“I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Let’s pause and ask ourselves, “What would this Life to the Full look like in our relationships … in the day to day details and interactions?
For an abbreviated answer let’s start with the basics:
As Jesus fills us with his Full Life, we see the world around us with a new perspective. The fog of the culture of this world is burned off by his Light, and our blurred vision begins to focus on what is truly important in life.
We may say this happens naturally as one gets older, and, yes, this is true. For the most part. But remember, I deal on a daily basis with real people, and I continue to see a culture-induced-cataract in many “grown-ups.”
Too many people are still prisoners of Jesus’ third soil type in his Parable of the Four Soils:
“… they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” (Luke 8:14)
These folks’ perspective and priority is skewed, and they miss what is most important:
I have found one solution to all our relationship problems, issues and challenges: Die to Self. I am often tempted to interrupt men as we talk about their marriage problems and say, “Try dying to Self for a month or two and then come back and let’s talk about your issues.”
I believe most of their issues will dissipate with this practice, don’t you? The Holy Spirit crystallizes this idea of dying to Self, especially in marriage, as he states through Paul:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
Submit to one another. Let the other person have it their way. Not because the other deserves this, and certainly not because they are above you. But because your perspective has shifted, and you now see that so many times you just wanted to do it your way. You wanted to get your way.
Can I get an “Amen?”
Imagine this marriage conversation:
Wife: “Honey, I was thinking we could stop by the store on the way to the game and look for those pots I have been wanting to find.”
Husband: (First to himself): “That makes no sense. It is not on the way. We could have done this any other time. There is nothing efficient about that!”
But because his perspective has shifted, he instead rethinks and says to himself: “She wants to do this. It is important to her. So what if we drive a little out of the way? So what if we miss doing such and such or seeing so and so? It makes her happy. That is all that really matters. And … it honors my Lord Jesus.”
“Sweetheart, (with a sincere smile) that sounds like a perfect idea!”
Husband: “Sweetheart, I want to order chicken wings and watch The Outlaw Josey Wales movie tonight.”
Wife: (First to herself): “Chicken wings? Ugh. And he’ll get extra Ranch dip too! And that Western again? We’ve watched it a hundred times already.”
But instead she says to herself: “It makes him happy. We will be sitting together. I can nibble around the edges and there are a few interesting parts in the movie. And besides, he just loves this.”
“Honey, (with a sincere smile) that sounds great!”
Really, would it kill you to practice letting him or her have their way more often? Imagine a couple who so embraced this approach they almost made a game out of submitting to one another – out of reverence for Jesus.
Now for those of you who are sneering and asking, “But what about if my wife or my husband is wrong, and it will lead to a bad thing, even a catastrophe?” You’re just dodging and you know it. How often does that scenario come up, versus the myriad of times it truly does not matter one bit if we do it their way?
So I say, shift your perspective to what is truly important: relationships. Healthy, positive, thriving, joyful and fulfilling relationships. And practice, make a game out of it, letting your spouse do it their way.
Life to the full!