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The Respect Dare, Day 3 – My Godly Wife Report Card

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The Respect Dare, Day 3 – Nina Roesner poses some questions to wives to assess how they are doing in a number of areas of their lives.  They are GREAT questions!!!

She asks some probing questions about how we are doing as disciples of Christ, as household managers,  as communicators, and as confident and assured women.

To get the most out of The Respect Dare – I would strongly suggest

  • only doing ONE dare each day.
  • it’s ok if you have to skip days sometimes if necessary.
  • write down your answers on paper and really think about your answers to her questions.

You are welcome to share any of your answers to The Respect Dare questions or any thoughts about the questions on my post today.

What is God most speaking to your heart?

Is there something He would like to change in you?

What feelings are you having?

What concerns do you have?

What would happen if God helped you to grow a lot in some of these weaker areas in the next 3 months – what would that mean for your relationship with Christ and your husband?

I HAVE MY OWN TEST TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY:

Here is a great test to see where you are as as a godly wife and woman in God’s eyes.

** Caution!!!**

This may be painful.  Whenever there are things God wants to convict us about – it is definitely painful.  I am not asking questions to bring guilt or worldly sorrow that leads to death.   My prayer is that if God shows you something that He desires to change in your life, that you might be open to His Spirit working in you.  The pain can be intense at first, but then if you have godly sorrow over your sin, that leads to humility, true repentance and then the ABUNDANT LIFE of Christ and spiritual riches and treasures beyond your wildest imagination!

In Christ, you can truly be set free from your sinful nature and from specific sins and live in the power of His Spirit with His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control flooding through your soul and bursting out of your life every day.  That is the life I want for you and that is the life God wants for you.  Thankfully, He shows us the way to get there!

Please get out a piece of paper and mark a tally for any of these items on Part 1 that apply in your heart about your marriage on a daily or weekly basis:

PART 1

  1.  I think about divorce sometimes, or fantasize about leaving my husband.  I think marrying this man was a mistake.
  2.  I imagine being with a better man, thinking that my problems would be solved if I just had a great husband.
  3. I drown my disappointment and pain in alcohol/drugs/workaholism/perfectionism/control/spending money/addictions.
  4. I set my heart on things that I just KNOW will make me happy.  If I could just have X, I would be content and everything would be great.
  5. I have a lot of anger, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness towards my husband and maybe towards other people, too.  I hold grudges.
  6. I want to forgive sometimes, but it just seems impossible to really forgive.  I have been hurt too much.
  7. I talk about my husband in a negative way to other people.  I feel like I am trapped and powerless to do anything to change my situation – and I just have to get the weight of all of this off of my chest by venting to my friends, family and coworkers.  Then they’ll see how wrong my husband is and they will understand why I have to act the way I do.
  8. I encourage other wives to talk negatively about their husbands.
  9. I am primarily concerned with my rights, my desires, my wants and getting my way.  If I don’t get what I want, I am going to explain why I should get what I want until my husband until he gives me what I want.  I am pretty insistent on doing things my way.
  10. If I am provoked, I will scream, cuss, throw things, call names or say hateful things to my husband and maybe even to other people in my life.  If people would just treat me right, I would be able to be more respectful.
  11. I compare my husband to other men a lot, and I compare my life to the lives of others and feel like I have gotten a rotten deal in life.  I deserve so much more than this.
  12. I look at porn or flirt with other men or message/email/text/call/visit with other men.  I like the attention other men give me.  My husband never compliments me anymore.  I need some male attention.  Flirting never hurt anyone.  I know I would never have an affair, so it’s no big deal.
  13. I like to dress to turn other men’s heads.
  14. I like to use sarcasm and am pretty skilled at making my husband the target of my jokes and criticism.
  15. I often point out the things my husband does wrong to others.
  16. I complain when I don’t like something.
  17. I have a lot of regrets about how I treat people.
  18. I want things to be perfect, and tend to focus on things that aren’t right in others and in our home so I can fix them and make things as perfect as possible.
  19. I tell God that my husband needs to change and needs to change NOW.  He is impossible to live with.  He’s unloving and unplugged or, he’s unloving and mean.
  20. My husband is not a good spiritual leader.  I tell him all the things he needs to do to be more godly, but he won’t listen to me.  Nothing seems to change.
  21. If I want something, I am going to do whatever it takes to have it.
  22. I withhold myself sexually from my husband to teach him a lesson many times, to show him he can’t treat me the way he does.
  23. I only give myself sexually to my husband when I am in the mood or if I want something from him.
  24. I believe that I am always right and my husband is always wrong.  If he would just do what I say, everything would be fine!
  25. When I am hormonal, I feel totally out of control and I think, say and do the most awful things.
  26. If my husband doesn’t like my best friend, I continue to visit and talk with her as much as I want to.  After all, she and I have been BFFs longer than my husband and I have been married.
  27. I expect my husband to make me happy and be responsible for my emotions.  If I am upset, it is his job to fix it.
  28. My mind is always swirling with worry and fear about the future and how I am going to make things work out right.
  29. I only have peace for a few moments, and then my mind uncontrollably keeps playing the same “videos” over and over again of things people have done to hurt me or things that I am worried and afraid about.  I feel very anxious a lot of times.
  30. I expect to be treated like the heroine in a romantic movie or like a Disney princess by my husband.  I wish he would be as romantic as the men in romance novels and movies.
  31. If I don’t make things work out right, everything will be a disaster.
  32. I am very concerned about what my parents and my husband’s parents, our siblings and friends think.  I try to make everyone around me happy. It is exhausting!  I hate for other people to be upset with me.
  33. If I don’t tell my husband what to do and how to do it, everything will fall apart!

Please start a new section or column and make a tally mark beside all of these items in Part 2 that generally apply on a frequent (weekly or daily) basis in your life:

