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Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

 

Where are people not permitted to say what they need, how they feel, or what they think?

– those who are literally slaves or who are in concentration camps.
– those in extremely oppressive countries with totalitarian regimes.
– those who are in abusive or dysfunctional relationships/families.

Here are some hallmarks of abusive/dysfunctional personal relationships:

  • It is not okay to talk about your negative feelings. Only positive emotions are allowed.
  • I am responsible for your decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • You are responsible for my decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • It is your job to make me happy. If I am not happy, it’s your fault.
  • Conflict is unacceptable.
  • Disagreement is not allowed.
  • You may not ask me questions or confront sin in my life. I can confront you whenever I want to, of course.
  • You are not safe here emotionally.
  • Your voice is not important to me.
  • I love conditionally with strings attached. If you don’t perform, I won’t love you.
  • You better put me above everything and everyone else, including God. Pleasing me better be the most important thing in your life.
  • I will not respect any healthy boundaries you try to set with me and will be offended if you attempt to have healthy boundaries.
  • You are accountable to me for everything you do, think, and say.
  • I know what is best for you.
  • I am always right and you are always wrong if you disagree with me.
  • You should be afraid of my disapproval more than anything or anyone else.
  • There is no forgiveness here. I cherish bitterness.
  • I expect you to meet spiritual and emotional needs in my soul that really only Christ can meet. I come into this relationship as a black hole of neediness.

Some hallmarks of healthy relationships (these would be the goals as we seek to allow God’s Spirit to refine and sanctify us):

  • It is okay to talk about anything and to share all of your feelings about anything – even if they are negative.
  • We will work through conflict together. Conflict is inevitable. We won’t always agree. But we will always love each other and work through it as a team.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth.
  • I love you unconditionally.
  • You are safe here in every way.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We treat each other well.
  • Love and respect are abundant here in both directions.
  • You are important to me. You are precious and very valuable.
  • Your ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires are important to me.
  • You are responsible for your own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • I am responsible for my own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • If I am not happy, it is my own responsibility to take care of my emotions and to voice what I need.
  • Healthy boundaries are respected and encouraged.
  • We each know we can respectfully confront sin in the other’s life when necessary.
  • We expect each of us to put God way above anyone else or anything else. Pleasing God is the most important thing in life.
  • We know we are all ultimately accountable to God for how we treat each other.
  • We are each free to respectfully confront each other about sin in our lives when necessary. We will work together as a team against sin and the enemy.
  • We trust that God knows what is best for each of us and we each want to seek Him individually and together.
  • We approach each other with humility.
  • There is no fear in this family – only love.
  • Grace, mercy,  forgiveness, and second chances are available here.
  • I have Christ on the throne of my heart and He meets the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of my life. I come into this relationship overflowing with spiritual abundance from Jesus.

GOD’S “MOST EXCELLENT WAY” OF LOVE – I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

RESOURCES (please carefully evaluate any author’s words, including mine, against Scripture!):

Boundaries – by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Nina Roesner has an e-course that helps women experience healing in Christ so that they have the strength and power of the Spirit to know how best to deal with very difficult husbands, check it out! Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

How to Handle Toxic and Critical People – by Leslie Vernick free PDF download

www.leslievernick.com – She has a number of Christian books about handling difficult relationships

Control and Boundaries

 

 

The Dirty Garage Epiphany

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From a wife who has experienced great difficulties in her marriage and has continued to abide in Christ:

You know, I was cleaning out our garage today (part of me working on my own habits), and it taught me some lessons. One was on that question that always pops up…

“How do I respect my husband if he doesn’t deserve it?”

So my husband likes his stuff. He has boxes of stuff that he never touches and won’t part with. Much of it sits in our garage, but he is often aggravated by the messy state of our garage, as am I. God has been speaking to my heart about the appearance of my home and my physical appearance. That it would convey respect to my husband if I kept up with these things. And, we’d all be happier.

So I cleaned and organized and donated for 5 hours today. And in the end, the garage looked 100x better. But – a good 30-40% of the floor space is still covered with his stuff, stacked and arranged as it may now be. Old books, DVDs, exercise equipment, etc.

It’s not as good as it could be. And, it’s his stuff to clean up. Only he can do it.

And so goes respect. You can and should clean that up and keep it up the best you can. It’s 100x better than a disrespectful relationship. But. If he still has junk (sin) to get rid of, it will prevent both of you from enjoying the beauty and freedom of a truly working, effective environment. One that is in order–as it should be.

But I’d say the chances of him cleaning up his stuff now that I’ve cleaned the rest of the garage are much much greater! I mean, it’s not all scattered around and mixed in with all the other stuff. It’s a clean, neat garage with a big pile of stuff in the middle!

And that is just what happened to us as I tried to respect him. After about a year and a half, he really hit his bottom, and really was not able to blame anyone for his poor choices.

Respecting a man in sin is quite, quite difficult. Kind of like cleaning a garage around a big pile of junk you know will still be there for an indeterminate amount of time afterward.
But, I’m still so very glad I did it. The respect and the garage. 🙂 It was the right thing to do.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Have to Change First?

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect! – VIDEO

My Level of Respect Has Nothing to Do with My Husband – it is about my character and God working in me

Godly Femininity

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“Lord, I Don’t Want to Do Your Will.”

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I have been doing an amazing Kay Arthur study on prayer with a ladies’ group at my church this summer called, “Lord, teach me to pray.” I love her point (pg. 54):

“And what is the root of all sin? Is it not independence? Is it not self having its own way?”

She goes on to say something very convicting, “One of the evidences of salvation is a willingness to submit to God…” And she backs that up with Scripture in Matthew 7:21-27. I would also add John 14:23-24.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

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. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24

Here is an explanation of how we are to submit to God from www.gotquestions.org (emphasis added):

In all the New Testament incidences where the word submit occurs, the word is translated from the Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” This word and a root of it are also translated by the words subject and subjection. The word’s full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” This word is a wonderful definition of what it means to “submit” to God. It means to arrange oneself under the command of divine viewpoint rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human viewpoint. It is a process surrendering our own will to that of our Father’s.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/submit-to-God.html#ixzz3dc9k7cuY

If Jesus is my Lord, I must submit to Him. If I refuse to obey Him, how can He be my Lord? I don’t have to agree with Him or understand what He is asking me to do. But if I can be content with going my own way and I have no problem with defying Christ and the Bible, I need to ask myself if I belong to Him. If I have yielded my life to Him as my Savior and as the LORD of my life but am living in sin, I am living in rebellion against Him and I need to repent and turn from sin and begin to head toward Christ immediately! Something is very wrong in my soul if I don’t want to obey God. Obedience – for one who has tasted the goodness of God – is something we do out of gratitude, joy, and love.

