"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
To misjudge the source of something can be embarrassing — as in incorrectly guessing the sender of an anonymous love letter. It can also be painful — as in having the wrong tooth filled. Finally, it can even be dangerous — as in repairing a gas leak by soldering the pipe just shy of where the actual crack is.
To assume that our ability to love another person has its source in our own hearts carries with it the potential to be embarrassing, painful or dangerous. "We love because He first loved us." While early in marriage the depth of our love may seem to thrive in the abundant delight and overflow of our own hearts, a day may come when finding a drop of love or respect in our heart for our spouse will feel impossible. Where does that leave us?
It leaves us with the call to look at Jesus — God made flesh and came among us. He is the One from whom love begins. He is the One from whom we are given both access to love and patterns with which to offer love.
Consider Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Consider Him willingly and sinlessly going to the cross for our sins. This is what draws us out of ourselves and into the heart of Love, this place where his mercy meets our unworthiness and still, He loves us.
Standing in that place of watching Jesus, the call becomes both clear and accessible. It is then that we are to be willing to lay down our own rights and pour out that same love to the one with whom God has joined us together in covenant.
Father, You love us abundantly and You love us well. Draw us into a posture of attentiveness, that we might see You loving us and learn to, long to, love and respect one another with that same purity, passion, and delight. Lord, that we not seek to draw love from our limited wells but rather from the unlimited depths of You.
For devotions to help make your faith — and your marriage — stronger each week of the year, see Jim and Jean Daly’s book The Best Year of Your Marriage: 52 devotions to bring you closer.