PART 2

  1. I am able to respond gently with love and respect even when my husband is unloving or unkind to me.
  2. I have joy and peace in Christ no matter what my husband does or does not do.
  3. It is really important to me to spend significant amounts of time in prayer and in God’s Word every day.  I can’t make it without that time!
  4. I have my heart completely set on Jesus – I want HIM, His will and His glory more than anything else in my life by a long shot.
  5. I rarely lose my temper with my husband.
  6. I understand how to treat my husband with respect and seek to show him unconditional respect out of reverence for God and His Word.
  7. I set an atmosphere of peace in our home.  Our home is emotionally and spiritually an oasis and sanctuary for my husband and family.
  8. I do not raise my voice at my husband or roll my eyes or sigh when I disagree with him.  I know I am responsible to God for my response to my husband no matter what my husband has done to me.
  9. I appreciate my husband and am thankful for him on a daily basis.
  10. I practice gratitude towards God daily for the countless number of blessings He has given me.
  11. If my husband has concerns, I listen to him carefully and try to cooperate with his wisdom.
  12. I view suffering as an opportunity to grow in my faith and to draw nearer to Christ and shine for Him.
  13. When my husband is having a bad day, I try to think of something I can do to cheer him up, surprise him or take some stress off of his shoulders.  Or, I know when I need to leave him alone and give him the gift of space and quiet so he can think and process.  I am gracious about this gift.  I don’t resent him needing some time to himself.
  14. I like serving my husband.  It’s an honor.  I’m glad to do it.
  15. My goal is to please Christ, and after that, to please my husband – the opinions of other people don’t really matter much to me compared to seeking praise from God.  If other family or friends or coworkers disapprove of me or my husband or are upset with me, I am able to seek to love them and treat them with respect but I am not devastated if I don’t have others’ approval.
  16. I see the good in other people, including my husband, and use my words to praise, encourage and affirm others.
  17. I am thankful for the chance to make our house a home and to take care of it.  It is a way I show love and respect for my husband and family.
  18. I don’t freak out about small things, but am able to roll with the punches and be flexible when unexpected problems crop up.
  19. I don’t get upset if my husband leaves a mess sometimes.  I’m so glad he’s in my life and we get to live together.
  20. If I want something, I ask for what I want politely and respectfully with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile.
  21. If I don’t get what I want, I am gracious and accepting of “no” and “wait.”  I am more concerned with God’s will than my will.
  22. If things go wrong, I am generally able to respond with grace, peace and joy and keep things in proper perspective.
  23. I am careful not to develop close friendships with other men. I guard and protect my heart and my marriage.
  24. If my husband responds to me harshly, I answer gently.
  25. I understand that Hollywood and romantic novels do not portray real life.  I avoid those things if they create a spirit of discontentment in my heart.
  26. I speak highly of my husband to other people.
  27. I very rarely argue with or complain to my husband.
  28. I have faith in my husband.  I know I can trust him. (Or, I am working to rebuild lost trust and I want to learn to trust him again.)
  29. I have faith that God will lead me through my husband, even if my husband sometimes makes mistakes.
  30. I trust God to speak to my husband and grow him spiritually without me having to verbally prod him or lecture my husband about spiritual things.  If my husband is far from God right now, I don’t talk about spiritual things, the Bible or church.  I allow my glowing joy in Christ, my spirit of willing cooperation with my husband’s leadership and my genuine respect for the good in my husband to draw him to Christ.  I trust God to open my husband’s spiritual eyes.  I know that only God can change people and waken them to His truth.
  31. I trust most of my husband’s decisions and cooperate with him often.
  32. I try to have a spirit of saying, “yes!” to things that are important to my husband.
  33. I give myself freely and joyfully to my husband sexually.  I don’t withhold myself.
  34. I am trustworthy.
  35. I am responsible with money, time, our children, my husband’s feelings, our home and the resources God has given to us.
  36. I consciously work to do good to my husband no matter what happens.
  37. I watch my words, my tone of voice, my facial expressions and my actions to be sure that I bless my husband and don’t become nasty, hateful, unkind or negative.
  38. I trust God in His sovereignty to work everything out ultimately for my good (by His definition) and for His glory, so I don’t freak out when bad things happen.  I know that God is in control and I can’t lose.  I might have to suffer or go through pain, but as long as I have God’s Spirit, I know I will be ok.
  39. I don’t worry about the future.  I take my needs and concerns to God and my husband and I leave the weight of the problems there and trust God and my husband to figure things out.  I say what I want and what I believe is best.  I share my perspective with God and my husband.  Then I rest in God’s love and peace, trusting His wisdom.  And I rest in my husband’s love – trusting God to lead me through him.

This test comes from Galatians 5:19-23.  It reveals whether my sinful nature or God’s Spirit is in control of my life. 

  • Part 1 shows what I am like when my sinful nature has control. 
  • Part 2 is what I am like when God’s Spirit has control.

How did you do on the quiz?

If you checked ANY of the items in Part 1 –  WOW!  Do I relate to you!

I could have probably only checked items in Part 1 for the first 15 years of my marriage.  That is because my sinful nature was in very firmly in control back then.  I had no idea how to have a Spirit-filled life.  I thought I was living as a strong Christian.  Unfortunately, a lot of the fruit of my life did not support my belief that I was living in God’s power and walking in obedience to Him.

If I have ANY checks in Part 1, those are areas where God wants to work and radically change my heart and mind.  He wants me to die to my old sinful self, nail it to the cross, and live in the new self that Christ gives me.

Don’t worry – we will walk this road together. 

God is about to do some amazing things in your life if you are willing to trust Him! 

It’s about to get good. 🙂

If you only checked items in Part 2 – you probably know most of what I am going to share already.  Obviously, God is very much at work in your life and His Spirit is in control.  That is AWESOME!  I pray that God might continue to work in you to make you more and more like Christ.

God desires us ALL to be wives who live only in the Part 2 area every day.  We can’t do this on our own.

But if we trust God, seek Him above all else and allow Him to empower us – He can and will transform each of us into the godly women of His dreams!

This is a process.  The process of sanctification.  The process of God transforming us into the image of Christ.  It is not instantaneous.  That’s ok.  Just be open to God and willing to do things His way each baby step of the way.  Get up when you stumble.  Repent and turn back to Him humbly.  Seek and desire Jesus above everything.  He will do the changing.

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

An email from a wife.  Thank you for sharing!!!!!! I LOVE what God is doing in your heart!
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I watched two of your videos on Youtube  (channel “April Cassidy”)

Where do I start?????

I definitely identify with thinking it’s up to me make others happy and I expect others to make me happy. What a trap!! I can see I’ve been stuck in that little cage since I was like 4. YIKES

Those of us that come to Christ later in years are kinda like an art student that’s painted all her life – BUT THE WRONG WAY. You first have to unlearn all the wrong techniques and then re-learn the right way.

God has to remove all our wrong thinking, feeling and acting and then He can replace it with the right way.  (From Peacefulwife – I came to Christ at age 5, but STILL had to go through this exact same process because I had unknowingly swallowed so much poison from the world and our culture!)

Unfortunately it can get kind of confusing because you have the world telling you that your way of painting is good, the flesh is always thinking it’s Leonardo DeVinci and Satan loves when I paint in my own understanding!!!

So, I’ll be 51 in about a week, that’s a LOT of years being a people pleaser. I’ve known for a while that I struggle with this, but that whole being happy in others and vice versa. That’s HARD. It seems so innocent and not bad???

God does not want us to be happy, but be holy. Not that we can’t be happy, but the world’s idea of happy is SOO not God’s idea.

April, I have created sooo many idols JUST out of the people pleaser thing… it spills over into my dress, the whole being modest thing.

When you’re NOT IN CHRIST, it seems GOOD to have men give you attention because you look hot. Now I realize that is degrading, but at one time I felt pretty good, well, I even felt powerful having guys slobber all over themselves because of me. Now, I see that’s just cheap.

My pastor said God made women to want to be pretty: FOR THEIR HUSBANDS. Satan twists and perverts that God given desire into something ugly and destructive.
Age has chipped away at that idol. I memorized: We admire the strength (or beauty) of youth but respect the gray hair of age. This verse has helped me tremendously BUT, I am just now realizing that my youthful beauty was wrapped up in idolatry. Me being the idol….okay, so I just got REALLY really honest there.
I did it because I found out at age 6 that my little friends would be nice to me BASED on my looks. I tried in vain to be nice, sweet, cooperative…but still my friends would be unkind. Then one day some older girls oohed and aahed over how pretty I was. After that my mean little friends were nice to me. I started noticing how all the pretty girls were treated nicely by the teachers, boys and other girls (if they weren’t jealous…then they’d be mean). Anyway, I was NEVER that pretty, just that non-threatening kinda pretty.