You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:26-40

Kay Arthur says:

“Oh dear one, are you still in your sins, or are you a worshiper of God who longs to do the will of the Father? Only the latter has access to God in prayer.”

E.M. Bounds (The Necessity of Prayer, part of The Classic Collection on Prayer) has an entire chapter on Prayer and Obedience. You can find a free download of his amazing, Spirit-inspired books about prayer online. He writes:

The spirit that prompts a person to break one commandment is the spirit that may move that person to break them all. God’s commandments are a unit, and to break one strikes at the principle that underlies and runs through the whole. The person who does not hesitate to break a single commandment, would – more than likely – under the same stress and surrounded by the same circumstances break them all. (pg. 58)

Obedience is love fulfilling every command, and thereby expressing itself. Obedience, therefore, is not a hard demand made upon us, any more than is the service a husband gives his wife or a wife gives her husband. Love delights to obey and please the one it loves. There are no hardships in love… There are no impossible tasks for love.

If any should complain that humanity under the fall is too weak and helpless to obey these high commands of God, the answer is that through the atonement of Christ humanity is made able to obey… In regeneration and through the agency of the Holy Spirit, God works in us and bestows sufficient enabling grace for all that is required of us under the atonement. This grace is furnished without measure in answer to prayer. So at the same time that God commands, He stands pledged to give us all the necessary strength of will and grace of soul to meet His demands. Since this is true, we are without excuse for our disobedience. (pg. 60)

If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him. If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed. (pg. 62)

An obedient life is a necessity to prayer – to prayer that accomplishes things. The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance – something wrongly named. (pg. 63)

SPEND SOME TIME IN EARNEST PRAYER TODAY:

Lord,

Please make clear to me any areas of disobedience and sin in my life. Are there things You have commanded me to do that I have refused to do? Am I totally surrendered to You and do I delight in seeking to obey You or do I want to be in charge and do things my way? Are there areas where I disagree with you and where I rebel against Your will?

I want to belong to You. Break my heart and my will. Show me anything that I am withholding from You. Let me be totally devoted and submitted to Your Lordship! Develop in me a deep desire and passion for You and for Your will. Let me long to obey You and please You more than anything in this life!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED:

Praying from an Obedient Life

FOR FURTHER STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION:

What are some of the things God commands us to do as believers?

  • Love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength (the Greatest Commandment) – Luke 10:27
  • Love others as you love yourself with the unconditional love of God – Luke 10:27, I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • Abide in Christ continually – John 15:1-8
  • Love Jesus much more than anyone or anything in this world and more than your own life – Luke 14:26-27
  • Forgive those who sin against you as God forgives you – Matthew 6:14-15
  • Overcome evil with good, do not take vengeance or repay anyone evil with evil – Romans 12:17-21
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but take your concerns to God in prayer and trust Him completely – Philippians 4:4-8
  • Bless those who curse you – Romans 12:14, Luke 6:28
  • Pray for those who mistreat you – Luke 6:28
  • Do not argue or complain – Philippians 2:14-16
  • Give thanks in every circumstance – I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Pray continually – I Thessalonians 5:17
  • For wives, respect and submit to your husband out of reverence for Christ so that the Word of God might not be maligned – Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18, I Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5
  • For husbands, love your wives and treat them with honor and gentleness as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her with selfless, humble leadership that is first fully submitted to God – Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter 3:7
  • Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:18
  • Get rid of all sin – idolatry (cherishing other things or people more than Christ), rage, hatred, unbelief in God, lust, unforgiveness, gossip, resentment, irreverence toward God, worry, fear, desire for control, greed, addictions, stealing, worldliness, godlessness, sexual immorality, foolishness, coarse joking, adultery, murder, dishonesty/lying, pride, self-righteousness, false doctrine, heresies, strife, contention, disrespect, rudeness, unkindness, apathy, drunkenness, etc…
  • Be holy as God is holy by the power of His Spirit filling your life – 1 Peter 1:16
  • Make disciples of Christ by God’s Spirit’s power in you –  Matthew 28:19-20

A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness

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A Fellow Wife began this journey with me in October of 2012. I have seen God do such a mighty work in her.  And He is not done! A Fellow Wife’s husband is a loving, devoted man. He treats his wife very well.  There is no abuse or anything awful going on here. But he doesn’t always do everything that A Fellow Wife wants him to do. So, there are a few areas where a Fellow Wife struggles – and I appreciate her sharing that today. We are all going to face some areas like this. Our husbands are not going to always do everything exactly as we want them to. (Sometimes, that may be a good thing!) If we try to force them to do everything we want, or we resent them that they don’t do every single thing we want them to – we can create a lot of problems. We can ask for what we desire respectfully and politely. We can also be aware that if we have been very demanding that our husbands do certain things for us for many years in the past, it can take some time for husbands to be willing to do those things, even after we stop demanding. This can be a time for us to learn the sufficiency of Christ and to trust God to work in our husbands as we focus on our own walk with Christ and finding our contentment in what we do have.

THE TOXIC POISON OF BITTERNESS

I was really struggling with bitterness in the last few months, I’m going to admit. All I could focus on what how my husband had hurt me so much in the past and how his priorities are out of order and how he can be neglectful. It was really, REALLY dragging me down. I was feeling very sad about all of that and feeling very negative and down about our marriage and the future of it. That was NOT GOOD. While some of those things are true, they aren’t the WHOLE truth. And meditating on all of that day in and day out was dangerous.

