Serving through sex (Part 1 – Adaptability)

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I’ve heard a few times about the idea of ‘serving’ your husband through sex because it’s a need he has. I don’t like that view or the term ‘serving’ as it relates to sex and as the weeks rolled by, I saw it again and again. Every time I saw it, I liked it less and less. This term, serving in the context [of sex] has the slight nuance of obligation (see duty, onus, burden, and liability) to it.

My first feeling is, serving appears to be something you do for the benefit of someone else. In this context, its serve your husband sex for his benefit. And although that might seem right (Proverbs 14:12); somehow it rings false. I think this whole idea of a wife serving her husband sex is an approach that will backfire in the end.

So I want to peel back this idea and see what it exposes.

~ ~ ~

When I let the word serving roll around in my mind, the first thing I’m faced with is a choice: have to OR want to; along with a whiff of resistance – it seems like serving could almost, be placating*.

*to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures

*soothe, assuage, mollify.

How did Jesus view serving? If God is renewing my mind to be like Christ’s, then I can look to His example. When God requested that Jesus go to the cross:

  • Did Jesus do it to appease or pacify God?
  • Was His agreement to God’s plan a conciliatory gesture?

Jesus wasn’t double minded. He wasn’t thinking, “Omg!! You want me to do what!? Do I have to?” But speaking out, “I want to do this.” I don’t think so. On the contrary, Jesus grabbed a-hold of God’s idea and adapted His own will to God’s plan of the cross.

HAVE TO / WANT TO

When Jesus saw there was no other way, He adapted immediately to God’s plan. This morphed His have to into the want to (Luke 22:42). When Jesus chose to adapt to God’s plan for His life, as hard as it was, His heart was no longer divided between have to / want to, and the human part of His mind was renewed (Romans 12:2) and it showed in His willingness. God’s plan became Jesus’ plan – they were united.

Adapting enables the flesh to grow up*. Adapting is what changes the stoic ‘have to’ in our flesh of obedience into the loving ‘want to’ in our spirit. (Ezekiel 11:19)

SCENARIO 1: What would you think? Someone who’s serving at church in the nursery because it‘s a need, but they have no interest in children. They’ve been watching your kids for about 6 months and then you overhear a conversation they are having outside of the church on their cell phone. They don’t really like kids that much. Sure they are cute and everything, but it’s not really what you’d like to be doing. However, you feel God will bless you because there is such a need for it – and there was no one else to do it. Would you really feel comfortable and happy with your kids there? Or would you feel better with overhearing a conversation of someone who said, that they really loved kids, in fact they just enrolled in a child care course because their heart really is for kids – they want to.  Or, scenario 2.

SCENARIO 2: You’ve got this good friend who you‘ve been sharing your life with. You meet every 2 weeks for a coffee and a chat. You’ve become very good friends and feel comfortable in sharing your struggles in marriage with her. You need to drop off something at a different friend’s house and your other friend (the one you’ve been confiding to) is there. They are out on the back deck and don’t know you are there. You decide to surprise/scare them by quietly sneaking up to the gate and barging through with a big smile on your face. NO intentions of eaves dropping – because you completely trust both of these women. But as you approach the gate you hear … not what you expected. Your deeper friend is sharing how she really enjoys your company except when you share about your problems in marriage. She finishes her conversation by saying that, it’s what friends do for each other, they serve each other and this is her Christian duty to serve in their friendship.

See, it doesn’t leave you with a true feeling of warmth and care — it’s not authentic.  It is truth … from the obedience of the mind — but not genuine.

Is it just semantics? I don’t know. Let’s try a different angle and drive it down a little deeper into our own personal experience. Look at the flip-side, from ‘serving’ him sexually (his need) to ‘serving’ her relationally (her need).

SCENARIO 3:  You overhear your husband talking to a friend, “I took her [his wife] out for dinner and a movie last night. I didn’t really feel like it, after the day I had I would rather have unplugged into a book or movie, but God says Christian serving is good, and this kind of serving falls on the husband’s shoulders because God made her with this need, so I ‘loved’ her by SERVING her.”  What a shock to hear; you were thinking that you really had a great time of relational intimacy.

