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I wrote this devotional to share at my cousin's bridal shower--but mostly I wrote it because I needed to study this passage. Such good truths for marriage!
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus ...
This passage ends with the result/goal/pattern: Jesus.
"He is the great pattern of humility and love." ~ Matthew Henry --> Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
IF ..... THEN .....
IF you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
IF any comfort from God's love,
IF any fellowship with the Spirit...
Notice the Trinity, in perfect fellowship with one another and the basis for our unity with our husband (as well as with all others). In Christ we received and continue to receive true encouragement, comfort and fellowship--in Christ, not in our husbands (and they say "whew!").
IF any tenderness and compassion...
There is plenty of tenderness and compassion at the beginning of a marriage (dating and engagement are full of them!) but God still expects as much from us at the end of a rough day or at year 5 and 50 because we are in Christ and He is our pattern.
If we are completely and wonderfully supplied encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness and compassion in Jesus Christ, then what overflow is expected from our lives if we are following the pattern of Christ?
THEN . . . be like-minded, have the same love, be one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.
From the THEN statements that Paul makes, I see Love & Humility.
Life happens. The moments add up. And our sinful nature rises up.
1st natural (i.e. sinful) response to an equally sinful husband: opposition and hostility
* he doesn't arrive home when he said he would, so I become hostile
* he doesn't lead exactly where you would like to go, and so I begin
to oppose him
A Jesus response: LOVE (like-minded)
Be like-minded, have the same love, be one in spirit and purpose. --> what a beautiful description of a God-honoring marriage!
Matthew Henry wrote, "Agreeing in the great things of God and keeping the unity of the Spirit in other differences." There will be differences but will they lead to opposition and hostility OR an opportunity for love and like-mindedness?
2nd natural response to a sinful husband: selfishness and pride (selfish ambition...vain conceit)
* I hear this response in myself when I say or think: "I deserve,"
"But what about me?" etc.
* there is a sense of entitlement or even withholding
A Jesus response: HUMILITY (lowly-minded)
Jana paraphrase: Consider your husband better than yourself; look to his interests first.
"Christ came to humble us, and therefore let there not be among us a spirit of pride." ~ Matthew Henry
As we follow Jesus and strive to be a Christ-like wife (sister, mother, friend), we are to be like-minded: loving even when our husbands are unlovable because Christ first loved us. And we are to be lowly-minded: humble even when they are prideful and selfish because Christ first showed us how to be a humble servant.
Jesus is our pattern. A beautiful pattern.
(What freedom and grace this brings to a marriage since our attitude is not based on or a reaction to our husbands at all--but "your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus!")
Love and humility--the marks of a truly Christ-like wife.
Jesus is our pattern, and also (praise God!) the Hope and the Help to bring it to life in our lives and marriages.