…so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. ~ Colossians 1:17-19
God is after one thing: the preeminence of His Christ. That is a wonderful thought. That is a comforting thought. That is, until He wants to take the place of what I’ve made preeminent. I knew the principle in my mind, but I did not completely understand it in my heart. It goes deep. He is the root – the source – of life, and if I’m trying to draw from another root, He simply wants to uproot that other source of life and replace it with Himself – the True Life. What follows is a retelling of one such uprooting in my life.
I love my wife. I LOVE my wife. I adore my wife. My wife is my favorite person in the world. And it is good.
But, there was a time when it was bad.
You could say that I once worshiped my wife. My feelings for my wife controlled me. I wanted everything for her. I wanted to give everything to her and for her. All my attention – true attention – was focused on my wife. If she was happy, I was happy. If she was mad or upset, I wanted to fix it. She was my world, and I cannot properly convey the depths of my obsession with my wife. And it was bad.
Now, you may be thinking that it is surely good to be obsessed with one’s own wife, and, to an extent, you would be correct. But not when you give the preeminence in all things to your wife, which is exactly what I had done. My wife had first place in everything for me. And I didn’t even realize it. Oh, I knew how I felt about her, but I didn’t know how deep the poison went.
I call it poison, because that’s what I allowed the enemy to do – poison me. It was my own fault; I chose to listen to the whispered lies. It was so subtle that I initially missed it. It was just slightly askew from the truth. But the good news is that Christ dwells in me, and when I turn to Him, He shows me where that discrepancy lies. This took awhile, however, because I didn’t want to see it. I loved my wife the way I did, and I wanted to keep it that way.
Fortunately, the Lord didn’t want to keep it that way. He wanted the preeminence back. He wanted His rightful place – first place – in all things in my life. So, He started to open my eyes. I started to see that things weren’t as perfect in the marriage as I thought they had been or that I thought they should be. My wife started to let me down. I mean, what was that all about? She was this picture of perfection in my eyes, yet she was still capable of not meeting that standard. I had no clue what to do with this. I was so obsessed with my wife, that I started to think the problem was with her. Remember, I was focused on my wife; I wasn’t focused on me. Not even just a little bit. So, when things went sour, I had no framework with which to see the real problem. It wasn’t my wife’s fault that I placed her on a pedestal. It wasn’t her fault that my whole world revolved around her. She never asked for it. She never told me to. I just did.
Then, one night, while sitting in bed with my wife going over these issues, the Lord pierced my heart. He blinded all sight save Him. He finally broke through – not of His own accord, but because I invited Him to, and I meant it. I truly wanted to see, and He truly wanted to show me. I was at the point of death, so I decided that even if I had to die, I wanted to see. So I finally, willingly laid down my life for His. And He took it. Right then. Right there. Weeping and gnashing of teeth filled the room. I didn’t go easily, but I went. Soul life gone, R.C. was dead.
And Jesus Christ had preeminence once again. He mercifully showed me how I had mistakenly placed my wife where only He belongs – at the center and circumference of not only my life, but all things. That’s why she had let me down, why she couldn’t meet the perfect standard: because that wasn’t her place. That place is reserved for only one: Jesus Christ. He is that standard, and only He can meet it.
I died in my bed that night. But the life that replaced mine is an eternal, abundant life. Praise God! That life is now loving my wife in the only appropriate way – through Him and for Him.
And things were great!
For a day or two…
until I had to die again…
in that same bed…
just a couple of nights later…
The Night I Died in Bed…Again