Do You Want to be the Greatest in God’s Eyes?

Very dirty feet

Greatness in Jesus’ economy is totally the opposite of everything worldly wisdom holds dear.

The Secret to Greatness

Jesus had two disciples, brothers, who wanted to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. They wanted the right to get to sit at His right (the position of greatest honor) and His left (the second greatest position of honor).

Jesus shared this shocking news with them:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28

The greatest in His kingdom is humble, not proud.

Pride says things like:

  • I know better than God or anyone.
  • My wisdom is unparalleled.
  • I am equal to or greater than God.
  • I am so important.
  • I deserve the best.
  • I deserve to be greatly exalted and praised.
  • People and God should do my will.

Humility says things like:

  • God knows better than I do. His wisdom is much higher than mine.
  • God alone is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, completely holy, perfect, good, loving, just, kind, and righteous. He alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God, His will, His kingdom, and His glory are the most important things.
  • I don’t deserve good things because I don’t have any merit on my own, but I am so grateful for all of the good blessings I have in Jesus.
  • Treating others well is more important than me getting my way.
  • I yield my will to God’s will.
  • I choose to honor, praise, and exalt God, not myself.
  • I am God’s servant, ready to do anything He asks of me.
  • I am willing to serve others the way Jesus came to serve me.

THE FOOT-WASHING WAY

Jesus, who is God in the flesh, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself and washed His disciples dirty, smelly, extremely dusty feet. He took on the job of the lowest slave to set an example of the kind of leadership and greatness He desires in His kingdom (John 13:3-17).

The one who is the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is the most servant-hearted. God exalts those who do not exalt themselves and do not seek honor, power, and glory for themselves.

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

― Andrew Murray, Humility

God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.

James 4:6

This is true in ministry, it is true in business, it is true in church. And it is true in Christian marriage. For both husbands and wives.

Sometimes, women don’t like the role God assigns to wives in marriage. Some would have us believe that “women are slighted in God’s plan” because they believe leaders are “more important” and they want to be the most important.

However, if we truly understood the accountability, sacrifice, cost, and expectations God has for leaders, we may not be so quick to demand that position for ourselves. Especially if we understood all the ways in which all people are equally loved and valued by God and that value has nothing to do with position or authority levels in His kingdom.

If any of us (male or female) wants to have “the most power” in our human relationships for our own selfish purposes, we have missed the entire point of the example of Jesus.

To live the Christian life (for a man or woman) is to die to our sinful nature and self, it is to forsake our pride, and it is to yield humbly and absolutely to the Lordship of Jesus.

Living for Jesus is a clear call to joyful servanthood

The Gospel

As a sinner— if we want to talk about what I really deserve, it is hell. But Jesus had great mercy on me. He came to save me from hell and from my sin. He took away the condemnation I earned and deserved, if I have trusted Jesus as my Savior and Lord (please read here for how you can have a saving relationship with Jesus). And He has given me every spiritual treasure He possesses. It’s crazy!

  • He takes on my astronomical sin debt and pays it all in full.
  • Then He gives me total access to His overflowing spiritual bank account.

He has graciously given me all of His righteousness, goodness, and right standing with God. He has provided for my every spiritual need and for my every need now and in eternity. He gives me a new Spirit and nature. A new identity in Him. Greater love than I have ever known. He has already seated me in heavenly places with Him and even given me some of His authority to participate in the honor of bringing His will into reality on earth.

If only we could grasp even a fraction of these incredible truths!

Knowing Jesus Brings Contentment to My Heart

If I understand who I really am and who Jesus is and what He has done for me, I can be more than content serving any role He has for me in this world, as long as I get to be close to Him. I want to serve Him! Out of overflowing gratitude and love, not out of duty or drudgery.

What does it matter to me if I live in obscurity or in a position of worldly influence and power as long as I have Him?

All of my life is for His glory and His purposes now, not for myself!

If Jesus is my Lord, I will be willing and eager to serve in any capacity He has prepared for me. Whatever that may be. My only goal is to use the gifts and opportunities He has given me to exalt Him and bless and love others. I want to let Him bear much fruit in and through me. I long for His will, not mine.

If I am fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, no one can steal the blessings and spiritual treasures and miracles God has for me. If I choose to live by faith in Jesus, no weapon formed against me shall prosper and God will open the floodgates of heaven to accomplish all he wants to do in and through me.

The Lord Calls All Christians to Servanthood, Dying to Self, and Sacrifice

Ultimately, in marriage and in the Body of Christ, we are all called to humbly serve and love God and others. Leaders are simply called to go an “extra mile,” sacrificing themselves all the more and using their strength, position, and power for the good of those in their care.

That is why we are to respect them and cooperate with them, (but never follow anyone into sin), to make their job to honor the Lord easier, not harder. And that is why we are to use our influence authority for good, not to try to lead them astray or trip them up.

Honestly, all of us are called to be leaders of some type, as believers in God’s kingdom. Maybe we are moms, mentors, leaders at work, or maybe we have ministries for the Lord. All of us have positions of influence or authority somewhere, although the exact positions may be different. All of us have spiritual gifts to bless the Body of Christ.

Equal Value but Different Roles and Gifts

We don’t all have access to every possible leadership position or spiritual gift. But we all have total access to every good gift God has provided for us specifically and for believers in general.

Each of us is valued and loved equally. But we have different roles and gifts!

We cannot all be the eye. We are not all the foot. We are not all the right hand. God gives each of us certain gifts, according to His wisdom, for us to use to bless everyone else (1 Corinthians 12). He arranges all the parts as He desires them to be. We all need each other! And each of us have important roles to fulfill that will bring glory to Jesus and the kingdom, not to ourselves.

Greatness Is Available to Each of Us!

Servanthood doesn’t mean we become people pleasers, it means we become God pleasers.

All of us have the ability to seek greatness in Christ as we humble ourselves and empty ourselves of self, allowing God to fill us up to overflowing with Himself. There is no limit to what God is willing to do through a completely yielded vessel who is willing to take on a Spirit of servanthood just like Jesus did in Philippians 2:1-11!

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Does this concept surprise you? If so, how?

What has God shown you about the blessing and honor of servanthood and humility?

How has it impacted your marriage or other relationships for good?

NOTE – if you can’t access the comment box, please click on the blog title at the top of the post and you should be able to see the comment box at the bottom of the post, and the search bar, too.

RELATED

Bible verses about servanthood

What Was the Significance of Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Biblical Pattern of Church Leadership? by www.gotquestions.org

What Are the Qualifications of Elders and Deacons? by www.gotquestions.org

The Danvers Statement

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

What Does the Bible Say about the Role of a Husband?

happy husband looking at bride

Ladies,

I laid the groundwork for this entire discussion in the posts, “Are Men and Women Equal?” and “What Does the Bible Say about the Role of a Wife?

As I mentioned in those previous posts, there are many ways in which women and men are equal in the kingdom of God. God equally loves all of His precious children—sons and daughters.

We have:

  • Equal access to salvation.
  • Equal adoption into the family of God through Jesus and His work on the cross and our faith in His gift.
  • Equal access to God and prayer through Jesus.
  • Equal access to the promises, power, and Word of God through Jesus.
  • Equal status as joint-heirs in Christ through His finished work on our behalf.

But men and women are not the same. We are not identical or interchangeable.

We have different roles, functions, and types of authority in the church and family. This is a good thing.

God’s purpose for our differences is that is a man and woman might display a living picture of the gospel in the way they relate to each other in marriage. (Eph. 5:22-33)

  • The husband is to represent the strong, selfless, humble, loving leadership and sacrifice of Christ Jesus for His bride, the church.
  • The wife is to represent the respect, honor, faith, love, and cooperative spirit that the church has for Christ.

Today, let’s take a look at the role of a husband in Scripture. Again, we must be willing to look at this subject in the context of the bigger picture of:

All believers are called to holiness and to God’s high standard to:

  • Love God far above anyone or anything else, the Greatest Commandment—Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37)
  • Be Spirit-filled in all of our interactions with others—the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:22-23
  • Refuse to harm othersLove does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 10:13)
  • Love all people, the second greatest commandment—Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:39)
  • Love with God’s supernatural loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
  • Treat all people with honor and godly respectHonor one another above yourselves. (Rom. 12:10)

The Role of a Husband in Scripture

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:17-18  🕊

I am sharing this information for the sake of balance and the big picture. But the only One who can really always be all the perfect Husband to us is Jesus. Our husbands may fail us, and we may fail them, at times, too. But Jesus will never fail us.

CAUTION – For some wives, it can be upsetting to read about what a husband’s ideal roles are supposed to look like. If you know the basic role a husband is supposed to perform, and you know that it will upset you to read it, it is okay to skip the rest of this post.

I know for me, especially in the early years of my journey to become a more peaceful, godly wife, it was better for me to focus completely on what God called me to do. If I read about what husbands should do, I always wanted to try to focus on making my husband fulfill all of his roles, but that is not my job.

My job is to allow the Lord to transform me and to empower me to be the woman He calls me to be.

I want to simply present what Scripture says about a godly husband’s general role to get a broad overview of this topic directly from the Bible.

