8 Tips to Nip Complaining in the Bud
1. Replace negative thoughts with thankful ones. Think about good things.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8
2. Focus on praising God in your thoughts and with songs.
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Ps. 115:1
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Ps. 100:1-2
3. Memorize and meditate on Scripture.
I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Ps. 77:12
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps. 119:11
I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Ps. 119:99
4. Invite God to use the negative things in your life to help you grow in spiritual maturity, to bless others, and to bring glory to His Name.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Rom. 5:3-5
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
NOTE – If you are not safe. If you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, these verses don’t mean to just sit there and take abuse if you have the power to leave. We have a responsibility to get somewhere safe and to keep our children safe if there are actions we can take.
5. Avoid negative input from other people (when possible), from media, music, movies, books, etc… and replace the negative input with healthy, wholesome, Christ-honoring input that will feed my soul.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2
6. Journal about my journey or have an accountability partner.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:12
7. Make it a group project at church, in the family, at work, in the neighborhood, with friends, or wherever.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Heb. 10:24
8. As soon as I mess up, I need to repent and get right back up and invite God to continue to make me more like Jesus.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Added Bonuses When I Stop My Habit of Complaining about Every Little Thing:
- There is more peace in my relationships.
- I have more peace in my own heart and mind.
- I can be closer to the Lord.
- It’s easier for my husband to lead.
- I have a much more powerful witness for Jesus.
- I am more fun to be around for everyone.
- I have more joy.
- I am more attractive to my husband.
- I don’t annoy myself as much.
What tips do you have to share to help us all avoid complaining?
What bonuses have you noticed when you cut way back on a complaining spirit?
Complaining VS Informing – We do need to be able to share important things. Thankfully, we can do that without complaining!
I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do. – No! Sometimes we do need to engage in conflicts and disagreements. But, thankfully, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do that without sinning.
Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No – Sharing our desires vulnerably
How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus:
Of course the foundational thing – before I can do anything good – is I need to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I’d like to share the “ABC’s of Salvation.”
I need to:
1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.
- “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.
- “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
- And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org
About Complaining – from www.gotquestions.org:
How Can I Tell If What I Want to Say Is Complaining or Informing?
Complaining is primarily about focusing on the negative about circumstances, people, or perceived negatives about God. It is about communicating a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith in the Lord. A complainer is not looking for solutions, but just wants to spread negativity and discontent. The information shared is not something that the hearers need – or want – to know. And, sadly, a complaining spirit is very contagious.
Informing is primarily about sharing important information that the other person needs to know. We may need to share our desires about certain things. We need to share if we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually so unwell that we need help from a specific person. And we need to share, with the right people, if someone else is not okay and he/she needs help.
From four of my wonderful readers (shared with their permission):
- I think complaining assigns blame, seeks sympathy and usually doesn’t solve anything. The hearer may not need the information at all. Informing seeks solutions and is intended to benefit the hearer by giving them needed information.
- I look at this way, “First, can it change?” If it can, “does it need to?” And then, “how can I say it in such a way that isnt received as competition?” A lot of concerns come out as “I’m better than you.” Or “At least I do the dishes” when in reality we just want to be appreciated and have our concerns heard.
- I think it’s all wrapped in the words you use. Instead of saying, “Why do “you” always leave the toilet seat up after “you” go?” The better approach would be, “Honey, guess what almost happened to me last night, I almost sat right down into the toilet “… then ask can we work together to think of a way we could possibly remember to put the seat back down? (This has actually happened to me long ago.) When I made “you” statements, it was complaining. When I made the “we” statements, it included us as a couple/team. Working together for our good. My husband didn’t want me to fall or get wet. It was just a habit he had. Talking and agreeing on a problem brings resolve. Not pent up frustration that steams and brews until it becomes a screaming match. Love isn’t like that. Moral of my story: We agreed to put both the seat and the lid down after using the toilet. Happy endings prevail where love abounds!!😍
- This scripture impacted me recently. Both complaining about OR withholding the truth of what is going on in our lives can be detrimental. If speaking the truth of our circumstances could lead others to eventually rejoice in God’s deliverance, then it is worth telling. Here, Paul is neither complaining nor withholding:
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV
I think it is helpful to look at my heart, motives, and scripture as I try to decide if what I want to share is complaining or informing.
