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.

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!)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer for Us to Stand in the Authority of Christ – by Radiant

A guest post by Radiant.
From the Peaceful Wife
These petitions are primarily based on Scripture and the promises of God to those who follow Jesus. The prayers themselves are not magical. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are powerful! When we pray the promises and truth of God back to Him in faith, we are praying according to His will and we open the floodgates of heaven. This is how He allows us to take part in birthing His will into our lives, our families, and this world.
From Radiant
If you see a few verses or thoughts that stand out to you, you could print just those on a card to remind yourself to pray throughout the day and this week.

Praying in the Authority of Jesus Christ

You Are Our Encouragement

  • Thank you, Jesus, that You are the lifter of our heads.
  • Thank You that You have plans to give us a hope and a future for us our families.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out an anointing of wisdom and love over our families in this new season.
You Are Our Healer and Comforter
For our families and ourselves, we confess, repent of, bind and send to the Cross all division, strife, hurt, self-effort, pride, offense, fear of man, fear of failure, critical spirits, judging, wounds, slavery, torment, perfectionism, religion, negativity, complaining, unbelief, hindrance, futile ways handed down by our fathers, forms of godliness without Your power, worldly wisdom and control.
  • Thank You that You are teaching us to live by faith, and not put ourselves under the law and a curse.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your healing, love and Spirit on each wound that each of us has spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
  • Thank You that You are binding us together in love by Your Spirit.

You Are for Us

  • Thank You that You have called each person in our families by name and they are Yours.
  • Thank You that He who started a good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it.
  • Thank You that You alone are Intercessor, the Author and perfecter of each of our faith. We give our own hearts and each family member’s hearts, destiny, past and future to You.
  • Thank You that Your design for marriage is to reflect Christ and the Bride. We declare that anointing over our kids, their future spouses and our marriages.
  • Thank You that if You are for us, who can be against us? There is no condemnation now for those of us who are in Christ Jesus!
You Are Our Freedom
  • Thank You that Your definition of freedom is freedom from sin and the freedom to walk in holiness and obedience to You!
  • Thank You that it is for freedom You set us and our families free. And if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed.
  • Thank You that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

You Are Changing Us

  • Thank You that You are changing the desires and delights of our hearts so that we delight in You, our Bridegroom.
  • Thank You that we have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer the old us who live, but the new us. We are now one with Christ, full of the Spirit, covered by His blood and made totally new with Your resurrection power!
You Are Our Rest
  • Thank You that You are making crooked things straight, strengthening the things that are lame.
  • Thank You that a bruised reed You will not break, and a smoldering wick You will not put out. You bear with us in our weakness.
  • Thank You that all of us who are heavy laden and weary are coming to You and You gladly give us Your supernatural rest.
  • Thank You that we cast our cares on You because You care for us. We remove all yokes that are not of You from us and our families in Jesus’ Name – and we take on Your light yoke, Your joy and Your presence for each of us.
You Are Our Peace
  • Thank You that You are our peace. You have made us and our families one, and have broken down the dividing wall of separation.
  • Thank You that You will reign as the Prince of Peace in our hearts and our families’ hearts today.
  • Thank You that no scheme of hell or man can ever separate us from Your love or pluck us from Your hand.
  • Thank You that You are giving us wisdom from heaven which is first of all peaceable.
  • Thank You that You, Yourself, promise to be our Teacher and the Teacher of our kids, and great will be our peace.
  • Thank You that we are each setting our minds on the things of the Spirit – which is life and peace – instead of our old way of setting our minds on worldly things that lead to death.
You Are Calling Us
  • Thank You that the Spirit of the Lord is on You (and now on us), because the Lord has anointed You (and Your Bride –  even me) to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open prison doors to those who are bound, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
  • Thank You that even though the enemy has been stealing, killing and destroying many things in our lives, You came that we might have life and have it abundantly. You restore the ruins, You give restitution for what the locusts have eaten.
  • Thank You that those who look to You lack no good thing in light of eternity. Our faces are radiant.
You Are God with Us
  • Thank You that You are flooding our hearts with You, to treasure You and be full of love and grace.
  • Thank You that we will not bite and devour each other, but bless each other.
  • Thank You that You are helping us live lives that will be good places for Your Spirit to dwell and bring good fruit and fruit of the Spirit rather than barrenness or thorns.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your Spirit on all flesh — on us and our descendants.
  • Thank You that Your Word and Your Spirit teach us all things.
  • Thank You that You are giving us a beautiful crown instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.
  • Thank You that we will all be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
  • Thank You that You are working the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman into me and my daughter as Your Bride.
You Are Our Victorious Warrior in Spiritual Battle
  • Thank You Jesus that what the enemy means for evil, You use for good.
  • Thank You that we will build up ancient ruins, raise up former devastations, repair ruined cities and the devastations of many generations.
  • Thank You that You have given us every spiritual blessing, supply, weapon and tool we need in Christ for this spiritual battle we are in. And Your Name is Victory!!
  • You already defeated the enemy. Now we declare Your victory over us and our families and homes.
We praise You Jesus for what You are doing and all that has shifted in the spiritual realm as we declare Your promises over us.
We give it all to You and ask for Your help for us to yield, be pliable and surrender our wills to Yours.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus and according to His perfect will,
Amen!

