Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Love God, Love Your Spouse

Scripture Texts: Exodus 21; Matthew 22:34-40; Galatians 3:19-26

Few things  make a blog about marriage fun like the passage in Exodus. Stories about slaves and oxen and what happens if there is a premature birth. Rather than focus in on any one of those it is important to see the chapter in Exodus as part of the entire law that was given by God through Moses to the people. The law was established so that people would have a way to live their lives in holiness.

As Paul later writes in Galatians, the law was given as a guardian until Christ came. In Christ the law was made perfect and our guardian for holiness was no longer the law but Jesus. In fact it is Jesus who sums up the law with what is most commonly called the Great Commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself." The first part of this is taken right from the law, repeatedly God reminds the people to love the Lord your God. The second is the summary of what happens when we love God with our whole self.

If we rephrase things a little for marriage, perhaps we would say, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like it, Love your spouse as yourself." The love we have for our spouse is incomplete without the first part. Said another way, it is not possible to love our spouse as we love ourselves without loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. When we are out of sorts with our love for God, our love for others gets out of sorts as well.

Early in our marriage, even before we were married, we talked about the priorities in our lives in terms of relationships. God is the most important relationship we have. Second is our spouse. Third our children, Fourth our extended family. If the first relationship was not in a good place then none of the others would be either. The way that we have our relationship with God right is not through the keeping of the laws we read about in Exodus, rather it is about the grace of Jesus Christ which demonstrates God's love for us. Without the love of God found in Jesus Christ, it is impossible to love our spouse, or anyone else, a fully as possible.

May God be the first love of our lives, and may that love be the foundation for the love we have for our spouses. May it be true, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your spouse as you love yourself.

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