If I over-heard that conversation I wouldn’t be feelin the love. I wouldn’t get a sense of being genuinely engaged in a real relationship of any depth; but more of having been appeased.

He is in the mindset of “I have to” not “I want to.” It feels deceitful and is an affront because when we read, For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), we know God didn’t mean for Christ to love the church through conciliatory gestures.  Have to is serving. Want to is loving. I don’t want my husband to have to love me; I want him to want to love me.

So, back to the sex of it … as long as I feel that I am serving my husband through sex, it will always be a conciliatory gesture and never authentic genuine love.

***IT IS ADAPTABILITY THAT CHANGES THE HEART FROM HAVE TO SERVE INTO WANT TO LOVE***

 ~ ~ ~

 

Part 2 – Submission is not serving. Serving is not submission.

 

 

 

*Did the God part of Jesus need to grow up His flesh? Probably not, as the God part of His nature was completely mature all ready. However, the part that was fully human need the flesh contended with. This is part of the testing and suffering that He had to endure to be the first born among many. Jesus lead the way, in demonstration with His own life, to show us what it really means to obey with the right heart.

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36 comments

  1. Technically, it is a duty:

    1 Corinthians 7 (NASB)

    7 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must [a]fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and [b]come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    The word used for duty is eunoia:

    G2133 — εὔνοια — eunoia — yoo’-noy-ah
    From the same as G2132; kindness; euphemistically conjugal duty: – benevolence, good will.

    However, the rest of your post is on the right track — you want to have sex with the spouse because you want to… not because you have to. As we have received freely thus we freely give.

    1. Hey DS thanks for stopping by. It is the English word ‘duty’ that has blurred the true meaning of ‘to agree in kindness for unity’ which is what eunoia means. Duty in owing anything to anyone comes from the word (and is linked to) love – the English translation is ‘ought’.

      When you settle (interpret) for the English word duty – this takes the word eunoia and drips it into a religious vein rather than the relationship vein. It forces our mind (heart) to sit in Law instead of Love.

      Eunoia is about being united in the right spirit with a brother in the faith; not what you owe anyone — other than what you owe God.

      1. @ Robyn

        I agree. The other passage where eunoia is used is service unto God rather than men.

        I think a step-by-step process is important here though. Let me explain.

        It’s good to acknowledge that human motivation is a fickle thing. Rather than it being a duty/obligation to the spouse it is better to think of it as a duty/obligation to God.

        This allows the mindset when interacting with others that because we have so freely received thus we freely give. This then allows us to express love as God intended even though we may not feel like it.

        It’s very easy for us as humans to say… ok here’s how God wants it. But it’s very hard to get to that point because we don’t know how to adequately teach others or ourselves the steps to get to that point.

        Once we fulfill our “duty” to God (as his doulos — slaves) by following His commands to love others as He loved us….. how much easier is it to act out of love for God rather than duty for Him. This is why Jesus calls us friends because then we know His master’s business.

        1. DS: You and I won’t agree on this because we come from different interpretive backgrounds.

          “But it’s very hard to get to that point because we don’t know how to adequately teach others or ourselves the steps to get to that point.” It is not hard to get to that point if you have walked through the experience and God has taught you first hand with your own spouse.

          You can ask any husband which he would rather receive: 1) sex as an obligation – FOR him –> a wife that is present because — following the letter of the law. Or, 2) a wife that is ravenous of his body because she’s adapted to wanting to have sex WITH him.

          The Law (have to) will never lead to Love (want to), this is why Jesus came to fulfill the Law with Love … Adapting is the key to the paradigm shift.

          DS, how do you want your wife to respond to your sexual advances? Because she’s following the rules or because she’s enthusiastically looking forward to having you inside of her?

        2. @ Robyn

          I agree with all of what you said above. That’s not the point I was making with my post though.

          For example, take a couple that is married and have just become new believers. How would you teach them to act in accordance with this passage?