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical of the Changes I Am Making?

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

First of all, if you have decided to walk on this road, I am thrilled that you want to allow the Lord to change you and you want to become the woman and wife God calls you to be. This is not an easy journey. It is a narrow, lonely path and very few find it. But God’s path is the most wonderful place to be in all the world – full of the presence of God, the glory of God, and spiritual treasures and blessings in Christ.

  • Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Tim. 2:21

Many times, we wives (especially us Type A personalities, like me), throw ourselves into trying to completely change everything in our lives all at once. We expect ourselves to be able to master these new ways of thinking, speaking, and acting in a few hours or a few days. We are sincere about wanting the Lord to change us. And… we really want our husbands to be supportive as we change.

Maybe we make some big changes:

These are great things.

Maybe I have been doing that for a few days, or even a few weeks or months – and yet, my husband doesn’t seem to be changing. In fact, maybe  he doesn’t seem to “buy” the new me.

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical?

One thing I have noticed is that most husbands remain skeptical about the changes their wives make on this journey for quite some time – whether they are believers or not. That seems to be a pretty common pattern. I have seen one husband who was super supportive immediately and who made his wife breakfast in bed the next day after she apologized for her disrespect. But most of the time, husbands are confused and concerned about the sudden changes they see. Even good changes can seem scary to someone who isn’t sure what is going on.

If you have a history of months, years, or decades of acting one way, and now you are seeking to allow God to change you, that is awesome! And I want to encourage you to keep going and to press on, allowing God to do all He wants to do in your heart and life. I am right here, cheering you on, praying for you, and rooting for you with all my heart!

  • And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

But let’s stop and try to see from a husband’s perspective in this situation. They do have legitimate concerns, many times. Just like a wife may have concerns if her husband suddenly changes abruptly after years or decades of acting in certain ways.

The truth is, it generally takes time for people to have total heart change.

People can put on a front for a while. But not many people actually have a total heart and life change that lasts.

If you have been married any length of time, and you have a personality much like mine, you have probably read a lot of marriage books and tried many new approaches in the past. Your husband may assume that this is just “another one of those phases.” He may think that this is another attempt at manipulating him. Or that it is a fad that will fade in a few weeks. So he may not get on board right away and cheer for the good new things you are doing. He may be afraid that if he doesn’t respond the way you want him to, that you will get really upset. Change can be super scary for husbands. Even good change. They aren’t sure yet why you are making these changes and if it really will be as good as it seems.

He wants to see that what is happening is for real.

And the only thing that will convince most husbands that this kind of change is real – is that they see it consistently over a significant period of time. Like many – months or even years.

I haven’t ever come across a woman, in my 7 years of ministry, who suddenly and completely changes in an instant. I sure didn’t. It took me over 3 years to begin to feel like I had any clue what I was doing. And I was studying and praying 3-5 hours per day almost 7 days per week that entire 3 years. It was another year or two after that before it all began to really feel like the new me. And I am still learning every day, after 10 years on this journey, and will be for the rest of my life!

