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Are Women Inferior to Men in God’s Eyes?

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Some women think terrible things about God and His relationship with women today. They’ll say things like:

  • God hates women.
  • The Bible is misogynistic.
  • God created women to be inferior to men.
  • Men are more important than women to God.

If that was the kind of God we had, I could understand why a lot of women wouldn’t be excited about loving Him wholeheartedly or yielding to His Lordship. That sounds horrible! Thankfully, this is NOT the message of the Bible.

Of course, many people go the opposite way today, saying that women are superior to men and all men are evil. We humans seem to be obsessed with trying to make one gender inherently more holy and one gender inherently more evil than the other.

How can we know what is really true?

Let’s do a brief overview of what the Bible actually has to say about our worth as women together, precious sisters.

The Bible is our source of absolute truth because it is the infallible Word of God. God’s Word must be the measure we use to determine what is right and what is wrong. If I trust any other source, I am trusting sinful, fallible people and I am not going to find the real truth. When I build my life on God’s Word, I build on Solid Rock rather than sinking sand.

OUR WORTH IN GOD’S EYES:

  • Men and women were both created in the image of God.
    • So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Gen. 1:27
  • God blessed both men and women.  
    • And God blessed them. Gen. 1:28
  • God pronounced that everything He made was very good after He created both man and woman.
    • And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Gen. 1:31
  • God created man first, then He created woman with a very special purpose.
    • Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen. 2:18
    • The word “helper” is the same word that is used about the Holy Spirit being our helper. It is not a derogatory term, but a powerful and good term.
    • God did create men and women to be different from each other. He created unique roles for each one.
    • In God’s economy, “different” doesn’t mean one is less valuable and having equal worth doesn’t mean we are identical.
  • God designed for women to be unconditionally loved, cherished, and honored in marriage to demonstrate the way Jesus loves, cherishes, and honors His Bride, the Church. God created marriage to be a permanent, life-long covenant between a husband and wife that is the primary example of His love for His people.
    • Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Gen. 2:24
    • Marriage is to be a living picture of the beautiful relationship between Jesus and His church where the husband is to portray the selfless love, leadership, humility, and sacrifice of Jesus for the church and the wife is to portray the admiration, cooperative spirit, honor, and love of the church for Jesus – Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Men and women both sinned and are equally cursed because of sin and equally in need of a Savior. We are all in the same boat. There is no room for any of us to be prideful that we are “better” than anyone else. Only God is good. People have no goodness in ourselves because of sin. Some of the curse of sin impacts men and women differently, but we are all cursed because of sin and rebellion against God. And we are all subject to death because of our sin.
    • The curse for men, women, and the serpent – Genesis 3 
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Rom. 3:23-24
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23
    • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
    • The gospel is for all people – men and women – and all have equal ability to become children of God through Jesus and the cross.
    • We all have equal access to God through Jesus.
    • All men and women are to submit absolutely to the Lordship of Christ.
  • In Christ, all people have equal worth/value and equal access to all that He has done for us.
    • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28
    • But because of his great love for us (all believers), God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7
  • Women are co-heirs with Jesus and with our husbands as children of God and are to be treated with dignity and honor. In God’s economy all people are to be treated with love, respect, dignity, and honor.
    • Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Rom. 8:17
    • Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Pet. 3:7

THE TWO GREATEST COMMANDS

There are two commands Jesus says are the greatest in all the world for all of us – men and women (Matt. 22:36-40):

  1. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
  2. To love others as we love ourselves. (This includes all people)

The Second Greatest Commandment means that all believers in Christ are to love all people with the very agape love of God found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

And all believers are to be Spirit-filled so that the fruit of all of our lives include the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control of God in the way we interact with all other people (Gal. 5:22-23).

When we are in right standing and relationship with God through Jesus, He completely transforms our ability – as men and women – to have healthy relationships with other people. We want to treat others well – with love, value, respect, and honor.

AUTHORITY DOES NOT EQUAL WORTH IN GOD’S KINGDOM

I believe some of the greatest misunderstandings people have about God, the Bible, and women come from the worldly expectation that “people who have positions of authority have greater worth.” The president of the company makes a lot more money, in our society, than the janitor, for example. That may be how things are for  the world, but in God’s economy, a person’s worth is a function of God’s love for him/her and that person being created by God in His image.

Our worth is not related to our function, talents, gifts, or roles in various areas of our lives in God’s eyes.

An unborn or newborn baby has great value and worth in God’s sight, but the baby has zero authority. Widows and orphans have great worth in God’s sight, but in many cultures throughout history and even today, they often have had no authority or standing in society and no ability to provide for themselves. That is why God has created positions of authority to protect these people He loves so dearly. God does not show favoritism.

Jesus is God, He is part of the Godhead. He submitted Himself humbly to the authority of the Father, and yet He was equal to the Father. His submission was out of love for God and out of reverence for God’s government. The example of authority/submission in the Godhead has nothing to do with worth – it is about love, provision, and order.

GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE

  • There are different positions of authority that are delegated by God to accomplish His will in our lives. He chooses to lead us through certain means. This is God’s system of spiritual government and order: government leaders, police/military, work leaders, church leaders, family leaders (husbands and parents). It is critical to understand that in God’s economy, positions of authority are not related to a person’s worth. In fact, God generally uses the stronger people to protect the more vulnerable, weak, and precious ones.
    • Spiritual Authority – This post contains most of the verses in Scripture about God’s design for His system of government and order in all areas of our lives.
    • People in positions of spiritual authority (both male and female) are to do God’s will and His work. They are not permitted to abuse or sin against anyone by God.
  • When God gives someone a position of authority, it is to protect, bless, shepherd, care for, nurture, and lead the ones in that person’s care into God’s will. It is never for the leader to be a selfish, abusive, unloving, prideful tyrant. The leader is to imitate the very love, humility, sacrifice, and selflessness of Jesus for His beloved Bride.
    • Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matt. 20:25-26
  • All people in positions of God-given authority, all believers, and all unbelievers answer to Jesus in the end.
    • And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matt. 28:18
    • Great White Throne Judgement

PRAYER

Lord,

Please heal the areas of our hearts, minds, and souls where we have misunderstood Your heart and Your love for men and women. Help us to see and reject the lies we have embraced that are so toxic. Help us to build our lives on Your Word, Your truth, Your love, and Your goodness. Help us to seek Your will above everything else. Help us to find all of our identity and security in Christ, not in anything the world may try to say. And help us to become the radiant, peaceful, joyful, Spirit-filled, holy women You call us to be. Use us to radically impact our families and this world for Your kingdom!

