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Is My Husband (or Anyone Else) Bound by My Personal Convictions?

Some things are always sin. God gives us unchanging principles and commands in the Bible about these things:

  • The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20. – Have no other gods before God, make no graven images to worship, do not misuse God’s Name, honor your father and mother, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not covet, do not kill, do not lie. The Sabbath day observance for New Testament believers is now included under “disputable matters” in Romans 14 and Colossians 2:16.)
  • Love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul. (Matt. 22:37)
  • Love people and treat them as you would want to be treated. (Matt. 22:39, Luke 6:31)
  • Keep your promises and your word. (James 5:12)
  • Forgive wrong things people do to do whether they apologize or not (Matt. 6:14-15)
  • Do not hold on to bitterness. (Eph. 4:31)
  • Do not gossip or slander others. (2 Cor. 12:20)
  • Be humble, get rid of all pride. (James 4:6)
  • Honor your marriage vows. (He. 13:4)
  • Dress in a modest way that honors Christ, yourself, and others. (1 Tim. 2:9)
  • Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
  • Make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19)
  • Take care of the widows, orphans, the poor, the oppressed, the sick, and needy. (James 1:27, Isaiah 10:2, Matt. 25:31-46)
  • Do not argue or complain. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Honor those in authority over you unless they ask you to clearly sin against God. (Eph. 5:22-33, Romans 13:1-7, Heb. 13:17)

These kinds of things (and many others) are unchanging biblical principles and commands. But some things are not so black and white – God gives us more liberty in certain areas that are a matter of personal conviction. These are things each believer must privately, prayerfully consider and attempt to do what he/she believes God desires him/her to do.

It is my understanding that there are two types of conviction:

1. The conviction of the Holy Spirit about sin in a believer’s life.

2. Personal convictions about areas that are not clear sin in Scripture.

Please read Romans 14 this week when you get a chance.

GRAY AREAS ARE FOR ME TO PRAYERFULLY DECIDE FOR MYSELF – these are matters of personal opinion and where we are in our personal faith walk and understanding. I do not mean that God “is confused” about what is right and wrong.

Romans 14 says that those with strong faith must bear with those who have weak faith in these issues, and not create a stumbling block for others. What we decide about our personal convictions are things that we don’t have the right to force on others – these are private matters. I need to be sure I am acting in love and not causing others to stumble. 

Just because I have one personal conviction doesn’t mean my husband (or anyone else) is “wrong” if he has a different conviction in an area of personal preference that is not about biblical principle.

God commands us as wives to honor our husbands’ leadership, unless our husbands are asking us to clearly sin. It is important that we go by God’s definition of sin in His Word, not our own convictions in gray areas where believers should have freedom to make their own decisions.

Just because someone else, like my husband, has a conviction, doesn’t mean I have to have the same conviction. But – I do need to be willing to honor my husband’s leadership. Thankfully, I can honor him without having to agree with him on every issue.

A few examples of areas of personal conviction:

  • Calvinism vs. Armenianism.
  • Where to send children to school (homeschooling, private school, public school).
  • Whether to abstain completely from alcohol or to drink a little alcohol occasionally (without getting drunk, of course).
  • What church/denomination to attend.
  • My exact boundaries with the opposite sex and how I decide to guard my heart and my marriage
  • Exactly what clothing is modest and what I should wear.
  • How often to go to church.
  • How best to discipline and raise children.
  • What it means to dress modestly, how we do our hair/makeup, what we wear.
  • What music to listen to.
  • How much money to give to the church and to those in need.
  • Whether to celebrate certain holidays and how to celebrate them.
  • How to have time with God.
  • Whether to own a TV or not.
  • How to eat in a way that honors God.
  • Some personal priorities.
  • How to pray, when to pray, and whether to pray out loud with others or primarily in private.
  • What translation of the Bible to read.
  • How exactly to be a godly steward of your time, resources, talents, and money.

We get ourselves in a lot of trouble when we insist that our husbands, or other people, must abide by all of our personal convictions. We also may get in a lot of trouble if we think we have to live by other people’s convictions. We are all bound by God’s Word and His commands to us as believers. So we would all need to be sure that we are not violating God’s principles in our motives, thoughts, words, decisions, and actions. But there is room for different believers to have different convictions and preferences about issues where God’s Word is silent.

  • Sometimes, we might even think that if our husbands don’t live by our convictions, they are sinning. Then we may believe that we are free to go against them because we believe they are sinning. Let’s use great caution here, my dear sisters!

