Does God Really Have One Specific “Soul Mate” for You?

bride and groom holding hands

You know how the movies and books go, they often describe how a man and woman magically find each other out of all of the billions of people in the world, and they instantly know that they were destined for each other.

Sparks fly. Fireworks erupt. The world stands still.

They know that they are meant to be soul mates, and that they will complete each other and fulfill each other like no one else ever could. They just know they will be completely perfect for each other. Together, they will have unending bliss in this lifetime. They will feel totally in love every moment of every day. Infatuation will never end for them.

They won’t even have to work at nurturing the romance. It just magically happens without effort or problems.

A lot of us believe this idea.

But is this worldly idea of one perfect soulmate in all the world for each of us biblical?

There are four areas I want to address with this issue:

  1. Is there actually a person who can completely fulfill us, never disappoint us, give us total security, peace, joy, eternal happiness, and perfection?
  2. What kinds of fruit does the soul mate idea bear?
  3. What does the Bible say?
  4. What does the Bible not say?

The truth is, there is no perfect human

There is no completely flawless human soul mate who will never hurt us, always completely understand us like Hollywood portrays, and who can meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs every second of every day forever.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23

If we try to put a man on the throne of our hearts like this, we are making him into an idol. The problem with idolatry is, it always destroys us and it always destroys the relationship we have with the person we idolize. (Another way of describing this kind of relationship would be “codependent.”)

  • It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps. 118:8
  • Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… Jer. 17:5-6

Once we marry a man, that person is to be our spouse for life. We are to work on that relationship and nurture it out of love and honor for God and for the marriage covenant and our husband.

Marriage is a good gift. It is a blessing. God intends for each marriage to portray a living picture of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33).

But marriage is also hard. There are difficulties. This doesn’t mean we abandon our marriage covenant. Check out what the Bible says about divorce.

But there is a perfect God who can fulfill us

What we really need is Jesus. We need the perfect Creator of the universe, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Heavenly Bride Groom. He is the only one who can meet our deepest spiritual needs all the time. He is the only one who will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us.

If we have Him, we have the Greatest Treasure in all the universe!

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jer. 17:7-8
  • For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matt. 22:36-40

In Him, we truly can have absolute security, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, and our identity.

The problem with the world’s soul mate idea

When we have a mindset that a person can take the place of all that only Jesus can do for us, when we depend on a human man to be our soul mate, this is what happens:

  • We marry a man we idolize, with all these unrealistic expectations and then realize that he is not perfect. Even if he is a strong Christian, he sins and stumbles at times. And we are shocked and appalled. We begin to resent him and disrespect him.
  • We assume that we married the wrong person and we need to divorce this guy and find our real soul mate so we can be happy. We are angry at God for allowing us to marry a man who is not the soul mate we wanted more than anything.
  • With the soul mate mindset, our primary hope is in a flawed human being, not in Christ.
  • Our goal is our own momentary happiness (which is one of the greatest idols in our culture) rather than holiness or exalting Jesus above all and seeking His glory above everything else.
  • The marriage covenant and God’s commands for us as believers and as spouses become secondary to our feelings and desire for Hollywood style romance.

I believe this kind of soul mate concept is very dangerous to our marriages.

In reality, any Christian man we marry is not going to be perfect. And any Christian woman a man marries is flawed, as well. That includes us! We will have plenty of opportunities to give and receive grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love and respect. We all have a steep learning curve in marriage. And we all need the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit to build a strong, godly marriage.

What should happen when we realize our spouse is not perfect, is—it should remind us that only Jesus can truly meet our every spiritual need. And it should remind us of our own sin and how much we are completely dependent on Christ because on our own, none of us have any good in us. And it should also make us remember that the only one we can completely trust to be faithful all the time is Jesus.

What does the Bible say?

Is there only one man for you out there? One specific man that you have to find among the billions of others?