Amen!

 

RELATED POSTS

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus

What Is the Gospel? – by www.gotquestions.org

Is There Such a Thing As Absolute Truth? – by www.gotquestions.org

Biblical Womanhood and the Problem of the Old Testament – Trillia Newbell, www.desiringgod.org

Articles about Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – from www.desiringgod.org

Is There Misogyny in the Bible? – by www.gotquestions.org

Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Command a Rape Victim to Marry Her Rapist? – by www.gotquestions.org

Is God/the Bible Sexist? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Sexism? – by www.gotquestions.org

Is Feminist Theology Biblical? – by www.gotquestions.org

How Should a Christian View Misandry? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Spousal/Marital Rape? – by www.gotquestions.org

Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit into Our Lives as Believers?

 

BOOKS TO HELP US DISCERN BETWEEN WORLDLY THINKING AND BIBLICAL THINKING

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood downloadable book edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Radical Womanhood – Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley

The Feminist Mistake – the Radical Impact of Feminism on the Church and Culture  by Mary Kassian

The Feminist Gospel – The Movement to Unite Feminism with the Church by Mary Kassian

 

VIDEOS

David Platt’s videos on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

 

 

Avoid Such People

When we think of what it means to be godly Christian women, sometimes we think that means we have to tolerate anything from other people. We may think being respectful means that we don’t confront people when they sin or speak up when we are being mistreated. We may think it means we have to accept anyone as a friend and never say, “no,” to people under any circumstances.

We may think we are supposed to be people pleasers.

But God never calls us to be people pleasers. We are to be God-pleasers! We are to love God wholeheartedly. Yes, we are to love all people with His love. But God’s love doesn’t allow evil to influence it and drag it down into the gutter.

May the verse below NOT be true of us!

  • for they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:43

 

THE BIBLE HAS WISDOM FOR US

We don’t hear a lot about these passages, today. That is unfortunate, because we can end up surrounding ourselves with people who will try to tear us away from the Lord – and who will hurt our witness for Christ – if we don’t know God’s wisdom for us.

Understand that the last days will be dangerous times. People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy, unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won’t love what is good. They will be people who are disloyal, reckless, and conceited. They will love pleasure instead of loving God. They will look like they are religious but deny God’s power. Avoid people like this. 

Some will slither into households and control immature women who are burdened with sins and driven by all kinds of desires. These women are always learning, but they can never arrive at an understanding of the truth. These people oppose the truth in the same way that Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. Their minds are corrupt and their faith is counterfeit. But they won’t get very far. Their foolishness will become obvious to everyone like those others. 2 Tim. 3:3-9CEB

  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6 NIV
  • Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 2 Thess. 3:14
  • Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and obstacles that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Turn away from them. Rom. 16:17
  • If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matt. 18:17 (After you confront a brother privately and then bring several other believers and confront him…)
  • If anyone comes to you but does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home or even greet him. 2 John 1:10 (speaking of false teachers)
  • But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 1 Cor. 5:11

Verses about trusting the Lord

Verses about trusting people (they are mostly about how we can’t trust other people)

Verses about false teachers

CHOOSING FRIENDS

So when we choose close friends, or our children choose close friends (or future spouses), there are biblical standards we are to apply to our selections. Of course, we are not to be like these passages above, ourselves, either. We are to walk closely to the Lord and invite Him to help us purify our own lives of any sin. And then we are to surround ourselves with strong believers in Christ.

  • Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, Ps. 1:1

We want to try to have fellowship with everyone we can. But if someone is toxic for our faith, the church, or our witness – by God’s definition – we put our love for fellowship with God above our desire to fellowship with people and we honor His commands for us. He is our LORD.

We don’t avoid people out of pride, self-righteousness, hatred, bitterness, or resentment. We avoid certain people, based on a right handling of Scripture, with the goal of protecting our witness for Christ and with a heart that longs to see people repent and turn and be transformed and healed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

SEEKING GOD’S WISDOM

These passages don’t mean that we avoid unbelievers who sin. We are supposed to engage with people who don’t know Christ and share the hope of the Gospel. We minister to them, love them, pray for them, and try to reach them.

But we are not to allow anyone to influence us to pull us away from the Lord and from His Word.

It requires the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit for us to properly evaluate various relationships. We need to be sure we are right with the Lord ourselves and that we are not practicing any of these sinful lifestyles ourselves. Then we need to seek God’s wisdom humbly. We don’t seek to accuse, berate, and condemn other people. But we do try to protect our children and ourselves from ungodly influences.

PRAYER

Lord,

We desperately need Your wisdom and the power of Your Spirit to rightly handle these difficult situations. We want to act in goodness and love with motives that please You. We want to share Your love with everyone. We want to see Your church purified, cleansed, united in love, and vibrant. Help us to discern how to handle these tough relationship issues with holiness. Help us to shine brightly for Jesus in all of our interactions with everyone. Direct our every step for Your glory alone.

Amen!

SHARE

If you would like to share some general things about this topic and what the Lord has shown you, you are welcome to share. I do ask that we keep this space respectful of the Lord and of others and ourselves. That we don’t publicly share details of other people’s sin here. That we don’t tear anyone down. I’d like this place to be a place of edification, blessing, and honor.

Thanks!

My commenting policy

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6 Reasons Not to Have a Critical Spirit

Do Not Expect Outside Support – from your family and friends if you choose to honor the Lord in your life and marriage

Dealing with Annoying Things

 

WHAT IF MY HUSBAND IS LIKE THIS?

If it is our own husband or children who fit these descriptions, we may not be able to avoid them, necessarily. If you have a husband like this, I would encourage you to check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity,” so that you will be better equipped and prepared to deal with the situation in a godly way. Or you can check out:

www.focusonthefamily.com – has a one time free counseling service and counseling referral service

www.biblicalcounseling.com – can help you locate a Christian counselor

We can still choose to be a godly wives even if we have a husband who is far from the Lord. God may use our godly, respectful, holy attitude to draw our men to Himself. We want to seek, on our end, to honor our marriage covenant and to pray for God’s healing. We want to shine for Christ and seek to honor the Lord in the way we relate to our husbands, our children, the Lord, and ourselves. (For posts on this topic, click here, or look under categories at “win him without a word.”)

