“Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men.”  Ephesians 6:7

As the opening scripture reference alludes to, this principle applies to all areas of our life.

I like today’s lesson, it doesn’t give rise to a feeling of self-condemnation.  That is not to say I have mastered the concept behind this message.  I think there is room for more improvement in everyone’s life that I know, to exercise this principle.  The author of “The Love Dare” says, “Those who are fine with mediocre marriages can leave their love to chance and hope for the best.”  I left my love to chance much of the time and the results were disastrous!

I began going to Sunday School when I was 3 years old and my grandmother requested that my mother send my brother and I to parochial school.  The school was old fashioned, conservative Lutheran, except for Kindergarten our classes consisted of two grades in one room.  The teacher, who we generally had for two consecutive years, taught the lesson to one grade level, then taught another lesson to the next grade, so we had time to study “between classes” and get a preview of what the following year held for us.  I went to this school through the 6th grade and then reluctantly finished confirmation classes for two years of Saturdays!

I add this schooling history so you might get a better grasp of the religious upbringing I had in school and the demonstration of what hell was like at home.  This is what formed the foundation for my dysfunctional manner of approaching life.  I am still shedding layers of this dysfunction as I write.  The only “fun” I had in dysfunction was being able to live a Huck Finn/ Tom Sawyer type life, enjoying great adventures. Unless we ran afoul with the authorities, then we were dealt some pretty amazing beatings.

I give this background to contrast the example in the LD book.  They ask you to recall how as a child your parents gave you established rules for you to follow, (not in my case).  The LD says if we were like most people, we bent the rules as often as we obeyed them.  If not for consequences, you might not have obeyed them at all.  “But if you met Christ along the way or received any kind of Bible teaching, you probably were exposed to this idea—-“Children be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord”.  I honestly do not recall this teaching; it was do wrong and get caught, get beat.

I am responsible for my life, and have been for a very long time.  My mother had her teaching opportunity with me.  When I left home for college, I realized it was time to re-parent myself.  Eighteen year olds for the most part, do not make good parents, even to themselves.  I continue to avail myself to this re-parenting concept.  I have told my children many times, “I made mistakes raising you, you are not happy about some of these things, now you have the rest of your life to re-parent yourself.  The bookstores and other avenues are full of good tools for this.”  I’ve also shared my growth process with them since they suffered through my degenerative phases.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Colossians 3.22 Through other scripture we are to work, serve, and do everything “as unto the Lord”.  With this perspective it is a matter of being obedient to God and not out of duty that we do, what we do.

The LD book talks about how at times we can demotivate our spouse in loving us.  “The love demanded from you in marriage is not dependent on your mate’s sweetness or suitability.  The love between a husband and a wife should have one chief objective; honoring the Lord with devotion and sincerity.  The fact that it blesses our beloved in the process is simply a wonderful, additional benefit. …. No longer is it this imperfect person who decides how much love you’ll show, but rather it’s your omni-perfect God who can use even a flawed person like yourself to bestow loving favor on another.

Today’s Dare:  …PRAY FOR THEM BY NAME AND FOR THEIR NEEDS. WHETHER IT COMES EASY FOR YOU OR NOT, SAY “I LOVE YOU,” THEN EXPRESS LOVE TO THEM IN SOME TANGIBLE WAY.  GO TO GOD IN PRAYER AGAIN, THANKING HIM FOR GIVING YOU THE PRIVELEGE OF LOVING THIS ONE SPECIAL PERSON——UNCONDITIONALLY, THE WAY HE LOVES BOTH OF YOU.

All quotes from The Love Dare except were noted.

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