Chivalry: Part 17 - First Love

“…just as Christ loved"

A vision for true love has been cast. The bar is high, the calling is immense, and the goal of loving our wife as Christ loved the church can only be met by a man’s full, total and utter dependence on God. Nothing defines manhood like a husband who has taken up the call of God and leans into one of man’s greatest challenges that hold the richest reward–loving our wife, “just as Christ loved”. God sees into the heart of our wife and says, “there is no relationship on earth that deserves your energy and intentionality more than your wife, she deserves your first love”.

When a man grabs hold of God’s vision for loving his wife, it's the wisest thing he can ever reach for. God loves women and his passion to see a woman loved well by her man is profound. But this love can't be boot-strapped or contrived. This love can only flow from the life of a man who’s heart clings to his Savior. The magnitude of God’s love can’t be imitated by the self-will of a man’s strength. The vision God has set before a man to love his woman can only reached by an abiding, constant dependence on God. As tough as this may seem, one thing is clear: Living in proximity to God and letting his power flow through us to our wife is much more plausible than living in performance mode and trying to prove that we have what it takes–we simply don’t have the right stuff. But the pressure is off. Jesus said the way to love is to abide with the one who gives us the power to love. Simply put, men who deeply love God have a deeper well of love and strength to draw from. Our wife deserves our first love among all humanity, that's why the Lord must never take second place to another substitute deity.

When we are living in connection with Jesus we will be able to love as Jesus loves. Here’s a few gifts our bride desires and by God’s grace we can give.

Present Love - There’s a sense in which a woman just needs to know we’re with her. Even when not in physical proximity, a woman who feels deeply that her man is unshakably committed to her, is content in her soul. The gift of present love is built on daily choices of sacrificial love.

Sacrificial Love - A woman who knows her husband has her back, will have confidence to face the world. When our wife sees us sacrifice, she’s getting a small glimpse that we’ve been connecting with a power beyond ourselves. This is the love that launches our wife beyond a zone of self-protection and into God’s greater vision for her life.

Prevailing Love - Love that forges through challenges, blasts through opposition and holds on through storms is a love that reflects Jesus. Prevailing love has staying power and never says quit. This is the love that signals to our wife that the gates of hell can’t tear the two of you apart.

Chivalry isn’t dead, it just needs God’s love blown into it.

Prevail...God can get you through your battles

Battles are unavoidable. They can't be ignored, avoided, or even put off - but they can be won. The sooner we come to grips with challenges of all kinds and tough spiritual conflict, the sooner we can get on with winning the war. Let's stake claim to a serious spiritual promise, right now. God can get us through our battles - In Christ we prevail!

Now, "prevail" is no wimpy word. Check out this strong definition: "to defeat an opponent especially in a long or difficult contest". Let's break it down from back to front.

  • It will be "difficult". That means a certain level of pain is involved. And with every level of difficulty comes the urge to escape. But often the only way to get distance from our battle, is to bust through our battle. This is critical: We must refuse to medicate the pain while in the middle of it all. There's things God wants us to see, feel and experience at a soul level. These can only be fully received and taken-in while under the influence of God's Spirit.
  • It will be "long". Hang on, this ride isn't ending soon. Prevail doesn't indicate a fast and furious fire-fight. It points to a victorious resolution that's absolutely certain, but we're going to be weaving our way through enemy territory for quite a haul. We can't keep looking for the clearing. We must place one foot in front of the next and trust God for when the win will come.
  • It will result in "defeating an opponent". Now, our "battle is not against flesh and blood", so people are not the enemy. But boy do they look like it sometimes. People can in fact be used by the enemy as a tool to deal us some blows. The sooner we realize that there's an evil force who can control circumstances and some people, like a gamer uses a joy stick, the sooner we can see our battles for what they are. We're locked into a contest that is both sweet and sinister, good and evil. But here's the payoff - In Christ the enemy is defeated...we prevail!

So keep your heart bowed low before God and keep your chin up. Whatever you're battling through, God's already seen it and he's mapped a plan to get you a win. God will prevail!

Matthew 16, Ephesians 6