Here's a little story about how God can use anything to teach you a lesson. A couple days ago Kelly and I were heading down Highway 67. It was the opening weekend for muzzle-loading season and there were several vehicles on the side of the road where hunters had parked to go and find that elusive wall-hanger. As we passed one vehicle there was a guy getting ready. And he was putting on some nice gear-Cabela's Outfitter's Fleece, which is pictured above for your viewing pleasure. Good stuff, high dollar gear. And I salivated appropriately. I even mentioned it to Kelly; "That guy has got some good gear; that's Cabela's Outfitter's Fleece, high dollar, good stuff." And as we drove on, I with visions of Christmas presents from Cabela's dancing in my head, I had a thought (or more accurately, God gave me a thought): I can identify a specific line of hunting gear from a moving car, going 65 miles per hour but I often fail to identify the needs of my wife. And suddenly, Cabela's Outfitter's Fleece wasn't the only thing on my mind. How is it that as a follower of Jesus Christ, a man who has pledged my love to Kelly, how is it that I can so easily recognize hunting clothes but can be so obtuse when it comes to noticing what my wife needs from me? The answer is painfully simple-I'm selfish. I could dress it up in nicer sounding words, but that would miss the point. I am a wretched, self-centered person. I can pick out a camo pattern from a moving car, but I have no idea what size shoes my wife wears. And I know that show size isn't a spiritual issue, but it is indicative of a spiritual issue; I take the time to learn about what matters to me and often ignore what matters to Kelly. Don't get me wrong, I don't beat her or anything like that. People often tell her how good she has it. And I there are certainly times when I'm a good husband. I can outwardly do all the things a husband is supposed to. But God hasn't called me to be an outwardly good husband; He's called me to be an inwardly good husband. Not just to act right, but to be right. And this is where I fail. I can do the things I'm supposed to, but if the inside doesn't match the outside, God isn't honored. Let me give you a 'for instance.' Kelly is feeling unwell today. She asked me to stay home and take care of the kids so she could rest. Know what my first thought was? Not, "Here's a chance to love my wife like Christ loved the church." Not, "Great, a day to spend with my kids!" And not, "My poor wife, I hope she feels better." No, I began to think of all the way that inconvenienced me. What a wicked, unrighteous attitude. Jesus told me to love Kelly like He loved the church. Paul tells me to consider others as better than myself. And I fail to do both. I have no problems making sure that my needs are met. But am I as concerned for Kelly's needs? Do I truly love her like Christ loved the church? Sadly, the answer is "No." So what's the lesson? I need to fix my stinkin' thinkin'. I need to quit being so selfish. I need to focus on Kelly instead of focusing on myself. That's tough. In fact, it's impossible. We're not wired to think of others, we're wired to think of ourselves. And so I need to be rewired. I need to claim Paul's promise; "I can do all things (including love my wife like Christ loved the church) through Christ who strengthens me." The gospel message that saved my soul is the same message that will give me the strength to serve my wife.
Father, thank You for my wife. What a precious gift. Thank You for her love and encouragement. Forgive me for failing You by failing her. Help me love her like Jesus loves the church. Help me to learn to think of her before I think of myself. Help me to learn her shoe size. Thank You for the sufficiency of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It fixes all my shortcomings and gives me the ability to obey and glorify You. Help me to rest in the gospel today, and to live it in all areas of my life. Amen.