I learned to “work it” in high school by doing my hair make up and wearing clothing that showed my youthful body off. Nothing too skanky but the idea was there…

In my 30’s I started teaching fitness classes and my body got nice and toned. I received a lot of respect and a little admiration for how I looked. It was so normal I didn’t think about it much, just was happy how I looked, and yes… spent a lot of time tanning and exercising.

Then in my 40’s my health took a real nose dive and out the door went the tanning and the exercising. Too funny. I’m 50 and sporting a belly. HAHA.

I watch my daughter follow in my footsteps and it makes me sad. She is a gorgeous 30 year old who gets attention for her beauty. She dresses much more modestly than I ever did, but still….I see the strut, I see the look in her eyes when she knows she looks good.  I wish I could go back in time and have found you when she was only a teenager. That she would want to dress modest and attract a guy that would REALLY value her heart for God.

I need to chew on the idea that this is a super idol for me. I kind of knew it was, but the extent seems pretty huge.

How do you think the respect of age ties into the admiration of youth and beauty? Can that become just another idol? Like switching one for another? How do you avoid doing that?

God has given you GREAT wisdom to be mindful of the idol thing. Maybe that is something us women struggle with. Making idols of so many different things. I can relate, that’s for sure. Beauty, being good, food, friends, even church!!

I’m glad God doesn’t let us hang onto our idols. He took mine away with age. But I see the danger of trading it for something else. And I don’t want to make an idol out of being modest….sheesh that would be just like me LOL!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Yes, our human hearts are idol factories!  We all are able to constantly invent things to idolize if we are not carefully watching our motives and immediately repenting to Christ.  And there is definitely a danger in trading one idol for another.  It is absolutely possible to make an idol out of respect and biblical submission – thinking you can control your husband that way and get what you want, apart from trusting Christ.  It is also very possible to make modesty an idol.  Or to make not wearing makeup an idol – or a way of being legalistic and keeping score.
The key always is – what are my motives?
  • Why do I want to make this person happy?  Is is so that I can avoid conflict, or is it so that I can please God?
  • Why do I want to wear this outfit? Is it to draw attention to my body, or is it to draw attention to Christ?
  • Why do I want to dress modestly?  Is it out of reverence for Christ, or is it so that I can feel like I am “earning” favor with God, or so that I can look down on other people who aren’t dressing modestly?
  • Why do I want to not wear make-up?  Is it about true humility, or is it a way for me to feel superior to others?
  • Why do I want to wear make-up?  Is it to attract the attention of men, or to look my best for my husband and honor him?

So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time–before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. I Corinthians 4:5

If my motive is anything other than pleasing, honoring, trusting and loving Christ – I have a big problem!
If I am putting something in that primary spot in my life – the place where Jesus alone is worthy to sit on the throne in my heart – that is idolatry.  If I think “I HAVE TO HAVE THIS THING/PERSON!!!!  I MUST HAVE IT TO BE HAPPY!!!!”  And it is not Christ – I am dealing with an idol.  If I am making my identity all about something that is not Christ, it is probably an idol.  If I am REALLY afraid of something happening, and I spend tons of time and energy trying to prevent something – the opposite of my fear is probably an idol.
Even sin can become an idol.  Bitterness can be an idol.  I may cherish my bitterness more than my intimacy with Christ and refuse to forgive.  Practically anything can be an idol in our human hearts.
Idols must be torn out by the root and replaced with Jesus alone.  I must die to myself and my desires, my wisdom, my plans, my expectations, my rights… and live for Christ!  Then I desire His wisdom, His plans, His holiness, His will and His greatest glory.  946930_36154604

A Wife’s Confessions

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This wife is so adorable!  I love the way she articulates this struggle.  I think she expresses so well this universal struggle we as women have with learning to respect our husbands and submit to them as the Bible describes.  Of course, first we must respect Jesus and submit completely to Him.  It really is ALL about Him and our relationship with Him.  The marriage stuff is just the “lab” where we learn to put the theory into practice. 🙂  A HUGE thank you to this sister of mine for being willing to share her journey:
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The whole daily take up your cross can be easy thing to forget, but an important part of our staying connected and humble before Him.

I did an EXTENSIVE study on Rom 7 (why is it I do the things I do not want to do?). John Gill talks about a civil war going on inside of us.

How true this is!!!! The flesh does NOT want to be humble. It does not want to submit to my husband. I was reading in the Amp version of 1Peter 3 that wives should DEPEND ON their husbands.

Okay, icky secret: I don’t want to depend on my hubby. I actually hate it???

So, how many layers of pride must be peeled off to get me to a comfortable place of dependence? YIKES!!!

I catch myself getting impatient with my husband

  • cuz he walks too slow
  • he wants to hug me and I push him away.
  • He rubs my belly (when I’m sitting and the fat is spilling over), so I get mad cuz I’m so vain.

Why he doesn’t give up on me is a miracle!!!

Just a little while ago I got upset cuz he spilled some purified water. I’m feeling really dizzy, I don’t know why, so I think I’m a lil scared. I’m like this crazed person that HATES waste.

Anyway, it just reveals my inability to trust God. I value a few drops of distilled water over my super kind husband.
So what if he doesn’t validate me. Ugh, that’s something that really hangs me up. Being validated. How do you get past that?

At Wed. nite study we did 1Peter 3, to the wives and then we got to the part about the husbands. I tried to not listen too closely or I knew my flesh would want to use it as a “see, what you’re supposed to do” thing. But then our pastor said that husbands should not get embittered to their wives. This happens cuz some husbands never say no. Then it turns out bad and he has to take the responsibility, so he gets bitter with her.

My pastor said that a godly husband needs to know when to say, “No.”

YIKES, I’m sure my husband has learned to say no, cuz I would ALWAYS want my way thinking I am MORE right.

I struggle when he says no, and sometimes I’m right but I’m learning to let it go.

Pray I will not waver in my trust in God. That I will not doubt His goodness and plan even if it doesn’t look good from my perspective.

My flesh NEVER wants to trust God in the things I can’t fix. The things that seem so wrong. Yet He has given me patience and worked things out. I really need to trust Him more.

HERE IS PART OF MY RESPONSE TO SOME OF HER QUESTIONS:
Let’s see – how many layers of pride?  Umm… in my case, it was dump truck loads every day for weeks and weeks and weeks.  And then more layers revealed for a long time after that.  Pretty nasty stuff – and my heart is so deceitful that I may not even see it in myself even though everyone else can see it plain as day.
 
This wife’s icky secret is EVERY wife’s icky secret, as far as I can tell.  We want control!  We are daughters of Eve and we think we know best.  That awful pride entangles us and we want to elevate ourselves and our wisdom above our husbands’ authority and above God’s Word and above God Himself and be in charge of the universe ourselves.  We want sovereignty!  
But what we need is to humble ourselves and learn to trust God to lead us through our imperfect husbands.  It is our greatest test of faith as women, in my view!
Being validated – AH!  Yes.  We love that!
 
Well – for me, accepting that I would NOT be validated was part of learning to tear out my idol of “feeling loved.”  
 
I had to learn that I am not learning respect and biblical submission to control my husband or change him or to make him love me more so that I can feel loved.  That is REALLY important!
 

