How Can I Tell if God Is Working in My Life or If I Am Trying to Do This in My Own Power?

Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.
Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.

It is easy to try to do this whole being a godly wife thing in our own strength and to try to turn it into a list of rules to follow so that you can improve your marriage on your own without God being involved at all.

Of course, that completely defeats the point of becoming a godly wife – if we don’t have God in the picture! And it is impossible to do this in our own human power. It is like trying to get a car to go without having gas in the tank.

The Holy Spirit IS our power source, my precious sisters! We all begin with many selfish, sinful motives. This is a refining process. It is a process of maturing and growing in Christ. It doesn’t happen all at once.

Some signs that we are trying to be godly wives in our own power:

  • Our motives will be about things other than pleasing and loving Christ and blessing our husbands.
  • We may feel like we don’t really have sin in our lives because we are blind to our sin and we are not able to hear God’s Spirit.
  • We may be very discouraged because our husband isn’t changing and isn’t loving us the way we want to be loved. If I am doing this in my own power, my goal is probably to get my husband to change, not to allow God to radically change me. My goal may be to manipulate my husband rather than to fully submit myself to Christ.
  • We will see a lot of pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, contention, unforgiveness, bitterness, and other sinful thoughts and behaviors in our life from Galatians 5:18-21.
  • We will not have the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23
  • We may feel like we cannot hear God.
  • We may feel constantly defeated.
  • We may be quite discontent.
  • We may feel very lonely.
  • We feel like we have to be “fake” to do this.
  • Our motives will continue to be about our idols, the things that are more important to us than Christ.
  • We will probably be full of anxiety and fear.
  • Our desire to sin will remain constant.
  • Our desires won’t change to match the desires of God.
  • We continue to cherish some sin in our lives (our bitterness, our unforgiveness, disrespect, hatred, contempt, the idol of self, the idol of being in control, idolizing our husbands, idolizing feeling loved, idolizing the healing our marriage, etc…) We may think of God as “a means to an end” who can give us what we really want – these other things.
  • We may feel very impatient.
  • We may feel very bitter toward God and/or our husbands for not giving us what we really want.
  • We don’t have much of an appetite for God, His Word, or the things of God.
  • We look at I Corinthians 13:4-8 and think, “There is no WAY I could love my husband like that!”
  • We think that it is all about US and what we do – saying the right things, doing a long list of things, praying the right prayers, reading the Bible “enough” but we don’t actually trust God or know Him.
  • There are areas that we hold back from God and try to control ourselves.
  • We may think “this isn’t working“or “this is a waste of my time” if our husbands don’t change quickly enough.
  • We may think, “If I obey God, then He owes me a godly husband.”

Some signs that it is God who is changing us:

