Loving by Faith, Not by Sight by Tim Bryant
But what about when what your spouse is not easy to love? Almost every couple I have counseled, whether in conflict or engaged have a view of their partner that is unrealistically flawless. But, the truth is, he or she, like you, is a person with desires, limitations, and tendencies that sooner or later will disappoint. The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 20:9 that no one can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin."
Allow specific biblical beliefs about God to motivate a sincere and unconditional love toward your spouse. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says that we live by faith, not by sight. In the same way, you must learn to love by faith not by sight at times of disappointment and hurt in marriage. 1 Timothy 1:5 says that the goal of Christian instruction is love from a sincere faith. Galatians 5:6 tells us that the only thing that counts in Christ is faith expressing itself in love.
Maybe as you read this article, you are at a place of calling it quits or wishing you had never married. Your vow to love “for better or worse” conceived not how bad "worse" could get. If that is you, Christ wants to give you eyes to see what He sees so you can love like He does. In Revelations 3:18 He says to us, “I counsel you to buy from me…. salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” Such eyes to see will give you a heart to believe things that will motivate Christ-like love.
But such faith-motived love does not come from you but by hearing love-motiving truths from God about of the person, promises, and perspectives of God. Below are fourteen love-motivating truths of the Christian faith. Next time you are tempted to have unloving actions or attitudes toward your spouse, reflect on these along with accompanying Scriptures. If love is compelled than biblical faith is being fed.
- The Devil increases the division and destruction in my life and marriage if I respond in sinful anger. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
- The Spirit increases His work of unity and conviction of sin if I respond with edifying words to my spouse while addressing the problem. (Ephesians 4:29-30; John 16:8-ff)
- When I serve the “least of these” (which certainly includes my spouse) I am literally serving Christ Himself! (Matt 25:40)
- Jesus loved me not because of what we were but because of what His love would cause us to become – glorious! (Ephesians 5:25-27; Eph 2:1-4)
- God loved me and did good to me while an enemy – yet His love has made me His own through great sacrifice. (1 John 4:19; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Romans 5:1-2; 1 John 4:8; I John 3:14-20)
- God says to me, ‘I had mercy on you, should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant. ’ (Matt. 18:33)
- My God protects me with His power and will exalt me if I remain humble in my responses because He cares for the humble. (Isaiah 40: 23-26; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Isaiah 57:15; 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Peter 3:7)
- My God in wisdom has planned this trial for my good because I need to grow in faith and love. (Psalm 139; Romans 8:28-29; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:7-9)
- My Christ-like aroma will draw my spouse to repentance if God is at work saving my spouse. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
- My kindness and obedience will lead to the repentance and change of my spouse if God wills it to be. (See 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Also study 2 Peter 2, 3 and Proverbs 15:1, 16:7 for more on the promise of spiritual influence and positive impact a Christian's good deeds have on the evil around him.)
- My loving response to my spouse’s struggle to love me is producing a greater gain and joy in eternity if I remain pleasing to the Lord. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 - Also study Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 4:13; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Peter 1:11 to see the eternal benefits promised for those who please the Father.)
- If I continue to demonstrate love for Jesus by loving my spouse, especially when he/she struggles to love me, Christ will teach me more about Himself and make me more like Himself (John 14:21, 23)
- There is no greater joy than to become more like Christ and the more I lovingly respond to my spouse out of biblical faith, the more like Christ I am becoming; (Gal 5:22-24; 2 Cor 3:18)
- There is no greater value or good I can gain in this life than knowing Jesus Christ more intimately and becoming more like Jesus Christ more fully, and this relationship is challenging me in that pursuit better than if the bad never occurred. (Phil 3:10; 2 Pet 1:3-4)