2pak wrote: ↑Sun Mar 19, 2023 6:03 am
Little for me to not like in what you wrote...
I would more state the Jesus overarching mission was to fulfill the law by introducing the concept of grace, teach and show this then die to bridge the gap between us and God - all because He loved us. Serving was part. I like your wording that everything He did was service of that death on the cross.
We are getting deep here, but it's the theology section so... I'll give it a shot,
I would want to say that underneath the rules, at it's essence even the law was about relationship . It was limited, but it provided a way for God to be with his people, even though his presence was mediated (see Hebrews 10). It was always his desire to be in relationship with his people (" I will be your God and you will be my people"), and the law was like a beta version of how to do that.
But it's sort of like a relationship with an immature person. You need more rules and expectations and boundaries. They might not know what a mutual, loving relationship is, because they've never experienced it. So the rules and guidelines help. It's transactional, but it's still a relationship. It helps you learn some fundamentals.
So I wouldn't want to make a distinction between Jesus' love as being about relationship and the Law being about rules. It was always about relationship, and what Jesus did was move it to a more mature relationship. One that isn't based on transactions and duty, but one of love. The grace part was that he did it despite us showing we couldn't handle the simpler version.
He loved his bride all the way to the cross... so there will never be a time when his bride will have to wonder about his love, affection, faithfulness, dedication, willingness to give fully of himself for her.
His love creates an environment in which we can also respond in love. Then Jesus says "behold, I stand at the door and knock."
But that standing and knocking also means waiting. Will she respond to his love? Will she love him back? If she open the door and let him in...she will experience the fullness of hi love. The Ephesians passage talks about making her holy, cleansing her, etc. making her the best version of herself she can be. This is his desire, but his desire is for her to be her best, but he can't make that choice for her.
He loves her with with his life, but she has to respond.
This is the answer to the question about responsive desire and his needs.
Jesus says "if you love me, you will keep my commands." The bride responds by loving him in the way he wants to be loved.
But what if she doesn't? Does he love her less? He can't. He has already loved her to the cross. He emptied himself to love her. But even here he waits, not demands, not manipulates. He is still knocking, inviting.
Let's get this back to how this relates to marriage relationships...
I ask this based on what I wrote to OBG concerning my observation in many men and in my former experience:
I desired a killer relationship with a varied sex life. Wasn't happening. So I talked, asked, negotiated - to no avail. I wanted something I saw as good but if I decided to drive what I wanted, I wasn't loving, I was being pushy and demanding. Well, I didn't want that because I'm a good man so I turned to the 'serve her' route. Maybe that would do it. Nope. My needs and desires were not met no matter what I did. So it became my service to God and my wife to give up my desires and relational needs for the greater good. And there's the 'no win' box I described. It is so common among men and creates two unhappy people.
I definitely think we can talk about serving wrongly. And you make me think about changing the way I talk about it to make sure that people aren't hearing something I'm not saying. The demanding and coercing posture is wrong, but what you describe here is just a really nice version of manipulation. And I say this out of my own experience, because I could have written every word of this also. All of that loving and serving really wasn't actual love and service, it was just about me getting what I want. It wasn't love, it was a transaction. It's not fundamentally different than demanding, it's just nicer. And the sex was just as transactional as the service.
The difference is the differentiation. Instead of thinking "how can I have a killer relationship with a varied sex life?" I think, what do I have to do to be the person she wants to have a killer relationship and a varied sex life with?" How can I make that life with me attractive? My goal is to love her like Jesus loved me, and to create the environment that she will want to respond to my love.
In another thread I gave my favorite definition of love. "Love is a rugged commitment to be with someone, for someone, unto Christlikeness. It's much more wholistic than just "serving." It's making sure she feels, respected, listened to, valuable, important, etc. It also involves really knowing her, sometimes better than she knows herself, so I can love her in the way she needs to be loved (at a much deeper level than cleaning dishes and vacuuming the floor). This kind of deep love moves each of us towards our best. But this kind of love requires the recipient have a choice to respond or not. Desires can and should be there. Details about how you want to be loved well should absolutely be there. But the choice of how to respond is also necessary. So I also get a choice about she loves me. I also get to tell the truth about how she makes me feel. I'm also going to do my best not to get sucked into games and manipulation either. Because love is always trying to move us toward Jesus, and that version isn't good enough for either of us anymore.
I likely do more of the "serving" now than I did before. But I do it with a different attitude, and a different goal. My only goal is to love her well. And when that changed... all that "serving" stuff started having more of an impact too.