          You can’t just say to the wife or the husband — “even when you don’t feel like it you should want to have sex with your spouse.”

          A wife or husband won’t understand that because they are not mature in the faith. What you can tell them is because we have an obligation to God — freely we have received, freely we should give — even when we don’t feel like it we should enthusiastically want to please our spouses needs.

          After a spouse obeys the commands of Scripture and starts to love like God has loved us… it will not be out of an obligation or duty to God but rather our love for God.

          My point is that to get to what you’re saying is that you have to take most people through the process of why it’s not a duty but rather a freely giving (agape love) experience.

          When Truth goes up against human experience it’s unfortunate but most of us trust in our experience over Truth. It is only trusting in the Truth and walking by faith into a loving (freely giving) experience that Truth and experience will more accurately align. Our experience becomes closer to the Truth. This is what “growing in the faith” means.

        3. As I already stated DS, you come from the religious perspective of using the Law to mandate relationship; God’s Word simply doesn’t say that to me. I’ve learned that fulfilling the Love mandated by Christ is what fulfills the Law. Law only leads to more Law; Love leads us to WANT to follow the Law.

          I struggle with “what ifs” for a few reasons: 1) they are always abstract and to the negative. And 2) they always assume that the Spirit is not working. And 3) they assume that a couple cannot heal their marriage without intervention from a counsellor. And most importantly 4) Jesus never used this approach.

          Could you please answer the question that I asked earlier: Would you rather have your wife respond to your sexual advances with Law Mandated Obedience because she HAS TO, or with the Love of WANTING TO?

        4. @ Robyn

          Stop trying to pigeon hole me into a view you think I’m saying. You’ve read my posts. I know what love is not from the law perspective. You were one of the people who liked it:

          http://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/love-is/

          What I am saying is that it is a step by step process. Consider reading the Bible. Many Christians don’t read their Bible everyday. However, first, you must get them in the habit of reading their Bible. This is a HAVE to. Then as they read more and understand growing in a relationship God they will WANT to.

          I know very few people if any who start reading their Bible all of the time because they want to. Many times in the beginning it is a have to which transforms into a want to.

        5. DS: That’s interesting. You’ve done that very thing. Yes, I did ‘like’ your post; however, it is a very different thing to talk/type of Love being above the Law then to share the experience of how it actually did play out in your marriage. It’s easy to sit disconnected at a safe distance from pain and out of harms way at a keyboard and dig through Greek texts and say what “should” be happening in a marriage … what it “should” look like. It is a completely different story to a woman that is physically/emotionally/mentally being threatened by her husband to keep all that ‘christian’ crap and bibles away from him and out of his house. When she’s been told to stay in that marriage.

          You and I are different members of the same body and as such we have different tasks … our experiences and giftings are suited for what God has aligned us for. My armour is different than yours and is not suited to what God has called me to; nor is mine suited to what God has called you too.

          Stop trying to put your armour on me; it won’t fit – you preach to officers. My ministry is to women that are growing disciples of Christ and have chosen to stay in the trenches of their marriage and see it through the worse.

        6. @ Robyn

          Let me put it this way:

          I think what you are saying is very idealistic.

          What I am saying tends to be practically what happens in reality.

          There’s nothing wrong with idealistic as it gives us a goal to strive for. However, idealism always has to contend with human nature. Human nature can be easily overcome by the power of God, but people often don’t have the faith for that to happen immediately.

        7. You need to help people be “good Christians” follow the rules, stay safe & on track, read your bible; to you this is the practical approach that you think they need. That’s great DS, there is a need for that in God’s Kingdom. But the women that I share my ministry with are NOT living in the safe track; they are doing warfare with Satan for the souls of their husbands. “take-two-verses and call me in the morning. Read more about love and forgiveness in your bible,” won’t work with them.

          You make the word “idealistic” sound bad. THAT’s exactly the kind of faith God is after in us. Childlike and idealistic. Idealistic is a good thing! It depends on God not self because it’s believing the impossible. The women I minister to have nothing left BUT their hope in the LORD and that He will come through for them; they expect Him to.