- Am I saying negative things about God, assuming He has evil motives or speaking wrongly about His good character?
- Am I condemning other people or highlighting their sins to people who aren’t involved and who don’t need to know?
- Am I walking in a lack of gratitude?
- How often do I talk about the problem? Is it a continual habit?
- Am I gossipping? Meaning, am I sharing negative information about others in order to make others thing poorly of someone else or to try to make myself look better than someone else?
- Do I tell lots of people, even those who can’t do anything to help the situation?
- Is this simply an annoyance that I could/should overlook?
- Am I focused on my own personal preferences/comfort more than biblical principals/God’s glory?
- Am I trying to control something that is not in the realm of my responsibilities?
- Is this something I need to accept and invite God to use it to change me? What if this trial is an answer to my prayers to help me grow spiritually? Or is it something I have a responsibility to change?
- Am I encouraging others to complain, to be afraid, to not trust God, or to be upset?
- Am I attacking or criticizing others?
- Am I looking for genuine help and resolution of the problem, or do I just want attention and sympathy?
- Are my motives wrong? Do my words spring from envy, sinful jealousy, selfishness, self-righteousness, gossip, pride, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, malice, idolatry of someone/something (codependency), fault-finding, a critical spirit, perfectionism, people pleasing, playing the martyr, fear, a desire to control, assuming the worst motives of others or God, unbelief in God/lack of faith, etc…?
- What is my goal? Am I trying to resolve something that is resolvable? Or do I just want to say negative things just to say them – and I am not really looking for a solution?
- Do I simply want to make my needs known to God and – in faith – ask for His help and provision?
- Do I have a legitimate need or problem and am I looking to the person (or people) who can truly help me?
- Am I seeking only to tell people who actually need to know about the situation?
- Is my problem a significant one that I can’t handle on my own?
- Am I asking for things or sharing my perspective or the information I want to share respectfully?
- Is the problem something that can change and that is my responsibility to try to change?
- How often am I talking about the problem? Just enough to tell the person who can help me?
- Is this issue something that grieves God’s heart and something God instructs me to attempt to correct?
- Are my motives right? Do I seek to get the problem fixed in a way that honors the Lord?
- Am I acting in divine (1 Cor. 13:4-8 style) love for God and for others?
- Am I pointing others and myself to trust God, to love others, and to have greater faith?
- Will my sharing this information spur others on to greater faith in the Lord? Will it help them grow spiritually?
- Am I reverencing the Lord, respecting other people (my husband, my children, and others), and respecting myself in the situation?
Our pastor said something interesting yesterday,
“Lack of gratitude is the first step toward idolatry.”
Obviously, if we don’t trust and thank the Lord, we are going to look to other things to trust. We must guard our hearts carefully against this tendency, my precious sisters!
We need Your clear wisdom, guidance, Word, and Spirit to help us discern rightly in this – and every – area. Help us to see our motives clearly. Help us to long to honor You in our thoughts, attitudes, motives, words, and actions. Help us to receive Your Spirit’s power to walk in holiness because we can’t do this on our own. Change us, Lord! Make us more like Jesus.
We can empathize and sympathize with others if they are sick, tired, upset, etc… But we don’t have to complain about our lives, too.
- “I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds tough.”
- “Oh, no. I hate that you are so exhausted. That’s no fun.”
- “Hey, is there anything I can do to help?”
It’s a good thing to want to be a supportive friend.
If a Friend Has Significant Issues Going on:
- Listen and hear her heart and pain. Try to understand the situation.
- Validate her feelings.
- Relate to her struggle. (Without complaining about or disrespecting anyone in my life.)
- Pray with her about the situation and invite God into the situation to work for His glory.
- Do a spiritual checkup with her to be sure she is receiving good things from God.
- Possibly share some things I have learned that have helped me in similar situations.
- Offer insights or possible helpful resources as the Lord leads.
- Make sure she is safe – if she is facing abuse or something truly awful, she may need more help and resources for a very difficult situation.
It depends on the relationship – and how much time we have – how we would approach another woman in this situation. Ultimately, we will need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to give us exactly the right words to share in each scenario. We want women to feel validated and supported. And then we want to be able to point them to the hope that is available to them in Christ. We may even be able to witness and share the gospel with them if they don’t know the Lord. Or if they know the Lord already, but are struggling with faith, we may be able to encourage them to yield to His Lordship. God may help us see exactly what they need.