I read Sacred Influence (by Gary Thomas) around this time and it really helped me (From Peacefulwife – I LOVE THIS BOOK, TOO!). It reminded me how very blessed I am and how I’ve been forgetting to appreciate all the “common blessings” that I have in my husband.  

I was reminded that if I focus on the negative, it will grow. If I focus on the positive, it will grow.

So, I’ve been working very hard on shifting my focus. It isn’t easy. I’m not necessarily a pessimistic person but I’m not naturally optimistic. I’ve always said that I’m realistic.

I’ve been working very hard – DAILY – on focusing on all the wonderful blessings I have in my husband and in our marriage. My words for 2015 are APPRECIATE and ACCEPT:

  • Appreciate what I have in my husband – many, many blessings
  • Accept that some things are what they are and give them to God.

When I can do that, the weight shifts from me to Him.

I do not want to be bitter. Bitterness was threatening to pull me under. Enough that it scared me into being intentional about focusing on the positive. I’m sure there will be days I don’t do well at focusing on the positive but I plan to be very intentional and do my best to think and meditate on of all the great things I have in my husband and marriage.

I was a bit confused about the bitterness I was hung up on. I was thinking that you had to just tear bitterness out – and you do – BUT you have to replace it with something- or at least I did. I had to replace all the old bitter thoughts with new thoughts about how blessed I am to have him as my husband and all of the wonderful things about him.

I noticed the other day that I was telling a girlfriend how sweet my husband was to me over the weekend when I was exhausted and stretched thin with work and house cleaning and told me to take a nap and cleaned the kitchen for me. (Yes I said he cleaned the kitchen for me! NOT something he’s always done!) And I noticed how happy I felt about ‘us’ in talking about the good.

Our words and thoughts are so powerful. That’s hard to always remember.

I feel like I’ll never get all of this at one time. I’ll still be working on this in 10 years. I think I’m one of the slow learners! LOL!

But I’m thankful that I’ve been able to start working on focusing on the positive. It makes me feel so much happier. Please pray I can keep my focus centered on all the blessings I have in my husband and give all the rest of my concerns over to the Lord.

SELF CARE

I’ve also been giving some thought to making myself happy which is turning out to be very enjoyable. Instead of thinking about my marriage every waking minute, I also think about things for me… what would I enjoy today? Trying to do things to make myself happy instead of expecting my husband to make me happy… sometimes this means I read or treat myself to my favorite hot chocolate or enjoy talking to a girlfriend or go out with my daughter for some girl time.

I think it’s very easy to miss that you need to make yourself happy and put time and effort into self care. Women/wives/moms tend to be slave-drivers of themselves. I know that I am – if I’m not careful.  We can work ourselves into the ground, from the time our feet hit the floor until we crash at night. That isn’t good. That’s a recipe for unhappiness! Planning some things to make your day more joyful and enjoyable is really important. It really does a lot for your mood!

A VERSE UPON WHICH TO FOCUS:

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. Philippians 4:8

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

A big part of self care is that we MUST have time in God’s Word and in prayer. We must feast on His Word and abide in His presence, praise Him, thank Him, worship Him, fully trust Him, hold nothing back from Him, and learn about His sovereignty and His character. We also must seek to try to get the rest, exercise, nourishment, and down time we need. We are responsible for our own emotions and for our spiritual growth.

Bitterness is one of our greatest temptation, in my view, as wives. I was trapped by bitterness for many years. It is such a toxic poison to our souls, to our walk with Christ, and to our marriages, and all of our relationships. If you know a woman who has carried bitterness for many decades, you know that the whole atmosphere and emotional temperature of any house immediately becomes chilly as soon as she gets there. Others cringe when she walks in the door and wish they could be anywhere but where she is. She is able to create misery in the lives of all she touches.

Bitterness is a form of idolatry that consumes us. It starts as a small root and then grows into an evil tree that completely consumes our entire identity, our lives, and all of our energy. It steals our joy in Christ. It destroys every relationship we have. It is contagious and spreads to others around us. Bitterness destroys many more marriages than adultery or pornography do. In Jesus, we don’t have the option to not forgive and to be bitter. We can’t forgive in our own power, but with the power of God’s Spirit flooding our soul, we can forgive anything. (Forgiveness is different from trust. We are commanded to forgive. We are not commanded to trust those who are untrustworthy. We are commanded to trust God. But until a person is willing to rebuild trust, we do not have to trust someone who has proven to be untrustworthy.)


For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

It took me about 2.5 YEARS to begin to feel like I had any idea what I was doing with respect and biblical submission. It took another year after that for Greg to feel safe with me and for most of his walls to come down.

I am STILL growing and learning every day. I can’t wait to see all that I can absorb and learn and how God will grow me along this journey. We will never be done learning about Him, learning to love and trust Him, and learning to live in the power of His Spirit. How wonderful that God has provided us with everything we need in Christ to have victory over sin, to know Him, to love Him, to obey Him, and to bless and love our husbands, children, and everyone in our lives.

RELATED:

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Bitterness Is Contagious and Toxic

Finding God’s Victory over Bitterness

Why Your Husband May Not Immediately Do What You Want Him to Do

I Just Want Him to Spend More Time with me

An Incredible Story of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Stories

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Finding Contentment in Christ

Things that Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts

How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?

The Excellent Wife – by Martha Peace has a fantastic chapter with a big long chart of many different bitter thoughts wives think and then kind thoughts with which to replace them. I love that chapter! The whole book is great. But, I do have a few concerns about the last chapter about confronting our husbands about their sin – to me, there seems to always be one sentence in her examples that strike me as possibly disrespectful to some husbands. But this is an amazing and very helpful book in helping us to grow in Christ and to become more godly wives and women.

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas has some of the most beautiful examples of wives influencing their husbands in godly ways even when the husbands are in sin. I love the chapter on dealing with angry husbands. That is an area where I am weak here on my blog – so it may be a good supplement for those who face angry husbands at times. I highly recommend this book to wives who want to become a godly wife and godly, beautiful, powerful, good influence and blessing to her husband.