          It’s idealistic to expect that you can walk on water. It’s idealistic to expect that you can move a mountain. It’s idealistic to expect a few fish and bread to feed 5000 people.

          Yet it all happened didn’t it. Not because of who the people were, but because of WHO they had faith in.

          “What I am saying tends to be practically what happens in reality.” No brother; what you do is speculate on what you ‘think’ is good marriage counsel. And as good as it may be … as accurate as you try to present it … it still has not been tested in the fire of the ‘reality’ of a marriage … “your marriage.” Therefore it cannot be practical, it is academic.

        8. @ Robyn

          I see. I don’t think this is worth arguing about further then.

          And no, I don’t think idealism is a bad thing. It doesn’t happens often in reality because of our lack of faith, but praise God when it does. I definitely think it’s something that all Christians should be striving for regardless.

          I will pray that your ministry brings forth good fruit!

        9. Robyn,
          Whether is sounds nice or not, sex is an obligation. If you can’t meet that obligatin joyfully and with a real desire for it for yourself, you still should be serving your husband because he does have a need. That’s part of having a servant’s heart in my opinion.

          The point is even if you think you can’t change your feelings, you can control your actions. We serve God when we serve our spouses. The idea used to put a bad taste in my mouth, but as I allowed God to change my heart that no longer rankles. (I know you know all this as you helped me on this path last summer. 😉 )

          Trixie

        10. “Whether it sounds nice or not, sex is an obligation.”
          **Trixie, you know me better than that! I don’t care what it sounds like**

          Then to you, that’s what it will always be. I used to see it as an obligation also — a “have to.” When it’s an obligation that means it is owed. The problem with this line of thinking is that, “If I owe [am obligated] him something, well then he’s also part of this marriage, therefore: HE MUST OWE ME SOMETHING.” And when a husband doesn’t deliver … this is when the obligation mindset fails.

          “We serve God when we serve our spouses.”
          Sorry my sister, God doesn’t want us to serve Him with Law and the application of rules. The highest and first call of a disciple is the same as the second call; it is to Love. (See Matthew 22:36-40)

        11. Robyn,

          “I don’t want my husband to have to love me; I want him to want to love me.” While I understand this feeling and I share it, that in no way changes the command that he love you. That command means he’s obligated to love you whether he feels loving or not.

          Corinthians 7:3-5 clearly shows sex as an obligation, but just because I know it’s an obligation doesn’t mean I feel it as an obligation. I love my husband and enjoy sex with him, but if I didn’t, that wouldn’t change the fact that I’m obligated to engage in it anyway.

          Ezekiel 11:19 talks of God giving us a new heart. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought that’s what sanctification is. I have understood that to be a process rather than an immediate change.

          Of course we would all prefer that somebody want to do things with us and for us because they enjoy it too. That just isn’t always the case.
          Do you suppose men would say “No thanks” to sex that their wives offer because they feel obligated, in favor of waiting until their wives have been given new hearts?

          Trixie

        12. “This morphed His have to into the want to (Luke 22:42).”

          This post is about when you put others ahead of yourself it negates the ‘have to’. When you have completely shifted the gears of your heart – there will be no more ‘obligation’.

          Jesus was not obligated to go to the cross … He freely laid His life down. If I am being made in His likeness, I will allow my heart to be completely morphed like His. Anything less than that is getting stuck in the rules over relationship.

  2. I frequently struggle with this. For me, learning to think about sex as something I did to serve my husband, out of obligation, was an important step in moving away from my refusing and gate-keeping. I’ve seen this happen with other women as well, so I don’t like to dismiss the idea of sex as serving. Acting out of obligation led to the heart change that made sex so much more than that.

    Thinking of it that way past that season of my marriage, however, perpetuates the idea that sex is only for the husband, when it is also for the woman and for the marriage relationship. Sometimes, I do have sex because it is what my husband needs–but now I serve him without any sense of “have to” or “well, the Bible tells me I’m supposed to, so I guess I better get to it.”

