our life, our husbands….but that is as deep as it went.  Months would go by without contact sometimes.  One day, after a particularly long time not talking, I emailed her.  It turned out that she was pregnant with her second child and going through a divorce.  I wish I could say I was there for her.  I was not.

Eventually we both ended up divorced (Shocked?  Didn’t think so), and the craziest thing happened.  I had already started the process of recovery and was invested in developing a relationship with God.  I called her one night and she came over.  We talked about where are lives were currently at, and we realized that God had kept us together for a purpose, and began to wonder what that was.  We started slowly seeking a relationship with God together.  We began to pray together (very uncomfortably at first), read the Bible together, go to worship concerts, and get together more often than we ever had before.  God was pulling us together.  We joined a Bible Study together, and eventually became prayer partners.  We now talk daily (or almost daily), have continuously grown in our relationship with the Lord and each other, have shared every part of our lives with each other – are accountability partners for each other, and have developed a friendship that is unlike any I have ever known.  I couldn’t imagine life without her.

I just had the honor of performing the Maid-of-Honor duties at her wedding this past November, and she is going to be the Matron of Honor at mine in July.  God has done amazing things with our lives, with our children, and with our friendship.  Why did our relationship suddenly plunge past the surface and into the deep places of the soul?  Simple:  We placed the Lord first.  We enthusiastically pursued Him and continue to pursue Him more deeply, both as individuals and in our relationship.  Each one of the 4 previous points in this study….yep those things are there too.  There is something very real to what God is revealing to me during this time of preparation for marriage.  I pray that the things He is showing me, will touch the hearts of other relationships, too.

REFLECT:

1.  Where is your zeal?  Is it for God, or for something else?

2.  What relationship are you focusing on in your mind/heart when you read these words?

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