It is really important that we know for sure that our husbands are truly sinning before we decide to not honor their leadership!

Remember that God’s instructions for us to respect and submit to our husbands “as to the Lord,” are commands. That is an unchanging biblical principle for which God will call us into account. I need to be very cautious and sure I am hearing God’s voice clearly before I would go against my husband in a matter.


If my husband wants me to have an abortion (murder), rob a bank, commit income tax fraud, lie for him to the police to cover up his crime, join a cult, put him above Christ in my heart, commit an unethical or immoral act with him, watch porn with him, steal something for him, have an affair, get drunk, have a threesome, work as a stripper, parade my body immodestly in front of other men, sell our children into slavery, beat our children (not just a spanking), or these kinds of things – I cannot cooperate with those requests. I must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).


Let’s focus on the things we do have in common with our husbands if they are also believers.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 5:1-6)

In Christ, unity is not about agreement in all the little gray areas, but about agreement in the most important areas. We can have unity without conformity.

Even if our husbands are not believers, we can act in unity with them as much as possible unless they want us to violate God’s unchanging principles or commands in Scripture. We can give grace in areas of preference.


I believe it is good for me to respectfully, humbly, gently share my convictions with my husband, particularly if my husband is a believer. And I can share my desires with my husband, even if he is not a believer. But it is not fair for me to accuse my husband of sin if he does not share every one of my convictions or the passion with which I hold to any of my convictions.

We each have freedom in Christ to have our own convictions about the true gray areas. We don’t have freedom where the Bible specifically speaks and labels something as sin or as obedience. In those areas, we must all submit to Christ and to His Word. But in the areas where Christ gives freedom, we must also give freedom – not condemnation. It is not my right as a believer or as a wife to determine if something is sinful or not for my husband in an area of personal preference. God is the only one who has the authority to decide that something is sin.


My husband is not bound by my feelings. I can share my feelings. They are important. A godly husband will certainly take his wife’s feelings into account. But my husband is bound to honor God’s Word and His principles over my feelings. Thankfully, in Christ, I am not even bound by my feelings but can be filled and controlled by God’s Spirit. I don’t have to be in bondage to my feelings and emotions.


If reading about someone else’s convictions causes you angst (like the post about makeup last week, or posts about modesty or other gray areas) – I’d love to talk with you about that!

I don’t want us to do anything out of fear, worldly guilt, or shame. My desire is that we might all be motivated purely by God’s love – that we might do everything we do because God’s Spirit fills us, we love God, we love ourselves in a godly way, and we love others. 


Here is another passage of Scripture that can be helpful as we seek to honor God in these areas where we have freedom (but others might get tripped up) that relates very much to the disputable areas of Romans 14 – the primary emphasis is not our individual freedom in Christ, but our love for others, what is best for others, and to do what we can in order to keep other people with weaker consciences from stumbling:

I Corinthians 10:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,  for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?  If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. I Corinthians 10:23-33


“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. I Corinthians 6:12

Book Review – “Prayers for New Brides” by Jennifer White


I am so excited to share with you a new book, “Prayers for New Brides – Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress” by Jennifer WhiteI love the cover picture of a bride with a metal breastplate over her gown.

As I read this book – which is really best read as a daily devotional with a lesson, a “prayer prompt,” and “a wife’s call to action” section in each chapter – I was stunned. What God has shown Jennifer and the things He taught her over these past years have been the same lessons He has shown me. I joked with Jennifer, “It’s like we have the same Lord, or something!” 🙂 One thing I love about God is how He uses each believer to reflect a new angle and new facet of His magnificence. Each person’s story is beautiful, unique, powerful, and purposeful in God’s kingdom. I never get tired of reading about God working in people’s lives. I love what God has done in Jennifer’s heart and in her marriage. How I thank and praise Him for raising her up for His kingdom!

Jennifer’s tone is gentle, loving, friendly, candid, and casual. She is honest about her own struggles and yet respectful of her husband at the same time – which I greatly respect. That can be a tricky balance for a writer. She is upfront about the fact that she has not been the perfect wife (this is actually her second marriage) and that much of what she learned has been very much learned the hard way. My prayer is that we might learn from some of her mistakes and not repeat them and that we might embrace the Scripture and biblical principles she shares. She is humble, giving all of the glory to God for what He has done, not taking any credit for herself. I believe she has handled Scripture rightly. She talks about so many critical topics:

  • taking our thoughts captive for Christ
  • spiritual warfare
  • the importance of prayer
  • idolatry
  • sinful desires
  • fear
  • sacrificing your expectations
  • respecting our husbands
  • submitting to Christ
  • submission in marriage
  • dying to self
  • developing God’s perspective
  • peace
  • praising God
  • teamwork
  • forgiveness
  • emotional and spiritual healing
  • healthy boundaries

Something else I appreciate about Jennifer’s book is that her personality and sinful tendencies are very different from mine. She tended to be too passive in her marriage – where I tended to be controlling. I think it is fascinating to see how God showed us both the same truths, but to see how the application can be different at times.