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

Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.   http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html
Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity. http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html

It is easy to try to do this whole being a godly wife thing in our own strength and to try to turn it into a list of rules to follow so that you can improve your marriage on your own without God being involved at all. Of course, that completely defeats the point of becoming a godly wife – if we don’t have God in the picture! And it is impossible to do this in our own human power. It is like trying to get a car to go without having gas in the tank. The Holy Spirit IS our power source, my precious sisters! We all begin with many selfish, sinful motives. This is a refining process. It is a process of maturing and growing in Christ. It doesn’t happen all at once.

Some signs that we are doing things in our own power:

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

Some signs that it is God who is changing us:

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

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

Stages of This Journey

Frequently Asked Questions

The Importance of Spiritual Pruning

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

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

“When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God”

SHARE:

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

“How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?”

 

A wife asked me this question. It is a very good one! He is our power source to be the godly women God commands us to be. This could be a book in and of itself. But, let’s talk about a few basics:

1. The Holy Spirit is a gift that is given to everyone who follows Christ as Savior and LORD. First I must have a relationship with Him. Jesus must be my God, my Savior and my LORD.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bec in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20

And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22

verses about “filling of the Spirit”

2. I must be willing to turn away from every sin in my life and turn to Christ instead. If I have a relationship with Him, then there is a constant process of searching my heart for sin (and asking God to search my heart for sin) and being willing to get rid of it.

Any sin has to go. No matter how precious a specific sin is to me, even if I really love my bitterness, gossip, unforgiveness, greed, pride, self-righteousness, lust, or hatred and cherish it, it has to go if God says it is sin. I cannot hold anything back from God. I have to be willing to lay my entire heart and soul bare before Him and to lay still as I allow Him to search the darkest corners of my soul with the blazing light of His Word. If He places His finger on something and says it cannot stay, I must be willing to get rid of it right then and there. If I hold on to sin, I forfeit the power of God’s Spirit. I grieve His Spirit and cannot be filled to overflowing with His power again until I repent (turn 180 degrees from my wrong doing and turn to Christ). I cannot have both sin and God.

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32

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

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31

verses about repenting

3. I must be willing to praise, thank, and exalt God alone in my life. He must be my highest purpose and my greatest Treasure.

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1b

But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel. (American King James) Psalm 22:3

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. I Thessalonians 5:16-22

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Psalm 86:11-13

verses about praising God

4. I must desire God far above everything and everyone else. I must understand that Christ is sufficient for me, I can be content if I have Jesus. If I have Him, I have EVERYTHING!

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:23-28

Declare what is to be, present it– let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 45:21-22

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. I Timothy 6:8

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

verses about sufficiency of Christ

verses about contentment

5. I have the “control knob” that determines how much of God’s Spirit fills me. 

Being filled with the Spirit is a gift from God if I am a disciple of Christ, but it is also a command. It is something I have a choice to do or to not do. I can choose to grieve God’s Spirit. I can choose to hold on to sin. I can choose to allow my sinful flesh to have control, or I can ask God to fill me with His Spirit and invite His Spirit to have full control.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” II Corinthians 6:16-18

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:13-26

verses about living by the Spirit

6. I must abide in Christ, in His Word, and in prayer.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:1-17

verses about abiding in Christ

Godly Femininity – Part 1

happy girl

This topic could be a whole book. Actually, there are some books about it! You can find some of them in my post about my favorite marriage books.

Recently, we examined femininity in general and then ungodly femininity. Today, we are going to talk about godly femininity or biblical womanhood. This is the real core of  God’s beautiful design for femininity. It is much more than any fluffy externals. I know we are just barely going to be able to scratch the surface in two posts – but I’m going to share some things that the Bible describes that godly femininity is. (Many of the scriptures I cite would apply to men in becoming godly men, as well. Some are only for women.  I will be addressing all of these references toward women specifically because women are my audience. But men are welcome to read along.)

GOD’S PURPOSE IN TWO GENDERS

God designed people to all be image bearers of God and to have fellowship with Him and each other (Genesis 2). The main thing to keep in mind as we study godly femininity is that ultimately:

  • God designed masculinity to be the picture of Jesus Christ – and His love, power, mercy, grace and strength.
  • God designed femininity to be the picture of the devoted,  joyful, peaceful, trusting, faith-filled, beautiful, spotless bride of Christ, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

This is what marriage looked like in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world and tainted everything good that God had created.

Each gender can stand alone to display God to the world – but when these two genders are combined in marriage, with their unique strengths, abilities and God-given roles, God intends a beautiful, powerful, tangible, living display of the intimate relationship Jesus desires to have and will have with His people. This is why the way he designed men and women – and the way He designed marriage – are so sacred and critical for us to understand and display in our lives – whether we are married, single, separated, divorced or widowed. We will be most fulfilled and most blessed when we operate in the roles, design and wisdom of God as women and God will be most glorified then, as well.

Ultimately, the purpose of our femininity is to bring great glory to God and to draw many to Christ!

WE CAN ALL BECOME GODLY WOMEN

Praise God, we are all able to become the women Christ calls us to be as we turn away from our sin in godly sorrow and turn to Christ in faith, depending on what He has done for us on the cross. This is all about His grace, mercy, forgiveness and His character and power working in us to change us. We cannot make ourselves holy. In fact, God describes our greatest attempts at righteousness as being like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). On our own, no sinful human has any spiritual strength to do anything remotely godly. We are totally dependent on God’s spirit empowering us and working in us to produce the life of Christ, the mind of Christ and the heart of Christ in us as He renews our spirits.

When we come to Christ with the saving faith that He generously gives to us – we cannot stay the same. It is impossible! God’s power and His Spirit working in our lives WILL radically change us. Our lives will exude more and more of His love, more and more self-control over our words/thoughts/actions, more and more good deeds and more and more concern and compassion for those in need. We will have more and more of the mind and heart of Christ as we submit to Him as Lord of all in our lives and hold nothing back from Him. Living in obedience to Christ becomes a joy as our thankfulness, genuine worship, praise and the regenerating power of God’s Spirit motivate us. We long for Him more than anything. He is our greatest delight and treasure!

(Here is a list of verses from the Bible about being a godly woman. That would be a fantastic study!)