    I think of sex as a ministry, a way of serving that pours out of my desire to share God’s love with my husband. In my mind, ministry captures the heart of service rather than the obligation of service. Most of the time, it is a mutual ministry–but sometimes it is me ministering to my husband and sometimes it is him ministering to me.

    1. @FW

      Thank you. You said what I was unable to convey in 2 comments. I guess that’s why you’re the writer and I’m not, LOL
      Trixie

    2. Yes, I totally get that mentally obeying can be an important step in moving away. In my example of Christ asking God if there was another way; I see this as that expression. The part I’m drilling down on is when Jesus said, “YET … Your will be done.” THAT is the paradigm shift from the chore of obligation (HAVE TO) into the (WANT TO) of the heart. We are told to new outlook – to be renewed; that means out with the old and in with the new – not sometimes; but completely. The new man (woman) is to be like Him … completely embrace the new … putting others ahead of self. In this case – sex. There was no more obligation for Jesus … God’s will and way and plan became, literally, His [Jesus] own. If you WANT TO … then you have adapted and embraced your spouse’s sexuality. This is the WANT TO love.

      It is wonderful for you FW, that you can say you had the heart change!! So much better on the other side!!

      I was blinded by that propagated lie: sex is only for the husband. It was the heart change in me that led to the reality that we are both actually high drive. But it didn’t happen until I asked God to adapt my heart to my husband’s. It was a sort of beautiful reaping of the sowing into my husband’s life.

      Let me use my cheesecake metaphor. God tells us to eat cheesecake together. In fact, I believe He tells us to eat it A LOT. Darrell’s favourite is apple cheesecake; mine is chocolate. Sometimes we eat the apple one with caramel sauce and sometimes without. And sometimes it’s the chocolate; sometimes with pecans and chocolate sauce and sometimes not. But the point is; we are still eating cheesecake. We are united in eating cheesecake – it doesn’t matter whose idea it is. There is no obligation because when you put the desires of your spouse ahead of your own; their desires become yours – they want cheesecake … so you WANT them to have it!

  3. When I read through the post, I did not quite agree with you, at first. This statement in your comments clarified everything for me and I feel our viewpoints are in harmony, “This post is about when you put others ahead of yourself it negates the ‘have to’. When you have completely shifted the gears of your heart – there will be no more ‘obligation’.” My heart did do a turn like this and it was only after I allowed the Holy Spirit to do it’s beautiful transformation. My weak flesh by itself could never not expect anything in return. But, when I allowed my heart and mind to be transformed, the ‘have to’ became ‘want to.’

    1. It was that way for me too Bonnie. As long as I tried to live it in my human strength, I always failed. Like you, I was looking for ‘fair play’ (whatever that is).

      Isn’t it just tremendous how the Holy Spirit can completely change our perceptions so that they benefit us in the long run!! Every time I consider this, it STILL blows my mind.

      As long as I tried to make these changes in my flesh with human strength I always had a watchful eye on what I was getting. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to ‘do it God’s way’ and say it doesn’t matter, I always ended up coming back to focusing on what I was getting. I was not ‘all in’ to God’s plan of being second to the marriage. But when I fully embraced what He said and DWJD (do what Jesus did) – THAT was when I found myself ALL IN and only then did the real renewing happen. The focus must be ALL about giving.

  4. I realize I’m a little behind in the game here, and I believe I know what you are saying but there is something that just doesn’t seem to be aligning in my thinking.

    In both Mark and Matthew it says that “Jesus came not to be served but to serve.” Would you be saying that was an obligation and a “have to” for Him? It almost turns my stomach to put your definitions of “placating” in the context of Jesus coming to serve, but if we take your whole concept of serving, that is what we would be doing.

    When Scripture says that we are to use our gifts to serve one another, that’s also a “have to”?

