“Through love serve one another…For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Gal 5:13; Mat 20:28)
To serve it means to be useful to another; to be worthy of trust; to be faithful to another; to be a helper; to favor another above yourself; to bring satisfaction; to minister and pray for another; to wait for another, to give the proper respect to another; to perform all the duties of an office; to supply the needs of another; to accommodate and be flexible with another, to forgive, to promote another above yourself. A servant is a waiter, a domestic helper, a secretary, an assistant, a follower, a nurse.
The opposite of serving means to hold back, to withdraw, to refuse, to resist or to become the master or a lord.
There are two types of believers, weak and strong (Rom 14). This distinction comes from the type of consciences they have. The conscience is a part of the human spirit. It is planted by God to tell us what is right and what is wrong; what is of God and what is of the devil. The conscience starts to develop in a child in the pre-school years. If the parents are believers they will use the word of God to train their child’s conscience. Soon, their child knows what the will of God is and what is not. Then he will grow to be a mature and strong believer. But in the case of unbelieving or legalistic parents, they insist on many rules and regulations, adding a false burden on their child’s conscience. When the child becomes an adult, he will be a weak and religious believer. This man is always afraid to sin. He always assumes that his sins will take him to hell. He is afraid to make God angry in a multitude of things. A weak believer has an over-sensitive conscience. He is easily upset with things that are not so important. He is very slow in making decisions and often comes back to change them. He does not understand the freedom with have in Christ or the love that never fails.
When you think of marriage, think of serving. Success in marriage comes from serving one another through love, for the sake of Christ! Let me make it easier for you…
When you are ready to be useful to another, to be worthy of his trust, to be faithful unto death, to help and to bring satisfaction another, to minister and pray for another, to wait and to give the proper respect to another, to forgive, to assist, to follow and to nurse another back to health…and so much more…then you are ready to marry!
To serve another is not easy at all. That is why success in marriage does not come easy. There are many hindrances along the way. The flesh is selfish and proud. It wants to be bossy and in control. The flesh hates to be seen as a servant. Many ‘house girls’ marry rich men just so that they will be ‘madams’. For them, the idea to be a servant ‘again’ is crazy.
Let’s imagine that a strong Christian woman marries a spiritually weak man. Remember that strength and weakness is not physical but is connected with the conscience. For example, the wife can eat anything but the husband forbids ‘snails’ in the house, for example. This is because his mother told him that in her village, snails are forbidden. He does not take the time to study the Bible and see if such food is acceptable. What his mother said is final to him. The truth is that Jesus declared all foods clean and acceptable before God (Mk 7:19). The husband imagines that if he eats snails, he sins and he will go to hell. But the wife grew up in a house where snail stew was a delicacy and she likes it very much. What will she do now? According to the law of a servant, she will chose to abstain from eating snails, so that her husband will not wound his already weak conscience. If she wants to be like Jesus, she will learn to serve him as he is. She has to be very sensitive to the (greater) needs of her husband and learn to ignore her own. Service means sacrifice. This is never easy. But this is what Jesus did. This is what love requires. The only option is that patiently, she will pray and wait for her husband to mature spiritually. Then one day, his ‘eyes will be open’ and he will see the power of the Cross, of sacrifice, love, humility and Christian service. And then, he will change…he will become a servant too. That is when marriage becomes balanced and sweet! Oh…
Dear wife, you cannot expect to marry a man ‘ready-made’. Even if he is a believer, you cannot expect to have an ‘easy life’ with a man who is so trained by his mother that he needs nothing from you again. Personally, I do not wait for any harvest in my husband’s character, except the one that comes from the seeds I planted in him over the years. Many tears have been the only rain for my seeds. But this is God’s law: Humble service and wisdom come before honor. I am just reaping a great harvest of ‘divine love’, from seeds I planted more than twenty years ago. At that time, it looked impossible that we can ever come to the unity of the Spirit necessary to start a church, for example. We were too different…To serve one another in love meant to cross oceans and cultures that have never met. But these days, this peculiar unity is manifesting; it is solid, real and strong. It is not just the seed. It is the abundant life harvest of the wonderful grace we found at the Cross, the promised blessings of God upon the ‘international field’ of our marriage and ministry.
Lastly…Do not dream less! Do not edit your vision! Do not limit God! Do not be tired to serve the other even in the absence of kisses and hugs! Do not give up on your destiny! God who planted it in your spirit is still watching over you! You can do all things, even serving your (difficult) spouse in love, thru Christ who strengthens you!
In Christ I declare:
I plant in the Spirit and I reap eternal life and blessings in my marriage!
Thru faith and patience I inherit the promises of God!
My marriage is promoted from seeds to harvest time!
To the glory of God!
In Jesus name