Some women may be open to some positive new suggestions from us. Especially those who are really close to us. Others would not be. Some may be offended if we try to encourage them to look for good things in their lives. We can’t force anyone to change her thinking. We can invite them to. But if they clearly don’t want to, we can respect their decision. That is their choice to make. We can back away.
If a Friend Has a Pretty Good Situation, but Just Has a Habit of Complaining
Some women in our lives may not have big problems in their lives or marriages, they may just be in a bad habit of thinking and talking about only negative things. In a situation like that, I may be able to gently mention some blessings she has in her life, or encourage her to think about the good things in her life. I may even invite her – in a sweet, friendly way – to join me on a fast from negative words. Who knows, she may be excited about it!
If Someone Is Very Emotionally/Spiritually Toxic
- As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10
- Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Cor. 15:33
- Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
- A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Prov. 16:28
- Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Prov. 17:9
- Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Prov. 22:24-25
- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8
How Does Bad Company Corrupt Good Character? www.gotquestions.org
Is It Good to Have Close Friendships with Unbelievers? www.gotquestions.org
Prayers for Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands – by Radiant
For emotionally destructive friendships or extended family relationships, please check out Leslie Vernick’s resources here.
A Critical, Judgmental Spirit Destroys Others and Ourselves
Our goal is to LIVE the Christian life, not just to have head knowledge of it.
- 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. Matt. 7:5
- 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
Insults Deeply Wound Others
Our words have “the power of life and death” according to scripture (Prov. 18:21). What we say matters. There are two primary commands Jesus gives us. The first is that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The second is that we are to love other people as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). Then Jesus connects the two. We learn that He counts the way we treat other people, even the least of them, as the way we treat Him (Matt. 25:31-46). And in 1 John, we learn that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
So what we speak to people in our every day lives matters. A lot. Let’s invite God to help us stop using our words as weapons to cut others down and to stop speaking death to people – and even to ourselves.
- Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Pet. 3:9
- Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12
- A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
- There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18
Complaining and Negativity Hurt Our Witness for Christ
When we complain and highlight all that is wrong with life and focus on bad things, we reveal a lack of trust in the Lord and unbelief in our hearts. God calls us to live lives of thanksgiving in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He calls us to focus our minds on Him and on all of the good things and blessings we can find (Phil. 4:8).
One of the things that stirred God’s anger the most against the people of Israel in the wilderness was their tendency to complain and grumble. They complained to Moses, but ultimately, their real complaint was against God. They didn’t believe He would take good care of them. They didn’t believe He was able to provide well for them. They didn’t trust His heart toward them or His plan. They didn’t come to Him with their needs and ask for help humbly and respectfully by faith. They accused God of evil motives and said He must be too weak to help or save them. That was not remotely the case!
Even now for believers in Christ, if we choose to complain and grumble about our lot in life, we hurt our walk with the Lord and we destroy our witness for Him. How can anyone be drawn to Jesus if we are so dissatisfied with Him and we don’t trust Him, ourselves? God is not saying we can’t ask Him for help. We absolutely can! And we can ask others for help, too, when we need to, and it is appropriate. But for believers in Christ, there is no room in our lives for complaining. We are to live lives of faith. Faith doesn’t complain – it trust God and seeks Him, inviting Him into the situation to do something glorious.
We also need to remember that God intends to use our trials to help us grow in our faith and spiritual maturity. The thing I am complaining about may be the answer to my prayers that God has sent to help me grow. Not that we should try to find suffering or put ourselves in suffering. But as a believer, I should have a totally different outlook on annoying and difficult things. They may be spiritual tests. They may be discipline for me to grow in my faith. They may be opportunities for God to do something amazing. In Christ, I can learn to count even my trials as joy. I can keep an eternal perspective rather than get wrapped up in the moment.
- Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10
- Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation,among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16
- Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9
- Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Pet. 4:9
Arguing Is Ineffective, Detrimental, and Unnecessary, for a Believer
We can get our points across and have a voice, especially as we share things we know will honor and please the Lord. We can share the truth in love, using God’s wisdom and discernment. We can speak up against things that are wrong in God’s eyes. And we can do all of this without being argumentative, fighting, or involving sinful anger – IF we act in the power of the Spirit of God.
- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
- Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
- But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
- Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
The Ultimate Goal
- We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
- Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
Pray with Me
Share Your Experience!
- Complaining VS Informing
- If a Friend Complains, Shouldn’t I Commiserate?
- 8 Practical Tips to Put the Brakes on Complaining
- If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?
- What Is an Insult? (And what is not an insult?)
- My Response to Insults Reveals a Lot about My Character
- If I Insult People, I Need a Spiritual Check Up
My husband is cuddling me a lot more lately though.
Time to try something new.
- I control everything.
- I monitor what he does and spends.
- It creates that mother/son type relationship I hate.
- I thought he’d be happy to give all that up but I’m thinking he probably just is looking at it like he now has more work.
- Radical change for me. Extreme peace in my heart, that come only from the Lord, relinquishing control and idolatry of my husband. Being peaceful and fun and not uptight, worried, mad, and stressed all the time.
- Radical change in my husband. His walk with the Lord and how he hears him, radical change in how he sees and handles finances.
- Passion and intimacy to be restored in our marriage.
I feel as if I’ve truly harmed my marriage. And destroyed intimacy.
- Hugged me and kissed me and squeezed me.
- Fixed up the TV for me so I could watch a show I wanted to watch.
- And smiled at me.
- He asked me to pray for his desire to read his bible.
- He fixed our car when it was broke down.
- He recently bought a book about prayer.
- He’s been working so hard at work.
- He’s been taking over the finances better than I ever thought he would!
If you would like to share some of your journey and things you have learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it!
Or, if this wife’s story has encouraged you to try something similar, we’d love to hear about your plans, as well.
Note – I will be responding to the comments (Peaceful Wife), not the author. Thanks! <3
The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (my book that outlines how to start this journey)
Apologizing Stories – why some wives apologize immediately, and some wait until later
Appreciating Our Own Husbands
Thankfully, we can learn to receive love in the ways they give love.
Consciously choose to be thankful for the man you have.
The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude
We can approach this day with a grateful heart and contentment.
- Babe, I would really love to do X.
- Honey, I would like a box of X chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
- A homemade meal or take out at home together on the couch.
- Making our husband’s favorite dish or dessert. Just to bless him.
- Snuggling on the couch together.
- Thanking our men for all they do for us and our families.
- Sharing a few reasons we admire them.
- Doing something fun with the kids.
- Making homemade decorations for the supper table with the kids.
- Taking cookies to a single mom, a pregnancy crisis center, or an elderly widow/widower.
- A walk through the neighborhood.
- A relaxing bath together after the kids go to bed.
- Some time together another day if schedules don’t work out on the 14th.
Contentment IS Possible!
With an attitude like this, we are bound to savor Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Today’s post is a guest post by a precious sister in Christ, Nikki. She is from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I’m so thankful for her willingness to share a bit of her story. I believe it may be a blessing to many other women:
I’m sharing with you an account of how I completely lost my faith in God by praying for my family. I was facing some severe family problems and began to pray in earnest.
Old Approach to Prayer
Below is list of the advice I followed during that period of my life:
- I sprinkled my entire house and all of my possessions with holy water and blessed salt.
- I said dozens of novenas (Note: a novena is a Catholic tradition of saying a prayer every day for 9 days). I bought a book of novena prayers and each one said at the bottom “This is a very powerful novena that has never been known to fail.” I said novena after novena expecting and hoping for some change and things only got worse and worse.
- I was told to buy a particular type of cross and get it blessed by a particular monk and place it over the front door of my home.
- I went to church more than once a week, expecting that God would be obligated to obey me because of that.
Everyone I went to for advice suggested a different prayer or ritual. No one advised me to check my own heart and clear it of any pride, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness or idols. The more I prayed and performed these gimmicks, the worse things in my family got and I ended up completely heartbroken, bitter and angry at God. I hated God and wanted nothing to do with him for almost 10 years…until I had a stranger approach me on a beach and led me to pray and give my life to Christ.
When I started to rebuild my relationship with Christ, I prayed for my family very hesitantly and with a lot of fear. I was terrified of getting my heart broken again. I wanted more than anything to preserve my relationship with God first and foremost, regardless of how other aspects of my life were going.