    It seems to me like it’s a disservice to say that serving is a “have to”. I do believe that people can serve without loving, but can one love without serving? In the context of Galatians 5:13, “…through love serve one another.” (ESV) and with the example of Jesus who His coming to serve was fully in the context of love, I believe I, and others, also can be “serving our husband’s through sex” in the context of love. There can be as much of a “want to” in serving for some as there is a “have to” in others.

    When it snows where I live, we as a family go and serve our neighbors by shoveling their drive-ways for them. Is there an obligation to our neighbors to do that? No. The neighbors have no expectations of us to shovel for them, and in actuality they had a hard time just receiving our service to them without them trying to pay us (especially our children) in some form. Do we feel an obligation to do it? No. It was just something we decided we could do to show the love of Christ to our neighbors. I just don’t see how, as a child of God who is trying to live by the Spirit, one can separate serving out of loving.

    This may all be semantics, but I for one will assume that there is love involved when one speaks of serving their husbands or whomever, unless it is very clear that it is not.

    1. Hi Janna94: When I see 2 scripture references that are partially quoted I find it confusing because: 1) I’m not sure of the context to which you are referring; and 2) Whether you are talking about a single event that was recorded twice – by two different people.

      But I will do my best to suppose your foundation of reference.

      “In both Mark and Matthew it says that “Jesus came not to be served but to serve.” Would you be saying that was an obligation and a “have to” for Him? It almost turns my stomach to put your definitions of “placating” in the context of Jesus coming to serve, but if we take your whole concept of serving, that is what we would be doing. When Scripture says that we are to use our gifts to serve one another, that’s also a “have to”?

      -it should turn your stomach because having sex with your husband without “wanting to” is placating him. In the example I used, when Jesus was talking to God, it was the word “yet” that brings the head of law/obedience together with heart/love. That’s why Jesus DIDN’T placate; His heart changed. He clearly meant that He didn’t want to be executed, “if there was another way”. It is human to not want to do something that is hard for us; but by embracing Christ’s pattern of choosing spirit over flesh we also can trump our flesh and thereby be renewed in our mind; just like He was in the garden.

      -the main problem I can see with your point of reference is that you are seeking to equalize the marriage relationship with all others. This will continually cloud your understanding because there is no other relationship in which we are literally becoming one flesh with another person.

      “It seems to me like it’s a disservice to say that serving is a “have to”.

      -It is a disservice when it lacks love …. It is a disservice to God. And yes, people CAN serve without love; but similar to faith … it doesn’t please God because it doesn’t change us. Rules don’t change hearts; love does.

      “In the context of Galatians 5:13, “…through love serve one another.” (ESV) and with the example of Jesus who His coming to serve was fully in the context of love, I believe I, and others, also can be “serving our husband’s through sex” in the context of love”

      -“serving one another” is not referring to the one flesh relationship of marriage. When we are told to submit (hupotasso) to one another (eph 5:21) …. We are also told to submit to our own husbands as well. Your submitted heart towards your brothers (the brethren) is different than your submitted heart towards your husband; is it not? Yet God used the same word. He did not say the marriage relationship is equal and the same as all other relationships. In fact, He makes a point of saying it is unlike ANY other and that it is a mystery. There is only one other relationship that is referred to “as one,” it’s when Jesus said, “the Father and I are one.”

      -Women want the phrase ‘serving in love’ to be the same blanket application for all relationships; this way they don’t have to surrender sexually; they can pretend they ‘want to’ by ‘acting’ it out – this is ‘having to’ serve out of obligation. Yet sex is the very thing that separates the marriage relationship from all others.

      -The heart has not adapted to surrender; the mind is just following rules. Jesus used a pretty harsh term for those that are pretending to have changed on the inside by looking like they have on the outside. He calls them whitewashed tombs (Matt 23:27-28)

      -First, that’s awesome that you and your family are so neighbourly; what a great model for your children! But in this example, the act of shoveling is YOUR idea. Therefore no adapting or change of heart is needed. Also, your neighbours are not “one with” your family in a one flesh relationship. And third, your neighbours were not wired and born with the desire to have their driveway shoveled by only ONE other neighbour. And, in order for this example to fit with Jesus in the Garden … the cross would have to have been His idea (like the shovelling is your idea); and therefore He would be a lunatic to ask God if there was another way when He was the one who thought of it.

