My husband, Dan, loves to watch football. Specifically, he loves to watch his favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings. When the Vikings’ game was televised in our area, the Chicagoland area, Dan would spend those afternoons between church services watching his favorite team either win or lose. That’s the thing about football, somebody wins and unfortunately somebody has to lose.
There once was a time before the empty nest when I would prepare a big meal every Sunday afternoon for our family of 9. Preparation began on Saturday. I got up a little earlier on Sunday mornings and finished things up. I set a nice table and wanted us all to eat together as a family around the table. When his team was playing, Dan wanted to take his plate to the den so he could finish the game.
Even though the Vikings’ games were televised in our area just a few times a year, Dan’s Sunday afternoon rendezvous with football had become an issue for me. In fact, Dan and I had come to an impasse. It was football vs. Sunday dinner.
One Sunday when the Vikings were going to be on, Dan came up with an idea he thought would appease me. He brought the TV into the dining room and set it on the credenza, so we could all watch the game while we ate Sunday dinner. I was not appeased and I was not pleased. I was more than a little irritated, aka angry, if we are being real.
We all get so caught up in getting what we want in life and most of us want to be the winner every time. But relationships do not thrive that way. There are times we need to be willing to be cast down or put in a lower place. Maybe I needed to take 2nd place in this football versus Sunday dinner game?
So, after some soul searching I asked Dan to let me know ahead of time the next time the Vikings would be playing. He did and I planned a menu that made us all feel like winners. The meal included a number of appetizer type foods like pizza rolls, mozzarella cheese sticks, chicken wings, chips and fresh veggies. They were all finger foods that we could eat in the den while watching the game together as a family.
I learned that day that no one has to lose. Our whole family enjoyed this and the appetizer meal became one of our all time favorites!
There is much in our Bible passage for today that could be beneficial to us in our life relationships if we will take these things to heart and apply them to everyday living.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
We have a treasure. What is the treasure? It is the knowledge of the light of the glory of God in our earthly body. Thus the light of the gospel empowers us to die to self and minister to others.
Trouble in relationships do not have to cause unbearable stress. There can be times when we are troubled by something in our relationships but we do not have to allow ourselves to be tortured (distressed) by these disagreements. Give it to God.
God is not the author of the confusion we feel. And we may feel confused and even feel that there is no way out (perplexed) of a particular situation, but we have Jesus Who is the Way and can lead us in the way we should go so we do not have to be filled with hopelessness (despair).
Expect persecution in this broken world. Though we are feeling pursued by the enemy (persecuted), God has not left us. It is good to remind ourselves that the enemy is not our spouse, not a child nor any other person. The enemy of the Christian is the world, the flesh and the devil.
Pride will breed more pride and keep us from humbling ourselves. Relationship struggles have a way of making us feel inferior (cast down) when we do not get our way, but this is not to destroy us. What will bring destruction is an unwillingness to let go of our pride. We need to be sure we are not allowing pride to get in the way of respecting and preferring one another.
Disagreements give us an opportunity to demonstrate Christlike love. Yes! an opportunity to die to self so that the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ may be revealed to those around us.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Of course we realize that the suffering the Apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians was much more than a simple disagreement between a husband and a wife. But remember this, if we as Christians do not take on this dying-to-self-attitude as a daily part of our Christian lives, how will we ever be willing and able to truly suffer for the cause of Christ as the Apostle Paul and so many other faithful Christians have?
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated “destroyed” in our verse, 2 Corinthians 4:9, for today.