When I want validation – it is a signal to me now that I need to look to Christ alone for approval and for worth.  I am doing this for GOD – not for my husband, not to have control.

 

It is actually a blessing sometimes NOT to get validation – otherwise, it is easy to think you are controlling him with your respect and submission and turn that into an idol or a form of manipulation.  

 

She Who Has Been Forgiven Much, Loves Much

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This week we have seen that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) – that women and men are equally sinful and equally in desperate need of the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

We took a look at how I thought I was such a “good person” or “good Christian” for so many years – and then how God revealed to me the depths of my own sin and depravity in December of 2008 when I read the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a]you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.  James 8:2-11

I have broken many of God’s commands – too many times to even count.  I am a law-breaker.

Today – we look at Jesus’ incredible mercy, grace and forgiveness that He offers freely to all who put their faith completely in Him as both Savior AND Lord.  And we look at the only proper response to Him.

LUKE 7 – A parable of Jesus:

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty.42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

43 Simon (the pharisee) replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

FROM PEACEFULWIFE :

I used to think that this parable of Jesus meant that I would never be able to love Him as much as, say, a murderer, a thief, an adulterer – you know – a REALLY AWFUL sinner.  I figured that those kinds of people would be able to love Jesus a lot once they repented and turned to Him because they had been horrible sinners.  But I would never be able to love Him that deeply because I was “not a really awful sinner.”

Then God showed me the depths of my sin (yesterday’s post).

Suddenly, I saw that I, April Cassidy, am a wretched sinner.  Not just a bit of a sinner – but a wretched sinner.  I realized that there is no human on earth who has more sin than I do in the sight of my holy God.  I realized for the first time the MASSIVE sin debt I owed to God.  I didn’t just owe Him a few thousand bucks.  I owed Him billions.  Me.  And I had no way to repay Him.

I wanted to run away and live in a cave for the rest of my life.

  • For the first time, I realized just how spiritually impoverished I was.  For the first time I realized that there truly was NO GOOD in me at all.  Jesus calls this being “poor in spirit” – and He blesses this posture of humility in the beatitudes.
  • For the first time, I realized just how much Jesus paid for on my behalf on the cross – how much I deserved that punishment and God’s wrath on my wickedness.
  • For the first time, I saw the depths of the grace, love, mercy and forgiveness of Christ.
  • For the first time, I realized that I had been forgiven MUCH.

Then I began to love Jesus MUCH.

MY RESPONSE

I became willing to:

  • fall on my face in the deepest mourning and weeping over my sin – repent and turn to Christ
  • give up anything for Jesus – anything He calls sin – I want it GONE.
  • surrender my life to Jesus daily, being His servant, His slave – I owe Him EVERYTHING!  How could I do anything less than sacrifice all that I am, all that I have and all that I might ever be?  He is so worthy!
  • throw out everything my culture had taught me that was against the Word of God, even if it meant I looked crazy to the world.  I didn’t care.
  • seek to please Jesus and honor Him no matter the cost.
  • grant Him total access to my heart and my life, holding nothing back.
  • die to myself, nail my sinful nature to the cross (as often as it takes) – then give up my wisdom, my understanding, my culture, my political correctness, my feminist and worldly mindset, my materialism, my selfishness, my pride, my desires, my plans, my hopes, my rights and my dreams
  • live for Christ – pick up my cross and embrace His wisdom, His understanding, His desires, His plans, His Word, His will, His dreams and seek His glory alone.
  • make Jesus truly LORD of my life and keep Him as THE FOCUS and PURPOSE of my life.
  • seek His face, desire to know Him more, have the deepest hunger to read His Word, hear His voice and be in His presence.
  • praise Him in my heart all day long every day.
  • develop a thankful, grateful heart for all He has done for me.
  • give up seeking the approval of other people.
  • give up every idol – my pride, my desire for control, my feelings of being loved – and to see my idols as poison.
  • wait on God – as long as it takes – but I refused to run ahead and try to take control anymore.  I decided I would wait right where I was until I was 80 years old if I had to – but I was not going to run ahead of God or my husband’s leadership any more.
  • become a sincere disciple of Christ with total devotion to Him.
  • face my deepest fears and take a leap of faith, trusting Christ Jesus to be strong enough and wise enough to lead me.
  • trash my understanding of godliness, Christianity, femininity, masculinity, marriage, family, God, Jesus, God’s Word and build completely from scratch on the foundation of Christ and His Word alone.  Even if I was the only one who chose this path.  Nothing mattered anymore but Jesus, knowing and loving Him, serving Him, pleasing Him and bringing Him glory and praise.
  • find my contentment completely in Christ alone – no matter what my circumstances may be.

But, I’m a GOOD Person!

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Yesterday, we looked at the wisdom of our culture, “Are Women Morally and Spiritually Superior to Men?”

We examined God’s perspective and His holy judgment of ALL people as being evil.  He says there is no one that is good (Romans 3)  He says that our best attempts to be good look like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” to Him (Isaiah 64:6)

Jesus says, “God alone is good.” Luke 18:19

That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?

WAIT A MINUTE!  I’M A GOOD PERSON!!!

I used to think that about myself.  Actually, I would think, “I’m a GREAT CHRISTIAN!”

  • I was always in all honors classes and made all As.
  • I didn’t get in trouble at school or at home in middle/high school – except for the one time I was late to lunch b/c I waited for my friend at her locker and we both got detention hall.  I was HORRIFIED!
  • I accepted Christ when I was 5 years old.
  • I studied the Bible almost every day.
  • I loved God.
  • I prayed intently almost every day.  Some days I would pray for 4 hours per day on my days off as an adult.
  • To date, I have never even had a speeding ticket.
  • I was a perfectionist.
  • I practiced flute and piano each for one hour every day in high school.  I made it into All State Band and won piano competitions.
  • I was extremely active in my youth group at church and later taught Bible Studies and Sunday School classes.
  •  I was a leader in almost every Christian circle I was involved in.  I was one of the “best” Christians there.
  • I always went to church unless I was sick.
  • I was sure that I was the best Christian wife ever.
  • I could see God’s will so clearly – I thought.  I was so in tune with God.  I was so highly spiritual.
  • I knew what was right all the time.  If everyone would just listen to me and do what I said… they would be so much better off!
  • I only tasted alcohol (a few sips less than a handful of times – usually unintentionally – like the waitress gave me the wrong drink!)  I have never been drunk in my life.
  • I never abused drugs.
  • I never tried a cigarette.
  • I never partied in college or high school, or any time.
  • I always tried very hard to follow all the laws perfectly, and all company policies and any school rules – I tried to be perfect at them all the time.
  • I never cussed.  I never even said, “Shut up!”
  • I never said, “I hate you” to anyone.
  •  I never called anyone names.
  • I was never a racist.
  • I almost never yelled at anyone.
  • I gave blood.
  • I was super friendly and kind to others (not to my husband sometimes, but I didn’t see it)
  • I volunteered to help with many ministry projects.
  • I taught Sunday School classes.
  • I knew the Bible VERY well and had memorized many verses.

All of these things were sources of pride for me – thinking I was so great.