      “I just don’t see how, as a child of God who is trying to live by the Spirit, one can separate serving out of loving. “

      -It’s the one flesh marriage that does the separating out. In all of the references to serving (the word douleuō from Gal 5:13, your reference) none relate to ‘serving’ your husband in marriage via sex.

      -It is because serving (the brethren) is not submission (in marriage); serving is something you DO – a submitted heart is what you ARE; that serving will always be ‘serving’ without submission. It is the adapting of the heart that is the game changer for true submission.

  5. I was out of town and missed this one. Whew! This reminded me of when Sis (now Jenny) would get into an issue with commentors. I would call her Brer’ Rabbit and tell her she was in the briar patch doing battle with the tar baby again. That was in the pre-Delightful Oak days of the then Sexy Christian Wife blog.

      1. I’m with you there. She’s in a new season which is not all that unusual for her. Her blogs have always been a place where if you blinked, something had changed. I used to tease her about it when it happened. Theme. Header. Gravatar. Mission. Deleted blogs. Deleted posts. Something is always changing.

  6. Robyn. Loved this post. So very important. Loved your responses to the comments even more. You and I are totally on the same page when it comes to relationship over rules! You can’t obey your way into relationship – never seen it work. The heart MUST turn and yield itself to love. Now on to reading part two.

    1. Hey Scott, thanks for reading!

      “You can’t obey your way into relationship – never seen it work. ” You are so right! As the OT proves – rules only lead to more … rules. The Jews couldn’t just leave it at the 10 commandments they had to keep adding and adding to them; thereby missing the whole purpose in the first place. That’s why I lean SO heavily on who Jesus was and what He did. When we want to love, rules are automatically fulfilled.

      I love that Jesus made it simple (not easy) but simple. He took all the rules and morphed them into a 2fer of love … essentially making it 1.

  7. I totally get what you’re saying, and I love your points about adapting. Indeed, no spouse wants the other schlepping unhappily to the bedroom to do their sex duty. That is definitely not what God had in mind when He designed sex.

    However, for myself, I have seen the beauty of starting some things out of pure duty to God’s commands. If you commit yourself wholly to it, I believe that God will change your heart and such “service” will be a joyful gift you give to others. For my own marriage, thank goodness I made the head decision to act in certain gestures of love (based on my understand of God’s Word), and soon my heart grew soft toward my husband as I met his needs and we both reaped the benefit. Half-hearted service isn’t what God desires, but I believe that He sometimes works on us as we simply chose to throw in before we feel that internal desire to serve.

    My two cents. Thanks for this discussion, Robyn!

    1. Hi J. I get what you mean. And perhaps I should do a follow up post to further clarify. Its not that we do one or the other: “have to” (obedience) leads us to “want to” (actions).

      Take our kids for instance. When they are toddlers (immature) we don’t expect them to understand all the ins and outs of electricity: how it works and why its dangerous. We just say, “No, don’t touch the outlets.” We expect them to obey … without understanding why. However, as they mature, and bigger issues arise, the history of the relationship shows them, 9 times out of 10 mom and dad do really know what is best for them because they love them; they have a better plan … a mature child will want to obey. Meaning, they will care: “What would mom/dad want me to do in this situation.”

      It’s the same with us, being God’s kids. I don’t believe God wants blind obedience from the head … there’s no heart in that. Sure we start out that way; in immaturity – newly born. But if we stay in the ‘have to’ mindset of obedience because of rules, we aren’t really growing into maturity and choosing spirit over flesh. This is why I see this illustrated so beautifully and powerfully when Jesus was talking to God; He said His say through the flesh, “is there another way?” And then He conquered His flesh by choosing the Spirit and willingly adapted to God’s plan. Jesus demonstrated in the living colour of His life the difference between the two.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation. You can drop your two cents any time!

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