  1. A husband leaves his parents and clings to his wife and they are no longer two but one flesh, joined together by God. Nothing but death is supposed to separate them. They are united in a holy covenant. (Gen. 2:23-24, Mark 10:6-9)
  2. He has loving God-given authority (leadership) to humbly lead his wife according to God’s will. He never uses his strength to harm his wife. He uses his strength for her benefit: to provide for his wife, protect her, nourish her, and care for her— financially, spiritually, physically, etc… He does what is best for her (and their family) in God’s eyes, even if it is costly to him. (Gen. 2:23, Gen. 2:16-17, Eph.5:22-33, 1 Tim. 5:8)
  3. Godly leadership, in any arena in life (family, church, government, or community), is about servanthood, Christlikeness, dying to self, and seeking God’s will and His glory above all else. (Luke 22:25-27, Luke 22:42)
  4. He blesses and praises the good in his wife. (Prov. 31:28-31)
  5. He loves his wife in the power of God’s Spirit (with God’s agape love – 1 Cor. 13:4-8) and is not harsh with her. (Col. 3:19)
  6. He loves his wife with the same self-sacrificing love that Jesus has for His church in the way He gave Himself up for her. He loves his wife and cares for her as he does his own body. (Eph. 5:25, 28)
  7. A husband enjoys life with his wife even when life in this world is tough. (Eccl. 9:9)
  8. He humbly yields himself fully to the Lordship of Jesus and honors God’s spiritual chain of command in the family: God>Christ>husband>wife>underage children. He values his wife and family the way God does and wants to take the best care of them, knowing he answers to God for what he thinks, says, and does. He knows that only someone who is committed to absolute submission to the loving authority of Christ is truly equipped to lead well. He knows that that godly leadership is never about selfishness, abuse, or trying to control others. He seeks to love, lead by example, and point his wife and family to God’s way of Life and His wisdom. (1 Cor. 11:3Eph. 6:1)
  9. A husband is faithful to his wife and their marriage covenant, not cheating on her, not divorcing her, and not abandoning her. He does this out of reverence for the Lord and a commitment to his marriage covenant so that God will listen to his prayers and his children can be godly. His greatest loyalty is to God first. (Mal. 2:14-16)
  10. He does not look at another woman lustfully in his heart. (Matt. 5:28,)
  11. He honors the marriage bed and keeps it undefiled. (Heb. 13:4)
  12. He does not divorce his wife, except possibly if she breaks the marriage covenant in some way. (Matt. 5:32, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)
  13. He selflessly and generously gives his wife her conjugal rights (if his wife is not breaking their marriage covenant), meaning, he seeks to be available to her sexually whenever he possibly can. (1 Cor. 7:3)
  14. He lives with his wife in an understanding way, treating her with honor so that his prayers may not be hindered. (1 Pet. 3:7)
  15. He stays with and loves his wife, even if she is an unbeliever if she is willing to stay and is not breaking the marriage covenant. He prays that he might lead her to Christ with his love and godly example. (1 Cor. 7:12-16)
  16. A husband rejoices in his own wife, in his own marriage, in his wife’s body, and in their sexual intimacy alone. (Prov. 5:15-19)

Just a note—all of us, men and women, need the Holy Spirit’s power to help us be the people, spouses, parents, and everything that God calls us to be. None of us can meet these holy, perfect standards in our own strength. In our own power, we all fall short.

It all comes down to a willingness to yield ourselves completely to the Lordship of Christ.

We all need Jesus and His power to do anything He calls us to do!

God can use His glorious design for marriage to help us see how far we fall from His holy standard and how much we are dependent on Him. He can even use our spouse’s sins and annoying habits to help conform us to the image of Christ, which is His ultimate goal for His children.

Thankfully, whether a spouse is seeking to honor Christ or not, no one can stop us from deciding we are going to follow Christ and we are going to let Him transform and empower us to obey Him.

I’m so thankful that God uses ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). His good purpose for us is to make us more and more like Jesus, that we might bring great glory to Him and bring many into the kingdom (Rom. 8:29).

For more resources about a husband’s biblical role, please check out the list below. Please—always “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) of any author’s teaching, including mine, against the sound doctrine of the Bible.

NOTE— Ladies, if your husband doesn’t look exactly like Jesus right now, don’t be discouraged! None of us will look exactly like Jesus until we reach heaven.

Invite God to transform you into the woman and wife He calls you to be, that you might be a godly influence on your husband. Humble yourself and ask God to help you understand and do things His way.

Invite God to transform and empower your husband to become the man God desires him to be. Yield fully to God’s design and His calling for your life, no matter what your husband may choose to do, and you will be amazed at the power and love of God to do miracles in your life.

How to Influence an Unbelieving Husband for Christ

Much love in Christ!

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If you have read both the husband and wife’s role, what do you think? Who has the toughest shoes to fill? Or is it a tie?

What is easier to get excited about, what God calls your husband to do or what He calls you to do?

How does God’s design picture portray the gospel in tangible ways?

How does the picture of their parents’ godly marriage help children come to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord?

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Husbands? by www.openbible.info (list of verses)

What Are the Roles for Husband and Wife in a Family? by www.gotquestions.org

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

Is Christian Submission Only for Wives? by Peaceful Wife

Articles on Husbands by www.desiringgod.org

The Secret to Greatness in God’s Kingdom

The Qualities of a Godly Mate by www.bible.org (scroll way down to find husband at the bottom)

God Empowers a Husband to Face a Fierce Storm

Are Men and Women Equal in God’s Eyes? by www.gotquestions.org

**1050 New Testament Commands for believers in Christ (I am endorsing this particular list because it was the most comprehensive one I could find, however I have not had time to research the rest of the site.) by CAI.

ABUSE IS ALWAYS SIN and NEVER GOD’S DESIGN

What Does the Bible Say about Verbal Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Emotional Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

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

What Is a Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence? by www.gotquestions.org

Desiringgod.org posts on Abuse

What Does the Bible Say about the Role of a Wife?

bride and groom under her wedding veil

We humans have a tendency to err toward the extremes, veering to the left or to the right.

1. We want to be licentious and ignore what God’s Word says and just do whatever we want to do whenever we feel like it or pick and choose what we want to obey. That is dangerous.
2. We want to be legalistic and add tons of manmade rules and our own personal convictions and try to make everyone follow our checklists. That is oppressive.

Both of those extremes are hurtful to men, women, marriage, children, family, the church, and society.

When we exalt our wisdom and ourselves as greater than God and His wisdom, we get ourselves into trouble very quickly.

Let’s abandon our pride and humble ourselves, seeking to understand God’s loving heart for us all.

We Are Equally Loved and Valued

People (men, women, and children) have value because God created us in His image (Gen. 1:27) and because He loves us all (John 3:16). He loves us because He IS love (1 John 4:8).

We all have value because Jesus died for us to make a way for us to be right with God and to have eternal life.

To read about the many ways men and women have spiritual equality in Christ as fellow believers and joint-heirs, please check out this post.

We Are Not the Same

We have equal worth and value as people. We are equally loved, but…

Husbands and wives are not identical. Masculinity and femininity are not interchangeable in God’s good design.

We have different roles, responsibilities, and types of authority.

But we have the same purpose!

Our differences and different roles allow us to display a living parable of the gospel! (Eph. 5:22-33)

  • The husband is to represent a picture of the selfless, humble, sacrificial love of Christ for His beloved Church.
  • The wife is to represent a picture of the love, respect, adoration, faith, and trust of the Church for her beloved Christ.

God gives us some parameters for our benefit and protection. He also invites each of us to participate in accomplishing the purposes and mission of His Kingdom—to help bring many to Christ. But there is also space in which we can breathe and have plenty of room to uniquely live, love, and enjoy fellowship with Him and with others.

God’s commands are not burdensome. They are life-giving and fulfilling!

We will focus on the wife’s role today and the husband’s role in a future post. Thanks for understanding.

The Role of the Wife in Scripture

God’s design for wives, husbands, marriage, and family transcends culture, place, and time.

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:17-18  🕊

Perhaps we can seek to leave our preconceived notions at the door and simply look at what the Bible has to say about the role of a wife without adding to it or subtracting from it. Let’s invite God to help us build our lives and basic understanding of these important concepts on His Word alone.

As we think about the role of a wife or husband, it is always important to keep our understanding of marriage roles grounded in the much wider context of:

If we take one or two verses and focus only on those and ignore the rest of scripture, we will invariably be in error. We want to prayerfully consider all that Scripture has to say about this—and every— topic.

Also if we choose to reject certain verses, deciding we know better than God, or that we can ignore things we don’t like or agree with, we will end up veering into dangerous territory.

Let’s try to take the whole of Scripture on this topic.

What Does the Bible Say about Wives?

I am attempting to include just about every relevant verse about a godly wife’s general role. I want to get a broad overview of this topic from all of Scripture to give us the wide-angle view.

