"Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men." -Ephesians 6:7
What motivates you to love? A surprise gift? Coming home to a bouquet of Stargazer Lilies? Quality time spent together doing nothing but enjoying the presence of your spouse? Many things can be our motivation for love...but not for long. Eventually a husband will ignore his wife, or the wife will remind him one too many times to fix the sink (which is probably why he is ignoring her in the first place), and the motivation now being felt is, well..de-motivating.
The only way that love's motivation stays in tact is when God is our reason for loving.
Kendrick asks us to consider the following areas where pleasing Him should become our goal:
Work: "Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men" (Colossians 3:23).
Service: "Obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord" (Colossians 3:22).
Everything: Work hard at "whatever you do...knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Colossians 3:23-24).
Even Marriage: "Wives, be subject to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18). "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).
Kendrick points out clearly that "the love that's demanded from you in marriage is not dependent on your mate's sweetness or suitability. The love between a husband and 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 do we love based on our spouse motivating us, but rather we love because of how much God loves us and our love is motivated by honoring the One and Only God. "Only love that is lifted up as an offering to God--returned to Him in gratitude for all He's done--is able to sustain itself when all other reasons have lost their ability to energize us...love that has God as its primary focus is unlimited in the heights it can attain" (Kendrick).
This dare brought me to understanding why my love for Zane flows through so much more when I am praying for him, worshiping alongside him, or serving with him. Not only is God loving through me, but He is teaching me how to love Zane while keeping Him as my focus. How can I not love Zane more when God is my motivation? "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
Dare 29: Say 'i love you' and then express love to your spouse in some tangible way. Go to God in prayer, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person--unconditionally, the way He loves both of you!
Dare 28: Sacrifice.
Dare 27: Encourage.
Dare 26: Seek forgiveness.
Dare 25: Forgive freely.
(For previous dares, refer to earlier entries.)
--Inspired by, "The Love Dare"