I also like the written out personalized prayers that encourage wives to pray and lead them in praying in new ways, maybe in deeper ways than they have prayed before. There is so much power in prayer. The emphasis on prayer in each chapter helps keep the reader’s heart and mind centered on Christ. This book is very much about discipling brides of all ages to live for Christ in every way. I would recommend it for any wife. It would make a fantastic wedding gift or anniversary gift.

I think that this book would be one that a wife may want to revisit once every year or so, working through the chapters again, writing down her thoughts again, wrestling with struggles, and seeking God’s design and His pattern for her life and marriage with fresh eyes each time. The more you are engaged and answer the questions and get involved in the assignments, the more meaningful and powerful I believe this book will be for you. You could even take one chapter per week and look up the Scriptures in each chapter to go even more in depth. I underlined a LOT of important truths in this book. And I love the quotes she shares about marriage and faith in God.

Totally Change Your Reality


Our daughter and I watched a show with a cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, together last week. The cat owner was a famous young woman who often tweeted about her cat and used some dreadful names for him in her tweets. Galaxy said something profound:

Words have power. What you speak becomes your reality.

He talked about how important it was for this woman to stop calling her cat these cuss word names, even on her Twitter account, and to use his real name. He talked about the importance of thinking about the good things about her cat and showing the cat some respect. Then he asked what she called her boyfriend, and she said she called him something like, “Stupid, stupid, stupid Todd,” when she was in a really loving mood. Yikes.

A woman stopping the negative, disrespectful, critical, condemning, hateful words is the first step on the journey to becoming a godly wife, too.

I learned when I began this respect journey that not only did I have to stop saying disrespectful things, I had to stop thinking disrespectful things. I also learned that as I stopped thinking negative things and focused on good things, godly things… my entire perspective and experience of my husband and my life dramatically changed for the better.

Whatever we focus on grows!

If I say to myself:

  • “I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. He should do this. He should do that. I deserve X, Y, and Z. He hurt me 12 years ago and I am going to rehearse every hurtful thing he has ever done to me over and over for the rest of the day. My life stinks. Nothing good ever happens to me. Everyone else gets to have a wonderful life and I am stuck with this garbage…”

Guess what results I will get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?

If I say to myself:

  • “I respect my husband’s work ethic, the fact that he comes home to me every night, the fact that he has been faithful to me, the fact that he took out the trash for me last night, etc… (whatever good things you can find about your husband). He is a precious son of God for whom Christ died. God loves him deeply and wants what is best for him. He isn’t perfect and I am not perfect, but he loves me and he is God’s good gift to me. God will use my husband, even his sin and mistakes, to  help refine me to be more and more like Christ.”
  • “I am dearly loved by God. My life is such a gift from Him. God is good. I can trust Him fully. Look at all the blessings He has given me today. I’m so thankful for my church and my friends. I’m just going to sing praise songs to God in my heart all day today…”

What kind of results will I get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?

If the lady with the cat changes the way she talks about the cat, she will probably have a different feeling and perception of her cat. Nothing about the cat would actually change. But her experience of him would change. Well – let me rephrase that. The cat would respond differently to her different demeanor, body language, tone, etc… So, some things could change in reality, not just in her perception.

As believers, we don’t just change our thoughts ourselves. We need God to change our thoughts. Our perspectives do change as God transforms our thoughts. But then, our sovereign God also actually has the power to change our reality in every possible way, not just our perception or a person’s response to us. So there is a BIG difference between “self improvement” vs. total transformation by the power of God’s Spirit.