  1. A wife is a helpmeet to her husband. This means she is a companion, a compliment, and a blessing to him. She lives in harmony together with him. (Gen. 2:18)
  2. A wise wife builds her home and marriage and doesn’t tear it down with her words, attitudes, and actions. (Prov. 14:1)
  3. She is not quarrelsome or fretful. (Prov. 21:19)
  4. She does her husband good and not evil all the days of her lives. (Prov. 31:12)
  5. An excellent wife is very rare and extremely precious. Her husband can trust her. (Prov. 31:10-11)
  6. She is industrious at home and savvy and profitable in her business dealings. She is not lazy. She provides for many of the physical needs of her household. (Prov. 31:13-19)
  7. She cares for the poor. (Prov. 31:20)
  8. She is a woman of strength and dignity. She is not afraid or worried about the future because she has planned ahead and provided for many of her family’s current and future needs. (Prov. 31:25)
  9. She fears the Lord. (Prov. 31:30)
  10. She speaks and teaches with kindness and wisdom and provides for the spiritual instruction of her children. (Prov. 31:26)
  11. A wise, understanding and sensible wife is a gift from the Lord to her husband. (Prov. 19:14)
  12. A wife honors her husband’s God-given leadership out of reverence for and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (There are limits to a husband’s leadership just like there are limits to any human authority in our lives. He may not lead her into sin and he may not seek to harm or abuse her.) (Eph. 5:22-33)
  13. A wife respects her husband as a man and as the God-given leader in her marriage covenant. (Eph. 5:33) She can’t respect sin; in fact, she may need to confront sin appropriately and stand against mistreatment or abuse of herself or her children. But she is to approach her husband with genuine respect for the good in him and for the responsibility he carries to lead the family before God. She does this because Christ deserves her reverence and obedience and to avoid maligning the gospel. (Titus 2:3-5)
  14. A wife understands her power of influence and uses her incredible power for good and for promoting God’s will in the marriage. (Think of the bad examples of Eve and Jezebel and the good examples of Esther and Mary, etc…)
  15. It is her conduct, attitude, and godliness, not so much her words, which can most powerfully win over a husband who is far from Christ. (I Peter. 3:1)
  16. A wife is willing to selflessly give of herself sexually to her husband if she is able, unless he is breaking the marriage covenant in some way, they are apart, or she is sick or in pain. (Yes, the reverse is true, as well. Both spouses are to be selfless and generous with the other. We’ll get to husbands in the next post, don’t worry!) (I Cor. 7:1-5)
  17. She honors the spiritual chain of command in marriage by God’s design that everyone is to honor out of reverence for the Lord: God>Christ>husband>wife>underage children. (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 6:1)
  18. A wife loves her husband and children, honors her husband’s leadership, and seeks to be “self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind.” (Titus 2:5)
  19. She focuses on her own home and God-given responsibilities, taking care of her family and household rather than going about from house to house as an idle gossip or busybody. (I Tim. 5:11-16)
  20. A wife seeks to do what is right and not give way to hysterical fear. She is to have a gentle, peaceful, and tranquil Spirit from God that is very precious in His sight. (1 Pet. 3:1-6)
  21. She honors the marriage bed and keeps it undefiled. (Heb. 13:4)
  22. She stays with an unbelieving husband if he is willing to stay (if he is not breaking the marriage covenant in some way) so that she may influence him and their children for Christ. (1 Cor. 7:12-14)
  23. A wife does not separate from her husband except when he is committing serious unrepentant sin against her like violating the marriage covenant or there are other extreme circumstances. (1 Cor. 7:10-11)
  24. She does not divorce her husband, with possible exceptions for abandonment, adultery, or some other extreme circumstances. (Matt. 5:32, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)

What the Bible Says about the Role of a Husband

Power and Freedom

The good news is, even though it is quite impossible for us to fulfill these roles and commands in our own power, we don’t have to try to do this on our own. God, Himself, can give us the power we need to be the wives He calls us to be as we trust Him and allow His Spirit to fill us.

It all comes down, ultimately, to the Lordship of Christ in a woman’s life.

When we stumble, we repent to God and to our husbands and children and get back up, inviting God to help us learn and grow to be more like Jesus (1 John 1:9).

Notice that there aren’t specific lists of which chores husbands must always do and which chores wives must always do. This isn’t about culture. It isn’t about the way our parents did things. It’s not about going back to the 1950s, the 1800s, or the 100s.

God’s Word and design apply to every culture in every age.

There is a lot of room for each couple to hammer out their own beautiful way of relating and establishing their own unique marriage in the context of God’s grand and holy design.

Each of us will give an account to Jesus, one day, and no one else.

The purpose is to display the gospel but no two marriages will look exactly alike. We must all hold firmly to biblical principles. But where God’s Word gives freedom, we do not set restrictions on others or demand that everyone follows our own personal convictions.

Much love!

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What do you love about God’s design for wives and marriage?

Does anything seem confusing, upsetting, or strange?

Are there any passages you feel I missed that you want to share?

Additional resources for your prayerful consideration:

ABUSE IS ALWAYS SIN and NEVER GOD’S DESIGN

What Does the Bible Say about Verbal Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Emotional Abuse? by www.gotquestions.org

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

What Is a Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence? by www.gotquestions.org

Desiringgod.org posts on Abuse

Note – There are numerous sites, teachers, and authors that claim to promote proper roles for Christian husbands and wives that veer from Scripture one way or the other. Please be sure to compare any message with the Bible. Test the spirits. Only receive what is biblical and in accordance with sound doctrine.

Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

open double door

Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.

As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.

He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.

In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:

  • We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
  • We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.

We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.

Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.

This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.

  1. Get rid of the spiritual poison.
  2. Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

Demonic Possession

Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

  • Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
  • Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
  • Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
  • And other things, as well.

Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.

But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.

Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.

But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.

We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.

Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.

Demonic Oppression

Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:

  • Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
  • Intense fear.
  • A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
  • Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
  • Physical illness, at times.
  • No appetite for God or His Word.
  • Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
  • Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
  • Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
  • Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.

Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.

All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.

We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.

  • Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
  • Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
  • Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
  • Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
  • Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.

We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.

But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

  • The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
  • Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
  • Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
  • Playing with temptation.
  • Fascination with demons.
  • Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
  • Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
  • Isolating ourselves from other believers.
  • Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
  • Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
  • Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
  • Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).

Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.

Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

  • Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
  • Yielding my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
  • Speaking the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
  • Singing praise songs to Jesus.
  • Thinking about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
  • Resisting Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
  • Praying for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
  • Other believers praying for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
  • Getting rid of any lies and replacing them and rebuilding our lives on God’s truth
  • Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)

Freedom in Christ

The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.

When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.

They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.

When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.

I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.

Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.

Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.

The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.

We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.

We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.

We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

Radiant’s story of spiritual oppression due to believing demonic lies that resulted in severe illness, to the point of being almost an invalid.

Radiant’s story of the spiritual healing that is available to each of us in Jesus.

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life

If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.

How to Encourage Your Husband to Value Your Influence

man standing on beach

Men, in general, don’t allow people to influence them who they feel disrespect them.

They also tend not to allow people they don’t trust or respect to influence them. Honestly, there is a lot of wisdom in this approach. We may benefit from prayerfully considering this idea, ourselves.

Women have a POWERFUL ability to influence our men for good or for bad. How will we use our gift?

Men don’t tend to respect the influence of those:

  • Who give unsolicited advice.
  • Whose words and actions don’t match.
  • Who seem to have selfish motives.
  • Who appear to be trying to manipulate or control them.
  • Who have a critical, condemning spirit against them.
  • Who don’t treat themselves or others with respect.
  • Who act like doormats or give up their personhood in passivity.
  • Who idolize them and want their approval more than God’s.
  • Who lack self-control.
  • Who freak out a lot or are very negative.

For your words to be meaningful and valuable to your husband,

a few things generally have to happen over a significant period of time:

Over time, when your husband sees you respect yourself properly, you treat him with honor, and you are a person he can respect, then he knows he can value your influence.

He knows he can feel safe with you. As he sees that your actions and words match up over the long haul, he may begin to soften to your influence and welcome you to speak into his life as a trusted advisor.

I can’t guarantee that he will change if you change. But if you desire to use your influence in his life to honor Christ, this is the path to take.

Becoming a godly woman and wife can never be about manipulating our husbands. It must always be simply about honoring, loving, and obeying Christ—and blessing our men.

First things first

We all have sin issues in our own lives. It’s critical that I deal with my sin before I attempt to deal with issues in my husband’s life. This is the only way I can see clearly enough to truly see what is going on with him and be able to handle his issues rightly.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matt. 7:3-5

This means, if I am flirting with other men or I am allowing people to take priority over my husband, he may not take my words very seriously if I warn him not to do the same thing. And why should he? I am being a hypocrite.

This also means, if I am acting in a lot of hurtful, condescending ways, and my husband doesn’t feel safe with me emotionally or spiritually, my sin is a stumbling block to my ability to influence my husband in godly ways.

It’s hard to respect the spiritual advice of someone whose life is a mess or who is hurting you with their own sin. 

Common sins that are super destructive to a marriage, intimacy, and trust:

If I invite God to show me any sin in my life, He will! And He will help me and heal me. He can transform my life and make me more like Jesus by the power of His Word, prayer, and the power of His Spirit.

As I allow Christ to change me, my husband will definitely notice, even if he is cold or skeptical toward me, at first.

My goal can’t be to change my husband. My goal must be to become the woman Jesus calls me to be, whatever the cost. 

A side effect of this is that I will be a greater blessing to my husband. When I am right with God and His Spirit is working in and through me, it is really only then that I can properly relate to others with God’s love.

