February 12, 2012

Weaker Vessel

Posted in Marriage at 2:07 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Call me thus if it reminds you
God did not intend for me to bear
All weight of world or church or marriage,
Full heat of battle, toil, and care.

But say it not if in so doing
You scorn my gifts and mock my mind.
For I who’ve labored long beside you
Should not be slighted or maligned.

Where weaker is, there must be stronger.
So gird yourself with Christ to meet the fight,
And in this battle with the world, beside me
Keep vigil, and defend me with His might.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

I offer this poem as a counter-cultural challenge as we approach St. Valentine’s Day, a time at which the word love is plastered everywhere. But never was any word used so often with so little understanding. One reason the Church is ineffective in the spread of the Gospel is that the very basic teachings of I Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5 and 6 are ignored in our lives. Too often, homes which should be inhabited by godly families are instead occupied by independent contractors who see family life as a zero-sum game and therefore compete with each other for attention, wealth, and authority. No one wants to do the hard work of dying to self in order to do the will of God, or the necessary work of treasuring others more than self.

To paraphrase Mark 8:36, what does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your family? Love—true love, godly love—understands the nature of the battle and is willing to do what it takes to obey God, who is Love. When we are obedient to Him, we lose only that which should be lost.

Life is destined to be a battle. The wise man or woman recognizes that if we spend all our time fighting each other or failing to show each other proper honor, we will lose the important battle: the life-and-death struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. How much energy we waste on frivolous things, all the while losing sight of eternity! May God help us. More important, may God help all children who must grow up in such a battlefield.

The original version of this poem was written on 4 June 2002. This revision, completed 7 July 2007, removed reference to a concept to which I no longer subscribe. The choice of words, a turn of phrase, may be so close to the truth that it seems acceptable, yet carry the seeds of destruction. Sometimes the worst lies are couched in noble-sounding words. That is why we must be ever vigilant.

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