Recently, a blog post resonated with many wives, including myself, as it circulated around Facebook. The post was titled "25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband (without ever uttering a word)" and you can check it out here. I began to mull over the idea of how we can also show Jesus our love for Him (aside from respecting our husbands) and, while I'm sure it's been done before elsewhere, here is my contribution to how we can communicate our love for Jesus (with or without uttering a word).
1. Put Him first. Exodus 20: 3-6
As with anyone we love, we need to spend time with Jesus. This will certainly look different for each one of us, but I know for myself that putting the Lord first means that I need to be diligent to not pick up my phone first thing in the morning to check email or Facebook. Rather, to put God first, I need to put myself second (or third, or fourth).
2. Obey Him. John 14: 15, 1 John 5: 3
Actions speak louder than words, right? In looking up cool quotes for this concept, my favorite was "Talk doesn't cook rice." :) We can say we love Jesus, but if our actions prove otherwise, then we need to examine what is honestly in our hearts.
3. Lay down my life and my rights. Galatians 2: 20; 1 John 3: 16; Luke 1: 38
In this culture of fighting for our rights, this idea is absolutely foreign to our flesh. Let's be challenged by John the Baptist, though, as he says, "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease."
4. Imitate Him. Ephesians 5: 1
Remember when you were a little kid? Or, do you have children of your own? Little ones love to imitate parents. They look up to those who care for them. Who better to imitate than Jesus? Of course this is impossible on our own, yet as we abide in Him, God changes us into the image of His Son more and more.
5. Care for Him. Matthew 25: 34-40
This is putting some skin on the bones. This is the rubber meeting the road. How can we care for those in need? Jot down one or two ideas right now...then purpose to do them in the next week.
6. Trust Him. Matthew 6: 25-34; 1 John 4: 18; Psalm 37: 3
Even, no, especially, in the midst of hard circumstances and when we have no answers.
7. Love others. Matthew 5: 43-48; 1 John 4: 7, 11
As we consider God's great love for us, particularly when that great love for us was before we loved Him and when we were awfully unlovable, how can I withhold love from anyone, really? Again, only through the power of the Holy Spirit, can we love Jesus, and others, in this way.
8. Practice true religion. James 1: 27
Recently, I was reminded that praying and ministering at an abortion mill (or abortuary, as our church calls it) is one of the best ways to practice true religion. Women are 'widowed' as they are abandoned by those who should be caring for them in their delicate need, and, of course, the unborn children are the most orphaned of all.
9. Believe Him. Romans 10: 9-13
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can believe in Jesus and love Him. If you desire this, ask God today to fill you with His Holy Spirit!
10. Follow His Way. Matthew 10: 38-39
Oftentimes I can twist and turn things around to my benefit so that I don't have to work as hard or follow God's way. It's hard to take Jesus' cross and follow Him, but that doesn't mean that I get a pass just because it's hard. Lord, help me lose my life for Your sake.
11. Worship Him. Isaiah 6: 1-7
Every time I read this passage, I, too, feel "undone". Truly knowing who we are before a holy God only results in one thing...worship.
12. Love His Bride, the Church. Ephesians 5: 25-27
As we love Jesus, we must also love His bride, the Church. How can we do this? Seek unity. This unity is for the purpose of making Christ known, not for the purpose of letting sin run rampant. So, sometimes as we lovingly encourage, and even confront, others in their sin, it may seem like we're not being united. But, when the purpose is to glorify Jesus, unity results as we recognize our sin and repent.
13. Serve Him. John 13: 1-17; Romans 12: 1
Challenge du jour: serving others as we lead them. This follows our Savior's lead beautifully.
14. Suffer for His Name. Acts 5: 41; 2 Timothy 1: 8; 1 Peter 4: 19
Ouch. Now comes the really tough part. Not that laying down my rights and loving others wasn't difficult enough...But, suffering for Christ...and, really, the challenge comes in finding joy in it. May I have the mind frame of the apostles when they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus' Name!