I will make myself open to be an available instrument in God’s hand to reach my husband. Then I will stop being a stumbling block to him and make it easier for him to hear God’s voice.

I can’t change my husband or fix him. I can’t open his eyes. Only the Spirit can do that. But I can let God change me! That is the most powerful, wonderful place to start.

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Has God shown you some truths about this topic that you would like to share? Or are you struggling and you need some encouragement and more resources?

Much love!

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Stages of This Journey – Summary

What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?

man standing on top of mountain

This is a joint post written by Nneka Simone (her words are in blue), April, and some anonymous wives’ examples. I appreciate the input, ladies!

We talked in my last post about 6 times when we may need to prayerfully consider breaking (or minimizing) contact with others. One of those scenarios is if our husband feels it would be best for us not to have contact with someone (please see the caveats in the post for times not to cooperate with this).

Of course, breaking contact completely is a pretty extreme response and should be reserved for certain situations as a last resort. It shouldn’t be our go-to response for most issues as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage if we use it when it is not needed.

But what if it the scenario is reversed?

If you believe that a situation is harmful to your husband, the marriage, yourself, your children, or your family, you do have the ability (and sometimes the responsibility) to share your concerns with your husband.

Husbands have God-given positional authority and wives have God-given influential authority.

We do have an incredible ability as wives to influence our husbands for good or for evil.

It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.

Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.

Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.

This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.

The key is that we share respectfully and with right motives.

Nneka’s Take

Nneka Simone

It would be very tempting to react in the flesh and try to force your husband to cut people off by acting in the following ways:

Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.

Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.

Give your husband an ultimatum.

Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.

Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.

Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.

Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.

Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.

Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.

Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.

Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.

If we resort to these destructive tactics, we would repel our husbands. Our husbands would likely feel protective of their friends and defensive about their decisions. Our husbands would likely react in destructive ways and may even eventually form closer bonds with the friends we disapprove of.  

I can’t force my way, but I can make requests and suggestions.

If my husband knows that I love and respect him highly, and he also has great love and respect for me, he will likely care about my feelings and concerns. He will prayerfully weigh my words, if he is a believer.

Even if he is not a believer, if we have some level of mutual love and respect going on, he will probably be concerned if something is causing an alarm bell for me.

All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.

However, there are many different possible scenarios. This approach may not be exactly what you need in every situation.

We need the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Spirit to know exactly how to approach our husband, especially if things are not going well, at the time.

There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent and pray. The only way to really know the difference is that we must be in close fellowship with the Lord.

NOTE – If it is a really dangerous situation, there are times we have a responsibility to call the police or reach out for help. This post is not intended to be a resource for life-threatening situations. Please involve all of the proper authorities immediately if you believe someone is truly in danger or being threatened. I am also assuming in this post that your husband is in his right mind. That he is not high, drunk, dealing with significant uncontrolled mental illness, or involved in serious unrepentant sin.

A Time to Speak

If you believe it is a time to speak up, some options may be to prayerfully consider saying things like:

  • I have a bad feeling about this person.
  • My “Spidey senses” are tingling about her. She seems like trouble to me.
  • I would like it if we both have X, Y, Z boundaries on our marriage to guard our hearts and help us avoid temptation. What boundaries do you believe we should have to protect our marriage?
  • May I have your permission to speak into your life? (If he says, “yes,” then I can gently share what I see that I believe the Lord desires me to share.)
  • I feel like that friend is disrespectful of our marriage/you/me/the kids.
  • I love that you are such a great friend to X. Sometimes, though, I would really love it if we could have more time with you.
  • I’m afraid you may be getting taken advantage of here and that makes me feel sad.
  • This situation makes me nervous.
  • It seems to me that this person undermines our authority as parents to our children. That’s not okay.
  • I feel like this person is trying to hurt our marriage/family/you/me.
  • I really don’t want us to be around him again unless he is willing to apologize for what he did and make some real changes.
  • I don’t feel safe around her because of X. I don’t want our kids to be near her.
  • These days, a man really can’t afford to be alone with a woman, even if he does nothing wrong. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I think Billy Graham’s standard was very wise for men and for women.
  • I don’t like this situation at all.
  • What this person is teaching doesn’t seem to align with scripture. What do you think?
  • I don’t trust this person.

**Remember to use a friendly tone of voice and body language!

Most of the time, simply, respectfully sharing your concern like this is enough.

He will get the picture and he’ll mull over what he wants to do with this new information. Even if he doesn’t talk about his thoughts, he will think about it. I promise!

Nneka’s Take

Constructive ways to handle this:

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rom. 14:13

A godly path to deal with such a situation would be to do the following:

1. Take your concerns to God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

Ask God to remove unhealthy influences from your husband’s life and fully trust that He will find a way to do it. Don’t give in to despair. Understand that God is in control. Keep giving thanks to God for his sovereignty. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.

2. Speak the truth in love.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Eph. 4:15

Gently and lovingly express your concern about your husband’s associates to him, without insisting that he cuts off ties with them. 

3. Pray for your husband’s associates. 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

Your focus should always be on the state of your husband’s soul and his associates’ souls. 

If your concern is about a friend who is a heavy drinker, drug addict, adulterer, or caught in significant sin, pray for that person to see the light and change his ways or to simply cut off ties with your husband.

Pray that God will open your husband’s eyes to that person’s influence on him. Even after that person stops contacting your husband, continue to pray for his salvation.

If your concern is about a woman who is trying to tempt your husband into an affair, it’s only natural that you may feel really hurt, angry and threatened by her intentions to ruin your marriage. However, God wants us to pray for those who hurt us and treat us badly.

We can pray for salvation, for their eyes to be opened, for conviction of sin and godly sorrow and true repentance. We can pray for spiritual healing and regeneration in Christ. We can pray the power of Scripture over the people who are toxic and over our husbands, children, and ourselves.

4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities

Think about his strengths and the many wise and loving decisions your husband has made. You would not have married your husband if you didn’t see a lot of good in him. Rather than focusing on his few poor choices, focus on all the things that made you fall in love with him. It would be wise to start making a list of his good qualities and good choices to add to it daily. 

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

What if he still doesn’t break contact with the other person?

If you have shared your feelings about a situation respectfully, and he continues on in contact with someone you feel is too toxic, there are several things that could be going on:

  • He may have a different perspective.
  • He may try to minimize contact, but he may feel he can’t completely break contact, depending on the situation.
  • He may feel the person is not as toxic as you believe he/she is.
  • He may believe that to completely break contact would create a lot of unnecessary drama and he may think there is a better solution.
  • He may have different personal convictions – not that one of you is wrong – you may just have different definitions of how exactly to guard your heart or marriage.
  • The Lord may be leading him in a different direction that you don’t know about yet.
  • It may take some time for him to decide how to address the situation. Sometimes, you may just need to be patient, depending on the issue at hand.
  • He may decide to confront the person directly rather than just break contact. He may feel it is a Matthew 18:15-17 situation.
  • He may know something you don’t know that changes what the best approach might be.
  • It may take him a bit more time to see the danger you see.
  • It is possible that he has a more accurate view of what is happening than you do. All of us can be wrong at times.
  • Sometimes, husbands mess up, too. Sometimes they make poor choices or even sinful choices. They have free will, just like we do. It is a gift, but it can bring a lot of pain. You can’t control him, but you can decide how the Lord desires you to respond even if he doesn’t make the best decisions. There are times we need to confront sin.
  • Or, this may simply be an issue for you to take to the Lord in prayer.

Depending on the situation and on the Lord’s leading, there may be a time to address the issue again, eventually. Or God may direct you to simply pray and wait and let Him work. God can change a husband’s heart, our perspective, or He may even change the circumstances and other people.

My next post covers the issue of a husband who doesn’t seem to care what his wife says, feels, or thinks. That situation is going to require some adjustments in our approach depending on the root causes.

NOTE – If you realize that you expect your husband to break all ties with all of his family members, all of his friends, all of his coworkers, everyone at church, and everyone in every area of his life, then we are dealing with an entirely different issue. Please check out these posts.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

The Las Vegas Story

One of my favorite stories is from a reader of mine whose unbelieving husband wanted to go to Las Vegas with his single friend. The wife respectfully let her husband know she didn’t think the trip was a good idea. He went on with his plans. She and I prayed. The Lord intervened in a mind-blowing way. It was amazing!

The wife whose husband’s friends drank:

My husband has had friends who drank heavily and my husband started drinking heavily as well. Even driving drunk and getting into minor accidents. Me getting angry, crying, and complaining about his drinking and his irresponsible friends didn’t help matters at all.

I started praying that God would remove these people from my husband’s life and each time, God did!

One day each of those friends inexplicably stopped calling my husband. I was extremely relieved and happily told my husband “Jesus took care of it!” 

My husband no longer drinks heavily and I always joke with him that if he ever makes friends who drink heavily again, I’ll just pray them away.

My husband now has great respect for my prayers for him. When I ask him what he wants me to pray for, he always says “I know that you always want the best for me so pray for me however you want”. 

The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:

My husband has also had friends who consumed his time and constantly bombarded him with requests for favors and loans. I told him several times “A friend who always wants something from you is not a true friend. He’s just using you.” My husband never took my advice and would keep defending his friends and insisting that they care about him.