Verses for wives with unbelieving husbands

IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE SITUATION

However, if you are in an extreme situation where you or your children are in danger, your husband has serious uncontrolled mental health issues, he is involved in active adultery, he is actively involved in drug/alcohol abuse, etc… please seek wise, experienced, godly counsel. If possible, try to get somewhere safe. Involve the police, medical professionals, your pastor, or a trusted Christian counselor, if necessary. There are times when a godly wife may have to prayerfully consider separation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get a divorce. But I don’t want to see any wife, husband, or children in a dangerous place.

And, if you are not safe with your older children, or with a friend, coworker, neighbor, pastor, teacher, police officer, or anyone else, please seek individualized, local help ASAP, as well.

FOR SINGLE WOMEN

If you are not yet married, but your boyfriend or fiancé has a lot of the characteristics in these passages, that is a big red flag. Please see this post about men we are to avoid as Christian single women who are choosing a spouse. You may also want to check out my posts about Red Flags.

 

Is “Hating Men” the Answer?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

A number of prominent women – college professors and women in the mainstream media – have been quite vocal lately about that they believe women should hate all men. They point to many examples of men who mistreated women, who sexually abused them, who assaulted them and raped them. The examples they give are truly awful. There is no doubt that there are many men who have done horrible things against women.

It is very wrong for men to hurt women. God hates violence, rape, abuse, and every kind of wrong men may commit against women. Of course, God also hates every kind of wrong women may commit against men, too.

As women who profess Christ, what are we to do? Is hatred really the answer to the problems in our society and in our families?

Let’s go back to Scripture, the only source of absolute truth, my dear sisters!

BASIC TRUTHS OF GOD’S WORD

About hatred:

  • The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Prov. 8:13
  • Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 1 John 2:9
  • But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:11
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

About love:

  • Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
  • Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. John 14:23-24
  • Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

About eternal life:

  • Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
  • Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15
  • “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matt. 5:21-22
  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Rev. 21:8

 

HOW GOD DEALS WITH SIN

Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness, perfection, and glory of God. It is anything that deviates from His goodness and His perfect will. We have all sinned against God and against people. Not just men. And not just women. We have all fallen short of His standard of holy perfection and are in desperate need of a Savior.

God hates sin. All sin. God hates sin so much that – in His holiness, righteousness, and justice – He cannot tolerate any sin in His presence. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That is why we as sinners, on our own, cannot enter heaven and we are condemned to hell if we don’t have the Savior. God doesn’t want us to go to hell, though. He longs for us all to be with Him in heaven forever. God had to come up with a way to deal with the sin He hates so that He could separate the sin from us and have the chance to be with the people He so dearly loves.

  • Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

That is what the cross of Jesus is all about. It is where the mercy and love of God meet the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God. This is the only way to salvation. It is the only way we can be made right with God. It is all about what Jesus, in His holiness, did for us that we could not do for ourselves. He overcame our sin with His divine love, not with hatred. How humbling is that!? He loved us enough to die for us to rescue us when we were still His enemies and we hated Him.

PEOPLE HATING PEOPLE IS NOT GOD’S WAY

We all lose when we hate each other. We miss out on real relationship with people. And we miss out on intimacy with the Lord. It is impossible to hate people and love God.

We should have righteous anger when anyone is wronged – men, women, the elderly, children, the unborn, and anyone else. We should hate sin like God does. We should seek to use our voices, our influence, and our power to guard people from harm. We should seek to elect leaders who will help enact laws that will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. We should seek to build governments that will protect all people from violence, rape, injustice, and abuse. We should address and confront sin in biblical ways.

However, women hating men is not the answer to the problems in our culture or in our families.

If men hate women, this will not solve anything or accomplish any good, either. Hatred always only brings more pain, more dysfunction, more division, and more hurt for everyone. Genuine repentance from our sins and our willingness to individually yield our lives to the Lordship of Christ Jesus is what will bring healing for us all.

MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY ARE GOOD GIFTS FROM GOD

Masculinity is part of God’s good design for us. So is femininity. God created us to be different on purpose. Masculinity, in and of itself, is not toxic, in spite of what our culture may say. Masculinity and femininity have become skewed because of sin and the Fall. However, masculinity and femininity are beautiful and precious gifts that, when used rightly, point us to the image of God and to the gospel of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33).

We need strong, godly men as leaders in our communities, churches, businesses, government, and families. Getting rid of masculinity, as some propose today, will hurt everyone. Women, men, families, marriage, children, and society all depend on healthy, godly masculinity and femininity to thrive. Let’s address the massive spiritual issue in our hearts – our sinful nature. That is what needs to die. That is the real problem.

If we seek to completely annihilate masculinity, especially God’s design for masculinity, we will hurt our societies, relationships, and children in ways we cannot imagine.

 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)

Those who know and love Jesus display the fruit of His Spirit in every interaction – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we have Christlike people – men and women – who know the Lord, we will have real peace. We will treat each other with mutual respect and unconditional love. Then our communities, businesses, government, churches, families, and our world can be a safer place for us all.

RELATED

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

Are Women Morally and Spiritually Superior to Men?

Godly Femininity

Godly Masculinity – by www.gotquestions.org

 

Sin includes things like:

Pride, unbelief in Jesus/God, idolatry (loving other things/people/ideas/desires more than we love God), greed, addictions, drunkenness, trusting ourselves or things other than God, cursing, hatred, disrespect toward God’s Word, lack of reverence for God, vulgar words, course joking, disobedience to anything God asks us to do, lack of submission to the Lordship of Christ, hurtful words, a critical spirit, disrespecting others, usurping someone’s God-given authority, rudeness, selfishness, self-righteousness (believing we are better than other people spiritually), envy, lying, stealing, taking God’s name in vain, vanity, people pleasing, perfectionism, sexual immorality, lust, apathy, lack of love, lack of faith, legalism, false teaching, false religion, and many other things.

