Love Celebrates Godliness
[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. – 1 Corinthians 13:6
From the moment you close your Bible in the morning nearly everything else you’ll encounter throughout the day will be luring you away from its truths. The opinions of your coworkers, the news coverage on television, your typical Websites, the various temptations of the day – all of these and more will be working overtime to shape your perceptions of what’s true and most desirable in life.
They’ll say that having a knockout wife who dresses to get other men’s attention is a good thing. They say that bad language and immorality in the movies are fine for mature people. They’ll say that church isn’t important in a person’s life. They’ll say that we each must find God in our own way.
They’ll say a lot of things. And they’ll say them so loudly and frequently that if we’re not careful, we can start believing that what they say is the way things should be. We can begin valuing what everybody else values and thinking the way everybody else does.
But the meaning of “real life” changes dramatically when we understand that God’s Word is the ultimate expression of what real life is. The teachings it contains are not just good guesses at what should matter. They are principles that reflect the way things really are, the way God created life to be. His ideals and instructions are the only pathways to real blessing, and when we see people following them in obedience to the Lord; it should cause us to rejoice.
What makes you the proudest of your husband? Is it when he comes home with a trophy from the company golf tournament, or when he gathers the family before bedtime to pray together and read the Word?
What overjoys you the most in your wife? Is it seeing her try a new painting technique in the children’s bedrooms, or seeing her forgive the neighbor whose dog dug up her plants?
You are one of the most influential people in your spouse’s life. Have you been using your influence to lead them to honor God, or to dishonor Him?
Love rejoices most in the things that please God. When your mate is growing in Christian character, persevering in faith, seeking purity, and embracing roles of giving and service – becoming spiritually responsible in your home – the Bible says we should be celebrating it. The word “rejoices” in 1 Corinthians 13:6 carries the idea of being absolutely thrilled, excitedly cheering them on for what they’re allowing God to accomplish in their lives.
The apostle Paul, who helped establish and minister to many of the first-century churches, wrote in his letters how delighted he was to hear reports of the people’s faithfulness and growth in Jesus. “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4).
The apostle John, who had walked closely with Jesus and became one of the main leaders in the early church, once wrote to his flock, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
That should be what energizes us when we see it happening in our mate. More than when they save money on the grocery bill. More than when they achieve success at work. Sometimes by accepting modern culture’s take on what to applaud in our spouse, we can even be guilty of encouraging them to sin – perhaps by feeding their vanity, or by letting boys be boys.
But “love does not rejoice in unrighteousness” – not in ourselves and not in our mate. Rather, love “rejoices with the truth,” the way Paul did when he said to the Roman church, “The report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Romans 16:19). He knew that the pursuit of godliness, purity, and faithfulness was the only way for them to find joy and ultimate fulfillment. Being “wise” about holiness while being “innocent” about sin – remaining unjaded and uncompromising as we travel through life – is the way to win in God’s eyes.
And what more could we want for our wife or husband than for them to experience God’s best in life?
Be happy for any success your spouse enjoys. But save your heartiest congratulations for those times when they are honoring God with their worship and obedience.
Find a specific, recent example when your spouse demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way. Verbally commend them for this at some point today.
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. (Psalm 101:2)
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Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.