Losing your faith in God through following gimmicks is not isolated among Catholics. I know many Protestants who lost their faith in God through gimmicks like sending “seed money” to particular TV-evangelists or pastor, by “naming and claiming” things that they want, or by writing down a list of the things that they want and putting it in the centre of their Bibles.
Red Flags for Prayer
Because of my horrific experience, I would like you all to be aware of these red flags that you may be praying in the wrong way:
- Do you want your prayer request more than you want God? If you do, that is idolatry. Your idols will always destroy you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. So please work daily to identify any idols in your heart and tear them down. Don’t even allow your husband or children to be on the throne of your heart. Set Jesus alone on the throne of your heart.
- Do you trust the words of the prayer itself or the rituals you are participating in more than you trust God? No prayer is powerful and fail-proof. Only God is powerful. No prayer should be trusted. Only God deserves your trust. Keep that in mind when you are praying. (From Peaceful Wife, we pray to have communication with the Lord and to present our needs and requests before Him. Prayers should not be looked upon as “spells.”)
- Are you hanging on to any anger, unforgiveness, revenge or hatred? God is more concerned with the condition of your heart than whatever prayer you are saying. He will not answer our prayers if we are harbouring sinful anger and hatred in our hearts. (Ps. 66:18)
- Are you ignoring your God-given role? Husbands are advised to fulfil their role to love their wives so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Similarly, children should fulfill their role to honour their parents and married women should fulfill their role to respect their husbands so that nothing can hinder their prayers.
- Are you attempting to manipulate or force God to do what you are asking Him to do? God is not a genie in a bottle who submits to us. We are meant to submit to Him. If we treat God like some sort of cosmic Genie and think that if we do/say the “right words,” He will be forced to obey us and give us what we want, we are praying with very sinful motives.
- Are you praying for others in an attempt to control them or force them to change their ways to suit you? God does not allow us to have ultimate control and authority over anyone. Only He is sovereign. (From Peaceful Wife – even He doesn’t force people to obey Him, but gives people free will.)
Green Flags for Prayer
I have learned a lot about prayer and God over the past few years and I would like to share with you some green flags that prove that you are praying in the right way:
- Humility before God. (Phil 2: 5-11)
- Love, mercy and forgiveness towards others. (Mark 11:25)
- The understanding that God is in charge, not you. (Prov 19:21)
- Denying yourself and following Christ. (Luke 9:23)
- Wanting God’s will above your own. (Luke 22:42)
- Faith that God loves you and will do what is ultimately best for you. (Rom 8:28)
- The understanding that God uses our trials to help us grow in spiritual maturity and that we need to be willing to endure hardships and difficulties to grow. (Rom 5:3-4, James 1:2-4)
- Depending on the Holy Spirit to move and change people rather than me trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit or force my way. God does not force Himself on anyone. He will never take away anyone’s free will. If you are praying for someone, God will work on that person’s heart and invite that person to Him, but will never force that person to change (John 16:13-14). When praying for others, hold the outcome very loosely because their response to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts is ultimately up to them.
If we pray in this way, we will be standing on the Solid Rock and we will have hope and joy even in the midst of great trials, whether God gives us what we want or not.
Trusting God in Trials
Right now, I am facing trials of many kinds, but rather than sinking into a pit of despair, hopelessness, and heartache, I am at peace and growing in my faith because I know that God loves me and is in charge of everything.
I actually focus 95% of my time with God on reading the Bible and discovering the truth and beauty of God’s Word and only about 5% of my time praying for specific outcomes for myself, my marriage and my family. My primary focus is on loving Jesus and building my relationship with Him, and not on my circumstances.
Habukkuk 3:17–19 sums up what our attitude should be:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
I’m sure that Habukkuk would have wanted the fig trees to bud, the fields to produce ample food, and many strong, healthy animals in his land. He didn’t have any of those things, but his love for God lifted his spirits, gave him strength, and filled him with joy.
Praying with Humility:
And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.” Luke 7:6-7
I hope that you can all learn from my story of misplaced hope and my discovery of what prayer is really about. I really would love all of us to have great relationships with Christ and rejoice together in heaven, which will be the ultimate prayer-fest!
