…I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think… ~ Romans 12:3
God is after the preeminence – the first place – of His Christ in all things. His very end is to have that, and He does get that fully in the end. In the meantime, He works all things to make that end reality. And He works that in our individual lives as well as in the life of His Church. Last time, I told you how I had made my wife preeminent in my life and how I died so that Christ would have preeminence again. That was one night. A couple nights later, God flipped the tables on me, and I died again. Lemme ‘splain…
I’ve already told you how much I loved my wife. I worshiped her, remember? Things were awesome until they weren’t, and I blamed her. Because my focus and attention was on her. So the problem had to be her. But it wasn’t; it was me. I had made her my idol. And I died to that. But I hadn’t yet realized the corresponding result of my perverted affection:
I expected to be loved back in the exact same way.
In essence, I had made my wife my god. God opened my eyes to that, and I died to it. Painfully. But then I had also wanted to be made my wife’s god. Why not? I loved her obsessively, so she should love me the same way, right? That had become my expectation. Whoa. I wanted to be put where only God should be? Look out! Lightening strike happening any moment!
Now, it’s not a bad thing to want to be loved. God wants to be loved, and He puts that same desire in our heart. But we humans look for that love in all the wrong places. In fact, that is so true, someone put it in a song, I think. I was wanting to be loved the same way I was wrongly loving my wife. I wanted to be the one she came to for everything. I wanted to be her comfort, her peace, her shelter, her all in all. I wanted the preeminence in her life. I wanted first place in her heart like I had given her first place in mine. And it was bad.
Once again, I was listening to the whispered little half-truths from the enemy. Just enough truth for me to believe wrapped around the utter lie at the core: I deserved the preeminence in my wife’s heart. Again, subtlety was my downfall. Pride, selfishness, arrogance, etc. permeated through me. And when my wife wasn’t giving me the same attention I had given her, things got ugly. Really, really ugly.
Praise God for His infinite mercy. He opened my eyes once again to my enormous folly, and I finally chose to see it. My response to this new revelation? Death. I couldn’t do anything about it. Grace is a gift. I don’t earn a gift. A gift is freely given; I just have to accept it. Thank You, Lord, for your all-sufficient grace.
Only a couple of nights after dying in bed while “discussing” things with my wife, we were back at it. Same bed, other side of the same issue. God pierced my heart once again. This time, instead of giving my wife the preeminence in my life, I had tried to make myself preeminent in hers. How asinine is that? But I wanted out of that trap. I was tired of not being loved how I thought I should be. So, I gave it up. I laid it down. I died. More wailing and gnashing of teeth. I was out, and Christ was in. Praise God!
To my wife’s credit, she never wanted to give me the preeminence over God. Thank You, Lord, for that!
How Does One Die?
Death, especially of the soul-life, can be very painful. It typically is, actually. It’s called embracing the cross, taking up your cross, carrying the cross, etc. But the cross is always involved. You can’t go on to the resurrection life without it. Jesus died (on the cross, btw) to give life to others. It’s His life that He gives – His resurrection life. We die so that He may live. I died to (gave up) my idolatry of my wife, and now He brilliantly loves her the way she should be through me. I died to (gave up) my blasphemy of wanting to be my wife’s god, and now He gloriously loves me the way I should be through her.
And all is well…
until we gotta die again…