Let me show you just a fraction of the sin that God exposed in my soul in December of 2008

  • IDOLATRY – If you read Exodus 20, the 10 commandments, there is no worse sin than putting something else before God.  I suppose that what I was doing may also be called “blasphemy.”  Either way – I was committing CONSTANT, HEINOUS sin in my heart – every waking moment – for decades.  I set myself up as god in my heart without even realizing it.  I had a HUGE picture of myself, living as if I were sovereign and everything was ultimately in my control and up to me.  If I didn’t make things happen the way I knew they should – it would be certain disaster for me and everyone around me, I was very sure.  I had a TINY picture of God in my head.  He was wimpy, impotent, weak and incapable of orchestrating the events in my world and in the universe for ultimate good.  I did NOT understand God’s sovereignty.  I tried to carry God’s responsibilities – and it crushed me.  I set my heart on other things above Christ, too.  Not consciously – but that is how I lived.  I put my feeling loved by my husband and my husband ahead of my intimacy with Christ.  If there is something that I believe I MUST HAVE in order to be content or be ok –  and it is not Jesus Christ – I am probably committing idolatry.  As one of our ministers says, “the human heart is an idol factory.”  Idolatry is to God, what adultery is in marriage – a violation of a sacred covenant I have with Him.
  • I THOUGHT I WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT –   That has to be blasphemy of some type!  It wasn’t a conscious realization that I thought I was the Holy Spirit.  I thought it was my duty to tell others what to do and convict them of their sins and make them do God’s will.  I didn’t understand that God handles all of that – it is not remotely my place to try to do His job.  Only God can change people.  Only God can open people’s spiritually dead eyes.  NOT ME.
  • UNBELIEF – Jesus describes this as the unforgivable sin.  If I trust myself, not Him – that is HUGE.
  • PRIDE – I really believed I knew better than my husband ALL THE TIME.  I also believed I knew better than everyone else around me all the time.  And, actually, I believed I knew better than God what needed to happen in my life and others’ lives.  And I set myself above God’s Word deciding that I was exempt from some things.  I don’t know how God measures pride, but mine was off the charts.  Probably much like Satan’s.  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6  God Himself opposed me all those years. That is why I didn’t see answers to my prayers, even though I actually was praying for things that were God’s will.  My motives were evil, selfish and prideful.
  • GOSSIP – probably no need to elaborate here.  But this is ugly sin in God’s eyes, too, and it hurts so many people.
  • DISRESPECT OF GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY – I believed I knew better than my parents growing up.  I just knew they needed my wisdom and help to raise my siblings.  I believed I knew better than my teachers.  I believed I knew better than my pastor and Sunday School teachers.  I believed I knew better than my husband.  I did not trust God to lead me through the God-given authority He placed in my life.  I believed I should make my own decisions because no one else was nearly as spiritually mature as I was. I knew it was my place to criticize, condemn and judge those in authority over me if I did not agree with them.  I had a critical spirit.  I put myself in God’s place to judge other people.
  • DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD – I tried to forgive.  I knew I was supposed to.  But I couldn’t.  I held on to resentment and bitterness and unforgiveness.  I believed I was above having to forgive others.  God Himself would forgive – but I didn’t think I should have to.  I disrespected my husband all day every day – unintentionally – but I wounded him deeply, nonetheless.  I had no idea what respect even was – or that it was my husband’s primary need in our marriage – or that there was a whole world of masculine respect I was totally oblivious to.  I didn’t actually honor my husband’s leadership, as God commanded me to.  I tried to force my husband to do what I said.  I tried to control him.
  • SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS – I looked down on my husband as being spiritually inferior to me.  I thought I was so much better than he was.  That is the sin Jesus spent so much time confronting in the Pharisees.  He spent WAY MORE TIME rebuking those prideful, self-righteous religious leaders than He did rebuking lust, adultery, murder or any of those “big sins.”
  • HATRED – I held on to grudges and hatred sometimes for years.  I John 4:19-21 says “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  (brother here means, any fellow human being).  I John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”

I was living under the control of the sinful nature. That is why I didn’t have God’s Spirit filling me with His peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

That is why I was full of anxiety, worry, fear and stress. Being a controlling person, thinking you HAVE to make everything work out right and that the world depends on every word and action you say and that you are in charge, not God – is STRESSFUL!!!!!!!!!  It is too much weight for a person to bear!  Also, trying to control my marriage and husband was exhausting.  I buckled under the strain.  And I resented my husband because I was carrying all that weight.  It was a very lonely way to live.

I owed Jesus BILLIONS of “sin dollars.”  It turns out that I am a wretched sinner.  I  TOTALLY deserve hell – just as much as any criminal.  I had SO much nasty sin in my heart in the sight of God. That is what I had earned for myself in the sight of the One, true, holy, righteous, just, loving, sovereign God.

I THANK AND PRAISE GOD that He opened my eyes to this truth, so that I could get on my face and humble myself and repent and ask Him to give me a new heart and a new mind.

I cannot appreciate the heinousness of sin until I see the holiness and character of God.

He LOVES us.  We are so utterly evil, yet His love is so unfathomable, that He wouldn’t leave us in our doomed position.  He made a way for us to return to Him.  He made a way for His justice to be satisfied by allowing all of His holy wrath that we deserved to fall on His perfect Son.

He can rescue us from our sinful, wretched state.  He can cause us to be  “born again” into His kingdom.  He is willing to raise us to new life by the power of the blood of Jesus, shed for us.  I can’t earn God’s favor.  I can’t earn heaven.  I can only earn hell.

But, THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!  Jesus paid my debt in full for me.  If I will turn to Him in faith, admitting my sin and guilt, asking for His forgiveness, accepting His death for the payment for my sins – He will forgive me and wipe away all of my sin.

Then I surrender myself to Him as my LORD for the rest of my life.  He is in charge of my life now, not me.  I die to myself-  I give up my wisdom, my ways, my desires, my will, my dreams.  I pick up His wisdom, His ways, His desires, His will and His dreams. He gives me a new heart that longs to obey Him and that loves what He loves and hates what He hates.  All I have is now His.  And all He has is now mine.  HE IS MY LIFE NOW.  HE IS MY GOD.  HE IS ALL I NEED.  If I have Him, I can be full of joy, peace and contentment.  He alone can satisfy.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

You can also check out sermons about having a relationship with Christ, salvation, and many other topics 

www.desiringgod.org by John Piper

www.radical.net by David Platt

RELATED POST:

DYING TO SELF

If you want to talk about finding a real relationship with Christ, finding peace with God, knowing Christ, finding out about how to accept His gift for you – leave me a comment. 🙂

 

Honoring Christ, Our Husbands and Our Marriages in Conflict

Garage door in blue

My beautiful and precious sisters in Christ,

You have every right to ask him for what you would like, what you want and what you desire politely, pleasantly and respectfully (probably just once is plenty –  in most cases) of your husband.

Your husband has every right to decide to answer “no” if he thinks it is best – as long as his decision isn’t sinful. He also has the right to decide what his priorities will be, and to hold off on what you have asked him to do if there are more urgent things that he believes he needs to do for his work or the family. You cannot force him to do what you want him to do. Well… you could try. But that would be extremely disrespectful.

