Willing Sacrifice

 

“Love is patient, love is kind…. It is not self-seeking.” 1 Corinthians 13:4–5

Nothing does more for a marriage than the willing sacrifices made by one spouse for the other. I remember an example of this from early in our marriage. Jim and I were both teaching elementary school, and we often stayed up late during the week to grade papers. Then on the weekends, Jim spent long hours studying as he pursued his doctoral degree. I was a good sport about it, but it wasn’t easy. All our friends were fixing up their homes, buying furniture, going out for dinner, taking vacations, and having children.

Shortly after Jim began his graduate work, he told me that he realized what a difficult time it was for me. He felt that his studies were beginning to interfere with our marriage and that, as he put it, “nothing is worth that price.” He decided to postpone working on his degree so we could spend more time together. He took a very light load of classwork that semester so we could “reconnect” emotionally. I will always love and respect Jim for making that choice. He cared more about me than his personal ambition and career!

I’m sure that Tulle Ferrier, the wife of the doomed pilot, never forgot the sacrifices that must have been part of her marriage with her husband, John. I’m sure she didn’t want to lose him in that terrible crash. But I also imagine that she must have loved and appreciated living with a man who had his priorities in order—God first, others second, and self third—and that she wouldn’t have changed him for the world. That is, I believe, the essence of a successful marriage.

Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

THE 40 DAY JOURNEY

Day 25

Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone. They know that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them guilty, even when they feel nothing of their own guilt, and that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them free and righteous even when they feel nothing of their own righteousness…

Because they daily hunger and thirst for righteousness, they long for the redeeming Word again and again. It can only come from the outside. In themselves they are destitute and dead. Help must come from the outside; and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus Christ, bringing us redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. But God put this Word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others. When people are deeply affected by the Word, they tell it to other people. God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings. Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened.

Biblical Wisdom

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Questions to Ponder

  • Where do disciples go to satisfy their daily hunger and thirst for righteousness?
  • If Christians find their salvation, deliverance, and justification not in them­selves but in Jesus Christ, how should they use their resulting freedom?
  • If God has put God’s word into the “mouth of human beings,” who is responsible to speak the word? Only pastors or church workers? Why?

Psalm Fragment

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. Psalm 145:5-7

Journal Reflections

  • Write about specific Christians who have spoken a word from God to you when you needed it.
  • Write about people to whom you have spoken God’s word.

Intercessions

Think of someone you would like to be a spiritual friend with and ask God to help you build a mutually supportive spiritual relationship with him or her.

Prayer for Today

O Holy Spirit, send the people I need to bring me the word of God, and send the people I need to speak the word of God to.

The 7 roles of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Is Our Refiner
When the Spirit came upon the 120 disciples in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost, He was manifested in primarily two ways: (1) the sound of a rushing wind and (2) flames of fire that miraculously appeared on each person’s head. We do not know the exact nature of this fire; it obviously was not physical fire or it would have burned everyone’s hair! It was most likely the visual manifestation of the Spirit’s presence. But most assuredly this fire also represents to us the holiness of God.

Are you willing to allow God to purify you, even in hidden areas? Suppose you have lived in the same house for 24 years and you decide to move. The process of packing and cleaning that house is never easy. Imagine what you will see if you pull your refrigerator out from the wall to put it on the moving van.

It has been in the same corner of the kitchen for a long time. No one has ever swept under it. The tile would be filthy. The floor might be caked with layers of grime, dust, stray nutshells, specks of rotted food, lost hair bands, dog hair, and unidentified stains that have been there for more than two decades. Yuck! This would require some special cleaning to get your house ready for a new owner.

It is a scary thought, but you may have areas such as this in your own life. Sometimes we hide our secret sins in private compartments. We know how to mask our ugliest attitudes. But when the Spirit comes in power, He comes to scour us of our grit and grime.

He moves the furniture around in our lives in order to cleanse us of resentment, anger, shame, addictive behavior, and so many other things that can create distance between us and God. I encourage you to open your heart to the Spirit’s fire.