The list below may be a handy reference to keep and pray over. Maybe you can focus on a few qualities per week and pray for God to develop these things in your own life? My prayer is that we will each prayerfully, humbly approach this list and allow God to reveal any areas that He wants us to focus on and yield to Him. 🙂 None of us will be perfect until heaven. This is the life long process of sanctification. I have thousands of miles to go on this journey myself and I can’t wait to continue learning all that God has for me. I am praying for each of you today, that God might speak to your heart through this post in a powerful way!

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A GODLY WOMAN THAT GOD WILL CULTIVATE IN HER MORE AND MORE AS SHE ABIDES IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD ABIDES IN HER:

SHE “LIVES A LIFE OF LOVE” (Ephesians 5:2)

  • She loves God with all her heart, mind, soul and strength. Nothing is more important to her than Jesus and she sets her heart only on Him for her greatest fulfillment, purpose, identity, love, acceptance and strength. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. (Matthew 22:28) (Are You Willing to Sacrifice Your “Isaac”? “Submission Means Holding the Things of This World Loosely“)
  • She loves all other people with the love of God. (Matthew 22:29)
  • She loves with the agape love of Christ described in I Corinthians 13:4-8. She is patient and kind. She is not rude. She is not self-seeking.
  • She does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. She does not dishonor others. She is not easily angered. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She always protects, always trusts (she seeks to trust others whenever possible, but ultimately, her trust is fully in Christ), always hopes, always perseveres. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

HER CHARACTER

  • She has discretion. (Proverbs 11:22)
  • She has control over her emotions, feelings, words and even her mannerisms, body language and facial expressions even when she has PMS, or is not feeling her best when God’s power is in control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • She trusts the Holy Spirit to do His job of convicting others and sanctifying them. She encourages people, exhorts and prays for them, but she knows where her responsibilities end and she does not attempt to play “Holy Spirit” in others’ lives. (John 16:8)
  • She is totally confident in Christ, trusting His Word and resting in His promises. (Romans 8)
  • There is a refreshing and powerful innocence about her. (Matthew  10:16)

 —–

  • She may choose to wear her hair long if possible, delighting in her “glory” according to God’s Word. (I Corinthians 11:3-16)
  • She smiles a lot in a way that even shines brightly from her eyes, radiating the joy and love of Christ. (Galatians 5, Matthew 6:22-23)
  • She is careful not to align herself with Satan as his assistant to join in tearing people down with accusations, criticism, judgment and condemnation. She knows he is “the accuser of the brethren” and wants no part in helping him. By submitting fully to God and resisting Satan, she does not allow demonic temptation to direct her thoughts about her husband, about God, about herself or anyone else. (Revelation 12:10, James 4:7)
  • She is honest and speaks the truth in love. She does not pretend or fake anything. She speaks up when she knows that is what is necessary, but she does this carefully, gently and humbly. (Ephesians 4:25)
  • She chooses her girl friends wisely and she doesn’t put them above her husband or family. (I Corinthians 15:33, Titus 2:3-5, Genesis 2:24)

—–

  • She cherishes the gift of being a woman and living out God’s design for her. (Proverbs 31)
  • She is nurturing to others – spiritually, emotionally and physically. She “gives life” literally but also figuratively. She is fruitful in her interactions with others. (Genesis 2, Galatians 5)
  • She anticipates how God will bring beauty from trials, difficulties and suffering and wants to absorb all she can from God in those times. She does not face an uncertain future with fear, but rather, with great faith in God. (James 1, I Peter, Romans 8:28-29)
  • She may get angry at times, but she is slow to anger, quick to listen, slow to speak and in her anger, she does not sin. (Ephesians 4:26, James 1:19)
  • She has meekness – which is “bridled strength” or “strength under control.” (Matthew 5:5)

 —–

  • She does “not let any unwholesome talk come out of (her mouth), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • She gets “rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31
  • She is “kind and compassionate to (others, including her husband), forgiving (others), just as in Christ God forgave (her).” (Ephesians 4:30)
  • She purposely cultivates a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances for she knows this is God’s will for her. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • She is a diligent and hard worker. (Proverbs 31)

—–

  • She takes responsibility for running her household well. (Proverbs 31, Titus 2:3)
  • She is prudent and has godly wisdom. (Proverbs 19:14)
  • She is modest and humble in her dress, words and behavior. (I Timothy 2:9-10, Ephesians 4:29-30)
  • She does not depend on charm or external beauty. (Proverbs 31:30)
  • She fears the Lord in a healthy way and she fears Him much more than any circumstances or any person. (Proverbs 31:30)

 —–

  • She dresses in a way that shows honor and respect for God, her husband, herself and others.  She does not seek to draw attention to her body but to Christ. She does not wear extravagant clothing, hairstyles or jewelry but allows her good deeds to be her ornaments.  She longs to not put any stumbling block in her brother’s way. (1 Timothy 2:9, Romans 14:13)
  • She is generous to those in need within the parameters of her husband’s leadership. (Proverbs 31:20)
  • She has great emotional/spiritual inner strength and honor. (Proverbs 31:25)
  • She has God’s wisdom in her heart and mind, she cherishes His Words and she speaks with godly wisdom and kindness. (Proverbs 31:26)
  • She is trustworthy in her thoughts, speech and actions. (Proverbs 31:11)

 —–

  • She does “not repay evil for evil but overcomes evil with good.” She trusts God to take revenge if vengeance is needed, she doesn’t take vengeance into her own hands. (Romans 12:9-21)
  • She answers softly and gently. (Proverbs 15:1)
  • She is filled with God’s “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control.” She is a pleasure to be around. She smiles and laughs easily. She savors and enjoys her family and her life (Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She has great faith in God. (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • She is genuinely humble. She understands how great, wise and holy God is and how small she is in comparison. (I Corinthians 13:4)

 —–

  • She is polite and well-mannered. (I Corinthians 13:5)
  • She is selfless. (I Corinthians 13:5)
  • She is vulnerable and able to share all of her entire range of emotions, needs, desires and ideas and articulate herself well. She knows her emotions are a great blessing and gift from God. She listens to them and evaluates her thoughts and motives as her emotions tell her about problems. But ultimately, she submits her feelings and emotions to Christ. (James 4:7, Proverbs 3:5)
  • She knows how to appropriately express her emotions and she knows how to discern when her emotions are lying to her and not to be trusted (i.e.: PMS, pregnancy, peri-menopause).
  • She cares about her husband and what he wants, needs and desires. (I Corinthians 7:34) She is careful to care even more about what God desires. (Matthew 6:33)