  • Well, for Adam and Eve, there was definitely only one potential spouse for them. It was pretty obvious who God’s will was for them to marry!
  • And for Eleazer, who was looking for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, he did pray for God to show him the wife He wanted for Isaac and God answered his prayer. (Although, Rebecca was certainly not perfect.) We can certainly pray for God to lead us to a godly spouse.

But for us as followers of Christ, what are the qualifications we need to have for choosing a spouse?

  • A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 7:39
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? I Cor. 6:14

So really, the main thing is, we are to choose someone who is committed to living for Jesus. The rest is pretty much up to us.

In biblical times, most marriages were arranged. Sometimes the spouses didn’t even meet before the wedding. Or they were betrothed from infancy. There was no dating like we know in our culture.

Of course, for those who are already married to an unbeliever, God’s will is for them to stay with that spouse if possible and seek to influence the other one for Christ.

What does the Bible not say?

There are no verses that say things like:

  • Seek the one true love that God has for you among all of the other people in the world. Don’t marry anyone but him. If you marry some other Christian man, you are doomed to misery forever.
  • There is only one man for you that is perfect for you. Pray for God to help you find him. If you can’t find him, God can’t do anything of value with your life.
  • If you realize you married someone who is not perfect for you, divorce him and search the world for your real God-given soul mate so that you can be happy.

God’s will is for us, as Christian women, is for us to remain single and completely devoted to Christ or for us to marry a believing husband and remain completely devoted to Christ and faithful to our marriage covenant.

Did you know that we will not be married to our human husbands in heaven? Marriage is temporary for this lifetime. In heaven, all of the members of the Body of Christ make up the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bride Groom. We will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb together and be one in Spirit eternally together with Jesus. Earthly marriage is just a temporary picture that foreshadows heaven.

Again, only Jesus can promise happily ever after in heaven. There is no 100% happily ever after on earth. In fact, Scripture promises that on earth, and in earthly marriage, there will be trials.

  • those who marry will face many troubles in this life, 1 Cor. 6:28

But here is our hope in Jesus:

  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

FOR A HEALTHIER WAY TO VIEW THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES, please check out this post by www.gotquestions.org.

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How has the soul mate concept impacted you? Has it been helpful or hurtful? What scriptural support do you find for your beliefs on this issue?

(If you can’t see the comment space below, click on the title at the top of the post and then scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

Much love! <3

RELATED

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband an Idol – Guest Post

How to Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him

Is Your Spouse Responsible for Your Happiness?

The Idol of Happiness

Oneness in Marriage (overcoming codependency)

Closeness in Marriage Is Not What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife (also about overcoming codependency)

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

Very dirty feet

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

The Secret to Greatness

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

Jesus shared this shocking news with them:

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

The greatest in His kingdom is humble, not proud.

Pride says things like:

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

Humility says things like:

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

THE FOOT-WASHING WAY

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

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

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

― Andrew Murray, Humility

God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.

James 4:6

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

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

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

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

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

Living for Jesus is a clear call to joyful servanthood

The Gospel

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

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

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

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

Knowing Jesus Brings Contentment to My Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Equal Value but Different Roles and Gifts

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

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

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

Greatness Is Available to Each of Us!

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

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

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Does this concept surprise you? If so, how?

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

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

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

RELATED

Bible verses about servanthood

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

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

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

The Danvers Statement

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

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

bride and groom under her wedding veil

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

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

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

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

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

We Are Equally Loved and Valued

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

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

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

We Are Not the Same

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

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

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

But we have the same purpose!

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

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

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

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

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

The Role of the Wife in Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Does the Bible Say about Wives?

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

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

What the Bible Says about the Role of a Husband

Power and Freedom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love!

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

Does anything seem confusing, upsetting, or strange?

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

Additional resources for your prayerful consideration:

ABUSE IS ALWAYS SIN and NEVER GOD’S DESIGN

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

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

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

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

Desiringgod.org posts on Abuse

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

Rest. Wait. Follow. Me?

sheep in a meadow

It’s great to do things for God. But it MUST be according to His will, His Spirit, His leading, and His timing. I have learned that if I run ahead and do things on my own, I just make a big mess. A really big mess.

