There’s a song often sung in my church titled, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” It’s a somewhat simple song with the title being the chorus that repeats itself three times into the song. It goes on to proclaim there will be no turning back, and that the following will persist though no one else is following alongside. I meditated on the words of this somewhat easily remembered tune recently, and I noticed something: there is no reason given in any of the lyrics as to why the proclaimer has decided to follow Jesus. Jesus being the universally complete being that He is, there is no reason to give a reason as to why the proclaimer, who renders this tune has decided to follow Jesus. It’s just the right, smart and wise thing to do if one want a quality life here and there.
At this stage in my life, there are several things I do without proclaiming a reason for why. Some of these are as routine as putting my left pant leg on first, having a strong cup of coffee each morning after my shower, and of late something much more critical to my wellbeing. I’ve felt a reemergence of some very strong feelings about my dear wife lately. This has prompted me to search the sacred scriptures, looking to reevaluate what God says about the first institution He created. I was particularly drawn to Colossians 3:19 (“Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.”) Although I’ve heard many expository offerings on this verse, it is providing new insight to me personally. Yes, it’s a command from God. Yes’ I’ve always known that. But now, I’ve come to realize more than ever that, as with any command from God, one must make a conscious decision to succumb to it-unconditionally- for it to work good in your life.
My wife and I are about to have our thirty-first wedding anniversary. Would it be inaccurate to say our marriage hasn’t been perfect? Of course, it would. No relationship is perfect. Even those of us, who have a relationship with Jesus, suffer from imperfections in our relationship with Him. However, we bring imperfection to the table in that case. The good elements are offered by Jesus, not us. Realizing that we bring imperfection to our relationship with Jesus, makes it obvious that two human beings have plenty of imperfection to offer in a relationship with each other, even loving couples joined under the authority and providence of God. That’s why it’s so important to do as God commands, love and respect each other.
There’s a definitive outcome that’s produced when one does as God commands. We may not always understand it, but a certain dynamic will manifest itself. If we love as God commands, respect as God commands, hold on tight to all that’s holy and precious, more love, respect and appreciation for what’s precious will occur. We’ll find ourselves enveloped in the good, and not much thought to the reason why such good things are happening. The only thing that’s important is that we are behaving per the command of God. There was a TV show that came on in the 1950’s called, “Father Knows Best.” If that attribute can be assigned to a make-believe, earthly father on a TV show, it should certainly be recognized as a true attribute of our Heavenly Father. He really does know best. If we just decide to do as he prescribes, our lives will be much richer for the good of all around us, especially our spouse.
Some, reading this may think, why has it taken thirty-one years to come to such a realization as I present here? Well, call me slow if you wish; however, I would prefer you call me blessed. My wife and I have been married for thirty-one years. There hasn’t been perfection in our relationship, but there’s been God, and His grace has kept us together. That is without doubt a marvelous thing for which I’m unquestionably grateful. Now, that we’re approaching thirty-one years of marriage, I can publicly proclaim that I have decided, without reservation, to love, respect and honor her unconditionally. Do you remember the old saying, “It’s better late than never?” There’s something truly redemptive about that saying; however, I prefer saying it’s just better when you follow the command of God. I have decided to make love more of a verb than a noun. I think that’s some good advice for everyone.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.