 —–

  • She thinks on things that are good, true, noble, excellent, praiseworthy, pure, right and admirable. (Philippians 4:8)
  • She takes her thoughts captive and does not allow unruly emotions or worry to hijack her mind or rob her of God’s peace. She, through God’s power, is in control of her own thoughts. Her feelings do not reign as tyrants over her. (2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She does not argue or complain but shines brightly for Christ in her attitude. (Philippians 2:14-16)
  • She shares her heart and her ideas, needs and feelings without being contentious or disrespectful  – but always speaks respectfully, gently, graciously and humbly. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She is full of grace, forgiveness and mercy because she abides in Christ and has experienced these things in abundance from Jesus. (John 15)

 —–

  • She never gives up on God, her husband or the marriage covenant. She keeps her word and her promises. (Matthew 19, I Corinthians 13:7-8)
  • She keeps no record of wrongs she has suffered. (I Corinthians 13:5 – for any wives who are truly being abused, please seek godly, biblical, experienced, wise help. “Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?”)
  • She rejoices continually in God and in His truth. (Philippians 4:4, I Corinthians 13:6)
  • She hates all sin and evil. (I Corinthians 13:6)
  • She tears out any trace of the smallest root of bitterness as soon as possible and doesn’t let it fester. (Ephesians 4:31)

—–

  • She is sober – not addicted to drugs or alcohol. (Titus 3:2)
  • She uses her words to give life and does not use her words to tear down or destroy. She does not gossip or slander anyone. (Proverbs 18:21, 2 Corinthians 12:20)
  • She is chaste – she does not entertain immoral or lustful ideas about real or fictional men (or women), she does not flirt with other men, she guards her marriage and her heart, she does not touch other men in a sensual way, she does not get involved in any trace of adultery, fornication or immorality. If she sees that there is a temptation coming, she flees from it. She does not want to create even the appearance of evil. (I Corinthians 6:18, Proverbs 4:23, I Thessalonians 5:22)
  • She is reverent and respectful in her behavior at home and in public. (Titus 2:2)
  • She does not allow happiness, her dreams, her desires or romance to become more important to her than Christ, her obedience to Christ, her husband or her marriage. She has proper priorities. She enjoys happiness when it comes, and romance when her husband offers it to her – but she is not consumed by a desperate desire for these things. Her only desperate desire is Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

 —–

  • She teaches her children and other women good things. (Titus 2:3)
  • She loves her husband and children affectionately. (Titus 2:3)
  • She is sound and solid in her faith. She knows the Word and handles it well. (Titus 2:2, Ephesians 6, 2 Timothy 2:16)
  • She guards her heart, because it is the wellspring of her life. (Proverbs 4:23)
  • She is willing to forsake all others (family, friends, past boyfriends, etc) and leave them in order to cleave to her husband (Genesis 2:24) and she realizes in the same way that she must forsake all others in order to cleave to Christ as her Savior and only Lord.

 —–

  • When she sins or makes a mistake – she is quick to repent and apologize and take responsibility without justifying her sin. She keeps very short accounts with God and gets rid of sin as soon as possible. Her spirit is sensitive to the pricks of conscience that God’s Spirit gives her. (I John 1:9, Matthew 5:24)
  • She is content in Christ no matter what her circumstances may be. (I Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:12-13)
  • She does not set herself up as an authority or teacher over her husband or men in the church. (I Timothy 2:12)
  • She develops the godly beauty of Christlike character, the hidden beauty of the heart which is a gentle and peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:4)
  • She overflows with the peace and joy of God’s Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) (When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?)

 —–

  • She is patient and can be content even when she doesn’t get her way, trusting that God’s will will ultimately be done. (Galatians 5:22)
  • She is willing to wait on God and trust His timing, seeking His will far above her own. She is full of courage in the face of adversity. (Psalm 27:14)
  • She has great spiritual strength from an unending fountain of God’s power in her. (John 4:14)
  • She is able to look past suffering and difficult times to see the good God will bring from it. (James 1, I Peter, Job, Romans 8:28-29)
  • She is faithful to God and to her husband. (Galatians 5:22-23)

 —–

  • She cherishes a life-giving rebuke.
  • She has a teachable, correctable spirit and measures any criticism given to her against the Word of God accurately.
  • She finds her satisfaction, purpose and contentment in eternity not this temporary life and it’s ever changing circumstances.
  • She is not judgmental, critical, controlling, bossy, demanding or condemning. She is accepting of others, understanding and gracious in the face of their weaknesses.
  • She only accepts sound doctrine and tests the spirits before accepting something as being biblical or of God. (1 John 4:1)

 —–

  • She is strong enough in Christ to handle things on her own if necessary. (1 Samuel 25 – Abigail, Mary the mother of Jesus after Joseph’s death)
  • She is spiritually responsible for her own maturity and contentment, able to be spiritually and emotionally independent and secure no matter what her husband is or is not doing. Her dependency is completely in Christ. (Mary – Matthew 1, Luke 1, Philippians 2:12)
  • She deeply desires God’s best for her husband, family and everyone. (Matthew 6:13)
  • She weeps over sin – her sin and the sin of others and how it grieves God’s heart. (James 4:9)
  • She weeps over the lost and those who are in need. (2 Corinthians 2:4)
  • She doesn’t put ministry for Christ above her husband. (Matthew 19)
  • She does not use cutting sarcasm toward anyone but seeks to bless with her speech. She is not crude or vulgar. (Ephesians 4:29-30)

ENCOURAGEMENT:

God knows we are but dust and He knows our weaknesses. He loves us and made a way for us to be holy. Our God is so strong that He is able to empower us and to give us victory as we abide in Him.  As our Sunday School teacher says, “God gives us the control valve so WE decide how much of His Spirit we allow in our lives.” Christ is a gentleman. He does not force Himself on us but waits to be invited into every part of our lives. He wants us to surrender and allow Him to have control as Lord in everything. But that is our choice to make.

