Currently we are reading Timothy Keller's book The Meaning of Marriage. We are only half way through chapter 2 and have already learned a lot. This past week when we met we discussed what it looks like to be a servant to your spouse. To set aside our self-centeredness, and serve without expecting anything in return. How to serve with a joy that can only come from God continually filling you with His love and compassion...
And I realized something, many of the times that I am upset or frustrated with something (in married life or just life in general) the root of that feeling is my self-centeredness. Now in my defense it is human nature to be self-centered - just look at any baby or toddler - it's all about them and what they want all the time, right? But self-centeredness is a major road block on the road to being a servant within a marriage. A road block made even bigger by our culture of "all about me" and "do what makes you happy and feels right for you". (That is another topic for another time!)
Chapter 2 takes a closer look at a common Bible verse used wedding ceremonies - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, and I think it is one that should be applied to every day of married life, not just on the wedding day...
Love is patient and kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrong.
Love is the opposite of self-seeking. Self-centeredness can easily be seen in impatient, irritability, lack of graciousness and kindness in speech, and holding past injuries and hurts against others. I have to admit that more than a few of those things on that list could be used to describe me at times...It was not an accident that "self-seeking" was included in this list in 1 Corinthians 13. In order to nourish your marriage relationship each person needs to limit their self-seeking. And the same could be said about all relationships in general. A self-centered person can not serve someone else joyfully. A self-centered person while serving is always keeping a list of their service to be compensated for their efforts, or serving so they can boast about how hard working they are, or some other self-centered motive.
This coming week we are going to pray every morning that the Lord would take away our self-centered tendencies and replace them with a desire to serve each other. Would you join us?