Always Greener on ‘This’ Side of the Fence – Part 2B
The Great Shepherd of the Sheep
Psalm 23 is one of the most popular and well-known Psalms, but it’s also one of my favorites.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Imagine your quiet time going something like this:
Humble yourself and picture yourself as a lamb – new to the world, helpless, in need of lots of guiding. Bring yourself before the Lord as a humble lamb, desiring to meet God in this beautiful, abundantly green pasture – a place of comfort and rest. Thirst for the Living God and drink from the rivers of life, a quiet and still stream. Let go of all the chaotic pieces of this life. Allow yourself to be enveloped in the loving arms of a Shepherd. He restores, refreshes, and revives you. Follow Him along beautiful, flower-lined pathways of patience, peace, joy, love, kindness, righteousness, and hope, as you are led closer to His Father who is waiting for you at the end of the pathway.
At times, the journey may be rough and you may lose hope, get lost, or fall off a cliff side, but remember, the Shepherd is there to carry you when the going gets tough. He is there for you always – correcting you in gentleness and love when you stray, protecting you from evil when you call upon His Name. You don’t need to fear anything, even when you are stumbling around in a valley of darkness. He will set you apart from your enemies. Look over your shoulder and see goodness and love following you. You don’t have to go it alone. You can live with the Shepherd for all of eternity; you will always have a place in His home and heart.
Peaceful, isn’t it? The Shepherd is the ultimate Caregiver – gently and lovingly guiding, correcting, restoring, refreshing, providing, watching out for, and keeping His sheep close. He carries them when they are hurt and rescues them when they fall. Precious daughter of God, this is what your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, does for you! He loves you with an undying, perfect love!
Leviticus 19:2 says, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, is holy.” Jesus repeats this similarly in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
God calls us to a high standard of perfection. We are called to care as Jesus cares, love as Jesus loves, live righteously as God is righteous. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 if we do not have love in our hearts, we are nothing. Without love, we are like sheep gone astray with no firm foundation. Our foundation needs to be in Jesus Christ and we need to be grounded in the Word of God.
Being perfectly holy is not easy. I’m not talking about being a perfectionist. I am a struggling, recovering perfectionist, learning to “let go, and let God” as one of my college professors used to say.
Perfectionism is man’s attempt to reach a standard of excellence.
Biblical perfection is man’s acknowledgement of failure to reach the standard of excellence st by God and the need for the Holy Spirit’s daily guidance, Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and the Father’s love and mercy.
1 Peter 1:13-16 gives us a good standard to live by:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.“
Biblical perfection calls us to love one another for without it, we lack the true depth of a relationship.
1 John 4:9-11 says,
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Love is the living, breathing, intentional actions we do for one another to demonstrate our grasp of the Gospel and to prove our unconditional care, respect, and honor for one another.
You’ve heard the phrase: the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. This is a dangerous habit to get into – always looking elsewhere for satisfaction. What if satisfaction and contentment was right here? What if the grass was always greener on this side of the fence?
It is when you’re grazing in the pastures of the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ! And it can be in your marriage too. You don’t need to be looking for anything on the other side of the fence. If you intentionally strive to make your marriage work through loving tenderness and kindness, your pastures will always be greener here – on this side of the fence.
1- Take care of your husband. Feed him. It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Adam and I try our hardest to make it a priority to eat a meal together at least once a day. I enjoy cooking for him and talking with him over our meal, as it is time well spent.
2 – Guide your husband and seek gentle restoration. When your husband goes off the beaten path, don’t follow him. Adam followed Eve in the Garden knowingly into sin and it had disastrous results. However, God doesn’t call us to rub our husband’s sins in their faces either. Spend time in prayer. Make sure that your heart is right before the Lord. See if this is an offense that can be overlooked. If it is not, gently and respectfully confront your husband and guide him back into the ways of God in love. Although he is the head of my household, Adam needs me as much as I need him. I look out for him, giving him my opinion, and piping up when I think he’s making a bad decision.