 

 

 

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

anderlust-2

Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

RELATED

 

Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

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

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

Resources for Men

Some people say that because I only teach women, I must be saying that men can do whatever they want and they are off the hook when it comes to being godly husbands. No, not at all! I am not sure how anyone could arrive at such a conclusion! There is no excuse for any believer to think that he/she is “off the hook” and not responsible to God for how they live and relate to other people. Men are at least as accountable – if not more so – than women are before God. (Those in positions of God-given leadership hold a greater accountability.)

Thankfully, even though I only teach women – the Bible still completely applies to men, as well. It applies to all of us! I hope that is obvious.

There are PLENTY of resources for our men and brothers in Christ.

A FEW RESOURCES THAT GREG AND I WOULD RECOMMEND (some are wonderful for men and women):

www.radical.net – David Platt’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

www.seriousfaith.com Brent Riggs has a number of posts for men about being godly men/husbands

– a resource about how husbands can love their wives is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs he also has a website that you may search with this link

Grace Filled Marriage, by Dr. Tim Kimmel, is for husbands and wives and is excellent

His Needs, Her Needs by Dr Willard F. Harley

The Resolution for Men – the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn

Other resources by the Kendrick brothers about prayer, The Love Dare, etc.. https://kendrickbrothers.com/projects/books

How to Be a Godly Husband by www.gotquestions.org

– Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray or his book, Humility, are excellent resources for spiritual growth for men and women.

– E. M. Bounds book on The Necessity of Prayer will help any believer in his/her pursuit of a much more effective prayer life

My sites are for women. I don’t attempt to teach or mentor men out of respect for scripture’s instructions that women are not to have authority over men in the church. So I believe the focus here has to be on what God calls us to do primarily – not on what God calls men to do. My calling is Titus 2:3-5.

THE BIG PICTURE

However, I do want ladies to know about the whole picture in God’s design, not just what women are called to do. And I want the men to have the resources they need. Y’all are welcome to search the sites I listed above or check out these two posts by a minister at my church:

Spiritual Authority – A general overview of the concept of Spiritual Authority in Scripture relating to government, the workplace, the church, and family by a minister at my church, Rev. H. F. Weaver.
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage  – Husbands have positional authority and wives have influential authority. Both are important and powerful. By H. F. Weaver, a minister at my church.

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right – Husbands are still fallible, even though they are given extra responsibility.

A Husband Is Never the Absolute Authority – God is the absolute authority. There are limits to human God-given authority.

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships – When men or women become too passive or too controlling, it is a problem.

My husband, Greg, also has a blog for men – www.peacefulhusband.com

POSTS ON MY BLOG BY MEN THAT MAY BE A BLESSING TO HUSBANDS

 

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us. How I pray we will seek Him more fervently than ever and that we might allow Him to continue to radically transform us to be the people He calls us to be.

SHARE:

Gentlemen,

If you know of a biblically grounded site for men that you would like to share with our other brothers, you are welcome to share in the comments. Thanks so much!

My Husband Blamed Me for ALL of the Problems in Our Marriage – by the Satisfied Wife

ADMIN NOTE:

I am going to be spending as much time as possible with my grandmother who is in her final days or hours this week. I will respond to comments when I am able to. Thanks for your patience and prayers for my family.  I would especially appreciate if some Titus 2 ladies might jump in to help encourage our hurting, struggling sisters as they feel led by the Lord. – April

My apologies for the issue with the last post that went out on email this morning – please ignore it.

————-

A guest post by Satisfied Wife about how to evaluate this issue with a husband who tends to blame his wife for all of the problems in the marriage:

If we try to go off of our own perceptions in life, we will most likely be found to have made some errors. However, if we look to God and His Word, we will not find error, and we can trust His Word to speak truth to us in any situation.

Here are some things that the Bible says about ALL people:

  • There is NO ONE righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)
  • All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Is. 53:6)
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

The place to start when trying to figure out what or who might be the one with the issue in the marriage is the fact that no one is righteous apart from CHRIST.

The Bible also says some things about judging others:

  • “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Romans 7:1-5)
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
  • Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3)
  • For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

I see that it is ok to judge MYSELF (asking the Holy Spirit to shine the truth of His light into my heart) and to make sure my heart and life is right and aligned with God’s will. Unless I do this FIRST, I will NOT be able to clearly see what is going on in my marriage – whether I have an issue, or if the toxicity is coming from my husband. When you are in the middle of a marriage relationship where you are trying all you can to change, and seek God, and get your side right, and you may even see progress over time –  it is much much harder to figure out what is going on if you are being blamed for ALL the issues in the marriage, no matter what you do.

STEP BACK AND SEE WHAT YOU ARE BEING BLAMED FOR

Me personally, when I found myself spinning in circles trying to figure out what is wrong with me all the time – and trying to uncover some hidden sin that was causing me to feel like a total failure in my marriage – most times, the Lord led me gently back to the truth about what was really going on in my marriage, and He showed me that I was taking blame for things that were NOT my problem.

If my husband is blaming me for:

  • His bad moods
  • His irresponsible choices (for work, quitting jobs, etc.)
  • His unhealthy sleeping patterns/eating patterns
  • Him not taking ANY time for himself to seek God/rest
  • His harsh, critical, or condemning words towards me
  • His discontentment in life
  • His inability to trust me (when there is absolutely NO reason for him not to)
  • His insecurities
  • His fear
  • His inability to lead our family
  • His withdrawing from me
  • His physical sinful attitudes/actions toward me
  • His inability to love me

Then, in my experience, God has had to show me that I am only responsible for MY own:

  • Choices
  • Behaviors
  • Attitudes
  • Decisions
  • Emotional/spiritual well-being
  • Words/how I treat others
  • Contentment

When once the Lord led me back to this truth that I am no responsible for my husband’s life, choices, attitudes, behaviors, etc…. – I was able to let go of all the weight of carrying blame for things that did not belong to me! I still had some things that WERE my issue and when the Lord shows me my own sin — I repent immediately. No one is perfect.

So the key for me was to first realize that it is often not just either me or my husband – there is most likely sin on both sides.

