Day 18 — Three Steps to Be an Excellent Spouse
31-Day Marriage Devotional
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” — (Philippians 2:5–11)
This devotion lays out in a three-part sequential order. The second step builds on the first, and the third relies upon the second. If you want to enjoy your marriage, you must be practically living out all three phases in the order presented.
Will I Die?
There was a need on our planet. Humanity rebelled against God and became depraved without any hope of a course correction. Jesus, the only right solution, decided to give up what He had with His Father to rescue you.
What Christ did is the gospel, which is the prototype for how humans are to relate to each other. In marriage, both spouses are obligated to set aside their desires for the mutual and reciprocal benefit of each other.
They imitate the gospel by cooperating with the Lord for His fame and their sanctification. There is always a sacrifice involved with ongoing care, and one of the most important questions you can ask is, “Will I die daily for my spouse?”
Will I Sanctify?
Your spouse is damaged goods. Depravity is what the fall accomplished in all our lives. You picked a partner from the dinged and dented section of the store. Of course, the whole store was full of dinged and dented people. There are no perfect people from which to choose a spouse. To put it plainly, the person you married has issues.
The call to marriage is a call to work, as both spouses put in a “sweat of the brow” effort to make the marriage look like Christ and His Church. Are you cooperating with the Lord in the sanctification of your damaged spouse?
Will I Enjoy?
It is not wrong to work for the benefits of your labors. Some have said that “love is an act without an expectation of anything in return.” The Bible teaches a different idea; there is a reward for work, which you should expect from your marriage.
Jesus will receive the work of His hands (Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 5:27). It does not have to be wrong to want to enjoy the benefits of your actions. However, it would be a mistake to expect the benefits of your efforts without doing the hard work to earn those benefits. The idea of sowing and reaping is not always negative. Are you enjoying the benefits of the work you have put into your marriage?
Time to Reflect
Will you die?
Jesus set aside His life to create a better life for you. What does it look like to set aside what you want for your spouse?
Will you sanctify?
Jesus humbled Himself to the cross, which opened the door for your salvation and sanctification. How is the Lord using your humble obedience to sanctify your spouse?
Will you enjoy?
Jesus’ exaltation came after he set aside what He had and obediently gave His life for you. How have you benefited from the work you have put into your marriage?
Spend the next few days reflecting on Philippians 2:5–11 while asking the Lord to help you mature in any area where the gospel is weak in your life.
Originally published at Rick Thomas.