I took over a situation myself  – many years ago:

I cleaned up my husband’s tools in the very messy garage one Thanksgiving evening when a heating and air guy couldn’t walk to the furnace in the garage the day before.  The service guy was very unhappy about how messy the garage was and told me to ask my husband to clear a path so he could walk through that Friday when he came back.  I asked my husband – in a very contentious way – to please CLEAN UP THE NASTY, FILTHY GARAGE!  I was SO EMBARRASSED!   I HATE clutter and mess and I could hardly stand to look at his side of the garage.  I wanted to hyperventilate every time I walked past it.  I wanted a garage that looked completely well-swept, spotless, clean, organized – and, well, like a picture from a Lowe’s magazine, of course!

He wouldn’t clean the garage.  He was probably watching a football game that was important to him – which I also didn’t care about whatsoever at the time.  THE MAN WAS COMING THE NEXT MORNING!!!!!!!!!!  THERE WAS NO TIME TO WASTE!  How could my husband just sit there when there was a CRISIS on our hands? (That makes me smile now – to see how upset I was about this – as if it were a life or death situation.)

I was INFURIATED.

So I stormed down to the garage and began throwing away all the trash and tool packages that never got thrown away and had been sitting there for months.  I seethed with resentment against my husband with every move I made. I organized and sorted things and put them in plastic totes and labelled them “paint stuff,” “caulk,” “tools,” “electrical” etc.  And it looked a whole lot better when I was done, too.  I was very proud of myself.  Task accomplished.  Yep!  I had my priorities straight.

Now, the AC/heating man would be happy with me the next day, and I wouldn’t get  criticized or condemned by that man.  (I was a people pleaser back then – particularly with strangers – which is what people pleasers often do.)

My husband eventually realized what I had done and got REALLY upset.  I had intruded on his private territory and messed with all his stuff.  I had put things where he couldn’t find them.  I had thrown away things that he didn’t want to be thrown away.  I had deliberately gone against him and done something he specifically told me NOT to do. (I was unknowingly quite disrespectful and controlling back then, but I normally didn’t blatantly go directly against him like that.)  And I hadn’t even cared one lick that it would upset him.

That is probably one of the most disrespectful things I ever did – because I did it out of spite, KNOWING he told me not to touch anything, but I didn’t care what he wanted. I didn’t want to be embarrassed with the heating and air guy again the next day.  I thought I was SO “right.”  Make the AC dude happy!  That is VERY important, right? Unfortunately, that decision was NOT WISE on my part. I cared more about respecting and pleasing that total stranger than I did about respecting and pleasing my husband or God:( I’m now very ashamed to say.

We as women are often so tuned in to the details in life – that we can get so focused on a little issue and how “right” we are – that we can miss the things that are truly most important in life and in our relationship with God and people if we are not careful.

MY STRATEGY NOW FOR THOSE ISSUES WHERE WE DON’T AGREE:

If the above example happened today, I would smile, casually approach my husband and say, “Oh, Honey, the heating and air guy asked if you would please clear a path in the garage so he can walk to the furnace tomorrow.  Thanks!”

Then I would drop it.  If he didn’t do it – I would wait until my husband  left, and then cleared a small path.  No big deal.  I’m sure that our garage isn’t the only one that is messy.

These days, I have a feeling that my husband would probably gladly clear a path in the garage if I asked him like I have just described.  I get what I want MUCH MORE OFTEN now that my husband knows I respect him and I am not trying to control him.

Here is what I ask myself now.

  • Is it possible that God is nudging him to keep some of these things/ do what he is doing for a reason that I don’t know anything about?  (Check out this post to see an example in real life!)
  • Is it possible that I am hormonal/stressed/exhausted and this issue isn’t actually as important as it feels like it is right now?
  • Am I am putting someone else’s feelings above my husbands?  Is that person a God-given authority in my life? (ie: the government, a pastor, my boss)  Is that person’s authority in my life higher than my husband’s in God’s sight? (like – is my husband asking me to join a cult or do something illegal?  If so, I can resist him.)
  • Is this issue more important than the unity and peace of our marriage?
  • Is this issue more important to me than making sure my husband feels respected and loved?
  • Is this issue big enough and critical enough that I need to jeopardize the unity and intimacy in my marriage about it?
  • Is this issue important enough that it is acceptable for me to wound my husband about it?
  • Is it possible that my husband has a valid perspective that I could consider?
  • Is my husband asking me to sin or condone sin?  Is having a messy garage a sin according to God’s Word?  Ummmm….. I can’t find that verse!!!!
  • Am I holding bitterness and resentment in my heart about this issue?
  • Am I being unforgiving?
  • Am I being selfish to try to force my way?
  • Am I being prideful, thinking I know so much better than my husband or that my way is the only way that is “right”?
  • Am I trying to control him instead of honor his God-given leadership?
  • Is there sin in my heart that God wants me to repent of?  Pride, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, selfish ambition, usurping control from my husband are all huge sins in God’s sight.  What if I am actually the one sinning here, NOT my husband????? GASP!
  • Is this issue more important than my intimacy with Christ and my love for Him?  Jesus commands me to respect my husband and to honor His leadership.  Jesus says that if I love Him, I WILL obey His commands.
  • Is this issue more important to me than Jesus  – is it an idol in my heart?  Do I refuse to be content unless I have my way about this issue?

If the issue I am concerned about truly is more important than the unity of my marriage, our marriage covenant, my intimacy with my husband, my husband’s God-given leadership, my obedience to God’s Word or my intimacy with Christ – then it’s time to go for it and fight for what I believe is right no matter what the cost.

But if the issue is not important than those goals and priorities I just listed – then, the issue is not a big deal.  Obeying God, being free of sin, honoring my husband, having oneness in my marriage and oneness of Christ are my priorities now.  That is what I want now that I am totally submitted to Christ!  The little issues just don’t matter that much any more.  I want God’s will, not mine.

If we are not being godly stewards about this issue, MY HUSBAND is the one God will hold accountable, not me. So,  I am off the hook! 

I CANNOT CONTROL MY HUSBAND. BUT I CAN INSPIRE HIM.

My husband is a grown man.  It is his within his rights to decide how organized/messy he wants to keep his tools in the garage. I may not like it. That’s ok. I can share with him my desire for the garage to be organized – in a pleasant tone of voice with a smile and no pressure. Then, it is up to me to graciously accept his decision and learn to be content with the circumstances.

I now realize that by allowing him the freedom to make the choice about how to organize his tools, I am showing him that:

  • I trust him
  • I have faith in him
  • I allow him to make his own choices about his life
  • I honor his leadership and decisions in the family.

By graciously accepting his decision instead of fighting him, I choose:

  • intimacy with Christ
  • unity with Him
  • intimacy with my husband
  • unity with him.
  • I just might be able to witness miracles as God works in my husband’s heart about something as simple as his tools. I got to witness something like that, probably because of a man who didn’t listen to his wife about this kind of thing! Check it out! A Real Life Example of Biblical Respect and Submission

Husbands assume that when we trust them about little things like this issue – that we will trust them about much bigger issues. They also assume that if we don’t trust them about little issues, that we don’t trust them on bigger issues. Our trust, faith, cooperative spirit and joy in Christ even as he makes a decision we don’t like, and willingness to give him room to make his own choices and even to make ‘wrong’ choices in our minds – will help spur him on to become a better leader and more godly man.  AND, God will use it to make us more like Christ and to bring about glory for Himself!  I CANNOT LOSE!!!!!!!!