Not only do I not bless anyone, I can even cause harm when I try to do things in my strength, my effort, and my wisdom.

It’s hard for me to be still and wait. I don’t want to waste time. Life is short! Running ahead with my own plans is easy. My normal tendency is to want to just take off and go about 100 miles per hour feeling like I am DOING something important for God. Whether He has called me to that thing or not. Whether it is by His Spirit and assignment or not.

But God has been calling me to a MUCH slower pace. And a LOT of waiting, at times.

Because… He is good.

There’s nothing wrong with making plans in advance, necessarily. We need to make some plans. We do need to think about the future, at times, and pray about possible options. But sometimes I end up expending a lot of energy over potential decisions that may happen way down the road that we may not even need to ever make.

It’s critical that I remember that the Lord is in control, not me. I must be ready to set aside my plans every second for God’s plans.

Turns out, I don’t have to have everything figured out in advance.

A Pillar of Cloud and Fire

God has also been showing me recently that following Him is a lot like the picture of Israel following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38

The Israelites had no idea when God would move them or how long they might stay. God didn’t tell them His plan in advance. Sometimes, they stayed in a place only one night and the cloud moved the next day so they broke camp and followed. Other times, the cloud stayed in one place for a month or longer.

They were a lot like sheep, following their Good Shepherd.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

It makes me think of how God leads me. I don’t know His plan any more than these adorable little lambs know their shepherd’s plan. I don’t know what He will do even 5 minutes from now. And yet, He is with me. He does lead me.

Through His Word. Through prayer. Through godly counsel. Through circumstances. Through His “still, small voice.” Through people in positions of leadership in my life.

He is great at leading me through my wonderful husband who thinks so very differently from me. And He leads in other ways, too.

I have learned that human plans can change very quickly. I don’t want to put much weight on them.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17

In one heartbeat, our entire reality can suddenly change.

Only God really knows what will happen. And only God can truly know what will be best in any given situation.

All I really need to do is seek God’s beautiful face. Meaning, all I need to do is worship, thank, praise, and trust Him. As I keep my spiritual eyes focused on Him, He will direct my steps and give us the prompting, the open doors, the provision, the opportunities, the desires, the calling, the vision, the assignments, the wisdom, and the direction that I need.

This takes a whole lot of strain off of me. I don’t need to know the plan. And you know what else? Huge light bulb moment…

My husband doesn’t even need to know God’s plan in advance, either!

I just need to love and trust that God has the plan and He will reveal it to both of us one step at a time – at just the right time. I have found that He absolutely will as I devote myself fully to following and trusting Him.

When I say,

Lord,

Do ALL that You want with me and in me and with my family. Lead my career and ministry in Your narrow path that leads to Life. I want to experience as much of You as possible. I want to yield to Your Lordship completely. I want to get to see everything You want to provide and know and experience all of Your Spirit that I can possibly receive.

I leave everything open. I give you total access to every door in my life. Every possibility in the future. Every talent and gift I have. Everyone in my family. Every trial. Every blessing. It’s all completely Yours.

Let Your will be done 100% in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one good thing You have for me. I want to experience every bit of Your unfathomable love. I want You do to whatever will bring You the greatest glory in my life. Amen…

It is amazing what He will do.

ISAIAH 30:1-3

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

ISAIAH 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

ISAIAH 30:21 (God’s plan for His people with the New Covenant in Christ)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I want to be more like that little lamb who just seeks to be close to her shepherd and is ready to follow wherever he may go in a moment’s notice. It’s not about me, my plans, my opinions, my wisdom, or my thoughts about what would be best. It is all about Him!

It is a lot more simple than I ever realized.

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Have you learned something about resting in Christ, waiting on God, and following Him that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear the godly wisdom you have gleaned in your walk with the Lord.

