In last week's post I talked about making the choice to love our spouses. And as I said before, this is the first step to loving our unbelieving spouses unconditionally. Many of you have shared that it's difficult to love your spouse because of his behavior, which is completely understandable. But please also understand that allowing those situations to determine whether you love your spouse or not is conditional love, which is based upon performance and circumstances.
Conditional love is human and is fraught with disappointment and failure. We need God's love, wisdom, and guidance to move beyond this limited commitment in order to understand God's covenant of marriage and complete commitment.
In our spiritually mismatched marriages, we seem to face more difficult situations and more than our fair share (if there is such a thing) of spiritual warfare. Opposition is just a part of this kind of marriage. Perhaps knowing and accepting that can help us to move beyond ourselves to answer the calling God has put on our lives.
"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. — Acts 20:22-24
Yesterday I read these verses, which immediately spoke to me regarding our “mission” as unequally yoked spouses. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know God has called us to this path for a most noble and great reason. When we can see this, I believe it is then that our burden becomes lighter and we are willing to commit and fight for our cause--our spouse's salvation.
Now I will confess I can only speak to this from my own perspective. I’m not married to a very difficult or hurtful man. He’s quite the opposite, so forgive me if my perspective is limited, which it may very well be.
But like Paul, God has used his Spirit to forewarn me of difficult times spanning a year before my husband is spiritually healed. This warning came nine years ago. I refused to turn away then and I still do. In the meantime I will continue to do what God told me then, to continue to march around my husband in prayer, like Joshua did with Jericho.
So, here I will finally come to my point. The second step in loving our spouses unconditionally is to keep our focus in the right place. To understand that this is much greater than ourselves. In fact, it’s not about us at all. It’s about a soul who’s at risk of perishing. Some of us will be asked to sacrifice a little. Some of you are sacrificing so much, it makes my heart ache and brings me to tears before God, praying for your strength and perseverance.
But I know without a doubt God is working in those very situations to bring our unbelieving loved ones to faith. In the end, it’s still their decision. And they can still choose to say no. However, no matter what the outcome, let’s run the race as God has called us to so that when we meet Jesus face to face, when we fall to our knees in front of Him weeping in awe, gratitude, and relief, and when He gently lifts us to our feet and wipes away our tears, we can hear those most coveted words,
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Praying and believing,