I pray that we will find our contentment 100% in Christ, not in our circumstances. And I pray that God might work powerfully, even in these little issues, to show how beautiful His design for marriage is and that His Name might be highly exalted.

 

RELATED

The Dirty Garage Epiphany

Love, Honor,Respect and Submission Are Gifts

939233_84038141 The passages about marriage in Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3 and Titus 2 all give God’s commands for husbands and wives in marriage.

Before we dive in, let’s begin with the understanding that God made men and women with equal value – both are “image bearers of God” in Genesis 2.  We have equal worth and dignity as human beings, made in God’s image.  And in Christ we are all equal (Galatians 3:28).

I think it is interesting to note that each spouse is given direct commands by God that are without condition.

  There are no exceptions to the commands for either husbands or wives (with the one caveat for wives that they submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord” – so I understand this to mean that if a husband asks his wife to directly violate God’s Word, God’s authority and the authority of His Word trumps the husband’s authority.  For example, if a husband tells his wife to steal,  have an abortion, lie on the taxes, get drunk, do drugs, put something/someone above God in her heart, go to a strip club with him, have a threesome, etc…. it is a wife’s duty and responsibility before God to respectfully and firmly refuse to cooperate with such sin.)

God commands wives to submit to their husbands – which means, to honor their husband’s God-given authority. (Just like God commands all believers to submit to the government, bosses and church leaders – unless the authority is asking us to sin.   The apostles told the Pharisees “We must obey God rather than men” when the leaders told them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus in Acts. In God’s command for wives to honor their husband’s leadership, there is no “IF.”  As in, “If your husband:

  •  is a good leader”
  • has prayer with you every day”
  • leads family devotions”
  • goes to the church you prefer”
  • does things your way”
  • makes more money than you”
  • has a job”
  • deserves to lead the family in your estimation”

God commands wives to respect their husbands. Again, there is no “IF your husband is:

  • honoring God”
  • loving you the way you want to be loved”
  • making a certain amount of money
  • has a job”
  • is a Christian”
  • is the kind of father you want him to be”
  • deserves to be respected in your opinion”

God does not command us to respect sin.  And He does not command us to cooperate with sin, addictions, infidelity, physical abuse, etc.  If there are MAJOR problems like this in your marriage, that goes way beyond the scope of this blog, please find godly, mature, wise, experienced counsel. If you or your children are not safe, please get help ASAP!

God commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her.  He also commands husbands not to be harsh with their wives, but to be tender with them.  He commands husbands to honor their wives as the weaker vessel and co-heirs with them in Christ.  There is no qualifier that the wife must do something in order for her husband to obey God or that the wife must earn her husband’s love.

The way a husband treats his wife is an indicator of the depth of his love, respect and reverence for God. A husband’s love for his wife is gift to her that springs from his love, obedience and reverence for Christ. A wife cannot force her husband to obey God and to love her as Christ loves her.  It is a gift he gives willingly because He loves and honors Jesus, so he loves and honors his wife.

A wife’s respect and biblical submission towards her husband are gifts that a wife gives freely to her husband out of her love, obedience and reverence for Christ, as well.   There is no qualifier that a husband must do something first before the wife obeys God or that the husband must earn his wife’s respect.  A husband cannot force his wife to respect him and submit to him.  

Jesus gives us free will.  He does not force us to obey Him.  He loves us and demonstrates His great love for us.  He invites us to come to Him.  He wants us to love, reverence and obey Him freely – not because we are forced to.

The way a wife treats her husband is an indicator of the depth of her love, respect and reverence for  God.

GOD’S COMMANDS TO HUSBANDS AND WIVES IN MARRIAGE ARE DIRECTED AT THEM INDIVIDUALLY

  • God does not say, “Husbands, make sure your wives submit to you and respect you.”
  • And He does not say, “Wives, force your husbands to love you and have a humble, servant’s heart towards you.”
  • Wives are responsible for their own obedience to God’s commands for them to respect and submit to their husbands.
  • Husbands are responsible for their own obedience to God’s commands for them to love, be gentle, not be harsh, be humble and give selflessly to their wives.

TRYING TO CONTROL OTHERS IS SELFISH, PRIDEFUL AND SINFUL – IT DOES NOT HONOR GOD OR OTHERS.  BEING CONTROLLING IS NOT LOVING.

When I as a wife tried to control my husband and make him do what I wanted to – I was attempting to violate the free will that God gave my husband.  I also repelled him and made him not want to be with me!  If a husband tries to control his wife and force her to do what he wants her to do – that violates a wife’s free will.  It will repel her, too.

What I am doing when I am being controlling is I am idolizing MYSELF.  I am putting myself in the place of God in my life and I expect my spouse and other people to obey me and submit to me as if I were God.  This mindset is built on HUGE pride, selfishness and a lack of trust in God.  I am saying I trust myself, not God.  I am attempting to take some or all of God’s sovereignty on myself.  It is sin for me to set myself up as god in my own heart.  It is sin for me to try to demand that others put me above God in their hearts, too.  It would be sin for others to cooperate with my demands.

It is ok for me to say, “I feel unloved.”  “What you said/did hurt me.” “I feel disrespected.” “Please don’t treat me like this.”  “Please don’t talk to me that way.”  But I cannot try to make someone do what I want them to do.

JESUS KIND OF LOVE

The love Jesus has for us is unconditional.  When we love as Jesus does, we have healthy boundaries.

  • We don’t try to force or coerce anyone to obey/submit to us or love us.
  • We don’t try to manipulate others with guilt, martyrdom, bribery, sabotage.
  • We don’t try to control people by being people pleasers thinking “If I am nice enough, he/she will HAVE to do what I want.”
  • We don’t try to change people ourselves thinking, “If I obey God, then God has to give me what I want, or then my husband has to change to be what I want him to be.”
  • We realize we are responsible for our thoughts, our behavior, our attitudes, our sin, our actions, our emotions, our spiritual development and our relationship with Christ.  And other people are responsible for their own lives.
  • We trust the sovereignty of God to work for our good and His glory instead of trusting self.
  • We love others because Jesus loves us.
  • We forgive others and have grace for them because Jesus forgave us and lavished us with grace
  • We repay evil with good

BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IS NOT

  • slavery
  • destroying a woman’s personhood
  • forced upon a woman
  • a woman having no opinions, no voice, no influence in the marriage and family

BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IS

  • given freely by a wife
  • part of the path to God’s peace and freedom
  • much less stressful for wives than trying to have control themselves
  • the beginning of finding God’s joy
  • totally counterintuitive to women and completely counter-cultural
  • one of the greatest tests of a woman’s faith in Christ – to believe that HE is sovereign “enough” to be able to lead her through her sinful husband
  • part of becoming a godly woman – a big part of having a gentle and peaceful spirit that does not give way to hysterical fear.
  • when a wife is free to share her perspective, her feelings, her desires, her concerns and ideas respectfully and her husband takes her opinions and desires into very careful consideration, seeking God’s will far above his own.
  • how a wife can rest in the sovereignty of God, knowing that even if her husband does make mistakes, God can and will use that for his good and her good ultimately – to make them more like Christ – and that God will use it for His glory in ways she can’t begin to understand at the time.

The KEY!