Besides that, your husband has his own journey to make, too. And his timing may be different from yours. God can reach him all the more as you get out of God’s way and as you cooperate with the Lord in becoming the woman and wife He calls you to be. That will make it easier for your husband to hear God’s voice to him. Don’t worry. He will have a lot of changing to do, too. God will handle that.

This Journey Is Completely Life-Changing

This journey is more like a baby learning to walk than it is like flipping a light switch. Or it is like learning a brand new language that is foreign to us. We don’t go from infant to being able to walk in a day or even a month. And we don’t suddenly become fluent in a foreign language in a few hours or a few weeks. Or even a year.

What God is calling us to is radical.

He wants us to give up our old fixed beliefs about God, other people, and ourselves. He wants us to unlearn all of the brainwashing and indoctrination we have received from our culture, our sinful natures, and the enemy for decades. He wants us to crucify our sinful natures with Jesus on the cross and receive His Spirit. He wants to shine His blazing Light into the darkest, most wounded areas of our hearts and minds and get rid of anything toxic and bring total healing. He wants us to rebuild our lives completely on His Word and His truth alone.

He wants total sanctification.

  • This is not a matter of a house that just needs to be painted on the inside and have new curtains hung in the windows.
  • What God wants to do is raze the old house and rebuild from scratch.

Positionally, I am sanctified in God’s eyes. I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I have received all of Jesus’ righteousness and holiness into my account. He completely paid my sin debt in full. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus and His holiness and goodness! How amazing is that!?!?

The process of experiential or progressive sanctification lasts our entire lives on this planet. There is always so much more to learn, so much more to comprehend. There is always more growing to do in our faith and so many more spiritual treasures to discover in Jesus.

  • Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23

What Do I Do If My Husband Stays Skeptical for a Long Time?

My precious sister, you just keep doing what God calls you to do. Until He calls you home to heaven.

Reverence Christ above all. Think rightly about and respect your husband. Think rightly about and respect yourself. This is ultimately all about you and Jesus. Continue to let Him change you. Continue to allow Him to heal and teach you. Continue to humble yourself before the Lord and invite Him to have full control and yield to His Lordship completely.

Continue to demonstrate to your husband that when you stumble, you get right back up.

Show him that this is real. You’re not perfect, but you are determined! Don’t talk much about what you are learning and doing if he is skeptical. Your words won’t impress him. The genuine heart and life change he sees in you will eventually speak much more loudly than your words ever could.

Be patient with your husband’s skepticism. Realize that he does have a point – that people don’t generally change 180 degrees in an instant. And use this time where your husband may not be super supportive to let God refine your motives. If your motives are that you want your husband to change, you won’t be able to hold on for months with a skeptical husband. When you find you are disappointed in your husband’s lack of support, let that be a reminder that you want your motives to be simply to please and honor the Lord. Change for Jesus.

If your husband hasn’t experienced the transforming power of God, himself, or he hasn’t seen it before, he may not realize that it is even possible for people to dramatically change by the power of Jesus. So you have an incredible opportunity to be that example.

Note to any husbands who may be reading – The more supportive and encouraging you can be toward your wife who wants to become a more godly wife, the easier it will be for her to make these changes!

I can remember feeling discouraged many times in the first 3 years, especially, of my journey. I had no clue what I was doing. No mentor. No one to help me navigate this seeming minefield but God, my journals, and over 30 books. I would get frustrated that Greg didn’t seem to be changing or didn’t seem to be as supportive as I wanted him to be.

In those moments, God would gently speak to my heart, “April, why are you doing this? Are you changing so that you can control Greg and make him do what you want him to do for you? Are you doing this so that you feel more loved by Greg? Or are you changing for Me?”

Then I would redirect my motives and focus to the Lord and keep on trusting Him and inviting Him to change me.