This is all about us being in an intimate relationship with Christ and allowing His power to flow full blast through us and transform us according to His will for His greatest glory!

ABIDING IN CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8

SHARE:

What is an example of godly femininity that you have witnessed?

What are  your thoughts as we are studying godly femininity?

Are you encouraged or discouraged and why?

RELATED:

Godly Femininity Part 2

Some Things are Unconditional – Some Are Not

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(It has been a busy week at our house –  a new kitten on Friday, last day of summer break yesterday, first day of school today, and my schedule is quite full the next few days. I am not sure how available I can be right now for comments. Y’all are welcome to comment as much as you would like to. I will comment when I am able to. Ladies, please help me out and encourage, bless, pray for and support one another! I know you will! That is one of the things I love best about this group! Much love!)

I think that it is possible for us to get a bit confused at times with the various commands God gives us as believing women in Christ. So, let’s break a few things down together and have a discussion. 🙂 I am not saying I have a perfect handle on all of this or that I know what each wife should do in every situation. I know I do not have that kind of wisdom myself! But I do believe that God is completely able to give us the wisdom each of us needs as we seek Him, trust Him and ask Him for wisdom and direction. (James 1)

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.” Matthew 22:37-40
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. I Corinthians 13:4-8

God commands us all as believers to love other people. All other people. This is an unconditional “agape” love. It is the love with which God loves people. It is a perfect love that is completely fueled by the love and character of God not by what a person does or does not do. It does what is best for the other person. It is selfless. It is the kind of love that loves its enemies and prays for those who persecute it. It is the kind of love found in Romans 12.

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 14:14-21

If I am a believing wife, submitted to Christ, God always desires me to love my husband with His love. Without exception. No matter what my husband is doing or not doing.

  • Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

The word for “love” in this passage is the word “phileo” which means “to affectionately love.” So, not only are we commanded to love our husbands with God’s agape, unconditional love, God also wants us to love our husbands with a friendly, affectionate love.

RESPECT

If I am a believing wife, God commands me to respect and honor my husband unconditionally. This is because of God’s Spirit living in me and my desire to submit to and reverence Christ. It has nothing to do with what my husband is or is not doing.

  • Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (emphasis added)

Notice that the command to husbands and the command to wives are unconditional. It is not, “husbands love your wives IF they respect you or you feel they deserve it.” And it is not “Wives, respect your husbands IF you feel loved or if you think they deserve it.”

It is just very simple. Husbands are commanded by God to love their wives. Period. And wives are commanded by God to respect their husbands. Period. My job is to obey the command God gave me.

Why????

Because God knows that wives need love and husbands need respect. His commands help to correct our sinful tendencies as husbands and wives and help to restore the intimacy and oneness that God designed marriage to have before sin entered the picture. Husbands and wives BOTH need love and respect. But husbands tend to need respect the most, and that tends to be where we as wives are weak in our sinful nature. And wives tend to need love the most, and that tends to be where husbands are weak in their sinful nature.

We have many definitions for the English word, “respect,” today. But the command God gives us to respect our  husbands is a much more narrow definition. At this link (www.biblehub.com) you can find a link to a page that shows a number of translations of Ephesians 5:33 that may be helpful. The word “respect” may also be translated “reverence” or “fear.” This verse is about a wife showing honor to her husband’s God-given position as head of the marriage (I Corinthians 11:3). She is commanded in Ephesians 5:22 to submit to her husband. This passage about a wife understanding and honoring her husband’s headship.

We are NOT commanded to respect or honor sin. We respect our husbands because we respect Jesus. Just like we respect the president no matter if we agree with him or not because he is in the office of president and God commands us as believers to honor those in positions of God-given authority over us. Romans 11.

SUBMISSION

God commands believing wives to submit to their husbands:

  • Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
  • so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:4-5
  • But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. I Corinthians 11:3

This word “submission” is a military term that describes how a military officer places himself under the authority of those higher in the chain of command. It has nothing to do with a person’s value! The one who submits to the one in authority has equal value as a person as the one in authority. We are all image bearers of God (Genesis 2) and we are all equal in the eyes of God (Galatians 3:28).

Honestly, for a believer, submission always begins with Christ. Jesus submitted to His Father, though He was God and was equal to God the Father. He submitted to the Father’s authority over Him because He loved God the Father. As believers, first we submit f
ully to Christ. We cannot skip this! Then, out of reverence and submission to Jesus, we as believing wives submit to our husbands in order to bring glory to God and to display the power of the relationship between Christ and His church through our marriage (in our families and to a watching world).

We submit unconditionally to Christ as Lord. All believers do this. We submit to our husbands in obedience to Jesus.

There can be exceptions when we cannot submit to our husbands if they are asking us to clearly disobey God’s Word. Submission to our husbands is not unconditional. We submit “as to the Lord.” If they ask us to have an abortion, to steal, to commit murder, to commit idolatry, to renounce Christ, to actually hurt our children, etc… then we must respectfully refuse to submit. But for a wife to refuse to submit to her husband, she must be sure she is honoring Christ in that decision. We will answer to Him for our submission to our husbands. It is a very serious thing to disobey God’s Word. Again, for more on this topic, please check out Spiritual Authority. If a husband is not in his right mind, addicted to drugs/alcohol, involved in unrepentant infidelity, physically abusive, etc… there may be times a wife must seek godly counsel and may not be able to submit to her husband in a way that would be fitting in the Lord. She will need God’s wisdom for such a situation and great sensitivity to His Word and His Spirit. But, most of the time, the right thing to do is to cooperate with our husbands’ leadership. This is obedience to God’s Word and it brings glory to Him. The exceptions are, hopefully, very rare.

FORGIVENESS

Jesus commands all believers to forgive others their sins against us in all circumstances. Forgiveness is unconditional. Forgiveness is about our heart being right with God. It is not about the person who sinned against us.

  • “This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. ’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:9-15

No matter what sin my husband (or anyone) may commit against me, God commands me to forgive him.