I gave up and stopped talking about it. I just took the issue to God.

Shortly after, my husband realized that he was being used and distanced himself from them. That “friend” actually moved out of the country without saying goodbye and made no effort to keep in touch. I was very relieved because I hate to see my husband being used by anyone. 

We have tremendous power in praying for our husbands once we approach the issue from a place of prayer and trust in God’s power over all situations.

Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending

Examples where things didn’t go the way the believer in Christ hoped, at least at first, but God was still very much at work:

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If you would like to share some godly wisdom you have learned in ways that will honor the Lord and your husband and anyone else who was involved, we’d love to hear about it. (Let’s not share specific details of wrongs others committed, though, please. Thanks!)

Six Scenarios Where We May Need to Break Contact with Others

woman standing at edge of dock on lake

This post is one I have been working on for awhile. I had some questions about this last week, as well. It is one of my least favorite topics ever! But it is important.

Breaking contact with people is something I do NOT enjoy doing.

Like – I REALLY, REALLY do not like having to do this. It’s painful. It’s heartbreaking. I want to just be able to work through things with others. I try to assume the best about others and try to be willing to reconcile. Most of the time, we can pray through conflicts and work through them successfully with others.

Sadly, breaking (or minimizing) contact with people in certain situations is necessary in this fallen world.

I have learned (the hard way – many, many times) that if I don’t stop communication with someone when I really should, I end up paying a steep price. Sometimes, my marriage and children also pay a high price. My ministry to other people suffers. And often, the person I wanted so much to help is harmed, as well.

This is exactly why I need God’s wisdom.

There is a delicate balance here. We are to love people with God’s unconditional love. We are to be kind, forgiving, gentle, gracious, merciful, and patient.

In life, some conflict is inevitable in following Christ and in human relationships. Just because there is conflict or I am sinned against doesn’t usually mean I should stop talking with someone. Most of the time, we can work things out, thankfully.

Of course, if there are things I can do on my end to repent of any sin in my life, I need to do that first (Matt. 5:23-24, Matt. 7:1-5).

But in certain situations – we just cannot have real peace with some people – unless something dramatic changes first on their end.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rom. 12:18

Sometimes the situation doesn’t depend on me. Sometimes there is nothing I can do to correct the problem on my end.

If God gives me instructions about avoiding someone with a certain kind of spirit or behavior, I would do well to obey and trust God with the outcome.

Yes, even if I don’t like what He is asking me to do. It is for my own good – and, just as importantly, the good of everyone else involved.

Let’s see what Scripture has to say.

Here are six scenarios when we may need to break or minimize contact with others:

ONE

When a professing believer refuses to repent of significant sin.

Major unrepentant sin for a professing believer sets that person under God’s discipline. It hurts our witness to continue in fellowship with such a one. Those who belong to Christ should not be able to be content in sin.

  • If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matt. 18:15-17
  • But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 1 Cor. 5:11
  • Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6

TWO

When someone is trying to tempt us into sin.

We don’t play with temptation. We flee from it. Especially from idolatry and sexual immorality.

  • Let not your heart turn aside to (the adulteress’) ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Prov. 7:25-26 (Same is true for women, we should avoid men who are adulterers.)
  • Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Cor. 6:18
  • Flee from idolatry. 1 Cor. 10:14
  • Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Tim. 2:22

THREE

When our husband asks us not to have contact with someone.

A husband generally does this to try to protect his wife, children, and marriage from situations like:

  • Men who are flirting or acting in inappropriate ways.
  • People who consume too much of his wife’s or family’s time.
  • People who are stressing his wife/children/himself out.
  • People who are toxic to be around.
  • People who can’t be reasoned with.
  • People who are very emotionally or verbally abusive.
  • People who make threats against someone in the family.
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:18-19
  • Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord… Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:22,33

Of course, sometimes we may see these issues ourselves and decide we need to break contact before our husband says anything.

Please search my blog for the word “submit” and “submission” to see many posts about what that means and what it doesn’t mean. It does not mean slavery, abuse, or Fifty Shades of Gray! It does not mean BDSM or CDD.

It is about a wife honoring her husband’s God-given leadership unless he asks her to clearly sin because God intends to lead, protect, and provide for her through him in certain ways. (See this post for times I would not submit to my husband.)

An exception to honoring your husband’s request not to talk with others would be if he is abusive and he is trying to isolate you and harm you. In a situation like that, or if he is not in his right mind, he’s drunk, high, or otherwise dangerous, please reach out for appropriate, qualified, trustworthy help. Talk with the police, check out resources at your church, talk with a trusted, experienced counselor, or contact The Hotline if it is safe for you to do so.

FOUR

With a foolish, divisive, or hot-tempered person, a gossip, or a slanderer.

These sins are contagious and poisonous. We must choose our friends, mentors, and influences wisely.

  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
  • Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Prov. 20:19
  • 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
  • I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our LORD Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Rom. 16:17-18
  • Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. Titus 3:10

FIVE

When a person is clearly a false teacher.

Sheep should not try to have discussions with wolves. The only sane thing for a sheep is to run away to the protection of the Good Shepherd.

  • Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matt. 7:15-20
  • For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Matt. 24:24
  • I know that… fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30
  • See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
  • If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Tim. 6:3-5
  • Guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. 1 Tim. 6:20-21
  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Pet. 2:1
  • I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.  Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work. 1 John 1:7-11
  • Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3

SIX

With those who refuse the gospel, “dogs,” or “swine.”

There is a time to share the Gospel and the love and power of God. Our goal is to share it with every living soul on the planet. But there is also a time to stop when someone is hostile or unreceptive and move on.

GotQuestions.org has a great explanation:

“Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospel once it is presented to them.”

  • And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Matt. 10:14-15
  • And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:11
  • Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matt. 7:6-7
  • In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 1 Tim. 3:1-5

Should we never have contact with any of these people in these six scenarios again?

Sometimes we need to break contact just temporarily, until the other person repents and rebuilds trust on his/her side. Sometimes we must wait until they come to Christ and the Spirit opens their eyes. Sometimes our husbands change their minds about people. Of course, there are also times, unfortunately, when people do not change.

Our prayer is always for them to be reconciled to God, to the Body of Christ, and to us.

It’s important for me to remember that Jesus is the Savior and the Holy Spirit opens people’s eyes. I am not the savior of humanity. And I can’t even open my own eyes. If I stay and try to force someone to understand rather than relying on the Spirit, I will cause harm.

Our motives must always be wholehearted love for God, death to our sinful self, repentance from our own sin, obedience to the Lord in the power of the Spirit, and love for others. God’s kind of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 agape love. We must be careful not to do things out of hatred, bitterness, sinful anger, malice, or resentment.

When I do obey the Lord and don’t allow certain very toxic people into my life, I get to enjoy a whole lot more peace, I am less distracted by drama, temptation, false teaching, and snares from the enemy, and I can focus much more on Christ and all that He calls me to do. 

We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, prayer, and sometimes wise counsel from our husband or an appropriate godly mentor. These situations can get dicey quickly. So we want to lean on God not our own understanding.

SHARE

Is this topic difficult for you, too? What general godly wisdom have you learned that you would like to share?

AN IMPORTANT REQUEST

Let’s not share specific situations here.

A public forum like this is not an appropriate place to spill a lot of details about how someone mistreated us. Let’s go to the Lord, our own husbands, or other trusted counselors, in private, if we aren’t sure what to do.

If you need private counseling, please check out these resources:

  • Focus on the Family offers a one time free counseling consultation and counselor’s referral service.

Thanks so much! <3

NOTE

Sometimes we are in a very close relationship with someone and it may not be possible to completely break contact. This is all going to require God’s wisdom and His leading for us in specific situations. I don’t know what every person should do in every possible scenario. But God does.

We need His discernment, His mind, His power, His Spirit, and His heart. Sometimes, we may have to speak to people out of necessity. We can be respectful. We can have loving motives toward them. But we may have to set firm limits as the Word of God and the Spirit lead us.

May the Lord grant each of us the wisdom, love, and discernment we need.

MY NEXT POST

The next post in this series is about the opposite situation, “What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?”

And the post after that is about “What If Your Husband Doesn’t Care about Your Feelings?”

RELATED

Why, When, and How Does the Lord God Discipline Us When We Sin? by www.gotquestions.org

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said to Not Cast Your Pearls Before Swine? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Sort of Spiritual Boundaries Should We Set in Our Lives? by www.gotquestions.org

Boundaries Will Not Cure Codependency by www.desiringgod.org

Watch Out for Those Who Lead You Away from the Truth. by www.desiringgod.org

How to Interact with a Destructive Person by Leslie Vernick

My posts on conflict

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Articles about sound doctrine by www.gotquestions.org

The Real Motives Behind People Pleasing

My Pro-Life and Pro-Love Story (by Nneka Simone)

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

A guest post by Nneka Simone. I appreciate her vulnerability and willingness to share her story on this incredibly important topic. May we all be reminded of the sanctity and value of every human life, no matter how small:

My Story

God designed the beautiful act of sex to unite husbands and wives and to bring forth children. Having been raised in my faith, I knew that sex before marriage was a sin and I was passionately determined to avoid it at all costs. I read loads of books about purity and chastity, distributed chastity material to teenagers in my church, and even gave chastity talks.

