Alright, alright. I apologize to all you ladies out there who already have images of shirtless men strutting around in your heads from the title of this blog. This is NOT a story about male strippers!! No. This is a tale of a childhood cartoon show - an example of what a Godly relationship, marriage or otherwise, should be like.
The thing I remember most about the Chip 'n' Dale cartoons was how these two chipmunks were always deferring to each other in all of the things they did. They always sought out what the other one wanted before they even considered their own desires.
"After you," Chip would say.
"No, after you," Dale would reply.
Then Chip would come back with "No, I insist. You really should go first."
"Oh, no, no, no. You REALLY must go first."
Their conversations got rather annoying after a while but they were a good example of submission and placing others first in our lives. Could you imagine what this world would be like if each of us submitted to the needs of the other? God did when He breathed this . . .
"22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." - Ephesians 5:22-28
Chip and Dale always submitted themselves to one another, deferring to the others needs and desires. Our earthly relationships should be the same way.
My wife and I have a great relationship. It is a beautiful relationship that works because, with or without our actually knowing it or planning it, our relationship functions the same as the relationship between Jesus and each of us, his church.
Jesus loves us. He loves us to the point of sacrificing Himself for us. And we should be loving Jesus enough to submit to whatever He says.
“15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments." - John 14:15
So, how much do we love those we have relationships with in our lives - our family and our friends? Do we love them enough to sacrifice ourselves for them? Do we love them enough to place THEIR needs above our own? And how about our enemies? How about those we don't get along with? Jesus COMMANDS us to love them as well.
"43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus promised us that if we love others in such a way we would be rewarded in heaven. Later in Matthew He reminded us twice, one right after the other, that those who place others first, before themselves, will receive their reward later, in heaven.
"19 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." - Matthew 19:30 (The parable of the rich and poor man)
"16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” - Matthew 20:16 (The parable of the laborers in the vineyard)
I was at a wedding recently where the bride and groom ask each of us to write suggestions, truths WE had found that would help make their marriage a successful one. I drew a picture of a triangular shaped traffic sign. The sign said "Yield" - basically, submit, one to the other . . . like the example of Chip and Dale . . . and through the example of Jesus Christ.
"8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:8-9
Father, may we always submit to you. Whether it is following your Word in our daily relationships or seeking wisdom from You in our prayers. May we always seek your will and "and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice" to You. Amen.