RELATED

What Did the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night Signify? by www.gotquestions.org

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Resting in Christ

Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

open double door

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

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

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

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

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

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demonic Possession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demonic Oppression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

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

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

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

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

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

Freedom in Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

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

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

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

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

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

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

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

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

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

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

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

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

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

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

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

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

man standing on top of mountain

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

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

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

But what if it the scenario is reversed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nneka’s Take

Nneka Simone

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

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

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

Give your husband an ultimatum.

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

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

Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.

Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Time to Speak

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

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

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

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

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

Nneka’s Take

Constructive ways to handle this:

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

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

1. Take your concerns to God.

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

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

2. Speak the truth in love.

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

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

3. Pray for your husband’s associates. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities

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

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

The Las Vegas Story

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

The wife whose husband’s friends drank:

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

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

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

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

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

The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:

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

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

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

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

Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending

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

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

Six Scenarios Where We May Need to Break Contact with Others

woman standing at edge of dock on lake

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

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

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

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

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

This is exactly why I need God’s wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see what Scripture has to say.

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

ONE

When a professing believer refuses to repent of significant sin.

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

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

TWO

When someone is trying to tempt us into sin.

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

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

THREE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOUR

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

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

  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
  • Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Prov. 20:19
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Prov. 22:24-25
  • I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our LORD Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Rom. 16:17-18
  • Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. Titus 3:10

FIVE

When a person is clearly a false teacher.

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

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

SIX

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

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

GotQuestions.org has a great explanation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE

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

AN IMPORTANT REQUEST

Let’s not share specific situations here.

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

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

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

Thanks so much! <3

NOTE

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

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

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

MY NEXT POST

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

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

RELATED

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

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

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

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

Boundaries Will Not Cure Codependency by www.desiringgod.org

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

How to Interact with a Destructive Person by Leslie Vernick

My posts on conflict

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Articles about sound doctrine by www.gotquestions.org

The Real Motives Behind People Pleasing

An Amazing 3 Year Update – by the Satisfied Wife!

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

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

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

A NEW CHAPTER FOR US

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

A SOURCE OF MUCH OF MY DIFFICULTY

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

THINGS I HAVE BEEN LEARNING

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

I learned so many amazing things:

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

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

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

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

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

MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN CHANGING, TOO!

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

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

But has his basic personality changed?

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

Christian Submission: Is It Only for Women?

Bible pages flipping

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Ladies,

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

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

A Whole New Way of Thinking

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

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

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

Where God’s Concepts of Authority and Submission originated

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

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

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

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

Absolute Authority Belongs to Only One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Christ is LORD, we must submit to Him!

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

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

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

Types of Authority

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

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

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

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

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

However, people never have equal authority with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have authority over my own life, too

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

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

 

The Biblical Concept of Authority

The Definition

Check out the definition Jesus uses for authority:

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

Scripture teaches that godly leaders are to be gentle:

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

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

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

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

How Jesus Used His God-given Authority:

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

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

The Biblical Concept of Submission

From www.gotquestions.org:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

Verses about Submission to Human Authorities

Verses about Submission to God

Verses about Accountability

RESOURCES

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

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

Why Should I Trust and Submit to God?

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

Why Is God the Absolute Authority? by answersingenesis.org

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

15 Amazing Attributes of God by www.biblestudytools.com

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

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

My posts on submission and about submitting

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband? 

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

BOOKS

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

Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray $0.99 on Kindle

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to Be a Peaceful Wife on Vacation

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

Vacations are supposed to be a fun time of relaxation with our families, a time when we make beautiful memories to cherish forever. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a vacation to become stressful and anything but peaceful.

How is it that a wonderful trip together can often bring out our worst?

Thankfully, as women who know Jesus, we have access to the Holy Spirit and the spiritual abundance of Christ all the time.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus. Col. 3:17 NLT

Here are some tips I have learned about vacation issues to help you build up your marriage and family. (They may even come in handy at home, too!)