The key to all of this – is that when I am in an intimate relationship with Christ – when I have fully surrendered myself to Him and desire Him and find my life in Him alone – then obedience to God’s commands is a joy and delight.  When I am empowered by God’s Spirit to obey Him, His Words and commands bring LIFE, joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment, freedom for me – and then my life also brings great glory to God.  That is what this is all about ultimately!

My purpose in life is to exalt the Name of Christ and to shine for Him, sharing Him with the world, loving others simply out of the overflow of my supreme love and abandonment to Jesus.

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

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Idolatry is not something we think much about in our modern day, Western culture.  I grew up in church, reading the Bible, knowing how offensive idolatry was to God – feeling super smug and secure because I didn’t commit sins like THAT!  What could possibly be tempting about bowing down to a statue and serving it and praying to it as if it could hear or help me one iota?

Yep.

I was SO thankful I wasn’t a big sinner like THOSE people.

Then, 4 years ago or so, God opened my eyes to the idolatry, pride, rebellion, unforgiveness and sin in my life.

WOW.

Turns out, I was committing idolatry every waking moment of every single day since I was little.  I just didn’t know it.

WHAT IS AN IDOL?

  • anything that we cherish more than Christ in our hearts.
  • anything that we believe we MUST HAVE to be happy – that isn’t Christ.
  • something other than God that I use to get my identity from – or the thing/person/concept from which I try to find my fulfillment.
  • something I spend a great deal of time investing in, focusing on, relying on and putting all my trust in – that is not Christ.
  • something I am willing to give up my family or relationships for, maybe I am willing to spend almost any amount of money to serve that person/thing/idea.  I will serve my idol no matter what it costs me.
  • I will try to find my contentment in my idol.  But it will never satisfy – I am always left empty, broken and wanting more.
  • it is often the opposite of what I fear most.

IDOLATRY IS HUGE SIN!

God will never allow me to find contentment in an idol.

He will only allow me to find contentment in Christ Jesus.

Idolatry is breaking the first commandment in Exodus 20 “You shall have no other gods before me” as well as the greatest command Jesus talks about “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

To Him, it is me breaking my covenant with Him – like I am committing adultery against Him by serving/worshipping/putting my faith in these other things.  God alone deserves my worship, praise, adoration, giving, devotion and sacrifice.  He will not share His glory with another.

As Wes Church, one of our ministers, says, “The human heart is an idol factory.”  We have to CONSTANTLY guard our hearts against putting things above God.  I must always check my true motives throughout every day!   And I will have to continue to do that for the rest of my life! We can make almost anything – even good things, even things that are gifts from God  – into idols.

HOW CAN I POSSIBLY MAKE MY HUSBAND INTO AN IDOL?  THAT SOUNDS LUDICROUS, RIGHT?!

There are so many ways!  And sadly, we almost NEVER realize what we are doing.  If I miss a way, please let me know!  Some of these things are difficult to separate out.  It is very possible to have more than one idol at a time.  I would say I had myself, being in control, feeling loved and my husband as idols – among many other things at various times.

1.  I EXPECT HIM TO BE CHRIST TO ME – 

In this case, I don’t just expect my husband to represent Christ and portray a picture of Christ in our marriage to me (as described in Ephesians 5:22-33) but to actually BE Christ.  I put all my trust and hope in my husband instead of Jesus Christ.  I am continually disappointed, depressed and upset with my husband because “he is not meeting all my needs properly” – meaning – he is not being who and what I want him to be so that I have what I want in my life.   I am insatiable.  I am a pit of neediness.  No matter what my husband does, it is not enough.  I want more. I am angry at him all the time.  He can never measure up to my standards.  He never feels like he can be “good enough” for me.  And he truly can’t.  I want perfection at a minimum, and my sinful husband definitely can’t deliver.

2. I EXPECT TO FEEL LOVED BY HIM ALL THE TIME –  This idolatry involves my husband because I expect him to be the one making me feel loved.  But I could argue that it is my feeling of being loved that might be the actual idol here.  I don’t take responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual development and growth.  I make my husband 100% responsible for my feelings.  This is dysfunctional.  Healthy boundaries say I am responsible for my feelings, my husband is responsible for his feelings.  Mature love says, “I will obey God about how to treat my husband even though I don’t ‘feel loved’ right now.”  Obedience to God’s Word comes first, feelings may come later.  But whether I feel loved or not at the moment, I am still responsible to obey God’s Word for me as a wife in how I treat my husband, God and others.

3. I EXPECT HIM TO NEVER SIN AGAINST ME –  If  my husband ever stumbles or hurts me or falls into temptation – that is unacceptable when I idolize my husband in this way.  I have zero grace or mercy for him.  He must be perfect.  Many wives actually expect husbands to be completely perfect and sinless even in their thoughts 24/7.

It’s ok for me to sin and he better forgive me.  I think my sins aren’t as bad as his are.  If he sins, I look down on him because  I believe I am morally superior to him. I think, “I would NEVER sin the way he does.” Then I indulge in self-righteousness – thinking I am so much better than my husband.  I don’t see my own sin clearly.  I am too busy pointing at my husband’s sins or trying to control him to prevent him from sinning to notice that I have a mountain of my own sin God wants me to look at and repent of.

The truth is – we are ALL wretched sinners.  Marriage exposes our sin – and gives us the chance to see how much we need the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ.  It also gives us plenty of opportunities to learn to forgive and show mercy and grace to our spouse!

4. I EXPECT HIM TO BE COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY HAPPINESS –  If I am not happy, it is his fault.  He better fix it.  This is similar to #2.  Spiritually and emotionally whole people recognize that we are each responsible for our own happiness, our own relationship with Christ, our own feelings, our own needs, our own desires, our own sin and our own obedience to Christ.  If I stick my husband with “making me happy” – we are both doomed to misery!  He can’t make me happy.  I am the only one who can find joy for myself – and it is only found in Christ!  I must put Christ first, then I will have joy no matter what my husband does or does not do.

5. I DECIDE I MUST HAVE HIM TO BE HAPPY – If my husband leaves me – I think my life will be over.  I am not content in Christ alone.  I HAVE to have my husband with me.  If he sins against me, or wants a divorce, I will do anything to keep him, even if I have to sin to try to make him stay.  

I tell God that my husband cannot die before me.  I freak out if he is late a few minutes, worrying to death that he is dead.  I decide that if my husband dies, I will not trust God anymore.   My love for God is conditional upon my husband loving me, being with me and being alive.

6. HE MAY TRY TO MAKE ME PUT HIM AS AN IDOL IN MY HEART  

Sometimes, it is not the wife who is controlling, but the husband.  It is entirely possible that some husbands may expect their wives to go way beyond respect and biblical submission to literally idolize them.

God DOES give our husbands to us as God-given authorities to provide for us, protect us, lead us, guide us, love us with humility and grace, to demonstrate the selfless and sacrificial love of Christ to us and to represent Christ to us.

There is a VERY big difference between a husband seeking to represent Christ to his wife and a husband trying to replace Christ or BE Christ in his wife’s life.

Godly leadership is described in detail in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 – this is how men are to lead in a Christlike way in the church and also in their families.  The way Christ loves us is described in I Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-26.

Christ is the only mediator between us and God.   We as women have total access to Jesus and to God through the blood of Jesus, just as men do.  Galatians 3:28  We are all of equal value as image bearers of God at the foot of the cross.

 

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