  • And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

Forgiveness means that I don’t hold something against that person anymore. It means that I know they hurt me. They owe me. They did wrong against me. But I choose to cover that offense with the same grace that God uses to cover my sins. I choose to apply the blood of Christ to that person’s sins in my life and not demand revenge. I choose to trust God with that person and to pray for him/her to be made right with God. I choose to love that person with God’s love instead of desiring to hurt that person. I choose not to resent. I choose not to become bitter. I can only do this through the power of God’s Spirit working in me.

If I forgive someone, that does not mean he has no earthly consequences for his sin. It also does not mean I must trust them if trust has been broken.

TRUST

This is where I believe sometimes we get confused. We think that if we must love, honor, respect and forgive our husbands, that we must trust them even if they continue in unrepentant sin against us.

God commands us over and over again in scripture to trust Him alone. He admonishes us NOT to trust in man many times.

I wish we could all trust our husbands all the time. But husbands are sinners, just like wives. I long for us to have relationships where we trust our husbands. Now, I do trust Greg very much. But ultimately, my trust needs to be in Christ alone, not in Greg.

  • But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

Here is an interesting word study to do this week in your quiet time if you want to. Look up the word “trust” or “trust in God” in a concordance or at www.biblegateway.com or www.biblehub.com and look up the phrase “trust in man.” See how MANY times we are commanded to trust God and how many times we are commanded NOT to trust in man.

If a husband is involved in unrepentant infidelity, active addictions, is mentally unstable, is physically abusive or not in his right mind – there may be times we cannot trust our husbands even though we may want to be able to trust them. If you are in such a serious situation, please seek godly, wise, biblical counsel. But most of all, seek Jesus and His Word and truth with all your heart! Don’t take advice that does not square up with sound scriptural teaching.

If we cannot currently trust our husbands, hopefully, we can at least communicate that we WANT to learn to be able to trust them again and to work together to rebuild the trust. If trust has been severely violated, you may need help to rebuild it. And your husband will have to be willing to help rebuild the broken trust, too. You cannot do that part completely on your own.

But we must also be careful, because sometimes we don’t trust our husbands because of our own lack of faith in God. Sometimes we could and should trust our husbands but we don’t (that was me for many years in our marriage). And sometimes we really and truly shouldn’t trust our husbands if they are living in unrepentant sin. In some cases, it would be foolish to trust them. I have a video that goes into a lot more detail about that on my Youtube channel here.

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin – VIDEO

 

 

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(a 16 minute video)

I wanted to do this topic as a video so that you can hear my tone of voice and see facial expressions and body language. Conflict is difficult. Confronting our husbands’ sin respectfully is hard. I want to try to give you all the tools I can on this.

Scripture I use in this video – let us apply these personally in our lives:

– Matthew 7:1-5 (We need to deal with our own sin first)

– Matthew 18:15-17 (Jesus’ commandments about how to confront a believer who sins against us)

– Ephesians 5:22-33 (always applies to us as wives, even when our husbands sin against us)

– I Corinthians 13:4-8 (the godly love God commands us to show to our husbands, and everyone, at all times as believers)

– Romans 12:9-21 (how God desires us to treat our enemies, so surely God desires us to treat our husbands at least this well)

Check out the post “Spiritual Authority” at the top of my home page to see Rev. Weaver’s notes about how to make an appeal to someone in spiritual authority over us. SUPER helpful.

 

If we are going to confront our husbands about their sin, there are a few things I believe we must keep in mind first:

1. We must repent of our own sin and have our own lives straight with God and our husbands.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

2. We must be humble, respectful and gentle, being careful not to fall into temptation ourselves as scripture warns us not to when we are admonishing a brother who has fallen into sin.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

3. We must be sure we don’t have sinful motives – pride, self-righteousness, hatred, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness, malice, etc…

Our only motives must be to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our husbands with the love of Christ

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.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-39

4. We can share our hearts, our hurts, our pain PRIVATELY with our husbands. We should try to choose a good time when our husbands are best able to hear us if possible.  I would suggest sharing our concerns briefly and probably just once in most cases. I would also suggest not bringing up things from the past. In our house we have a “rule” that we don’t bring up things that are over 2 weeks old. We also have a “rule” that we don’t have big important discussions after 10:00pm. If at all possible, I would also recommend not having a big discussion when you are hungry, exhausted, hormonal or sick.

I would also suggest approaching the issue from a perspective of being hurt and in pain rather than anger. Our husbands can hear our vulnerability and respond to pain better than they can respond to anger generally. We can communicate that we are angry – and there will be times that is necessary – but I suggest doing that softly to be heard more powerfully. 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold… 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4

5. We will need sensitivity to God’s Spirit to know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it vs. when not to say anything with words but just use our attitude and actions to speak to our husbands.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateverc you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 9 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

6. We cannot force our husbands to do what we want. We can share our hearts briefly and vulnerably with gentleness, kindness and respect. Then we must wait on God to bring conviction and allow our husbands to choose repentance. 

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16

A NOTE ABOUT MATTHEW 18:15-17 and “SHUNNING”

If our husbands don’t listen to us and won’t repent of serious sin, we may need to follow Matthew 18:15-17 and involve 1-2 other believers and possibly the church. However, I Peter 3:1-6 gives instructions to wives about how to treat their husbands if the husbands are disobedient to the Word (living in sin, far from God). I am not sure a wife would “shun” an unrepentant husband the way the church would. There are times separation may be necessary, with prayer for reconciliation. Separation is not sin, though it is not ideal. There is a passage about if a wife must separate from her husband in I Corinthians 7 with God’s instructions to a wife in such a situation.

And, please keep Romans 12:9-21 in mind about how God commands us to treat our enemies.

RELATED:

“When My Spouse Is Wrong.”

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

a video, To Speak or Not to Speak 

I also have a written post about this – To Speak or Not to Speak

You may also search my home page for terms like:

  • porn
  • conflict
  • husband sinned
  • controlling husband
  • abuse

NOTE:

If there is abuse, or serious issues in the marriage (uncontrolled mental health issues, unrepentant adultery, active drug/alcohol addictions, or you or your children are not safe) – please seek appropriate help in person whether from the police, a trusted pastor, a godly counselor, or a doctor (depending on the situation).

Free Christian Counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.org

 

 

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