The devil wants to destroy families. If he can tear apart the home, he has a foothold! It’s time that we face real issues and apply the Word, or the devil will defeat us.
I believe that God instituted marriage, family, and the Church—in that order. Although God created Adam and walked and talked with him, He saw it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. So He created Eve (Gen. 2:18–25).
Ephesians 5:25–29 (NKJV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Do you love yourself? According to verse 28, anybody who says, “I don’t love my wife,” doesn’t love himself. Luke 10:27 tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But people have been taught that self-love is selfishness!
Loving yourself is an attitude that you care about yourself. Selfishness wants everything for yourself. A person who loves him or herself is neither conceited nor selfish.
If you are going to love yourself, what must you do? First, you have to love God. You can’t love yourself the way you were before Christ—when you were in the world and in sin!
What husbands and wives express toward one another affects how they each feel about themselves.
Mark 12:30–31 (NKJV)
30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment.
31 And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.
You could understand it this way: You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.
Self-Love vs. Self-Hate
Self-hatred is the opposite of self-love. People who don’t care for themselves demonstrate it in many ways. Most suicide notes express that the person thinks they are worthless or sees no way out of the problems they face. Much abuse comes because an individual can’t cope and takes it out on others. Alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, affairs, even avoiding responsibility—it all has to do with a negative image of one’s self.
You can only love when you look at yourself and your situation realistically without rationalizing. No one likes to admit they have faults. But until we do, we can’t change anything—and cannot love ourselves. When you love God, you can look realistically and say, “I am nothing. He is everything.” And then you trade your nothingness for His everything!
Many people live with rage inside because they can’t accept themselves. You must look at who you really are. When you see the reality of yourself, then you can change. But if you rationalize or blame somebody else, you cannot change. And that’s often the problem in most marriages. They are blaming each other.
Before you can love your spouse, you must love and accept yourself first. You can only do this by accepting God’s forgiveness for your sins. Your past is under the blood of Jesus—including mistakes after becoming born again.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That verse was written to Christians, not to sinners! It doesn’t matter how long you have been saved. If you fall, ask God to forgive you, then get up and go on. It is under the blood.
When you grasp these truths, you may realize that your problem with your spouse (or anyone) is not them—it’s you!
Much of a person’s self-image is built on what they think others think about them. What husbands and wives express toward one another affects how they each feel about themselves. If the other person is critical, it is easy for you not to think much of yourself. And when you don’t like yourself, you won’t give any love.
Many people have been whipped with the tongue. Others have been killed with words. They’re alive on the outside but dead on the inside. They cannot respond because love has been killed. Therefore, they don’t love themselves—and now they can’t love their spouse or kids.
I’ve seen horrible situations in Christian homes—fights, splits, abuse, and anger. They’re lashing out at anything and anybody. But it can change! Some couples need counseling sessions. In other situations, studying the Word of God and talking it out with one another is sufficient. Sit down and listen to what each other has to say and then make some adjustments.
When we follow the Word, we will keep our marriages out of problems. It’s straightforward. Love yourself. Once you do, you can make your spouse feel as though they are somebody too. Get a hold of that! Husbands and wives must work together to make the other person feel important. You can change the destiny of your home!
Faith in Action
Three simple words should be repeated often: I love you. The weight of the world can be on a man’s shoulders when he comes home after work. But nothing lifts him up more than to be greeted with a big I love you and a kiss. All of a sudden, he’s a king in his castle.
Let your spouse know you care. Say I love you before you part company and when you reunite. Those words can help you get through the mundane activities of another day.
Say I love you in moments of sadness and joy. Express love when you sense the other needs support or reassurance. Even when you are exasperated and frustrated, I love you is needed. Those three words have a tendency to bring us back to that beautiful spark. Don’t let it die! Continue to romance one another and speak love often.
Visit rhema.org/studycenter for more articles on love and family.
Kenneth W. Hagin
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