But then, when once the Lord opens my eyes to my OWN sin—and I REPENT – that is when I am able to see clearly if I am being blamed for things that do not belong to me. When I am allowing God to reveal the truth to me, I am able to discern when my husband is blaming me. And at this point, my evaluation of that is what leads me to find freedom in Christ, and I am able to step back and focus on my own life, and God, and not allow the blame darts to hit any part of me any longer, because once I know the truth, the truth sets me free.

I think evaluating in a godly way has to do with looking at my own life, repenting of any sin, and then being able to see clearly what I am being blamed for. When I can see that it is NOT my responsibility to:

  • Make my husband happy
  • Fix his irresponsible choices
  • Fix his sin issues
  • Mother him
  • Give him security in life/marriage in ways that only God can
  • Meet the deepest needs of his soul

Then I am free to step back and pray, and allow God to work in my husband’s life and heart, while not subjecting myself to inappropriate blame any longer.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

We must weigh criticisms and rebukes against us in the light of God’s Word by the power of His Spirit. Then we can receive any rebuke that is true and repent of our own sin but we can also reject any rebuke or criticism that is from the enemy and that is not true. Reminder – we can have reverence for God, respect for ourselves (right biblical thinking about ourselves), and appropriate respect for our husbands all that the same time. We must have all of these things going on in proper balance.

RELATED:

“Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Problems in Marriage?” – Peacefulwife responds to a concern from a reader

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

25 Ways to Respect Myself (or to think rightly about myself)

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

25 Ways to Reverence God

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

“Dying to Self” Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood

Last Thursday, I ran a post about “Dying to Self.” Today, I want to talk about how it is possible for someone to misunderstand the concept of “taking up your cross and following” Jesus to think that this means, “I must take abuse. My needs don’t matter. I have to let my husband beat me or abuse my children. I have to be a doormat.”

That is NOT what this concept is about. It is not about giving up our personhood or being a punching bag. It is also NOT about hurting ourselves or beating ourselves up. It is about seeking God’s will above our own. It is about knowing who we are in Jesus and knowing and receiving ALL He has done for us on the cross and through His resurrection. It is about living in a place of great spiritual strength in Christ, not a place of spiritual weakness.

There are different kinds of suffering in this life.

  • The suffering that happens because we are in a fallen world.
  • The suffering that happens due to our own sin.
  • The suffering we experience due to others’ sin against us.
  • The suffering that comes because we voluntarily do what is right.
  • The suffering that comes because God is disciplining us.

God calls us to lay aside our old sinful nature and live for Him. My old sinful self is no longer to be on the throne of my heart. Jesus is now my Master. So when I talk about “dying to self” I am talking primarily about suffering I experience because I decide to live for Christ as LORD no matter what the cost. It is about self-sacrifice in a way that brings honor and glory to God. It is not suffering for the sake of suffering. It is not suffering because I just have to sit and take abuse if I have the ability to leave. It is suffering for the sake of doing God’s will. If this doesn’t make sense, let me know and let’s talk about this some more. 🙂

There may be times when a believer is persecuted and may suffer for the Gospel by being imprisoned, by losing his/her job, or by being physically punished. That kind of suffering may be inevitable. But suffering at the hands of an abusive spouse or self-abuse is something that we can rightly seek to avoid. Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified because that was God’s will to bring about salvation. Other times when people tried to kill Him, He slipped away.

NOTE:

There can be confusion about this idea of dying to self, or the concepts that are like it in Scripture. One reason I think this happens is that from God’s perspective, we are already dead and crucified in Christ. We are already dead to this world and alive to God through Jesus. To Him, that happened 2000 years ago on the cross. It is a done deal sealed by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. He did EVERYTHING necessary to make us right with God. We have already been justified. To be justified means that Jesus completely paid our sin debt in full. It is an accounting term.

But then, there are also all of these commands about us participating in this process on a daily basis as we follow Jesus. So we are involved in “picking up our cross,” “putting to death the misdeeds of the body,” and making ourselves “living sacrifices” for God moment by moment. It is a continual mindset of surrender of self and yielding to the Lordship of Christ. Yes, this is the process of sanctification which continues for our lifetimes until we reach heaven. 🙂 It is that process of learning to live out and experience all that Jesus has done for us in our daily lives.

We absolutely must guard against a works-based salvation. We are all prone to want to go to that in our pride – to think that we can somehow earn what Jesus did for us on the cross ourselves. But we cannot!

The ONLY way we can have power and victory over sin is through the power of God’s Spirit working in us. We don’t have power in our own sinful flesh to do this.

From an Anonymous Wife:

Because I come from a background with a lot of out-of-control sin from adult authorities, I had a very distorted understanding of the meanings of things. And then coming to church and hearing blanket statements made as if everyone had the same lexicon made it even more confusing for me. “Dying to self” was one of those things that really frightened and terrorized me a bit.

When you live with abuse, your very self is being attacked as if its somehow wrong for you to live and exist and as if there is nothing good about you. You are being told all the time that you are bad, worthless, etc.

Then I get to church and hear the self being talked about as if its a bad thing too. It was years before my reasoning skills and theological understanding developed enough for me to even understand what was being talked about, so I couldn’t even articulate my difficulties for a long time! I thought God agreed with the abuse I suffered because of that and that my feelings about it were irrelevant to Him because they were part of self! Worse, I met Christians who actually thought that way. Now, hoping I indeed have gotten it, lol, here is what I think it means.

How I understand this now is that when Jesus asks us to deny ourselves, He is not talking about systematically trying to annihilate anything that is us. He is more likely talking about the self that is part of the sinful nature, the flesh.

It can also include our will when what we want is contrary to what God wants. But it does not mean that the person you are as far as your unique identity or personality equipment as God designed it,is what needs to die. I like animals and art and living in the country. That is not bad, its part of who I am as a person. There is no sin in it, of itself.

However, if God was calling me to move to an inner city neighborhood where he wanted me to reach out to homeless youth, and I said to him ” No, I don’t want to leave my farm and my wholesome environment, then that would be an example of denying myself for His sake. If I have a tendency to gossip or am bitter and unforgiving towards someone that would be an aspect of my flesh that God wants me to deal with by putting it to death on the cross.

Yes, He is referring to that we are dead and we count ourselves dead to our sinful old nature, our flesh, and to this world. But we are alive to God in Christ. We have a new self that is glorious, blessed, beloved, cherished, valuable, precious, and beautiful in Christ. It is so important that we know what “self” we are to die to and what it means to take up our cross.