Be patient with yourself. You are human. This is a difficult journey that very few women make, especially today in our culture. None of us will be completely perfect until heaven. We need to give ourselves much grace – and our husbands, too. But we can allow God to help us grow. We can allow Him access to our souls and minds. We can determine to yield to His leading and trust Him to give us the light we need for each little baby step. We can trust Him with the outcomes. We can allow Him to give us the power we need to walk in holiness and obedience. We can rest in Him and allow Him to restore our souls and to be our Good Shepherd.

Note to Wives with Severe Marriage Issues:

If there are any uncontrolled mental health issues, active addictions, lots of secrecy about money/time/other contacts, adultery, abuse, or other serious problems going on in your marriage, please reach out to a trusted, experienced, godly counselor for help one-on-one – preferably in person. You are probably going to need additional support, prayer, and wisdom. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe. Involve the authorities if you need to.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Walking the narrow path of Yours is tricky. And lonely. And sometimes we feel like no one else is with us but You. Encourage those of us who are discouraged today. Help us keep our focus on You and all that You want to do in and through us. Help us decide to follow and obey You no matter what. Help us yield to Your Lordship and to the power of Your Spirit to give us the supernatural ability to do all that You ask us to do. We can’t do this on our own. Help us to set our faces like flint to follow You and to seek to please You far above anything else. Help us to see that You are truly the Greatest Treasure there is. Refine and purify our motives and make us more and more like Jesus for Your glory. Let us set godly examples for our husbands, children, and everyone else around us by Your power working in and through us.

Amen!

SHARE

If you have been on this journey for awhile and you’d like to share how your husband responded when you first began to ask God to change you, we’d love to hear about your experience!

If you are just starting out and you need some encouragement or prayer, please let us know.

If you are a husband and you have masculine insights to share to help us better understand our men, we’d love to hear that, as well.

Much love in Christ!

RELATED

Influencing an Unbelieving (or Believing) Husband for Christ

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

I Don’t Think My Husband Loves Me – How Can I  Become a Godly Wife?

Sometimes This Journey Is Lonely- but This Wife Is Being Faithful to God

Don’t Expect Outside Support – from friends, extended family, coworkers, etc… on this journey

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by The Restored Wife

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Respect Myself

 

 

 

 

Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

We are continuing our 21 Day Fast from Negative Words and this week the focus will be on arguing. The Lord gives very clear instructions throughout the Bible that those who know, love, and follow Him are not to argue, quarrel, or fight.

Oh, and don’t forget to comment on how you are doing with the fast. Let us know if you are stuck or need some prayer or encouragement, too.

The Lord instructs all believers in Christ not to argue or quarrel.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Phil. 2:14
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
  • Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim. 2:14

Sometimes conflict is inevitable. But arguing and quarreling CAN be avoided!

We need to be able to discuss, share, inform, request, and suggest things in our relationships. We even need to be able to appropriately confront sin, at times. We need to be able to state our opinions and desires respectfully. We need to be able to have important and unimportant discussions. Thankfully, we can do all of this without arguing with God’s help, wisdom, and power.

What Does It Mean to Argue or Quarrel?

Google Dictionary gives two definitions of arguing.

  1. give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
2. exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.
In this post, we are talking about the second definition. Or about quarreling, squabbling, bickering, or fighting. We are not to pick fights. We are not to act foolishly, only caring about trying to force our own opinion and agenda on everyone with selfish motives. We are not to try to crush other people and hurt them to prove how “right” we are about something.

What Does It Mean to Discuss Something?

Google Dictionary gives three definitions of “discussion.” Here are two that are most pertinent to our conversation today.

  1. the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
  2. a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
There is no attempt to hurt others or to “win at all costs.” It is a peaceful conversation about ideas, priorities, perspectives, and solutions. This is very freeing! We can discuss without tension at all – recognizing that the relationship is generally more important than the issue being discussed. The only time the issue is more important is if it is something about God or sin. And even then the Lord instructs us to handle those who oppose us gently and with respect, desiring the opponents to come to repentance, salvation, and right relationship with God (2 Tim. 2:25).
We can respectfully share and discuss our perspectives, ideas, desires, needs, and concerns. We don’t have to insult anyone or be rude. We don’t have to go after anyone with sinful anger, rage, hatred, or malice. We don’t have to be selfish. We can remain Spirit-filled, self-controlled, calm, and peaceful. We can treat others with honor, godly love, and respect as we act in our new nature in the Lord.
Yes, even if we disagree.

Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?

The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:

The Cure Is to Live in the Spirit with Love and Humility

The cure for quarreling, bickering, and fighting:

  • Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
  • Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
  • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
  • But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
  • If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3

In witnessing, there are times to stop. When people don’t want to hear the Gospel and they reject it and us, we move on. This will help avoid quarrels, as well:

  • 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
  • And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Mark 6:11

But how in the world do I avoid arguing in practical ways when I live with sinful people who want to argue constantly? And how to I avoid arguing when I have my own sinful nature to contend with, as well?

Some Suggestions to Prayerfully Consider

To avoid arguing, there are some disciplines and things I need to pray about:

Some Verses about Avoiding Arguing and Quarreling:

From the New Testament:

  • As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Rom. 14:1
  • But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

From Proverbs:

  • Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Prov. 3:30
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Prov. 19:13
  • It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Prov. 20:3
  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Prov. 29:22
  • Pressing anger produces strife. Prov. 30:33

SHARE

What are some things that have hit you in this post or in this series? How is your 21 day fast going? Do you need some encouragement or prayer? What has been the hardest part? Have you noticed any good fruit in your life or relationships?

Much love!

RELATED

We have been doing a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words inspired by this wife’s story. We started on Valentine’s Day and agreed that we would seek to avoid the following:

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Humility” by Andrew Murray

NOTE – If you are not safe, if someone is abusing you or threatening you or your children, please try to get to safety. Avoiding quarrels and arguments doesn’t mean we sit and take physical abuse or we just stay and let someone mistreat us terribly. Please reach out to proper authorities if you are not safe. Or you can contact www.thehotline.org if you are on a safe computer.

Join Me for a 3 Week Fast from Negative Words!

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
A wife inspired me with her story earlier this week. I’d love to invite us ALL to do a fast similar to the one she decided to do.

THE CHALLENGE

Let’s seek to avoid the following for the next 21 days:

A Critical, Judgmental Spirit Destroys Others and Ourselves

Our goal is to LIVE the Christian life, not just to have head knowledge of it.
So let’s invite the Lord, Himself, into our words to show us what His will is for us regarding how we use our mouths. First, let’s avoid hurtful, destructive criticism – the kind of negative words designed to tear others down. Those kinds of words don’t benefit anyone. They hurt our relationships. They hurt people. And they grieve God’s heart.
There is such a thing as constructive criticism and there is such a thing as a wise, godly rebuke. These are good things when used rightly and with right motives. We all need to receive loving feedback about our blind spots at times.
From www.gotquestions.org about a critical spirit:
Jesus is not saying that we should not be discerning or that we should ignore the fallen nature of the world. He is also not saying that we must never, under any circumstance, criticize anyone else. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are to judge rightly (John 7:24). However, we are not to criticize with malicious intent or out of pride, hypocrisy, or self-righteousness. We cannot assume that we are impartial or that we can fairly exact our standards on others. Humans have naturally deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) that allow for blind spots and inappropriate comparisons. Only God can judge with perfect accuracy (Hebrews 4:12; James 4:11-12; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:11). And our discernment is only valid when it is informed by a renewed nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 16:13). Only when we are submitted to Christ and honest with ourselves will our judgment serve to edify rather than destroy.
Critical words spring from a critical heart. And a critical heart generally comes from a misunderstanding of God’s grace—either due to pride or a simple lack of information about God’s character and the meaning of salvation. Only when we understand our depravity apart from God and the depth of His grace will we be able to bestow grace to others (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Colossians 2:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-10).
  • You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt. 7:5
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Insults Deeply Wound Others

Our words have “the power of life and death” according to scripture (Prov. 18:21). What we say matters. There are two primary commands Jesus gives us. The first is that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The second is that we are to love other people as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). Then Jesus connects the two. We learn that He counts the way we treat other people, even the least of them, as the way we treat Him (Matt. 25:31-46). And in 1 John, we learn that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

So what we speak to people in our every day lives matters. A lot. Let’s invite God to help us stop using our words as weapons to cut others down and to stop speaking death to people – and even to ourselves.

  • Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Pet. 3:9
  • Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12
  • A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

Complaining and Negativity Hurt Our Witness for Christ

When we complain and highlight all that is wrong with life and focus on bad things, we reveal a lack of trust in the Lord and unbelief in our hearts. God calls us to live lives of thanksgiving in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He calls us to focus our minds on Him and on all of the good things and blessings we can find (Phil. 4:8).

One of the things that stirred God’s anger the most against the people of Israel in the wilderness was their tendency to complain and grumble. They complained to Moses, but ultimately, their real complaint was against God. They didn’t believe He would take good care of them. They didn’t believe He was able to provide well for them. They didn’t trust His heart toward them or His plan. They didn’t come to Him with their needs and ask for help humbly and respectfully by faith. They accused God of evil motives and said He must be too weak to help or save them. That was not remotely the case!

Even now for believers in Christ, if we choose to complain and grumble about our lot in life, we hurt our walk with the Lord and we destroy our witness for Him. How can anyone be drawn to Jesus if we are so dissatisfied with Him and we don’t trust Him, ourselves? God is not saying we can’t ask Him for help. We absolutely can! And we can ask others for help, too, when we need to, and it is appropriate. But for believers in Christ, there is no room in our lives for complaining. We are to live lives of faith. Faith doesn’t complain – it trust God and seeks Him, inviting Him into the situation to do something glorious.

We also need to remember that God intends to use our trials to help us grow in our faith and spiritual maturity. The thing I am complaining about may be the answer to my prayers that God has sent to help me grow. Not that we should try to find suffering or put ourselves in suffering. But as a believer, I should have a totally different outlook on annoying and difficult things. They may be spiritual tests. They may be discipline for me to grow in my faith. They may be opportunities for God to do something amazing. In Christ, I can learn to count even my trials as joy. I can keep an eternal perspective rather than get wrapped up in the moment.

  • Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10
  • Do everything without grumbling and arguing,  so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation,among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16
  • Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9
  • Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Pet. 4:9

Arguing Is Ineffective, Detrimental, and  Unnecessary,  for a Believer

We can get our points across and have a voice, especially as we share things we know will honor and please the Lord. We can share the truth in love, using God’s wisdom and discernment. We can speak up against things that are wrong in God’s eyes. And we can do all of this without being argumentative, fighting, or involving sinful anger – IF we act in the power of the Spirit of God.

  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2

The Ultimate Goal

We can’t do any of this in our own power. But if we belong to Jesus, we can invite Him to give us the power we need to control our words – and even to control our thoughts. That is the end goal. Total heart, mind, and life change by the power of Christ.
  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
  • Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
 

Pray with Me

Lord,
We love You and want to love You so much more. More than anything or anyone else. More than even ourselves. Jesus, if You are our Lord, it means we are to submit every part of our lives to Your authority and control. Our words are often our area of greatest weakness, Lord. Our words reveal the hidden motives of our hearts. They demonstrate whether our sinful nature is in control or Your Spirit is in control. We want You to be in firm control of our mouths, words, and even our thoughts! We repent of our sinful words. Our words of condemnation, judgment, destructive criticism, grumbling, arguing, complaining, negativity, and insults. These things wound Your heart. They grieve You. They break our fellowship with You. We repent of these sinful words – and the sinful thoughts that birthed them. We want to take up our cross today and follow You. We crucify our sinful nature and all of its thoughts and words on the cross with Jesus. We receive Your new life and new nature for us. Thank You that You will empower us to walk in Your ways and to offer our mouths and words to You to use as instruments of righteousness rather than offering them to the enemy and sin to use to destroy others, hurt you, and destroy ourselves.
Let us act in Your wisdom with our words and let us use our words to speak Your Life – not death!
Amen!

Share Your Experience!

 
Let us know how things are going and if you notice anything different in your own walk with the Lord and your relationships.  Also, check in with us if you need some encouragement!
 
 
Much love!