It’s easy to assume that because Jesus is the Son of God, the choices He made during His time on earth were easy. Saying no to sin and yes to obedience was probably no big deal for Him, right? He is God after all.
We’re called to be like Jesus, but let me tell ya, it is not easy. It’s not easy to give and serve and look to the needs of others before my own. What Jesus did while here on earth was not easy. It was hard.
It caused Him anguish.
It made Him sweat blood.
Lately the work of marriage has been hard work for me. Not because Alex isn’t an amazing husband – he really is – but because it’s hard to die to yourself daily. It’s hard to know there are certain things you should do in order to maintain a healthy relationship (like forgive, be patient, show grace), and do those things even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re short on sleep. Even when you would rather complain or check out.
And sometimes I’m tempted to only do those hard things when I feel like it. When all of a sudden, the emotions of love well up in me so strongly that I can’t help but serve my husband with joy. But sometimes those emotions just aren’t there.
In those times, we just need to choose to do the hard things.
We also need to know that it’s okay to not want to do them. It’s okay to feel a bit of anguish about the road that lies ahead – the choices you need to make. Jesus did.
Luke 22:44 says, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
In the Garden of Gethsemene, Jesus begged the Lord to change the plan, to allow this hard thing to pass, to remove the death sentence. It caused him great stress and anguish, but in His anguish Jesus didn’t give up, check out, or lose hope. He pressed in. Prayed more. Chose obedience.
The same Spirit that strengthened Jesus to face His death, to drink the cup He so desperately did not want to drink, and later raised Him from the dead, that same Spirit is in us. We can do the hard things, not because of our own grit or gumption, but becasue of Him.
So whatever challenge you might be facing in your marriage (or another area of your life, for that matter), whether it feels like a nagging annoyance or an insurmountable issue, choose to do the hard thing. Lets’ choose to love, even when it hurts. Let’s choose to die to self, knowing that His Spirit works in us to will and to act according to God’s plan and purpose. He is for us.
What’s one way you choose to love and serve your spouse, even when it’s hard?
I’m also sharing some tips for Big Dreamers over at Concrete and Cloud today: http://www.fordreamersanddoers.com/blog/closeddoor