The times I have gotten stuck on my journey to obey God’s Word as a wife and to totally submit to Him in my entire life, including my marriage and to learn His design for me to respect and submit to my husband – there was usually one or more of the following going on:
- bitterness – I was hanging on to resentment and unforgiveness. When I do this, I forfeit God’s Holy Spirit abiding in me and empowering me. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a godly woman and to live in constant fellowship with Christ if I am cherishing ANY sin in my heart. I MUST sincerely, humbly and deeply repent.
- pride – I started thinking I know best. I know better than God. I know better than God’s Word. I know better than my husband. I should be the one in control. I’d do a much better job than my husband at leading. He’s messing everything up. As a single, you may think you know better than your parents, your church leaders, your boyfriend, your boss, or any authority figure.
- lack of faith in God or my man – without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And without faith in my husband, it is impossible for me to show respect to him in a way that will mean anything to him.
- idolatry – I started looking to other things besides Christ for my fulfillment, contentment and happiness. THIS IS VERY EASY TO DO! I have to CONSTANTLY check my motives. WHY am I doing what I am doing? Am I really doing this to honor God? Or am I doing it to try to control my man and make him love me more? Am I doing this to try to force my husband to make me feel loved? Am I doing this because I love God with all my heart, want to know Him more and want to obey Him? Or am I doing the respect thing because I want to try to CONTROL God? Motive matter GREATLY to our men and to God.
- lust – if I am living in rebellion to God’s Word to save sex for marriage, or I am pushing the limits, or I am living in sin of any description – I cannot and will not have contentment, peace, joy and the spiritual riches of God.
- addiction – any addiction is an idol – whether it is to beauty, thinness, food, a certain weight, a drug, alcohol, pornography, gambling, sick relationships, attention, lying, sex, popularity, power, control… all addictions are SERIOUS, SERIOUS sin. There is no worse sin than idolatry. We must never allow ANYTHING to come before our commitment, devotion and love for Christ.
If I do not start from a place of total humility and brokenness – weeping over the magnitude of my own sin in God’s sight – I still have a lot more repenting to do.
It is only when I am utterly humble and contrite before God and tear down all my idols and all my false understanding of him and of myself that I can please Him. I have to see how utterly spiritually poor, impoverished and critically ill I am to be in the right place.
I must be willing to lay everything down on the altar and sacrifice it to Jesus. I have to die to myself – willingly.
If there is something that I am holding back from Him and afraid to trust Him about – I have an idol – and I have a lot more work to do.
His perfect love drives out all fear. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.
The power of God will begin to move in my own heart in extremely powerful ways.
God’s power is fiercely strong in me when I look to Him to be the only source of my identity, the only source of my joy, the only source of my strength and the only purpose in my life. I must want His will much more than my own – even if I don’t know exactly what His will might involve. I trust Him.
My highest goal is to bring honor and glory to my Lord.
This is the secret of contentment, joy, peace and abundant life!
THE LITMUS TEST
If I am acting in my own strength and have sin in my heart, I will see multiple characteristics of the flesh predominantly in my heart on a daily basis – and in increasing measure (Galatians 5:19-21):
- sexual immorality
- debauchery (excessive use of alcohol/drugs/sex)
- fits of rage
- selfish ambition
- and the like
If I have things in my heart from the above list, I have either not accepted the gift of Jesus Christ to pay for my sins and asked Him to be my Savior and Lord – or I am not living with Him as Lord. I have grieved His Spirit and am clinging to sin more than to Jesus.
If His Spirit is in charge – I will see ALL of the fruit of the Spirit in my life daily and in increasing measure (Galatians 5:22):
- no envy
- no boasting
- no rudeness
- no pride
- no self-seeking
- not easily angered
- keep no record of wrongs suffered
- forgiveness (unforgiveness = wickedness, the parable of the servant whose master forgave him a great debt, and then the servant wouldn’t forgive his fellow servant a small debt – the master called him, “You wicked servant!”)
- no delight in evil (ie: unforgiveness, idolatry, control, pride, selfishness, lust and gossip)
- rejoice with the truth
- I protect my husband
- I trust my husband (or want to move towards being able to rebuild trust) and even more, I trust my Lord
- I hope in my husband and my Lord
- I always persevere in my marriage by God’s strength
When I am living in the power of God’s Spirit – these things on this list will be a daily reality and become normal. God does this. I cannot do these things AT ALL on my own. I just have to be plugged in to His power source, spending time in His Word, surrendering my heart, yielding my life completely and without reservation, praying constantly, praising Him constantly, meditation on His Word all throughout the day.
This is what a “normal” Christian life is supposed to look like!