However, one night, my boyfriend and I fell down the slippery slope of temptation and I got pregnant that very first time.

As a well-known woman in my church community, I was ashamed of the pregnancy and knew that I looked like a liar and a hypocrite. Some people lost respect for me and stopped speaking to me. More importantly, I felt ashamed before God because I knew that I had grieved his heart. I humbly turned to my loving Saviour and genuinely repented of my sin and willingly received His compassion and forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant, I did everything I could do to protect, love, and care for my child. I never gave abortion a thought. I knew it was a violent act of murder to a helpless, vulnerable, and precious child of God.

A picture of the Nneka Simone’s sweet baby boy!

Motherhood Has Been a Blessing

My son is a wonderful, loving, and delightful child who enjoys every moment of his life. God has blessed me with a loving heart to nurture him and the financial means to provide for him. God also nurtured my relationship with my child’s father and we had a beautiful and simple wedding when our son was 6 months old.

Although motherhood is challenging and demanding in many ways, my son is a wonderful gift from God.  I’m sharing my story in this post as an act of thanksgiving to God for his generous mercy and for the life of my son. I pray that it will be instrumental in helping women to appreciate their fertility and value their children.

Satan’s Evil Agenda for Women

Satan has had an agenda to deceive, manipulate and mislead women from the beginning of time. Satan went after Eve in the garden because he knows the power and influence women have over men, children, families, and society.

Today, women are being encouraged to:

  • See our own babies as burdens and inconveniences, rather than blessings and gifts from God.
  • Seek satisfaction only in our academic and career accomplishments, rather than in raising children and caring for a family.
  • View duties related to marriage and family life as oppressive, rather than loving acts of sacrifice that bring glory to God.
  • See sexual activity as something that is solely for our personal pleasure (apart from marriage or childbearing), rather than a gift from God that fosters emotional bonds in marriage and brings forth children.
  • See our ability to conceive as a burden and a curse, rather than a gift and a blessing.
  • Render ourselves infertile through contraception, rather than appreciating and valuing our ability to nurture life.
  • See abortion as a right that gives women freedom and happiness, rather than an act of violence, cruelty, and murder.
  • See our bodies as our own, rather than as belonging to the Lord.
  • See a child in our womb as our property that we can dispose of if we wish, rather than as a precious child of God created in His image for incredible and eternal purposes.
  • Be proud of our past abortions, rather than acknowledge that abortion is a terrible sin from which we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing.
  • Believe that God only wants to judge and condemn us for our sins rather than forgive us and show us His love.

Now that we are clear on Satan’s anti-life, anti-family, and anti-motherhood agenda, let’s explore God’s perspective on fertility, children, and motherhood.

God Loves and Cherishes Men, Women, and Children

  • God sees fertility as a blessing. In fact, his first command to Adam and Eve was that they multiply:
    • “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Genesis 1:28
  • God sees motherhood as a blessing.
    • “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
  • God compares His love for us to a mother’s love. This shows how highly He values women and motherhood.
    • “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Psalm 49:15
  • God creates each child in the womb.
    • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 14-15
  • God sees children as a heritage, a reward, and a blessing.
    • “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” Psalm 127:3-5 
  • God establishes an important plan for each child before he or she is born. (This includes children conceived in adultery and sexual assault.) God loves each of us and has a plan for us no matter how we were conceived.
    • “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace.” Galatians 1:15
    • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
    • “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 16
  • God is the author of life and wants us to live fully.
    • “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
    • “I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6
  • Children belong to God from the womb.
    • “But you are He who took me out of the womb; you made me trust while on my mother’s breasts.” Psalm 22:9
    • “From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Psalm 22:10
  • God owns our bodies and our children’s bodies. We don’t.
    • “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. 2 Cor 6: 19-20

As we see the pro-death abortion laws gaining ground, it may be tempting to get disheartened and give in to despair about the direction our culture is heading, but there is no need to do so. As Christians, we are people of HOPE and God has given us a clear roadmap to heal our land.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

This verse tells us that Christians are responsible for the direction of their countries. As Christian women, we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will heal our land and conquer this satanic agenda.

Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

Here are some actions we can all employ to foster God-honouring lifestyle in which all children are valued.

Meditate on the Word of God day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

  • Wash your mind daily with the Word of God. (Ephesians 5:26)
  • Read the Bible to your children. (Deuteronomy 11:19)
  • Teach Sunday School at your church if you believe God is calling you to do so.
  • Pray about starting a women’s Bible study in your neighbourhood.
  • Pray the Word of God over yourself and your family.

Recognise that everyone is a precious child of God and treat everyone with love and respect.

  • Since all life is valuable, do good works to help vulnerable members of society: eg. the homeless, illiterate adults, underprivileged children, the elderly, and those with debilitating diseases. (Matt 25:31-46)
  • Tell your children every day that they, and all children in the world, are gifts and blessings from God. (Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 17:6)
  • Treat single mothers and unmarried pregnant woman with kindness, compassion, and respect. Seek to humbly, gently help to restore them to fellowship with the Lord and the Body of Christ or share the gospel that they may come to know the salvation Jesus offers to them and their children. (Gal. 6:1)
  • Express godly kindness and compassion to women who have had abortions and encourage them to pray, repent, and seek forgiveness and salvation/restoration. (James 5:16)

Humbly and fully repent of any sin in your own life and invite God to empower you to live a holy life.

  • If you have had an abortion in the past, acknowledge it as a sin, repent before God and trust that he has forgiven you. Seek godly counselling to help you to heal emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. (1 John 1:9)
  • Ask God to cleanse you of inadvertent sin (Psalm 19:12) and allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow in your heart. We can only point people to Christ and His love of God for children if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
  • When single, make every effort to save sex for marriage. Avoid being alone with your boyfriend so that you would not fall into temptation.
  • Avoid porn and even sexual/romantic books, movies, music, websites that create temptation for you.
  • When married, make every effort to protect your sexual purity. Avoid being alone with other men. Avoid private conversations and emotional/spiritual intimacy with other men.

Value and cherish motherhood and children.

  • Understand that motherhood is far more sacred and special than your education or your career. Submit all areas of your life to the Lordship of Christ including motherhood, your education, your career, and your ministry. Invite God to use them all for His glory!
  • If you do become pregnant out-of-wedlock, protect the precious life in your womb no matter how your family and your church community react. You are not alone. God has created many pro-life organizations that help women in your situation.
  • When married, prayerfully consider choosing Natural Family Planning methods (eg. Daysy, Lady-Comp, the Billings Ovulation Method) rather than contraception. Be open to life and believe that God will help you to provide for your children. Don’t let fear keep you from having another child. (Gen 1:28)
  • If you are a victim of sexual assault, understand that the child is still precious and loved by God. An abortion would not erase the trauma of the assault. Either commit to raising that child or give it up for adoption to a loving couple. Adoption is a beautiful option.

Prayerfully get involved.

  • Educate yourself on pro-life issues and get involved in the pro-life movement in your community. (Matthew 5:10).
  • Focus on becoming biblically-correct, not politically-correct, and full of God’s love for others regardless of what persecution you may face. (Matthew 5:10)
  • Pray about becoming a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or youth mentor so you can be instrumental in protecting children in vulnerable situations.

With God’s wisdom, love, and power, we can be like the Proverbs 31:25 woman who laughs at the days to come and daughters of Sarah who do what is right and do not give in to fear (1 Peter 3:6).

Books Recommended by Simone about a Christian missionary who adoped 14 children:

RESOURCES

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.gotquestions.org

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.desiringgod.org

Biblical articles about abortion  and the sanctity of human life from www.answersingenisis.org

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus Christ

 

An Amazing 3 Year Update – by the Satisfied Wife!

The first 2 years of my journey were still a very big mix of ups and downs for my husband and me. Of course things got a lot worse before they got better, but over the first 2 years, it was a matter of my learning what it means to really be a wife, how to respect my husband, and how to trust God.