10 Peaceful Wife Vacation Tips

  1. Share what you would like to do with your husband in a friendly, polite, non-pressuring way.

    • Remember that your respectful approach is often more important than what you ask for.
    • Keep in mind that the way you approach your husband is your powerful example to your children of how you want them to approach you, your husband, and other people in positions of authority in their lives.
    • If you have to sin in order to get what you want, whatever you wanted is not going to be worth it in the end. (Gal. 5:16)
    • Avoid insulting or humiliating your husband, children, and others. Avoid arguing, complaining, freaking out, taking control (except for an emergency where it is truly necessary), and bitterness, etc…
    • Don’t let the vacation become more important to you than pleasing Christ or more important than your marriage or family relationships. Even a vacation can become an idol if we are not careful (something that we desire more than we desire Jesus).
    • Treat your husband with honor and respect because this honors the Lord. (Rom. 12:10, Eph. 5:33)
    • Treat yourself with respect, as well. (Think rightly about yourself according to God’s Word.)
  2. If you and your husband don’t agree on what to do (after you have both shared your preferences), seek to have a cooperative spirit.

    • Try to be open to the good aspects of his idea and think of his plans as a gift he wants to give you and your family. Don’t immediately assume his idea is awful.
    • Remember that you are both on the same team!
    • Don’t push to go beyond your budget or pressure him to go into debt. (Rom. 13:8)
    • He may be trying to do a good job leading, why not be supportive? (Col. 3:18-19, 1 Cor. 11:3)
    • This may end up being your favorite trip, ever! Who knows? If you have an adventurous spirit and are open to receiving the experience he wants to share, it could bless your marriage and family.
    • If he asks you to do something you are seriously unable to do or that completely terrifies you, it is important to respectfully share your fears and concerns. If he wants to go to an amusement park he thinks the kids will enjoy, but you get motion sickness, you don’t have to ride the rides. You could say something like, “I can’t ride anything, but I am happy to go with you and enjoy watching you and the kids have fun.”
      • (Note – if you or your children are not safe in your marriage, please get experienced, trusted help ASAP! And if your husband or children are not safe with you, please get help for yourself ASAP!)
  3. Keep things in perspective. 

    • Each person’s desires, ideas, and preferences about a trip are important. Both spouses want and need to feel heard and to know that they each have a voice.
    • But it’s critical to remember that the marriage covenant and how you treat each other is much more important in God’s eyes than where you go and what you do for a few days. (Matt. 22:46-40, 1 Cor. 13:4-6)
    • You have tons of influence and power as a wife/mom to make or break the entire trip because you are the precious heart of the family. You are like the thermostat and you generally get to set the emotional temperature for everyone.
    • The way we treat others, including our family members, is the litmus test God uses for our love for Him. We treat others with love because God loves us and we love Him. (Matt. 25:40, 1 John 4:19-21)
    • Take responsibility for yourself spiritually. Focus most on your character and the way you think, speak, and act as you invite the Holy Spirit to help you set a godly example for everyone around you. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  4. Pray for yourself, your family, and those around you.

    • Don’t take a vacation from a strong prayer life or from time with the Lord and His Word when you are on a trip. Write in your prayer journal. Set aside some time, even when you are waiting in lines to pray God’s blessing, favor, and promises over your husband, your children, those around you, the city (and state and country) where you are visiting, and yourself. (1 Thess. 5:17) Meditate on Scripture. Set your mind on praising and thanking God. Confess any sins right away to Him.
    • Invite God to do miracles and amazing things in your every day life and all around you – at home and away. He is always with you and always ready to accomplish His good purposes in your life. (Heb. 13:5, Rom. 8:28-29)
  5. Be flexible.

    • Things don’t always go as planned. That is just how this life is sometimes. Your response is often more important than the problems that come up. With Jesus, you can choose to respond with grace, understanding, love, kindness, joy, and peace.
    • If you can’t go on a trip this year, decide to make amazing memories at home. Great family memories don’t have to be expensive! And they don’t have to be out-of-town, even. A trip is a luxury, not a right or necessity.
    • Be ready to think of the detours and obstacles as an adventure to share together. God may have an amazing blessing to give you through something that seems bad, at first, no matter where you are.
    • If a really difficult trial arises, turn to the Lord in faith and trust and thank Him that He is with you. Ask Him to be glorified even in the midst of the trial. (James 1:2-4)
  6. Maintain a sense of humor and fun. 

