Today's devotion from Proverbs 18.
Several years ago I began working on a project for offering biblical guidance to couples preparing for marriage. One of the issues that I felt passionately about was in adjusting the perspective from which many people enter this relationship. In many ways, our society has corrupted God's design from selfless and faithful to selfish and fleeting.
In studying Scripture on this topic, I spent quite a bit of time in Proverbs 18. In fact, one session in the workbook I developed assigns the couple to read and study this chapter so they can answer questions. There is much wisdom in these verses, but I feel particularly touched by the first two verses, "One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound wisdom. A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions." (Proverbs 18:1-2, CSB)
What I would like you to consider is that in our relationships, not just marriage, we have a decision to make. Will we approach this relationship from the perspective of me or from the vantage of we? Our culture has redefined relationships to be about what I get out it. Is it fulfilling to me? We are led to think of ourselves and our happiness above all else. After all, we can't choose who we love or when we love them, right?
This is perhaps one of the greatest lies that the father of lies has ever birthed.
He has somehow convinced people that the love we feel is pure and undefiled, and, therefore, worthy of sacrificing anything and everything on its altars. The problem is that they have forgotten the effects of the Fall. "God doesn't make mistakes," they say. "God wants me to be happy," they proclaim. And, so, they give themselves over to pursue a form of love that is mangled by sin. It degrades others. It exalts me.
In the end, it isolates us even while we are within relationships because it is broken by selfish desires.
Love is a choice, and a love that honors others and embraces God's design is selfless. This kind of love is an exercise in selfless discipline requiring us to surrender ourselves to God and to the service of those we choose to love. Today, you have a choice to make. Will you isolate yourself in the pursuit of selfish desires? I pray not.