  • When we fall, we want to get right back up because we want to please God more than anything.
  • We begin to hate our sin.
  • God reveals deeper and deeper layers of sin to us.
  • We long to know God more. We WANT to pray. We WANT to be in His Word. We realize that is our source of nourishment. We have a big spiritual appetite.
  • His Word is ALIVE and speaks to us deeply.
  • We begin to want God more than anything.
  • We begin to understand the power of praising God.
  • We begin to focus on being truly thankful.
  • We are willing to wait as long as it takes. (Waiting Becomes Sweet)
  • Our prayers change from “God, give me what I want” to “God, let me know Your heart and mind more. Teach me Your ways and Your wisdom. Fill my soul with Your Spirit and Your power. I give myself as fully to You as I know how. Transform me to be more like Jesus. I only want to be closer and closer to You!”
  • We begin to see that the things of this world are very temporary and not satisfying and that only God is truly God and we begin to not care as much about worldly things but focus more on heavenly things.
  • We may feel lonely in the world to a degree, but we are so aware of God’s presence and power in our lives, that we are satisfied and overflowing with spiritual abundance.
  • We realize that obedience to God is a reward in itself – here and in heaven – no matter if our husbands or circumstances ever change in this world or not.
  • We begin to release our fears and trust God with them, knowing that He knows best and that even if we must face the things we fear most, if God is with us, we will be ok in the end. God’s perfect love melts away our fear. We pray in faith, not fear.
  • We humble ourselves greatly before God.
  • We want to consecrate ourselves to God – to give ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.
  • We learn to be content as long as we have Christ and His Word whatever our circumstances.
  • We begin to be thankful for life-giving rebukes and constructive criticism, realizing what a blessing it is to be corrected in a godly way.
  • We want to live holy lives that honor and bring glory to God.
  • We begin to seek to hold nothing back from God, but to allow Him total access to every dark corner of our souls, even though it is painful at first to allow Him to tear out all the sinful motives and thoughts in our hearts and minds.
  • We begin to replace the lies and ungodly ideas we have thought for years with the truth of God’s Word. We learn to take our thoughts captive for Christ.
  • We learn what our triggers for sinful thoughts are and we seek to avoid them and to fill our minds with God’s Word.
  • We begin to see that this is all about us and God and not really about our husbands.
  • We begin to understand how much our sin hurts God and our husbands and our marriages and we are grieved deeply over our sin.
  • We begin to see just how much debt we owe to God and how much Jesus paid for us and how deeply we owe Him.
  • We begin to want to submit to Christ as LORD of all in our lives.
  • Our desires begin to change. We are willing to give up anything that God calls sin, even if it was the most important thing in our lives, and turn away from it even though it is scary and painful. We are willing to embrace God’s way, His wisdom, and His will no matter what the ultimate outcome will be and no matter what the personal cost to us.
  • We begin to walk in obedience to God and to desire to be obedient to Him, not to get something for ourselves, but just because we love Him.
  • We begin to realize that the way we treat our husbands and other people reveals whether we truly love God or not.
  • We begin to thank God for the painful trials that draw us nearer to Him.
  • We begin to rest in God’s sovereignty and love instead of trying to make things work out ourselves.
  • We begin to be ok if we must endure suffering because we know that God is sovereign and will use it to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and His glory.
  • We begin to submit fully to God as Christ did and say, “Not my will, but Yours be done” in every area of our lives.
  • We begin to have genuine love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control on a daily basis in all of our relationships on an increasing scale. (Galatians 5:22-23) And when we taste the power of His Spirit working in our lives – we are hooked. We realize we don’t want or need anything else but  Him.
  • We want God to change US more than we want Him to change our husbands.
  • We begin to understand that we are not the Holy Spirit in our husbands’ lives and that we can trust God to work in our husbands in His timing, and we focus on our own sin, our own walk with Christ, and our own obedience to God.
  • We begin to truly “get” how much God has forgiven us and we begin to be able to freely extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness to our husbands and others.
  • We begin to be able to truly love other people, including our husbands, with agape  love, the love God describes in I Corinthians 13:4-8.
  • We begin to see other people with the eyes of Christ and we desire to bless them and to see them know God.
  • We begin to have an eternal perspective on all that is happening in this world.
  • We hold our desires loosely and desire God’s will above our own will more and more.
  • Our motives begin to change to be that we only long to please and love God and to obey Him and to bless others.
  • We want to be sure God gets ALL the credit for anything good He is doing in our lives.
  • We begin to see that God is truly the greatest treasure there is and that as long as we have Him, we have everything!
  • We can’t help but share God and all that He has done in our lives with others, we can’t keep this treasure to ourselves!

If you haven’t, please check out the post about being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Stages of This Journey

Frequently Asked Questions

The Importance of Spiritual Pruning

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

“Misconceptions and Fears I Had at the Beginning of This Journey”

“When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God”


If you have been on this journey for awhile, please share how your thoughts changed. How did you think and feel in the beginning that you know now was you trying to do this in the power of your own strength. And how do you recognize the power of God’s strength working in you now?