    • If your flight gets delayed, a storm comes, plans change, or someone gets sick or injured (and it is not major), see if you can find some fun even in the problems. It may be that this situation becomes a treasured family story that you will all look back on and enjoy… eventually.
    • A great sense of humor, especilaly when it is shared together, can smooth over a lot of rough patches.
    • Going through trials and problems can be really bonding if you have the right attitude.
    • Ask God to empower you to be a blessing to your husband and kids.
    • Focus on the good. (Phil. 4:8)
    • Practice thanksgiving. (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
  7. Be willing to let go of control.

    • Accept that things will not be perfect and not all go exactly the way you want them to go. Choose to trust God rather than cling to an illusion of control.
    • When we try to control things, we only make everyone around us (including ourselves) miserable.
    • You can still relax and enjoy things, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned.
    • Be open to new things and changes in plans and allow the Lord to lead in your life in ways you don’t expect. (James 4:13-14)
    • Experience God’s freedom for you from worry and fear. (2 Tim. 1:7)
  8. Be aware of moments to share God’s love with your husband, children, and those around you.

    • As believers in Christ, we are always on mission wherever we go. (Matt. 28:19)
    • Invite God to show you opportunities to be to share the gospel, share part of your testimony, or to be the mouth, hands, and feet of Christ to strangers around you.
      • Yes, even in the airport, at a rest stop, in the theme park, or on the street of a major city.
      • Maybe you can take fresh to-go cups of ice-cold drinks out to some homeless people right outside of the restaurant where you eat lunch, if your husband is on board with it.
      • Who knows what a blessing you and your family could be?
    • Also be on the lookout for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and grace to your husband and family.
    • Maybe you can use time in a long line to sing a praise song to the Lord, (in a way that is respectful of others around you). Or maybe you can use waiting time to read or listen to God’s Word alone or with your husband or children. Or you can ask everyone to name things they are thankful for or to share their favorite parts of the trip so far. Even the times of waiting can be a blessing if you have a wonderful attitude.
    • Maybe you and your husband would be excited to do a family mission trip for vacation? There are organizations that can help provide opportunities for this. Imagine the joy of sharing Christ with others together as a family!
  9. If everyone is getting tired or grumpy, invite God to give you and your husband His Spirit for strength, patience, wisdom, and discernment.

    • Your good attitude may just be contagious.
    • Try not to over schedule yourselves. Rushing and hurrying adds so much stress! It is impossible to enjoy things when you are in a huge hurry. The bigger the rush, the more tempting it will be to snap at each other and be irritated. No one needs that!
    • Recognize each family member’s limits and seek to accomodate them wisely.
    • Ultimately, remember that the people you love are more important than the plans and schedule.
    • Life is way too short to get upset over little things that ultimately won’t really matter.
  10. Carry a sense of wonder with you.

    • Notice the little beautiful moments.
      • The glorious sunset.
      • The butterfly on a flower nearby.
      • The laughter of children.
      • The lightning bugs blinking in synchronization in the apple orchard at night.
      • The grandeur of the mountains.
      • The vastness of the ocean and the rhythm of the waves.
      • The creativity of an architect, artist, or designer and what a gift God has given each of us to be able to be creative as a reflection of His ability to create.
      • A theme in a story or show that conveys biblical truth.
    • Think and talk about how amazing the Creator of the universe is. (Gen. 1:1)
    • Appreciate your senses, your husband, your family, and each experience.
    • Stay in the moment. Put the phone away sometimes. Savor this time together. Be fully present and with your husband and children.
    • Enjoy each moment to the fullest, even if it is not perfect.
    • Be open to the spiritual treasures the Lord may want to share with you each day wherever you may be.

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What tips do you have to help other wives and moms be peaceful on vacation? We’d love to hear the wisdom God has shown you!

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