 

By The Satisfied Wife:

April,
I think you are right on in what you shared about this. And something else hit me as I read this comment. In my experience, because I was mistreated for so long, and suffered in that sense for getting involved with the wrong kinds of men, and not having a strong father figure in my life, I became completely self-reliant and independent, with a heart hardened to the harsh realities of life. And in being mistreated and developing that independent spirit, looking back I see actually how selfish I became. That sounds wrong, but hear me out if you can 🙂

Because I was mistreated and grew up mistreated, and did not develop a healthy self-worth, and developed that desire in my heart to be loved and wanted and all those idols that are attached to that desire—-it actually made me self-centered. All I cared about was what I wanted, what I needed, what I wasn’t getting from this guy or my father or whoever. My husband pointed this out to me a long time ago, really right after we got married, he saw how selfish I was and how focused I was on having my needs met in the marriage. And because my needs and expectations weren’t getting met the way I wanted them (with the never ending black hole heart), I was disrespectful, complaining, negative, argumentative, controlling, etc.

That’s what happens when we are mistreated in life, as a young woman, we become fearful and controlling because we feel the need to protect ourselves because we have not been treated right. We become independent and self-reliant.

So when God led me to Himself, and revealed Christ in my heart—— that was one of the first things He showed me. He led me to read the book “Not a Fan”, and it was all about dying to self and following Christ. I remember how eye-opening that was for me, because my selfishness was exposed.

And as the years have gone by, He has continued to lead me to the true meaning of dying to self and following Christ, by leading me to your blog, and to the book captivating— and now I see all the pieces put together to this puzzle for me.

He has shown me that in reaction to the way I was mistreated by my own father and men in my life, my heart grew very cold and I became even more selfish. I was living in self-protection mode which entails controlling and fear for my whole life really. All I cared about was myself, honestly. I wanted what I wanted.

I’m not saying it’s ok for anyone to treat someone wrongly. But what I am saying is that, I had an even more challenging time learning how to die to self because of being mistreated and having developed a very independent self-reliant spirit that was highly selfish. I looked at everything my husband did through the lens of my wounded, selfish heart, instead of through Christ and the Cross. I had no idea that my wounded heart was behind all of the control, fear, and disrespect. I didn’t realize that wounded heart was behind a lot of the conflicts in marriage. It was harder for me to “let go” of control and all the fear and self-protection and it was hard to learn to truly trust God and surrender all to Christ. But once He opened my eyes, holding onto those things seemed like garbage compared to surrendering all to Him as Lord and having His peace and rest in my heart!

Now that I know who I am in Christ, and who my husband is in Christ, I have a hard time focusing on the things he does wrong. Letting go of myself and my own personal interests has been the way of finding true Life!

From Peacefulwife:

This process of dying to self can also be described in other ways, too, like:

  • being a living sacrifice for God (Rom. 12:1)
  • putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Rom. 8:13)
  • counting yourself as dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Rom. 6:11)

Taking up my cross is about laying down any sinful motives and about picking up God’s will. So I would allow God to search my heart for things like selfishness, greed, bitterness, idolatry, resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, malice, gossip, addictions, etc… things that are spiritually toxic to my soul, my relationships, and my walk with Christ – and I would reject those things and allow God’s Spirit to completely fill me with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It is not only about getting rid of the sin that was in me before. It is also about receiving all of the good that God wants to give to me and the new self He provides for me.

There are some who have been  abused and mistreated who do not believe they are worthy to receive God’s love. Truthfully, none of us are “worthy” to receive God’s love. But God loves us because that is who He is and His love is available to each of us. We CAN receive His love, not because we deserve to, but because He freely gives it!

For those who have a hard time receiving good things from God, I invite you to check out this post by Radiant about Cinderella and the Gospel. I also encourage wives who have been abused and who are confused about dying to self to search and read some of these posts as well:

Boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Townsend may be helpful in this kind of situation where there is significant emotional/verbal abuse.

Nina Roesner has an e-course that may be a huge blessing for wives in emotionally/verbally abusive marriages and very difficult marriages – “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

I believe we must find spiritual healing and wholeness in Christ FIRST before we learn how to “lose our life” for Christ or “put to death the misdeeds of the body,” or “be a living sacrifice” for God or “die to our old sinful self” in a healthy way.

NOTE:
I do want to mention – this is something we each choose to do ourselves. It is not appropriate for me to demand that another believer needs to “die to self” to do what I want him/her to do. I can’t force others to obey God. I can set a godly example. I can ask for what I need and desire. I can share my insights and perspective. But I don’t get to control other people or dictate to them what they should do.

My husband should be living wholeheartedly for Christ and leading and loving as Jesus did, laying down his life for me to portray the love of Christ. But it is not my place to say, “You need to die to yourself and do X, Y, and Z to lead me properly.” It is possible for me to try to manipulate my husband, or other believers, in this way, for my own selfish purposes.

SHARE:

If God has given you lightbulb moments about this concept, please share! If you are struggling with this idea, let’s talk about it together.

Much love to each of you!

April

Other People Don’t Always Know What You Should Do in Your Marriage – by The Satisfied Wife

 

This post is by The Satisfied Wife (AKA WorthyofLove). She is in a very difficult marriage with a husband who tends to be rather harsh at times – and yet, what God is doing in her heart is SO beautiful! I appreciate her willingness to share with us:

ON SEEKING GOD ALONE TO KNOW HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES

In each of our lives, the only thing we can rely and trust in is the Lord, and His Word. There really are no other guarantees in this life. He is our greatest need, and our only source of life. When you are in a toxic marriage – it really is a great opportunity to seek the Lord with all your heart. I have found in my own life, being around toxic relationships and people is what drove me to Him in the first place. God can use anything to accomplish His greater purposes! Way before finding April’s site, I was driven into the arms of the Lord and His Word. It was the only place I found true rest and hope.

In my experience, seeking the Lord alone for the truth in your marriage is what will matter most in moving forward not only with the Lord, but in your marriage.

