From Our Hearts to Yours
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Here’s a true confession. When life is good, praise and thanksgiving flow automatically from my heart and lips. But when life turns black, praise and thanksgiving don’t flow quite so easily! Instead, I have to deliberately choose to follow God’s advice and “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
When I’d rather bask in self-pity or stay stuck in my depression, I do what God says: I give thanks and praise Him regardless of my suffering. That effort makes my praise a sacrifice. And when I lift such a sacrifice of praise to God, I find the Spirit’s joy magnified in my life—just as lifting a diamond to the light against a black background enhances its brilliance!
I’m learning to offer this sacrifice of praise when I’m in pain because God calls us to be joyful… at all times (Philippians 4:4)! I need God’s joy (and you probably do as well). We need joy when we’re suffering and misunderstood, when we’re rejected and hated, and when we’re in emotional or physical pain. Our praise to God gives the Spirit room to touch us with His joy that overshadows these circumstances. It’s amazing to realize that, with the sacrifice of praise, the very hindrances to our joy become the soil out of which joy blossoms.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
David—the man who wrote these words—was a man of extreme passion. He loved God. He loved God’s Word. He loved praying to God. And he loved praising God. And he had still another profound passion: going to “the house of the Lord.” In fact, he longed to worship God.
I’m sure your life it filled and overflowing with activities and responsibilities. You’ve got friends to see and talk (or text!) with, places to go, and things galore to do. But, like David, you should want to worship, to go to church, to be with God’s people. It’s a natural response for anyone who loves the Lord with all their heart (Luke 10:27). Weekly worship and fellowship with other believers can—and should—be the highlight of all your activities throughout any week. Think about it—when you go to church, you…
… hear God’s Word—taught and explained
… grow—in your knowledge of the key truths of the Christian faith
… join—together with others in corporate prayer
… worship—God through music
… focus—on others as you pray for those in need around the world
… interact—with other believers
… participate—in something that is 100 percent pure and good
… bond—with others who belong to the Lord
… establish—friendships based on a mutual love for the Lord Jesus
… study God’s Word—for better understanding
… receive wisdom—for the decisions you must make and any problems you face
… learn—how to apply the Word of God to the everyday issues of your life
Where else can you receive all of this… and more? And think about this: Being a young person committed to worship serves as an example to others. When you go to church, your commitment to Christ shows. It’s right out there for your friends and family and everyone to see… and they will be influenced for Christ by it. What a witness!
Do you want to “value what God values”? Heeding His calling to love your husband requires discipline, dedication, and self-denial. But, oh, the end product! Imagine a long life filled with honoring the Lord by pouring out His love to another, to a partner-for-life.
Through the consistent choice to shower another with God’s sacrificial love, we change! We grow! We take on the character and heart of God. We are transformed into the image of Christ who demonstrated and showed His love for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). We grow in godliness, in God-likeness,
So, what will it take for us “to love [our] husbands” (Titus 2:4)? It will require…
Looking up to His Word…Titus 2:4 calls us to such love.
Looking up to His ways…Christ demonstrated His love for us.
Looking up to His wisdom…Obedience to God’s Word makes even the simple wise.
Looking up to His grace…God’s grace is always available—and always sufficient.
Looking up to His older women…Learn from those who love their husband.
Looking up to His calling…Shouldn’t we desire to do and be what God desires us to do and be?
God created marriage. In His perfect wisdom, He designed man and woman to complement each other and to enjoy a permanent and complete union with each other. In Genesis 2:18 He said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” After the Lord created Eve, He then said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
When you take time to nurture this oneness with your spouse, you bring honor to God and acknowledge His ideal design. As you love your marriage partner, you are showing love and obedience to God as well. And as an incredible result, you’ll experience the fullness and blessings that God designed for a married couple to enjoy! Take time now. Set aside five minutes and pray, “Lord, how can I express my love today?” Then write down every way you can think of to tell your honey, “I love you.”
“Nurturing oneness” in your marriage should be something you think and pray about every day. Make it a priority to find new ways to show your love.