This is part one of week four in our series, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife. See table of contents at the bottom of this post.
This week we’re talking about the virtue of love. I had originally titled this discussion benevolence, another name for charity, but after taking a closer look at the word I thought it best to avoid any confusion.
Our modern use of the word charity can be quite different from the original word, agapē, which is described as a sacrificial love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
Today however, many people see charity as little more than a duty. It’s something we do at Christmas time–another reason to write out a check. But agape love is much more, in fact it’s the greatest virtue that one can posses.
And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
In addition to this being the greatest virtue, it is the most important commandment as it sums up God’s deepest will for our lives:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:36-40
As we see in this scripture, love is more than merely having affection for God and our fellow man, it’s a willingness to lay down our lives for the sake of our Lord and to put our own desires aside for the good of our neighbor.
How is this reflected in the virtuous life of a Christ-centered wife?
The choices she makes reflect a heart that is abandoned to Christ. She’s willing to say,
My body, mind and spirit are Yours Lord. May I be used as an instrument of Your peace. Should my passions or desires dare to stand in my way, may they be crucified so that I might serve You above anything else.
She knows that serving the Lord is a beautiful thing, and that service calls her to walk in humility esteeming others higher than herself. Her love for God and man is the driving force behind the choices she makes.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. – Philippians 2:3
Being equal to her husband, she is not in competition with him. She is ready and willing to step down in order that he might lead their family as scripture commands him.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. – Ephesians 5:23-24
She is driven by love.
She makes every effort to be patient and kind with her husband giving all diligence to understanding his heart. She’s a vessel of love that’s pouring out grace both in and outside of the home.
Her charity stems from a heart of compassion that reaches out to the world. Her hands and her feet are messengers of the gospel, bringing good news of God’s love to mankind.
She’s not arrogant or selfish or rude, because she’s defined the grace of God and nothing less.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
She’s not perfect. In fact she has days like anyone else where she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. She wonders how she could fail so miserably, why she doesn’t measure up to the other women around her, and how God could possibly love her on those days when she can’t love herself.
That’s when God reminds her of His unfailing grace and how He loved her before she loved Him.
Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we do is God’s gift of grace upon our lives.
He’s not looking for perfection–we’ve already been perfected by grace.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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