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Daily Devotionals

The Relationship Playbook: Week 4 - Tuesday

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

I will never forget my first time playing basketball as a kid. I remember playing the sport and wanting to make as many points as possible so that everyone watching would know that I was a good basketball player. I quickly learned, however, that basketball is not a solo sport. It's a team sport. The game is not about me at all. It is about teamwork. This means that, rather than trying to be the star, the best method is to work as a team, helping my teammates do our best to win the game. It means recognizing the abilities of other players on the team and learning how to best help them do their best. It is true, isn't it, that the best teams operate as a team rather than a number of individuals trying to win a game for themselves? My friends, in the same way, marriage is not about two individuals. It is about two individuals working as a team for the same purpose: honoring God. Understanding this will drastically change our marriages for the better.

If you have been following along with these devotionals, you know that yesterday we talked about Ephesians 5:21. We focused on the second half of this verse, acknowledging that the foundation of every healthy relationship is reverence for Christ. Today, we are going to look at the first half of this verse, which says, "submit to one another." Out of reverence for Christ, believers are to submit to one another. What does this mean? It means that believers are to live their lives looking out for the interest of others. This is true in marriage. Out of respect for God, a husband and wife are to look out for each other. One of my favorite Bible teachers says that an everyday picture of submission between a husband and wife looks like this: "Where do you want to go to eat tonight?" "No, where do you want to eat dinner tonight?" "Oh, I don't really care. Where do you want to go?" Submission between a husband and wife is both spouses looking out for each other's interests. Paul gives us a greater look at what it looks like to submit to one another in Romans 12:10. "Outdo one another in showing honor," he writes (ESV). Basically, this means treating marriage like a team sport rather than a solo sport. Husbands and wives are to constantly look out for each other.

When you consider your marriage, or any relationship, really, do you find that you are "outdoing one another in showing honor," or are you fighting for your own honor? My friend, when we stop seeking to get honor and start looking to give honor, all of our relationships will drastically change for the better. Our marriages will be happier, healthier, and stronger. Let's outdo one another in showing honor today.

Laura Courtney
Sagebrush Staff Writer

Moving Toward Action

Spend a few minutes making a list of the talents and abilities that God has given you. How can you leverage these gifts to build up the body of Christ rather than building up yourself? If you are married, how can you leverage your talents and abilities to strengthen your marriage rather than trying to use them to just build up yourself?

Going Deeper

Read Romans 12:1-21 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.

Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.