Are You a Manipulator? For reading & meditation - John 15:9-17 "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (v. 12) Yesterday we touched on what is perhaps the biggest single problem causing marital unhappiness - trying to get one's partner to meet needs that can only be fully met through a relationship with Jesus Christ. What happens if we do not allow God to meet our basic needs? We will try to get those needs met in some other way. Some people try to find satisfaction in achievement. This, however, fails to bring lasting satisfaction, and whenever their inner discomfort reaches the threshold of awareness, they anesthetize it with more activities, achievement, and work. Another way is to attempt to get these needs met in marriage. But if we enter marriage as a way of getting our needs met, then we consciously or unconsciously become involved in manipulating our partner to meet our needs. Instead of following the Christian vision of marriage, which is to minister to our partners from a position of security in Christ's love, we begin to manipulate them to meet our needs. Thousands of marriages, perhaps millions, are caught up in this treadmill - each trying to get their partner to meet the needs that only God can fully meet. The best way to get our needs met is to depend on God to meet them. When we lock into Him and focus on how much He loves and values us, and on His purpose for our lives, then and only then are we free to minister in the way He prescribes in His Word. Without that inner security, we become exposed and vulnerable to the likes or dislikes of our partner. We become puppets - not people. Prayer: O my Lord and Master, take me in Your arms today and make me so conscious of Your love that I will no longer manipulate others to love me, but will minister to them with the love I already have. For Jesus' sake I ask it. Amen.