deployment devotional, military devotional, military couples devotional, military couples

A devotional to help military families stay connected during deployments

Day 23: During Deployment “Love Always Protects”

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Corinthians 13:6,7

In the movie Fireproof, set to be released on DVD in stores today, Day 23 of The Love Dare really gets Caleb’s attention. In this particular day’s reading, the authors examine the topic of threats. On p. 111 it says, “Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there. They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.”

In reading Day 23’s pages of warnings and countermeasures, you will find very similar writing—although written thousands of years ago by King David—in Psalm 101. The similarities between the two chapters, one modern and one ancient, are striking. For example:

— One of the warnings in “Love always protects” is to beware of harmful influences. “Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home? The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family.” (p. 111)

Psalm 101 reminds us of the same thing, “I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” (Psalm 101:3) In his commentary on this psalm, Matthew Henry writes, “In all our worldly business we must see that what we set our eyes upon be right and good and not any forbidden fruit, and that we never seek that which we cannot have without sin. It is the character of a good man that he shuts his eyes from seeing evil.”

This also applies to the stern warning in The Love Dare against “parasites.” As you may have seen in the movie, that was Caleb’s struggle—with pornography. Any addiction, like gambling, drugs, or pornography, can take hold of you or your spouse and choke the life out of your marriage. What may start out to be a small distraction can end up destroying you.

— Another warning is against unhealthy relationships. “Not everyone has the material to be a good friend. Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage. Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities. In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of ‘friend.’” (p. 112)

King David gave a very similar warning, “The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.” (Psalm 101: 3b-5)

— At the end of the writing on Day 23, the authors conclude, “Men, you are the head of your home. You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage. This is no small assignment. It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action.” (p. 113)

One of the best ways to guard your household, to be courageous and take preemptive action is to do what David writes in verse 6: “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” (Psalm 101:6) Faithful heroes will inspire—surround yourself with mentors who will model the blameless life and challenge you to do the same. King David is saying that he will seek out those who can lead him in a more righteous path, and that strong advice for the keeping of virtue is timeless—and priceless.

Psalm 101 has been called “The Magistrate’s Psalm” because King David was perhaps speaking of his plan for modeling excellent behavior in his government. But it has also been called “The Householder’s Psalm”— I believe because disciplined order and self-control begins at home. Perhaps we could also call it “The Deployment Psalm” for its timeless challenge to guard our eyes, our hearts, and our lives with purity.

Here is today’s dare during deployment: Today is the day to remove anything that is hindering your relationship with your spouse—harmful influences, unhealthy relationships, shame, “parasites.”

Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. — Matthew 24:43

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. — Proverbs 14:1

Work cited:

Kendrick, Stephen & Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997)