Can you relate to Nikki’s story? What were some approaches you have used with prayer in the past that were unhealthy? What wisdom has God given you about prayer as you have grown in your faith in Christ?
Note – We will use the comments on this post to discuss praying to God rather than debating various theological differences between Christian denominations. Christ prayed in John 17:21 that all Christians will be one and that is what this blog strives to foster. Thanks for understanding!
Posts about idolatry
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
God intended marriage to be a living picture of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, the Church.
We think of a “church” as a building today. But when Jesus talks about His Church, He is talking about His chosen people, the ones He has chosen out of this world and who have chosen to receive Him as Savior and Lord. The incredible thing about marriage is that it is a spiritual mystery revealed to the world of the tenderness, love, respect, honor, and beauty of the interaction and spiritual intimacy between Jesus and His beloved people. (Eph. 5:22-33)
The church is “the Body of Christ.” Each believer is part of it. We are “living stones” being joined together and built up into a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood” (1 Pet 2:5). Paul describes each of us as being a part of the body – a hand, a foot, an ear, an eye, the nose, etc… We work together with the Head of the Body, which is Jesus, to accomplish His good purposes in His kingdom.
Marriage displays the gospel.
How Marriage Parallels the Relationship Between Jesus and the Church
The Groom-to-Be Initiates the Covenant
- A man buys a ring, today, and proposes to his intended bride-to-be. He initiates and is the one who invites her into the possibility of marriage with him.
- Jesus came to earth and paid a great price for us, inviting us to come to Him and to enter into an eternal covenant with Him. He followed the pattern of Jewish marriage customs in almost everything He did for us.
- He even used the same words a Jewish man would use to propose to his bride to invite His Church to be with Him forever:
- In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3
A Name and Identity Change for Her
- A bride takes on the name of her husband. When I married, I legally became Mrs. Gregory Cassidy.
- The Bride of Christ also takes on His Name as Christian or Christ-follower.
A New Home for Her
- A bride leaves her parents’ home to live with her husband and start a new life together
- Jesus will come get His Bride and take us to be with Him in heaven – either when we die, or through the rapture. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)
A Life-long Covenant Representing an Eternal Covenant
- One man and one woman enter into a life-long covenant to be there for each other “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… till death do us part.”
- Jesus, God in the flesh (the only One God), and His One Bride (the Church), have an eternal and unbreakable covenant.
- For thousands of years, a prospective groom would give a great deal of money to the bride’s father. He paid a “bride price.” This demonstrated that he valued his bride-to-be and was willing to sacrifice greatly for her to become his wife legally. Jesus sacrificed greatly for us, too. He paid our sin-debt with His very blood on the cross. God became a man and lived the perfect life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserved on our behalf. He conquered sin and death to rescue us from condemnation and hell.
- A covenant is much more than a promise or a business contract that can be easily broken. It is intended to be binding until one or both spouses die. Jesus has offered an eternal Covenant with us through His blood, the New Covenant – which is vastly superior to and replaces the Old Covenant of Moses. We have access to Jesus, to God the Father, to the Holy Spirit, and to eternal life in paradise with Him through this covenant. We belong to Him from the point we trust in Him and receive His salvation and Lordship through the rest of our lives and into the eternal future. The fellowship and relationship with God that we lost after Adam and Eve fell in the garden is restored!
Selfless Generosity and Joyful Receiving for Both Spouses
- A man takes on the position of protector, provider, and giver, in many ways to his wife. Today, a wife may contribute financially, as well. But for thousands of years, husbands were primarily the breadwinners and financial providers. Wives took care of the home, children, garden, cooking, and chores (of course, women’s and men’s responsibilities did vary a bit depending on the particular culture). For many women, they had no means of providing financially for themselves in the past, and even in some places today.
- And even today where women can financially take care of themselves, husbands tend to still have a profound sense of responsibility to provide financially and to meet their family’s physical needs (“For Women Only,”by Shaunti Feldhahn).
- This is a picture of the way that Jesus gives and provides so generously. He provides for all of our physical and spiritual needs. He provides salvation. He provides new Life and eternal life. We can’t earn it. We joyfully receive and welcome Him and all He has done for us.
- Both spouses fully give of themselves for the other and receive and accept one another in joy.
