June 18, 2012
I’m on a sort of John Piper kick. For this act of love, I read his chapter on marriage from Desiring God. He made the point that love seeks its own joy in the joy of others. From what I could tell, his claim is that one person loves another person just in case she (consistently) attempts to receive joy in bringing joy to the other. As for me, if I love you, I should be seeking my joy in bringing you joy. A source of my pleasure should be your pleasure. That’s exactly what’s happened through the course of 365 Acts of Love.
Before I started 365, I was very concerned with my own happiness, regardless of your happiness. But as 365 progressed, I grew to find joy in bringing you joy. In fact, though my ultimate source of joy is God (or at least, that’s what I’m striving for), part of my joy depends on your joy. When you rejoice, I rejoice. When you weep, I weep. When you’re happy, I’m happy. (Rom. 12:15.) Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that my happiness depends on your happiness in that your unhappiness prevents me from satisfying some selfish desire of mine (though that’s sometimes the case). The kind of dependency I’m talking about is this: since I care for you and want you to be happy, I’m made unhappy simply by knowing that you’re unhappy.
May we seek our own joy in the joy of each other.
June 2, 2012
In my attempt to learn more about what God requires of husbands, on Thursday I listened to John Piper’s sermon called “God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace.” In it, Piper claims that I, as a husband, should show you grace since God in Christ showed me grace. In addition, he claimed that if I make gratitude for God’s grace a focal point of my life, it will be easier for me to be gracious to you.
Whenever I sin–whenever I act pridefully, selfishly, in lust, with anger, or whatever–I betray God by denying him his rightful place as king over my life. I essentially tell the king of all things that he cannot be king of my heart. And the penalty for such betrayal is death. Well, Christ took my penalty upon himself and made me right with the king. Given that, I should live in gratitude to God and in recognition of his grace.
When you commit something against me or irk me in some way, how can I not show you grace when I’ve been granted grace abundance? If I’ve been forgiven such a debt, how can I not forgive you your debts?
On Thursday night, you did something to make us late to a dinner party. I was incredibly irked by that and let you know–almost the entire way to the party. Even as I did, though, Piper’s sermon was in the back of my mind. Finally, I was able to calm myself down and ask for your forgiveness for getting so upset.
It’s unbelievable how perturbed I can get by the small things you do against me when God forgave me for the cosmically wretched things I’ve done against him. May I eventually be so grateful for God’s grace that I cannot help but show you grace.
May 24, 2012
A necessary condition of becoming a better husband, of treating you as I should, of making a better marriage, etc. is getting an accurate picture of what marriage is, of what’s required for husbands, of how husbands should treat their wives, etc. For this act of love, then, I read some John Piper articles about marriage that I found at desiringgod.org.
November 17, 2011
On day 49, I took the girls to a church function while you stayed home to rest. When we returned, you had a plate of chocolate cookies, a glass of hot chocolate, and a love note waiting for me. Thank you for your loving act!
Later that evening, we listened to a sermon by John Piper called “Marriage Lived to the Glory of God” (http://tiny.cc/hh4lp). I chose this for my 49th act of love to remind us that the glorification/magnification of God is the primary purpose of our marriage. According to Piper, marriage exists for God, not vice versa. In fact, “everything exists to magnify the worth, truth, value, beauty, and greatness of God.”
In order for us to glorify God the most–which should be our goal–we need to be most satisfied in Him. Only then will we be able to love each other as we should. Only then will our marriage be deeply satisfying. This means we must pursue God, love God, cherish God, magnify God, etc., above all things, even each other.
In light of Piper’s sermon, I want to love God more than I love you. That doesn’t mean I need to love you less than I do now, just less than I love God. (Neither does it mean that I currently love God as I should.) If I love God with all my heart and love Him more than I love all else, I’ll be able to grow in my love for you. May I love you less to love you more.