Love And Self-control

The quote in C. S. Lewis’s, The Screwtape Letters kept drifting through my mind when considering this post on self-control. When I came across the quote in another post, I knew I had my answer. Let’s take a look at the quote.

Boy on a Rock Center of His Wheel Erik Cox copyrightNo longer desiring

 Spiritual deserts can leave us dry and empty.

Still intending

Where else do we go when He is everything?

Every trace of God has vanished

Storms can erase every trace of His hands…for a while. Of course, we know even when we can’t see His hands, we can trust His heart!

Asks why

Have you ever asked why? I have.

Feels forsaken

In certain circumstances, the enemy will try to convince us that God has forsaken us.

Still obeys

So what makes a person obey when their life is in shambles, and there seems to be no evidence of God’s hand in their life?

For me it’s Love.

When I think of my relationship with the Lord, I think of marriage. When I fell in love, I had eyes for no other. My heart was pledged to one. In good times or bad times, I know he loves me even when I don’t understand him. Hubby’s love gives me strength.

It’s the same way with our relationship with the Lord. His love gives us the strength to face the hardest circumstances. Our love for Him and the work of the Holy Spirit in us produces self-control in us. We shouldn’t take pleasure in doing things that would displease Him. Just as we shouldn’t take pleasure in doing things that would displease our earthly spouse. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Falling in love makes everything easier.

Storms will come. At times, there’ll be no sign of deliverance. But if we love Him as He loves us, then we will still obey.

Your turn. Tell me what keeps you intending and obeying. Both actions require self-control.

 

The Mark of Love

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

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Love God. Love people. ~ T.D. Jakes

Our outward show of love for God and people enables the world to see what has taken place inward. Let us be ready to share the hope within us.

Sow In Love

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As I looked out my window this week, I noticed my flower and garden beds. This warm weather tempts me to get busy. But I know the cold will eventually pervade the south once more before the spring months. As I continued staring at my lifeless beds, I thought about the different ways a garden is compared to this thing called love.

 Soil Preparation

Get to know your mate BEFORE the vows. Plow the rows straight. Be honest even if it means you may lose them. With those first tender seeds of love include seeds of hope, patience, kindness, and respect. Be sure to add goodness, gentleness, and temperance.

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Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Dead Heading and Weeding

Deadheading is the process of removing old flowers. Marriage goes through all four seasons. It’s your choice to sow the seed therein. The same kernel that worked in summer will not grow in wintertime! Learn to change with the seasons. Pinch the seasonal blooms and tuck them away before sowing new seeds.

While you are deadheading check for weeds which appear out of nowhere sucking the fertilizer and water from your soil. Left alone they will reproduce until your garden becomes a patch of weeds. Quickly pull and discard.

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A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverb 15:1

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesians 4:26

Bugs, Bees, and Butterflies

An invasion of a harmful pest can destroy a garden overnight. Destructive pests in a garden are like bad habits in a marriage. Online affairs, pornography, secrets, and the like will eventually destroy trust and love in a relationship.

But not all insects in a garden are harmful. Some are beneficial. Good habits in a marriage solidify the relationship. Habits such as quiet moments together, evening or morning walks, an afternoon stroll on the beach, a hike through the woods, date night, movie night, cuddle time, and forgiving.

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I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 7:10

Perfect Light

In the light of love a garden will thrive, but in the light of comparison, the fruit will suffer.

For example, who doesn’t like an unforgettable love story? But sometimes we may forget that it is just that—a fictional story. If not careful we may begin expecting our spouses to be like the flawed semi-perfect character on the page.

My man isn’t a Darcy, Knightly or Captain Wentworth. He loves me more like a Hub McCann (Second Hand Lions) Tell Sackett (Shadow Riders) or Mr. Fredricksen (Up). For those who haven’t seen the movies, Hub, Tell, and Mr. Fredricksen are crotchety, ornery, lovable men.

But I knew that about Hubby going into the relationship. It’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with him. He doesn’t speak with flowery words. In fact, he hardly speaks at all. Yet, he buys me the most heart-hugging Valentine and Mother’s Day cards you could ever imagine.

Somedays he drives me nuts. Yet craves my attention. Expects the best. And challenges me to meet him half way. Other days I drive him insane. I  give no quarter. I expect his best. I crave his undivided attention. And dare him to meet me half way.

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I confess, dearest reader, I love him more today than the day we married because I’ve come to realize we both are two imperfect and broken people in need of a perfect Savior to mold and shape us into His image.

And in that perfect light this marriage of mine has gone through endless house remodeling and repairs, menopause, and man-o-pause, sickness, miscarriage, disease, death, family squabbles, addiction, fits of anger, bouts of silence, and lack of money. And that is the first thirty years! But rather than give up we choose to forgive and make up.

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And in our efforts to cherish each other, no matter the present circumstances, we have harvested two exceptional children, amazing love, fits of laughter, delightful secrets, passionate embraces, furtive glances, and knowing smiles.

 

So this is love…

 

Love is a veritable garden of delights—and heartache. No two are alike. Not one perfect. The soil must be plowed, fertilized, and watered. The beds need constant tending. But if you are willing to get yours hands dirty, you can produce a bumper crop.

Happy Day of Love, dearest reader!

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