His Strength for Her Honor
- A man uses his physical strength to defend his bride from danger, protect her (and their children) from evil, and to build a home for his wife. He values and cherishes her. She is the “weaker vessel,” and this means it is his job to use his strength courageously for her good. He honors her by fighting for her and their family in ways she cannot fight for herself.
- Jesus uses His vastly superior strength to save us, to rescue us from danger, to provide for us, to protect us, and to defend us from evil and sin. He fought for us in ways we could never have fought for ourselves. We were the damsel in distress and He was the greatest Hero.
- God designed marriage to be a place where we are made holy (“Sacred Marriage,” Gary Thomas), where He exposes sin and invites us to go much deeper with Himself. We can’t hide our flaws and sinfulness in marriage. Our motives, thoughts, expectations, words, and deeds are exposed. This is an opportunity for us to repent from sin and turn to Jesus and allow Him to transform us to make us more like Himself.
- Jesus takes on the responsibility in the New Covenant to present His Bride to Himself without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He cleanses His Bride with His Word and makes her holy. (Eph. 5:25-28)
Access and Authority for Her
- A bride enjoys access to her husband’s property, authority in certain matters, finances, and any inheritance he may have.
- Jesus’ Bride also enjoys access to all that belongs to Jesus. She has access to all of His heavenly riches and provision, access to God the Father, access to the Holy of Holies, and access to His authority. Her identity is now wrapped up in Jesus’ identity. We are co-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17)
- The one-flesh relationship of marriage depicts the one-Spirit relationship between Christ and those who love Him. Part of the husband’s physical body enters part of the wife’s physical body to become one flesh. Their love and oneness brings forth babies. Their DNA combines to become a new life. This is a holy thing, only to be shared in a life-long covenant as part of marriage.
- We are the temple of the Holy Spirit as believers in Christ. Part of the very Spirit of God comes into our spirits. We are indwelled or “filled” with the Spirit. And spiritual fruit results.
- In the Body of Christ, the fruit of our spiritual union with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives (Gal. 5:22-23) and new baby Christians, new disciples and followers of Jesus, as we share the Gospel and God’s Spirit works in and through us and others to bring new believers into the Body of Christ. This intimacy we have with Jesus is something we are only to share with Him in the context of His covenant with us.
Faithfulness Is Required and Expected
- If an earthly spouse cheats with another person, it is adultery. In the Old Testament, that offense was punishable by death, it was that serious.
- To God, idolatry is just like adultery in marriage. This is a picture of how severe an offense it is for those who belong to Jesus to worship and exalt other things spiritually in their lives. God is always faithful to us. We, sadly, are not always faithful to Him. But we should be completely faithful to Him and He can give us the power we need to walk in purity and faithfulness by His Spirit.
Exaltation and Portrayal of the Gospel
- The primary purpose of the human marriage relationship is to point everyone who sees that relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5) God designed marriage to showcase the beautiful differences and interplay between godly masculinity and godly femininity.
- The husband is to represent the sacrificial love, humble servant-leadership, strength, and devotion of Jesus to His Bride.
- The wife is to represent the love, honor, biblical submission, and cooperation with the leadership of her husband to portray the way the church is to relate to Jesus. (Of course, with human marriage, there do have to be some limits that the church does not have with Jesus because human husbands are not perfect or deity.)
- The husband and wife have equal value in God’s eyes (Gal. 3:28) and they are joint-heirs with Christ if they both belong to Him. But they do have different roles. Their value and worth is separate in God’s eyes from their roles in marriage. Both roles are equally important to show the picture of the gospel.
- God also designed marriage to be the primary building block of society and the place where godly children are raised (Mal. 2:15) so that they can model themselves after the beautiful example of their parents. Then the children will grow up knowing about God, loving Him, and knowing how to have a godly marriage in the future, too.
- The church is to produce godly offspring, as well. The Holy Spirit works in believers and in unbelievers and believers in Christ share the gospel and seek to disciple others and new baby Christians are born into the Body of Christ.
This is why we can’t just change the definition of marriage to suit our particular desires or our culture’s current PC trends.
God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman to display the gospel. When we alter it, we change the picture of Christ and His Church. We don’t have the authority to define marriage or to change it. That is God’s prerogative, alone. Marriage is holy because it pictures something holy and because it is meant to produce holy people – holy men, holy women, and holy children.