THE DANGER OF SEEKING HUMAN WISDOM ALONE
I honestly never sought anyone’s opinion about my marriage or life in the first place. I sought the Lord wholeheartedly, though. And through seeking the Lord above all – that is how I was led to His Body (April’s site). And once led to the Body, the Lord has been able to teach me so much truth and He has truly opened my eyes in so many ways since finding April’s blog.

However – at one point – I, too, found myself relying on what I was learning through the blog, along with what the Lord was teaching me, to direct my steps completely in terms of my own personal life and marriage. Because at that point, I was desperate for answers, and willing to try anything to “fix” my marriage.

When we are desperate for answers—we are at the greatest risk of being deceived about what our next step should be. Especially if we are not truly crucified to the flesh—and we have a predetermined will of our own. We will look for the answers that match our own will—and believe it is confirmation of God’s leading. We must first be truly crucified to our own will and ways—and seek only to know God’s will and ways.

That is the power of God working here. Many women might come there to find answers about their marriage and how to get their husband to love them a certain way, etc… but what they find is Christ Crucified as the Power of God! AMEN!

JESUS IS THE ANSWER
We can read and learn all we want about marriage, respect, submission, how to handle difficult people, how to walk in the Spirit, how to do this, that and the other thing. But knowledge of all that is NOT what will get you through the actual reality of your daily life living within a toxic marriage.

Your Spirit union with the Living, Risen Lord Jesus is what will get you through the toxic marriage. HE is what is needed. Not a list of rules. Not human wisdom.

If I adhered to all the “research” and “wisdom” of this world—I would be divorced already. I would have given up the first time I felt I was slighted or mistreated without a cause. That is the answer that the world gives to women who are in a toxic relationship. And perhaps that MIGHT be the answer that the Lord ultimately leads you to in certain situations (that are biblically supported).

The point right now is that when we are in a toxic marriage, and we are cowering under the oppression and fear of what will happen all the time – the most important thing is not what April says, what anyone human, or book (Christian or otherwise) says – it is what the Lord says. It is what He is leading you to see and do, that matters most. And He is not afar off – if we are in Christ and belong to Him, He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Christ Jesus has forever secured our entrance into the Presence of God by His precious Blood shed on the Cross! That is a FACT. Your feelings are NOT fact.

If any precious woman finds herself in a toxic marriage after evaluating in a godly way what is really going on – the best thing she can do is truly set aside some time, and seek the Lord. Pour out her heart to Him. Depend on Him alone for guidance, wisdom, and truth. (Maybe refer to Andrew Murrays “Waiting on God” and “Absolute Surrender”).

LOOK AT THE FACTS

Having already been through this more than once, the greatest thing when seeking God alone for truth has been to look at the FACTS.

  • The facts from the Word of God that tell us who we are, who God is, What God can do, etc.
  • The facts about how I am being treated (look to actions of spouse not words)
  • The facts about how I am acting/reacting to this treatment

A fact is a fact. It is what happened. It is what has been proclaimed. The biggest blinders in this process are your own feelings, because we all know that sometimes our feelings are actually NOT facts.

So I’ll say this – in my case, when my feelings matched the facts – I took them as real. If I felt as though I was being manipulated/controlled inadvertently, and I looked at what my husband did, compared to what he said – I found it was true how I felt.

HOW TO SEEK GOD

Seeking God, to me, has meant that I stop looking to anyone, anything, any system, and other source – except God alone to guide me, save me, provide for me, etc…

It means that I pray – I spend time reading His word and other trusted sources of spiritual food. I wait for Him and I depend on Him. Utterly. Wholeheartedly.

  • To speak to my heart.
  • To open my eyes.
  • To fill me with His Spirit
  • To save me from my own self
  • To save me from the fiery darts that are coming at me from the devil.

Be aware – any one who sets their WHOLE heart on God is a target of Satan. Don’t be shocked to find that yes, your very husband can be a tool in the devil’s hands to paralyze you spiritually – to trip you up and stop you at ALL COSTS from seeking God! Because when we seek God alone – we let go of all the things of earth -and when we are in our spiritual position with Christ by faith – we walk in His power and we are a HUGE threat to the Satan and his kingdom.

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of TRUTH. He cannot lie. He will not lead us into lies if we set our heart on Him alone. He will open our eyes, and grant us a revelation of Christ Jesus in our hearts – and when we see Christ alone -we will know Him and the Bible says that Christ is wisdom to us—CHRIST is wisdom! In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom. So then, more than anything else, we need knowledge of Christ in our situations!

 

Should You Strive to Please or Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

This post is specifically for wives who are disrespecting themselves or disrespecting God in order to put their husband on the throne of their hearts

** (please note the disclaimer about severe issues at the bottom of the post)

IDOLIZING A PERSON

Our culture thrives on encouraging us to idolize our spouses and be enmeshed/codependent with them. Whether

  • I expect my husband to meet all of my deepest spiritual and emotional needs (rather than Christ) or
  • he expects me to meet all of his
  • or both…

We will destroy our relationship if we continue on like that. If the goal is to ultimately to please a person at any cost – myself or my spouse – I am building my marriage on sinking sand instead of the Solid Rock of Christ.

An idol is something or someone I trust to bring me ultimate fulfillment, contentment, peace, joy, and happiness – that is not Jesus. It is something or someone that I place above God in my heart and give all power to in my life. I rest my faith in that particular thing. Some of us are willing to do ANYTHING to save our marriage, for example – even if it meant sinning, condoning sin, or allowing great harm to come to ourselves or our children.

I must seek to please God alone “no matter what the cost,” not to please another person to that degree.

Verses about idolatry:

  • Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. Jonah 2:8
  • Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5
  • Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8

Idols can’t save us. When we trust idols, we are ultimately trusting in ourselves – what our hands (or minds) have made (Isaiah 2:8, Psalm 135:15-18). Idolatry is slavery. We become hostages of our idols – the things in which we place our greatest faith and hope. When we trust idols, God often uses the things we trust to teach us that nothing is trustworthy except for Himself. We often bring upon ourselves the things we fear the most when we trust other things or people rather than God.  Idolatry and fear go hand in hand because we are trusting in somethings that cannot save us. We are trusting in broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

WHAT GOD REQUIRES:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

If we love someone or something else with all our hearts and we set our hearts on that thing or that person, we will destroy ourselves. But when we set our hearts fully on God, we are blessed spiritually and overflowing with His Spirit – and then when we are right with God, He can empower us to have right relationships with others – as far as it depends on us. We may even see Him bring about miracles as we trust Him with our difficult relationships and our trials.