3 – Refresh your husband with kind love when he is downcast and weary. Don’t be harsh and demanding with your words when your husband is visibly sad. Show him kindness through your words by uplifting and encouraging him. Show him kindness through your actions by doing little things for him like making him a meal or giving him a night off the chores. Show him kindness by giving him little gifts – a candy bar he likes, an unexpected car wash, or a $10 gift card to his favorite store. Show him kindness by spending time with him. Keep your husband close – cuddle with him while watching TV, hold his hands while praying, do activities you both enjoy. Show him kindness by giving him your beauty willingly. Sex is a powerful way of comforting a husband because it opens him up to the deepest physical love that is humanly possible and God designed it for comfort.
4- Carry your husband when he is hurting. There’s a scene in the movie Ever After where Danielle, a servant girl masquerading as a courtier, and Henry, the crown prince of France, are surrounded by a band of gypsies. Unlike traditional fairy tales, Danielle is not helpless and flies to Henry’s defense, picking up a sword and tackling one of the gypsies. Danielle demands a horse when the gypsies “deprive” her “of an escort.”The head gypsy responds, “Milady, you may have anything you can carry.” She asks, “May I have your word on that?” And he replies, “On my honor as a gypsy, anything.” Danielle proceeds to pick up Henry and carry him away, much to the surprise of the prince and the amusement of the gypsies.
This scene always makes me smile. You’re probably not literally going to be carrying your husband away from danger, unless you’re super strong. But you should defend your husband through word and action. Think about it this way. I always carry a pack of gum in my purse when I go out because I never know when I’m going to need to freshen up my breath. Always carry a pack of kindness so you can freshen up your marriage at any point. A compliment, a caring word, a loving hint is like a breath of fresh air.
Bottom Line: Demonstrate living love toward your husband by first, recognizing who you are in Christ, and secondly, genuinely seeking to be kind in thought, word, and deed daily. Make your pastures greener by being a blessing and remembering how much of a blessing your husband is!
I’d love to hear from you…
How does understanding the Gospel and what Christ did and does for us help us to love others in genuine kindness?
What ‘packs of kindness’ is God calling you to carry for your husband?
Do you struggle with the difference between perfectionism and Biblical perfection? How is God helping you work through this or what are you still struggling with?
1. When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect an introduction to the Biblical Garden of Love: practical advice on allowing the Gospel to work
2. What is Love? an introduction to 1 Corinthians 13
3. Does Patience Grow on Trees? Part 1A “…bliss will not last forever, and that trouble in paradise is inevitable…”
4. Does Patience Drive Your Car? Part 1B …“Being impatient is like driving down a road in the middle of a storm and suddenly realizing there’s a tree down in front of you…”
5. But What if Patience Doesn’t Fit? Part 1C “Write gentleness and kindness on your heart every morning just as you’d wear your wedding ring faithfully.”
6. I Take Thee to Be My Husband…and then I’ll work under you, be your personal slave, and never have an opinion of my own forever Part 1D Patience is not… stoicism, fatalism, escapism, passivism, isolationism, or humanism.
7. A Flourishing Marriage Part 1E A Look Back on What We’ve Learned about Patience “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration. “~Lou Erickson
8. Broken – Love Poured Out Part 2A An Introduction to Kindness “Marriage requires all hands on deck… holding onto each other and pointing each other back to God.”
- Posted in: Beauty ♦ Contentment ♦ Fruits of the Spirit ♦ God's Love ♦ Humility ♦ Knowing God ♦ Prayer ♦ Real Marriage ♦ Respect
- Tagged: 1 Corinthians 13, Acceptance, Acts of Service, Anxiety and Fear and Worry, Biblical Garden of Love Series, Blessings, Gift Giving, Holiness, Kindness, Patience, Psalm 23, Quality Time, Respect, Righteousness, Submission, Unconditional Love, Words of Affirmation