WHERE WORDS ARE MANY, SIN IS UNAVOIDABLE (Prov. 10:19)

The biggest thing that changed my marriage and the way we function together was me learning when to keep quiet, and to let my husband lead and make the major decisions (if we couldn’t agree). In the end, I truly learned that God is in control, and that He truly does lead us through our husbands if we let Him.
For a long time in the first 2 years, I didn’t talk much. If I did talk, it was something that had to do with our immediate life like what was for dinner, what was going on with my son, or stuff like that. I stopped talking and started mostly just listening to what he told me in terms of his own life struggles, etc…
I stopped giving him advice and telling him what was wrong with him and his life, basically.
If my husband asked me questions about myself or anything, I shared then, but usually only then. Sometimes, he would go a week without much verbal connection.
Sure enough, three years later, he does ask me what I think about certain things and situations that he is in or that we might be putting ourselves in. He does want to know my opinion sometimes about work stuff, about if we should move again, or what I think about certain things. So things have definitely improved in that way for sure.
I have become very close with a trusted girlfriend, so when I have tough emotions or just want to talk to someone supportive in life, I talk to her, not my husband. Not because he won’t support me, per se, but because I’ve learned to talk to a woman because ultimately, only a woman can understand how I feel sometimes!
A Note From Peaceful Wife
There are times when we may want to prayerfully consider cutting back a lot on our talking, especially we have a history of saying a lot of negative or hurtful things or if we have been trying to lead or control our men.
  • The goal is NOT for me to stop talking entirely or for me to become a passive doormat.
  • The goal is to let my hurting husband have some time and space to heal and to begin to feel safe again and to give him a break from me being overbearing, if I have been.
  • He may need some emotional and verbal space for awhile, if I have been verbally trying to control him for a long time. 
  • If you tend to be too quiet, you may need to move in the opposite direction. You may need to start speaking up more often. The key is that we seek to find God’s healthy balance. That we use our words to speak life and use our words for good, not to destroy our husbands.
I need to allow the Holy Spirit to control my tongue. I need God’s help so I seek to avoid sinning verbally against my husband. I want to stop criticizing, speaking negatively, bossing him around, giving unsolicited advice, insulting him, etc… This is not so that I will “have no power” in the relationship, but simply so that I honor the Lord and stop tearing my husband down.
This doesn’t mean I should never share my feelings. I DO need to share my feelings, thoughts, and concerns at appropriate times. Thankfully, I can learn to do this in respectful ways. I want to be thoughtful and prayerful about what is helpful to share and what would not be helpful. In time, as my husband heals and feels safer with me, most likely, he will begin to care a lot more about my feelings when he sees that I respect his feelings.
Greg and I experienced this same kind of healing in our relationship as I allowed God to help me stop hurtful words and learned to give him more space, too.

A NEW CHAPTER FOR US

Over the past year things changed completely and have been steadily getting better and better. The thing that helped me over the past year was again me realizing that my purpose is to be my husband’s helpmeet, not to try to lead him or our family.
This perspective launched our family into new territory and brought so many blessings. My husband had been wanting to move closer to where his work has been over the past 4 years, and I always objected to moving because I liked our house and town.
But last year, I saw that it was not my place to make that final decision, so I followed my husband’s lead and we moved to a new state, a new town, and a new house that is so much more spacious and better meets our needs. My husband also encouraged me to take a leap of faith and pull my son back out of public school, take him off his ADHD meds, and let him learn in a natural way and in our natural environment.
It has been the best year of our lives!

A SOURCE OF MUCH OF MY DIFFICULTY

After SO MANY years of struggling, heartbreak, and me feeling like things were hopeless, I discovered the most amazing thing to help me better cope with life and my emotions —- SLEEP!
For years I would set my alarm to wake up at 4:00am and stay continually sleep-deprived. Last year, I finally decided this was hurting me, so I let my body adjust into it’s natural sleep cycle and I wake up whenever my body wakes me up. (Now that my son is not in public school, we are free to do this.) I have never felt more alive and well balanced in my life! I had been putting so many unnecessary expectations on myself for so long, and finally, when I let nature have it’s way, I found out that I was missing out on so many things.
I now have full energy every day, and I have been able to re-engage with all of my interests that I put aside for lack of energy over those years. I got into a regular exercise routine and have even been getting back into touch with my creative side by doing art classes at the library and making scrap books. I regret wasting so much time focusing on minor issues and problems that seemed unsolvable, all while letting my life pass me by while I sat in a state of utter misery!

THINGS I HAVE BEEN LEARNING

My husband has had a porn addiction since he was a young teenager. I didn’t know how to deal with this, and it has been a major battle in our marriage. But almost a year ago, I came across a FREE and amazing program for wives** who are married to porn addicts, that helps women learn how to understand the addiction, how to support their husbands in recovery, and how to take care of themselves in the meantime.

I learned so many amazing things:

  • My worth doesn’t come from my husbands actions, but rather, I have worth simply because God made me and I am His child.
  • To separate my husband’s (and other people’s) actions from my self-worth and in turn have been so much happier. Things that used to send me off an emotional cliff now have little power over me.
  • To focus on my own well-being and my own actions instead of looking to my husband to make me feel any kind of way.
  • To “respect” myself and to gain control over my emotions and actions, something I have never been able to do before, EVER!
  • To focus my thoughts on what is good and right and true, and to keep worry and stress and fear to a minimum.

I studied the brain science behind all of that, and have found significant evidence that what we think about truly impacts how we feel, and it all stems back to the brain chemicals that our body releases when we think a thought.

  • When we have good thoughts, we feel good.
  • When we have bad ones, we feel bad.

It is simple, yet life changing when you apply the information.

So this is where I am! I am happy, thankful, blessed. I am healthy and living life to the fullest with my husband and son.

MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN CHANGING, TOO!

Many wives will wonder—has my husband changed at all over these three years?

ABSOLUTELY!
My husband has learned to get a grip on his own emotions and has learned to hear my point of view. He now gives me the freedom to be who I really am. We hardly argue anymore (and it’s been over a year so I know it’s not just for a short amount of time). My husband has been able to relax more in my presence, and open up about his own struggles and frustrations in life.
We have had many good memories over the past year. He is more willing to spend his free time with my son and me and has showered me with little gifts and things to show his love and appreciation for me.

But has his basic personality changed?

Not really. He is still very quiet, to himself, introverted, not needing much affection or even attention.
But I changed by learning to accept who he is, and finding my own ways to get my own needs met. I stay engaged in my own activities, and focus on my responsibilities, and do things that I enjoy in life. Then I feel fulfilled whether he is meeting my needs or not.
Once I let go of trying to make things be the way I thought they should be, and instead focused on the things I could change (my own habits, time management, choices, etc.), things have only been getting better.
I feel balanced emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I rest in the fact that Jesus died for me, and that He has been working in me all these years for good. I have nothing to worry about. I am blessed. I am thankful.
I pray this update blesses you, and maybe many others! 🙂 Sending love your way!
**Curethecraving.com has a page for wives. You sign up with your email and start receiving a weekly recorded call that you can listen to from your phone or computer, and it takes you through so many amazing steps to find healing and balance in your own life! I owe all these good changes to this program. The couple who do the program are Christians as well.
(From Peaceful Wife – Note, I have not personally completely examined this resource. Please use prayerful discernment with any teaching material and test to be sure it is biblically sound. Thank you!)
RESOURCES
Previous Posts by The Satisfied Wife

Christian Submission: Is It Only for Women?

Bible pages flipping

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Ladies,

The world equates the word “authority” with abuse, selfishness, narcissism, and tyranny. And the world equates the word “submission” with slavery or a Fifty Shades kind of scenario. This post is not about our culture’s ideas of these words. So let’s leave all of our preconceived notions at the door and see what God really wants to communicate to us.

Note – Please check everything I say against Scripture. My opinions and wisdom mean nothing. Only God’s wisdom and His truth matter.

A Whole New Way of Thinking

As we think about what God means by authority and submission, we can’t forget God’s commands for us all to love Him with all our hearts and to love others selflessly with God’s agape love (the 2 greatest commandments Matt. 22:36-40). We must keep in mind the backdrop of the entire Bible, especially the New Testament and the Gospel.

God’s concepts of authority and submission can’t exist properly in a vacuum apart from the rest of God’s wisdom and Scripture.

Some people act as if the only verses that matter in all of the Bible are the ones about how wives are to honor, respect, and submit to their husbands. They ignore all the verses about how all believers are to relate to God and to all other people with honor and love. They cut out the verses about husbands honoring (1 Pet. 3:7) and cherishing their wives and about how husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25-32). They forget the rest of Scripture and twist the Word of God to suit their selfish, ungodly desires and to abuse and to truly oppress women. This is not heart of the Lord! God hates abuse of all kinds!

Where God’s Concepts of Authority and Submission originated

Authority and submission have always existed in the Godhead and spring from the purest possible love, honor, and mutual respect. God the Father has the position of authority in the relationship. Jesus, the Son, submits to the Father in great humility and love. Then the Father glorifies the Son. Both are God. Both are equal as part of the Godhead but there is no power struggle. There is total unity, cooperation, and oneness.

We are to submit to God in love, faith, obedience, and trust as we follow the example of Jesus as He submitted fully to the will of God for His life.

  • And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matt. 26:39

This is exactly our calling, to say to Jesus, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” We can know that He understands what it is like to submit to the authority of God the Father. He is not asking us to do anything He has not done, Himself. And He is willing to give us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us so we can obey, if we belong to Him.

Absolute Authority Belongs to Only One

There is only one Being in the universe who has absolute authority over us as humankind. That is Almighty God.

He is the Creator. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. We owe Him all worship, obedience, trust, faith, and submission. But He is not a tyrant. He doesn’t demand our obedience and submission. He wants people to love Him voluntarily because He knows that forced love is not love at all and forced submission is slavery, not real reverence and devotion.

He gives us free will to choose to love and submit to Him or to rebel.

He isn’t capable of evil or selfishness. He is completely loving, kind, and good. He has all wisdom, knowledge, and power. And He is holy, perfect, sinless, and just. He must punish sin. He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.

If we choose to love, honor, and obey the Lord, we benefit in countless ways. If we choose to rebel against the Lord, we will suffer. But He doesn’t force us to love Him. He doesn’t force us to submit. There is no coercion or abuse on His part toward us. Submission must be voluntary. Yes, it is a command, but we choose it out of love and reverence for God.