Now, imagine the power and impact of meditating on Scripture all day every day and what God would do in my heart and life as I think about Scripture and pray Scripture to Him! His Word is alive and impregnated by His Spirit and always accomplishes His good purposes.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12:35

God’s Word says that our words and our thoughts have great power. I believe that what we think becomes our perception of reality, too, not just what we speak.  Of course, God’s Words have infinitely more power than our words! Our thoughts or self-talk are the reservoir of all of the ideas we believe about God, ourselves, our marriages, and other people. What we say all day long to ourselves matters greatly! Meditating on God’s Word matters greatly! The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace! When we focus on and embrace God’s Words in faith – His Words become our reality – not just in perception – but in truth and in fact. This is why God commands us to think about only certain things to keep our thoughts from being contaminated with sin:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

It is impossible to become a truly godly woman until we begin to take our thoughts captive and discard all of the sinful, destructive, ungodly thoughts by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Every single one of them has to go as soon as possible!

When God’s Spirit is in control, He helps us set a guard around our hearts and minds and He helps us to evaluate each thought and motive against His Word. When we recognize a tempting thought immediately and shoot it down, refusing to dwell on it, and we choose to dwell on God’s truth instead, the sinful thought cannot take root and grow in our minds and hearts. If that thought doesn’t grow, but goes down the trash chute, it won’t come bubbling out later in our words, attitudes, and actions.

This is HARD!!!! Well, impossible on our own, really. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit and constant vigilance all day, every day. I don’t have the right to marinate in evil, sinful, destructive thoughts anymore. Jesus bought me with His blood. Everything, including my mind, my heart, and my soul belong fully to Him now.

This is why I personally keep a prayer journal. As soon as I start to feel upset about something or notice negative emotions or begin to battle with tempting thoughts, I go run to my journal as soon as possible and start writing down all the things I am telling myself. Then I write down the truth of the Bible about those issues. I have to very purposely reject the lies and ungodly ways of thinking or the disrespectful thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts. If I don’t have God’s Spirit’s power, I can’t do this. But when His Spirit is in full control, and I am in His Word and abiding in Him in constant prayer throughout the day, He gives me Light to see each thought with His eyes.

I might want to ask myself questions like:

  • Where did that thought come from?
  • Lord, empower me to see with Your eyes, to have Your heart and Your mind. Illumine the truth clearly for me in this moment.
  • Where would that thought take me if I really choose to dwell on it? What would the long term consequences be?
  • Is that where God wants me to go with my thoughts? Does it pass then Philippians 4:8 test?
  • What are my motives if I were to entertain this thought?
  • Is this promoting pride, unbelief in God, disrespect of God, disrespect of Greg, selfishness, etc…?
  • Is this thought promoting my will or God’s will?
  • Is this thought going to breed fear, anxiety, lack of faith in God, or idolatry of some type?
  • Am I feeling tempted to disobey God about something?
  • Why do I want to obey God? Am I obeying Him to get other stuff from Him or to have Him and please Him?
  • Are my motives simply to love God with all my heart and to bless and love others?
  • Do I have expectations I need to lay down right now?
  • God, I only want to think things that are pleasing to You. This thought doesn’t look pleasing to You, I reject it and choose to think about this other thought from Your Word instead about this subject.

Then, when my thoughts are pure and undefiled, I am walking in obedience to God, and filled with His Spirit – then He hears my prayers and His Spirit begins to also work miracles in my life on my behalf that go way beyond what my thinking alone could do. It is the prayer of the righteous man that is powerful and effective. If I want my prayers to be powerful and effective, I must walk in purity of heart and mind, and in obedience to God by His Spirit filling and empowering me. Then I have access to the sovereign God of the universe and His power is at His disposal to accomplish His good, pleasing, and perfect will in my life!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


If God has been working with you on taking your thoughts captive, we’d love for you to share how you think about this and how you go about it – men and women are welcome to share. 🙂


Helping Our Children Take Their Thoughts Captive

Posts about Fear

Posts about Bitterness

Posts about Putting Things above God in Our Hearts (Idolatry)

Posts about Worry

Posts about Anxiety

Posts about Control


Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!


From a dear single sister in Christ who is in her thirties, I so appreciate her willingness to share her story – and I believe that what God showed her is something He wants to show each of us as His followers:

I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.

He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.

I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.

At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.

I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.

He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.

  • First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
  • Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.

I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.

My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.

What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?


This calling to give up our most precious dreams (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls all disciples of Christ to do.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

Yes, those of us who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.

God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!

God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE, alone, is the Greatest Treasure!

Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Single and married women (and men) can hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life.

We must all ask ourselves:

I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.

When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly following Christ.

Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion. In fact, anything less than all that we are and all that we have is not enough. He gave ALL for us, now we give ALL for Him.

We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized. Paradoxically, yielding all that we are and all that we have to Jesus is the only path to true contentment, fulfillment, and joy.

We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.

Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet friends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!

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