FROM THE TRENCHES:

I’m recruiting some help from the trenches from two wives in whom God is doing such amazing things…

Wife 1 whose unbelieving husband left her in the last year or so:

I think a HUGE red flag is fear. If you fear your husband, his reactions, losing the relationship – anything – You need to pray about it. Ask God why you fear, because perfect love casts out fear, and if you have fear for your husband or marriage, that is not love. You are not loving God more than your husband if you let fear of your husband trump your fear and reverence for God.

Wife 2 whose unbelieving husband is rather controlling and difficult at times:

Fear was a huge factor in most of my marriage. Fear of his reactions when I tried to share my feelings. I kept tweaking and tweaking my delivery of that, thinking it must be me, I must be doing something wrong. And, yes, it is true that many times I would come at him in anger after he had hurt me (these weren’t petty things, either – they were things that would make any wife or husband angry because they threatened our marriage).

But, even as I learned more about respect and how to approach these things in a better way, I started realizing that I would never reach the perfection status that would allow my husband to finally listen to what I was saying. My husband was never physically abusive, but I still had a lot of fear because he would shut me out and ignore me for days if I upset him and there were subtle things he did and phrases he used that made me feel really bad for sharing my feelings about something hurtful that he had done to me.

I was full of fear of losing the marriage, fear of losing my family. God had to take me to a place that I had to surrender it all to Him and He delivered me from all of that fear!

Now I can walk in truth and am free in Christ in my marriage! I no longer fear what my husband thinks of my relationship with Christ, I no longer fear his reactions if I speak truth that needs to be said to him (not trying to save him or preach to him, but just truth about things in our relationship or with our kids, etc.). And, my anthem during that whole process became the song, “No Longer Slaves to Fear.” That became like a prophetic song in my life that God made real for me.

God wants His daughters (and sons) to live free in Christ. That’s a huge red flag there, I think – If you do not feel like you have the freedom to be yourself and are always trying to “soften” your Christian walk so that it isn’t offensive, something is probably off (from April – this requires great wisdom and godly discernment to be able to see clearly). I think we are to live boldly for Christ and I also believe that is why those verses are there in 1 Corinthians 7 about an unbelieving spouse leaving…. the Christian’s life will be so different that it will repel some unbelieving spouses and may cause a permanent separation in the marriage. That’s not a popular topic in Christian marital teaching, but it is absolutely biblical.

It is a painful process and doesn’t happen overnight, this being able to get to a place where you are willing to lose it all and you choose to follow Christ wherever He leads and start living from an authentic place instead of sweeping sin and issues under the rug or letting someone keep trying to convince you there’s nothing wrong (when you KNOW there is something wrong). God is the one who has to do it, really, but we have to cooperate and go through the painful places so that He can lead us on to this beautiful freedom!

My husband threatened divorce (not always that directly, but it was very much implied) many times over the last few years as I started getting stronger in Christ and was standing in truth about the things that were happening in our marriage. Of course, this brought a lot of fear in my life – but eventually, I just started to let him know that he was free to go. This took him back every time I told him that. He was so used to me adjusting my behavior to keep that from happening. But, I think what I said and did was rooted in God’s Word and from His Spirit.

As Christian wives of unbelieving husbands, we need to realize that these verses are in God’s Word for a reason. He may be saving some years of heartache and struggle. And, really, those verses are just as much of a command as any other directive/command in the Scriptures. If an unbeliever wants to go, let him go. I know it’s not a popular view in the Christian culture of “marriages are worth saving at all costs”… (April, I know you do not teach this and I so appreciate that). God is infinitely above marriages and our marriage or husband should never take His place.

If you are operating in fear, things will only get more and more destructive. But, when God sets you free from that fear and you are willing to follow Him at ALL costs, then yes, you can move and operate from the power of the Holy Spirit.

It doesn’t mean that things are all going to be rosy and pretty and pain-free, but you WILL have an underlying peace and assurance from the Lord that He will never let you go, *He* will never be unfaithful or leave you, and you can begin to see the reality of the spiritual warfare you are in, as well. May God continue to bring this freedom to many, many more brothers and sisters!

My husband actually said to me as I was getting stronger in Christ and he could sense something was changing, ”I want you to worship me.” Yikes!!!!

God got my attention big-time with that statement. I calmly but strongly said something to the effect that I would never be able to do that for him. I brought that up in counseling and my husband said he was joking, but still. Red flag.

As far as idolizing our husbands so much that we think we couldn’t go on in life, I know another big thing for me regarding this was that I was a very insecure person. My security was resting on my husband’s love for me and that is a very, very shaky and doomed-to-failure kind of foundation. I think equal with dealing with fear is that every Christian has to find their security and worth in Christ alone.

  • God will absolutely do this in His children’s lives, one way or another, I think.

It might come through marital problems or probably whatever it is that you are finding your security in. If we have not come to a place, like Paul, where we can say “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” then this is something that has to be worked out. We have to be absolutely unshakeable and convinced that God is never leaving us and loves us with a love that cannot even be measured! We also need to be convinced of our righteous standing in Christ before God and in the finished work of Christ. Then our foundation is sure and strong.

RELATED

Fully Trusting God with My Husband – Laying Down All of My Fears 

My Security and Identity Must Be in Christ Alone!

Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

Roots of Insecurity Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and Desire to Control

Is Divorce the Worst Thing That Can Happen? VIDEO

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Bitterness

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

People Pleasing

Tearing Out the Idols in Our Hearts

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband

**Note – if you are dealing with severe issues in your marriage (unrepentant adultery, active drug/alcohol addictions, major porn addictions, severe uncontrolled mental health issues where someone is not in his/her right mind, or other very toxic or abusive situations,) please seek trusted, godly, appropriate counsel in person. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe if possible. Please reach out to your pastor, the police, www.thehotline.org, www.focusonthefamily.org has a free Christian counseling service, a trusted doctor – depending on the situation. If you are dealing with emotional toxicity, check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” Please compare anything I or any human says to Scripture. Search for yourself. Seek Christ for yourself. Find the healing and hope that is available in Him!

 

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