“Follow God’s example, therefore, as his dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave up his life for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Any love relationship that imitates Christ and is centered on Christ is a fragrant offering to God. And the purer it is – the more closely aligned it is to God’s love and God’s way of loving – the stronger the fragrance becomes and the more its perfume blesses those who come near.
It’s more than a kind deed or a romantic words or warm hugs. It involves such complete giving of self that a sacrifice is involved. It is giving yourself to the beloved when you don’t feel like giving, and doing it cheerfully because you are motivated by love.
Sometimes the world defines “lust” as “love”, and this has created a lot of tolerance for sin. The difference between lust and love is found in what it offers – not in what it receives. Lust is more about sex than it is about sacrifice. Love is about being Christ for one another and giving Christ to one another; there is no greater way to live than this!
And the greatest love is the sacrifice of giving up all our own ideas of what we want in favor of accepting God’s ideas.
The Catholic Church has made clear what God’s Word in the Bible says about love and sex and marriage. When we embrace what God wants, even before we understand it well enough to want it too, our love is purified and transformed into a sacred gift for God, for each other, and for the world. And because change can be painful, the sacrifice is so transformative that we emerge stronger in holiness – a delightful fragrance indeed!
- What has my beloved done for me that is a fragrant offering to God?
- What sacrifice have I been unwilling to make? And how would making it affect my relationship with my beloved?
Strengthen your relationship:
Thank your sweetheart for a recent time when he or she made a sacrifice for you, and describe how that reveals the nature of Jesus. After you have both done this exercise, pray together, thanking Jesus for the sacrifice he made for you. Then ask Jesus to help you become more aware of how the sacrifices you will be making in the future are a fragrant offering to him.
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© 2016 by Terry Modica
Good News Ministries
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