As daunting as it seems to live up to the standard that the Greeks have set for us, it is quite comforting to feel the grace that God has for our imperfection and missing the mark. It is not a far leap this week to see God’s expectation modeled for us in the life of Jesus in the Greek concept of synergy. As fully God and fully man, he radiated virtue, honor, wisdom, community, forgiveness, and seeking truth. We obviously can’t live a virtuous life without Jesus. Not only was he the example, but we will fall short of even our own expectations everyday. We desperately need the grace of our Father and Savior to pick us off the floor and keep us humble. Humility is the key here, friends. If I can’t achieve what it takes to give my half of synergy, then rather than getting frustrated and allowing shame to ruin everything, I must take it to the cross.
What does that mean really? I hear it all the time... take it to the cross... the 2000 year old cross that seems distant, mysterious, and supernaturally bigger than I can fully understand. Jesus died my death, paid my punishment for the sins I have and will commit in order that I never feel distant from my Creator. I will always have access to Him. He will always be waiting for me, allow me to stand in His presence knowing fully what I can, and cannot do on my own. And synergy, even my half, cannot be done alone. I have to mind-shift from the beginning. Instead of looking at our 6 steps and feeling overwhelmed, I simply look at the 6 steps in light of how my Savior has already done them with me. Not only did Jesus live with virtue and perfection, he held himself to a standard of love and virtue that no other human could, so that no man could call it into question (even though they tried). He chose the adulterer, the prostitute, the criminal, the Centurian guard, the children, me (and you), every person over himself past death and now into his resurrection. He was the source of wisdom, but even as a boy sought the wisdom of rabbi’s and teachers, his parents, and especially God as he agonized over his final hours. He did what was right and ultimately what was wise for the sake of humanity’s relationship with the Father. Not only did he live among all kinds of people in community, but today, he welcomes me into a doing life relationship with him everyday. “Remain in me as I remain in you” he says in John.
Oh the grace we have been given. The abundant love that we have been freely given despite the weight and depth of our sin, that he would forget it when we humble ourselves before Him in repentance. We need Him. We need a Savior. Daily. So does your spouse. Remind yourself of the grace you have been given, remind yourself of the grace that has also been given and is daily available to your spouse and do your best. Let the Savior fill you with His patience, his love, and his desire to love your spouse and you will find that He will fill the gap that is left in your half of building synergy. Humility mixed with dying to self and service goes a long way in building synergy.
But since our focus is the idea of synergy, what does that look like?
Miracles. I hear you saying “Does that really happen anymore?” It can. I believe that when God fills in what we as humans cannot do (when we let Him), that is when we see miraculous things happen. Jesus was all about multiplying what one or more were willing to give (wine, bread, faith). Look what happened to the first church in Acts 4: 32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” Disciples began to go out in pairs, testifying, modeling for the new churches how to live and love, and God continued to perform miracles (14:3) “ So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there [Iconium], speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.”
But what does this look like in marriage? Miraculous things can happen in your marriage when both do their part. Most of this study is about changing yourself and how that can influence your marriage, but synergy is when both people are doing their part and God multiplies your effort and brings miraculous emotional healing, connection, change, intimacy, and grace for each other. There are no words I have that could describe these types of synergistic moments. It is that moment when you share your honest pain and you feel your spouse hears you. When you choose to forgive your spouse and release them of wrongdoing and they fall into your arms in humility and thankfulness. When you choose to serve a community together and find joy in making a difference.
Work hard, work together, remain humble, and ask God to fill in the gaps along the way. God will be faithful to multiply your efforts as you are obedient to be more like Jesus.