15. Delight in Him. Psalm 37: 4; Psalm 40: 8
As we abandon our *selves* in worship of our great and holy God, there will be delight. I know that I must be diligent to nurture this delight. Before worshiping together on Sunday mornings, I need to set my thoughts and heart straight. Sometimes during worship, I have to rein in my thoughts so they are on Him and I am delighting in Him. But, that effort is important and necessary. The result is a disciplined and changed, soft heart that delights in my Savior.
16. Pray and depend upon Him. Matthew 7: 7-12; John 8: 31-32
Spending time with the One you love. Not trying to be independent from Him in anything. This is what our husbands desire; this is what also pleases our Heavenly Bridegroom.
17. Nurture a broken heart and contrite spirit. Psalm 51: 17
Without these, our love can grow cold. Hosea says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you." (10:12)
18. Walk in love with others. Ephesians 5: 2; Philippians 2: 3-11
We will become offended by others and we will be hurt by others in this thing called life. But, if we purpose to think of others as better than ourselves and if we are quick to forgive (and, oh, how I know this is impossible...apart from Jesus!), then we will be more able to cover a multitude of sins.
19. Renew my mind. Romans 12: 2
With all the distractions of the world around me, and thoughts in my mind, and competing desires in my heart, the Truth must be a constant reminder.
20. Forgive others. Matthew 18: 21-35; Matthew 6: 14-15
Jesus told His followers that we must forgive others--there's just no other way. No one has sinned against me as much as I've sinned against God, yet He has forgiven me! Because I've been forgiven by such a merciful God, I must practice forgiveness as well. Holding onto grudges and bitterness against others just denies what He has done for me.
21. Do not be ashamed of Him. Romans 1: 16; 2 Timothy 1: 8; Romans 10: 11
Sadly, when I was younger, I remember times of feeling shame around my grandmother when she would become confused. I loved her, but it was just hard for my immature mind to comprehend. As we mature in Christ, may we never live with a divided heart that is ashamed by Him.
22. Rest in Him. Matthew 11: 28-30
When I don't trust my husband's judgment with a decision, I struggle with great unrest. He is called to lead our family, but when I wrestle with that or a direction in which he's leading us, there is no peace. The same is true with Jesus. He's the perfect Promise-Keeper. Trust Him and you will rest in His peace.
23. Hate the 'world'. James 4:4; Romans 8:6
This may be really offensive to some readers, but in order to love Jesus, James tells us that we must not be friends of the world. And, if you really want to hear strong language, this is what James calls us when we love the world: adulterers and adulteresses! To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. Does this mean there is conflict with "love your neighbor" or that we shouldn't share Jesus with unbelievers? Of course not. This means that your heart cannot be divided. You can't have one foot in the world and one foot in the Church. Live solely for the Lover of your soul. Don't flirt with the world.
24. Be fruitful. John 15: 1-8; Titus 3: 1-8; 1 John 3: 18
As I consider the parable of the sowers, in addition to the above verses, the seed that is desirable is the one that blooms and bears fruit. We want our gardens to flourish; the same is true of our spiritual lives. Examine where you were spiritually a year ago, five years ago. Where are you now? Purpose to grow. Use your time to mature as a Bible student, to store God's Word in your heart more and more, to pray and spend time leaning on the Lord and knowing Him more. Jesus has come to give us life abundantly. Bear much fruit and glorify God!
25. Tell others about Him. Philemon 1: 4-7
I just can't imagine loving anyone or anything and keeping it a secret. It would be like you're about to burst! I'm not sure why, as Believers, we have difficulty telling others about Jesus--sure, there's rejection and possible harassment--but, when we dwell on all the amazing good gifts we've been blessed with, when we practice thankfulness and praise, I really think it just overflows out of our hearts and mouths. What a challenge for me...to share my love of Jesus with others. But, He's redeemed me and changed me...and I want others to have that same joy and freedom. How can I keep that good news quiet?!?