Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself...
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Doc Brilliant and I are coming up on 32 years of a happy marriage. One thing that binds my heart to his is the way he sacrifices for my happiness and welfare. A great lesson I've learned is that I'm happiest when I'm giving toward him and unhappiest when I'm being selfish. Happiness really is a perfume that you can't pour on your spouse without getting some on yourself.
I think that's part of what Jesus is teaching us when he says, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." Luke 17:33. This is so opposite of what our worldly selves think. We think that we must ensure our own happiness by grabbing for it and holding on tight. This insecure grasping is ingrained in our hearts, and it's subtly interwoven in so many messages that we receive from the world. It's easy to slip into that mindset when we're not focused on Christ. Yet, grasping and grasping only leaves us feeling empty. We can't grasp enough of the world to satisfy the hole in the center of our self. We can't do, be, or have enough to bridge the chasms our sin has dug between us and God, or between us and other people. Only the love and grace of God is sufficient to fill us with peace and joy to the point that our joy can overflow into the lives of others.
Simply put, the ability to love unselfishly comes from God.
I John 4:10 says "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
He lost his life for us, pouring his life into us, and now we love.
I John 4:10. We love because he first loved us.
The losing of Christ's life was followed by his resurrection, and, thus, his resurrection gives us eternal life, as well. Daily, we live a crucified life -- a life of dying to sin and selfishness -- and, daily, we live a resurrected life -- becoming more like Jesus.
In the 32 years Doc Brilliant and I have been married, the reflection in my mirror has changed quite a bit. Sometimes, a glance surprises me. How did that old lady get into my mirror? Slowly, day by day. I'm so grateful for this promise in 2 Corinthians: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
Maybe, you are young, and you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Maybe, you are my peer, and you smile with me. Maybe, you are ahead of me in life and think I don't yet have a clue. No matter.
There is an everlasting perfume sitting on all of our spiritual dressing tables: the fragrance of Christ. We can't drink in Christ's love and lavish it on others, especially on our spouse, without receiving back a harvest of joy.
I love the accounts of when Jesus was anointed by Mary. Out of love for Christ and out of gratitude for his mercy, she broken open her vial of costly perfume. The book of John tells us that the fragrance filled the whole house. I want to have the kind of heart she had. Don't you? And, I want to love my husband in a way that demonstrates my gratitude for the Lord.
Happy love which concerns itself with our husbands' welfare becomes a fragrance that fills our hearts and our homes. Let us love lavishly, because we are lavishly loved.