Of course, there are numerous other good purposes in marriage – companionship, romance, emotional connection, sexual fulfillment, spiritual refinement and growth, health benefits, more benefits to children, stability for society, etc… But I wanted to share some of God’s biggest purposes in marriage to help us see how holy, beautiful, and powerful His concept of marriage is. And how important it is for us to honor His design and not attempt to change it.
How has the picture of marriage helped you better understand your relationship with Jesus?
How has your walk with Christ helped you better appreciate marriage?
What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
Jewish Marriage Customs – reveals a LOT about the way Jesus came for us and His words to His Bride, as well as the rapture of the church
What Is Biblical Manhood? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is Biblical Womanhood? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Wife? by www.gotquestions.org
A cheerful heart is good medicine. Prov. 17:22
My husband, Greg, has always known how to make me laugh. His sense of humor and wit were some of the things that attracted me to him early on. And he loves that he can make me laugh, even without words. All it takes is this certain expression on his face – and I’m a goner!
As our children get older, we all share more inside jokes together. There have been times we all just laugh and laugh together for thirty minutes or more at a time. And we each add to the jokes and funny stories. It’s one of my favorite things about the dynamics in our family.
How wonderful to laugh together around the supper table and to enjoy each other and have fun!
Humor and Relationship Research
Jeffrey Hall, a researcher in communications at Kansas University, has done quite a bit of study on the subject of humor and relationships.
Hall says, “That people think you are funny or you can make a joke out of anything is not strongly related to relationship satisfaction. What is strongly related to relationship satisfaction is the humor that couples create together.”
In the article “Humor in Romantic Relationships, a Meta-Analysis,” Hall looks back on 30 years’ worth of studies on the topic, concluding that “playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security” and that laughter, “particularly shared laughter, is an important indicator of romantic attraction between potential mates.”
Hall cautions that research warns a mate not to make his or her partner the butt of a joke. “Having an aggressive sense of humor is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if the style of humor is used in the relationship…”
Some Benefits of Humor in Relationships
Humor can be a huge blessing in family dynamics both between spouses – and between parents and children. It’s not always the best way to handle every situation, of course. But humor, rightly handled, can often do amazing things like:
- Create emotional bonding for couples and families.
- Forge lasting memories.
- Attract our spouse to us.
- Ease stress.
- Boost romance.
- Increase playfulness and fun.
- Increase satisfaction and contentment in relationship.
- Break tension.
- Give your husband more confidence in his abilities as he sees he can get you to laugh and smile.
- Slice through an awkward moment.
- Calm anxiety.
- Fight fear.
- Counter depression.
- Calm anger.
- Help us deal with annoyances in a healthy way.
- Prevent misunderstandings and arguments.
- Help manage conflict.
- Help us cope in times of trial
- Possibly boost our health in a number of ways
When we can find humor together in difficulties, or come up with inside family jokes, or share funny quotes and impressions – we bond as a family. Life is more fun. And our family is closer emotionally.
Shared humor makes our marriage and family stronger. As long as it is done in love, sensitivity, and fun, never with spite, disrespect, or malice.
This bonding helps us weather the less pleasant parts of life together and helps everyone feel loved, accepted, and important. It also helps us, as spouses and as a family, to feel connected and like we are a team who can conquer anything as long as we are able to face it together.
Humor is a great way to add positivity to your own life and to your marriage and family. It may take a bit of practice. And, it may take some time to study your husband and your children to learn what kinds of humor really engage them most. But the rewards can be amazing when we find the right style of humor, balance, and approach!
I’d love to hear your stories of how you and your husband use humor to strengthen your marriage and your family. I’m sure many of you have amazing insights to share with all of us that would be such a blessing!
SMILE! – Your smile is a huge blessing to your husband and children
Why Laughter Is Good for Your Marriage – Focus on the Family
Bringing Laughter Into Your Marriage – Focus on the Family
Managing Conflict with Humor – HelpGuide.org
Laughter Is the Best Medicine – (the health benefits of laughter) HelpGuide.org
Relationship Success Tied Not to Joking But Shared Sense of Humor, Researcher Says – Hall, Kansas University