Sunday, August 31, 2014

Take a lesson here....

When I first lived on my own, I really wasn't "on my own" because I lived in a barracks filled with other men and women!  Yet, it was my first time away from "home" and it was my responsibility to make a way for myself - no one was going to be my "parents" in the Army!  In fact, they gave me a room, the clothes I was supposed to wear, and the job I was supposed to work.  So, maybe they were a little like my "parents' after all!  When I finally got married, the first thing we did was move out of the barracks and into our "own" apartment.  We had very little in the way of furnishings, so we had to rent a furnished one bedroom apartment, but it was "our place".  At that point, I began to feel like I had come into the place of "establishing our home".  We put together some of this and that, re-commissioning wooden boxes into storage units for our clothes and the like.  We visited the local thrift shops to stock our kitchen with pots and pans.  In time, the place came to feel like a "real home".  One of the things we did not do in establishing our "home" was to allow God's wisdom and understanding to help us establish a good foundation within our relationship!  This would be something we'd come to struggle with over the ten years of our marriage - something which ultimately would become our undoing!

Use wisdom and understanding to establish your home; let good sense fill the rooms with priceless treasures. Wisdom brings strength, and knowledge gives power.  (Proverbs 24:3-5 CEV)

It probably only took about three months to realize the honeymoon was over! In fact, it was then that I began to realize my relationship with Jesus really wasn't all it was cracked up to be and I sought to rededicate my life to serving him.  Shortly thereafter, I was baptized in water.  My life began to take on a change which became a turning point for me, but which also began to reveal how "unequally yoked" my husband and I really were.  If there is anything those of you who are reading this can take away from this life-lesson it should be this:  A home is made up of more than two people "madly in love".  It is made strong by the foundation the two share - if that isn't an equally founded relationship with Jesus, you will inevitably struggle with "building your home".

Our writer reminds us of two important means of establishing our homes - the use of wisdom to bring strength into the relationship, and the use of understanding to give you the power to stick it out even in the tough times. Most of the time, we think of this verse as a nice little "ditty" we can put on a wall plaque and hang somewhere in our homes, sort of like the one which reads, "Unless the Lord build the house, the laborers labor in vain."  If we really read this again, we might just see how accurately it applies to us becoming a cohesive unit, growing together, and establishing God's truths as the means by which we will "do business" in our homes.  When this is the case, the foundation will be solid and the ability to endure even the toughest of conflicts will be better indeed.

The third thing which crops up in this passage is that of good sense.  Too many times, young lovers simply rely upon this "feeling" called "falling in love". In turn, they wonder why they find they no longer "in love" a little ways down the road.  Maybe it is simply because love is not something you "fall into" but rather something you "grow into".  There is a vast difference - for one suggests it is a cataclysmic "thing" which just happens, while the other acknowledges it takes mutual effort and an increasing awareness of one's own selfishness to really grow strong in relationship.  What was that I just said? Yep, you read it right - a growing awareness of the "selfishness" we each possess is key to really growing in relationship.  It is in learning how we demand things for our "self interest" where we learn to lay down "self interest" in the pursuit of the interest of another.

Jesus gave us this example in this concept - the laying down of one's own interest for the well-being of another.  Good sense tells us if we learn to do the same in our own relationships, we will be on the road to establishing a solid foundation upon which mutual respect and trust can be established. Where mutual respect and trust become the foundation of relationship, we begin to see life "outside of ourselves" and look at life through the eyes of another.  We may not be establishing a home today, but we are continually establishing relationships which can benefit from good sense, wisdom, and understanding.  Good sense helps us recognize when it is in the best interest of the relationship to lay down one's own interests for another.  Wisdom gives us the ability to apply what we have learned in our practice of loving another. Understanding gives us the delight of knowing the truth we rely upon is solid and unmovable.  In turn, the relationship becomes strong because when all three are in operation, the focus in not what is in it for "me", but where we might go together in united intent.  Just sayin!