In God’s economy, all people are called to a life of submission to His authority because He, alone, is LORD.

Absolute submission to the Lordship of God is His command and His will for each of us. No human, who is able to understand, is exempt. There is no discrimination. We are each to live a life of willing submission to Christ. That is what Christianity is! We receive the free gift of salvation Jesus offers to us by His finished work on the cross and through the resurrection on our behalf. And we acknowledge that Christ is LORD. Our Lord.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10

If Christ is LORD, we must submit to Him!

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

There will be a day in the future when the time for us to willingly submit is over. On that day “every knee will bow” and “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” Phil. 2:10-11.

It is critical to remember that no human is worthy of our complete and total obedience and submission, only God is. And Jesus is God in the flesh. 

Types of Authority

All legitimate authority originates with God because He created all things. We submit ourselves to God-given authority because of our reverence for, love for, gratitude, and obedience to the Lord.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Rom. 13:1-2

  1. Direct authority – This is the most powerful authority there is.
  2. Indirect/delegated/positional authority – These are people God has placed in positions of leadership. Their authority is limited to the scope defined by God and their authority is supposed to accomplish only the will of God. People can choose to use these positions for good or evil. The goal is that there should be other authorities who can hold someone accountable should someone abuse such a position.
    1. GovernmentRom. 13:1-7, Matt. 22:21, 1 Pet. 2:13-16
      • government officials(national/state/local)
      • police officers
      • military
      • judges in court
      • laws (unless the laws go against God’s Word)
    2. Church 
    3. Business/schools
    4. Family
  3. Influential Authority – This is the kind of power a trusted advisor has with a king or ruler. It, too, can be used for much good or much evil. It is God’s will for us to pray for all those in positions of leadership that His will might be done. 1 Tim. 2:1-4
    1. Citizens of a nation – People can vote or voice complaints and concerns. We can make requests and petitions. We can refuse to follow a king or president into sin and we may protest. 1 Kings 12:15
    2. Church congregation – We are to test the spirits and reject false teaching. We are to encourage and honor our leaders, but if a leader is involved in abuse or sin, we are to confront the sin. We may even need to remove a leader from his position if that person won’t repent. Eph. 5:21, 1 John 4:1, Matt 7:15, Matt. 18:15-17, 1 Tim. 5:19 
    3. Younger believers – They are to set a godly example for everyone else and treat older believers respectfully as mothers and fathers.1 Tim. 4:12, 1 Tim. 5:1-2
    4. Employees – We are to set a godly example for those in management over us, even if they are unbelievers, to make the gospel as attractive as possible to them and to others.Titus 2:9-10, 1 Tim. 6:1-2
    5. Wives – We are to set a godly example for our husbands and children and use our influence for the kingdom of God.  Esther 4:15-16, Esther 7:1-3, 1 Pet. 3:1-2, Titus 2:3-5
    6. Children – Even children can choose to set a godly example for their unbelieving parents, if that is the situation. By their respect and obedience to their parents, they can witness for Christ to them. Eph. 6:1-2, 1 Tim. 4:12

A person with influential authority has the power to influence leaders by words, actions, and especially, by his or her godly, Spirit-filled example.

And, of course, all believers have access to the Holy of Holies through Jesus Christ and to the throneroom of heaven to appeal to God. And all believers are under the authority and power of Christ and can act in the authority of Jesus to do His will.

However, people never have equal authority with God.

There was one angelic being who decided he wanted equal authority with God. His name was Lucifer originally.  He was the highest ranking angel in heaven. Now we know him as Satan. His great sin, pride and a desire to be God or to have equality with God, got him cast out of heaven and doomed to eternal punishment.

If someone claims to have equal authority with God, run!

People in positions of delegated authority are to do God’s will, not theirs. They answer to God for what they do. They have no authority to lead people to rebel against God or to sin.

  • Jesus answered him (Pilate), “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:11

We never put a person’s authority above the authority of God and His Word. Ultimately, we must obey God and seek to please Him.

  • Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
  • For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

We all have various people in positions of God-given authority in every area of our lives. Different positions of authority affect different areas of my life. A president doesn’t have the same kind of authority over my life that my husband does. And a police officer doesn’t have the same kind of authority that a judge or boss has. Each person in a position of authority has a certain sphere of authority and limits to his/her authority. And if someone abuses his/her position, there are other authorities I can go to for help.

I have authority over my own life, too

I have the authority and responsiblity to choose to love God and obey Him or to rebel against Him and disobey Him. My choices belong to me and I am responsible to God for every thought, word, and deed.

  • So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Rom. 14:12
  • And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

 

The Biblical Concept of Authority

The Definition

Check out the definition Jesus uses for authority:

  • But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28

Scripture teaches that godly leaders are to be gentle:

  • Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 1 Pet. 5:3
  • Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4
  • And masters (or we might say, bosses/managers/supervisors), do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Eph. 6:9

Jesus announced that those who want to lead and have authority in His kingdom must humble themselves and serve others, loving them, and looking out for what is best for other people. In fact, the entire reason God places people in positions of delegated authority in our lives to protect, shepherd, and provide for us. He gives us leaders to create order and prevent chaos and harm because He loves and cares for us.

People may abuse their positions of God-given leadership. But that is never God’s will.

They answer to Him and He will hold them accountable and responsible for what they do with their authority. And any leader who abuses his/her position of authority should be held accountable by someone in a position of authority here on earth, as well. That is why we have police, government, church leaders, and business leaders.

How Jesus Used His God-given Authority:

  • He taught people God’s Word, healed people from diseases, forgave sins, and cast out evil spirits. Mark 1:27, Matt. 9:5-7, Luke 9:1
  • He washed His disciples feet, a job usually reserved for the lowest of slaves. John 13:12-17
  • He loved us with a greater love than the world has ever known. John 3:16, John 15:13
  • He lived the perfect life we could not live. He died to pay the massive price for our sins to provide salvation to the world and to give us the chance to be right with God. He used His great strength to rescue us in our weakness. John 17:1-3
  • He gave His authority to His followers to bring many more people into the family and kingdom of God. Matt. 28:17-19
  • He overcame Satan, sin, and death on our behalf. He reversed the curse. He opened the doors to heaven for us. He defeated Satan and his demons in an eternal victory on the cross and through the resurrection. 1 Cor. 15:23-25

Jesus set the example for us about how anyone in His kingdom should use the authority He gives them to love and serve others selflessly and humbly. There is no room for pride in Jesus’ kingdom. Pride and self have to die!

The Biblical Concept of Submission

From www.gotquestions.org:

The New Testament Greek word is hupotasso, which means “to put under or arrange under.” It is a military word that refers to lower-ranking soldiers arranging themselves under the orders of higher officers.Submission, then, comes from an acknowledgment of proper order and authority.

The military uses the chain of command to streamline their power and to accomplish their mission quickly and efficiently to protect the nation, defeat the enemy, and help the people. The chain of command in the Christian kingdom does the same thing!

Submission in the military and in Christ’s kingdom don’t make individuals weak. They make the kingdom strong!

God generally accomplishes His purposes and His will by leading us through established human authority just as He did with Israel and the leadership of Moses, Joshua, David, and others. In the New Testament, He led His people through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the Apostles and church leaders. If we truly desire to live in the center of God’s will, we need to honor His methods.

As believers in Christ, we are to submit to the Lord but not ever to sin or to Satan. We have been set free from slavery to sin and to the enemy of our souls! We are to submit to people in positions of God-given leadership in our lives, but we are never to follow leaders, or even our own hearts, into sin or rebellion against God.

  • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

If a leader does ask us to clearly sin against God, we must respectfully refuse to do what the person asks and obey God alone. Some examples in Scripture of people who had to respectfully not follow a human leader’s sinful instruction include: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Jeremiah, the apostles, and others.

Submission is not just for Christian wives. It is for all of us in every sphere of our lives.

We are all to seek to honor and cooperate with people in positions of delegated authority in our lives out of reverence for the authority of God as we yield in absolute submission to Christ as LORD of all.

Through submission to the Lord and His ways, we work together with Him to accomplish His purposes, bring people to Christ, make disciples, bring glory to His Name, and further His kingdom on earth!

 

 

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

Verses about Submission to Human Authorities

Verses about Submission to God

Verses about Accountability

RESOURCES

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

What Does It Mean to Submit to God? by www.compellingtruth.org

Why Should I Trust and Submit to God?

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced – about God, others, relationships, and self

Why Is God the Absolute Authority? by answersingenesis.org

According to the Bible, to Whom Are We to Be Submissive, and Why? by www.gotquestions.org

15 Amazing Attributes of God by www.biblestudytools.com

What Is the Authority of the Believer? by www.gotquestions.org

When Is Civil Disobedience Allowed for a Christian? by www.gotquestions.org

My posts on submission and about submitting

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband? 

A Husband and  Wife’s Authority in Marriage – positional and influential authority (by a minister at my church)

BOOKS

The Peaceful Wife: Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – there is an entire chapter on submission to the Lord and a chapter on submission in marriage, what it is and what it is not.

Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray $0.99 on Kindle

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

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