Get Off Your "But"!

Jon Burgess


For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her... Ephesians 5:5


Paul is explaining to husbands and wives what it looks like to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. Christ-like submission is not a "lording over" as much as a "serving under"position of the heart. It's clear here that when a husband and wife make their vows to each other it's a covenant to lay down our rights in service of the other. The Christ-centered marriage is not "to have and to hold until I'm no longer happy" but rather, "to love and to serve until death do us part". This kind of agape love- the love of covenant choice is not contingent upon whether or not the other person is holding up their end of the agreement. Jesus laid His life down for the church while we were still sinners. It's not about what we may be feeling or what's fair it's about the fullness of Christ's love expressed in that moment and every moment after. Consequently, there's no room for "if's, and's or but's" in the covenant of Christ-centered marriage.


Cyndi and I had returned home after a long day only to find a trail of mud tracked through our room. We interrogated the boys thoroughly and all of them were convinced it was not them. We were not so sure. As I checked my phone I was frustrated that our boys continued to disregard basic house rules. Meanwhile, Cyndi, who was also frustrated, began to scrub the stains out of the carpets. She wondered why none of the boys had offered to help clean it up. This made me even more upset as I continued to check my phone. Then I looked up from my phone as I noticed Cyndi was staring at my feet. I followed her stare and saw what she was looking at. There, on the bottom of my heel, was the residue of mud. I was the culprit the whole time. She looked at me with increasing frustration. I was just as surprised as she was. What I realized was that when I went outside earlier my slippah's had sunk a little in the mud after all the rain and, without knowing it, I tracked mud onto our carpet. The second thing I figured out too late was that I should have been the one scrubbing the carpets. My boys were just following my example. Sometimes, to lay down our lives for our wives just takes getting off our "but's"- you know- all the excuses we have for not helping. "But, it wasn't me"- as it turns it out- it was! But, even if it hadn't been, laying down my life for her is cleaning up messes I didn't make. She does that for me all the time! "But, I'm so tired after a long day at work"- well, so is she. Laying down my life for her isn't about whether I feel like doing it. Agape love is not a feeling, it's a choice made repeatedly at all times. "But, I've got to do these things before I can have time to help her"- laying my life down for her looks like putting her first and everyone else second. Needless to say, I have married an extremely forgiving wife who has not held this against me. That sure sounds like the love of Jesus to me. It's time to get of my "but" and take up my cross when it comes to serving my wife and training my sons in the ways of Christ-like love.


Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness for my selfishness and pride. Please forgive me for the excuses that get in the way of the love you long to show through me to wife and others. Thank You for giving me such an amazing wife who shows Your love on a daily basis. When we were dating and engaged and newly married I would bend over backward to serve her. 20 years later I pray that my love and desire to serve my bride would only increase. I lay down my rights and excuses and commit my marriage, my family,and ministry back into Your hands.

Devotions for December 05

Ephesians 5,6
Psalms 119:1-80

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