Posts Tagged ‘wife’

Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 is a powerful chapter where Paul addresses some important topics for each of us.  He begins by giving us an overall principle:

Walk as children of light….try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord….Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”.  Life can’t just be lived on autopilot.  We have to focus on how we live. Life shouldn’t just happen to us.  We need to be intentional in how we happen to life.  We need to inspect how we use our time and be sure we are maximizing it because time is limited and short.  It isn’t just about getting through life, it’s about walking with God through life!

Paul shows us what it looks like to live a Spirit filled life.  “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.  He gives us four key ways we can let the Spirit guide us:

  • Interacting with each other with joy
  • Worshipping God with all our heart
  • Living a life of gratitude for all things
  • Submitting to each other in reverence of Christ

Being Spirit filled doesn’t happen by living alone.  It happens as we live with others, and walk closely with God.

Paul goes on to end the chapter tackling one of the toughest areas where living in the Spirit comes to life – our marriages.  He has strong words for both husband and wife.  “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord….wives should submit  in everything to their husbands”. He begins with wives and uses that ‘s’ word that has such a negative connotation today.  But it isn’t a bad word at all, and if understood, is really about freeing a wife from the responsibilities that are passed to her husband when she submits.  Being submissive does not make one a doormat to be trampled and taken advantage of.  It does mean putting one under the authority of another, but with that passes accountability and responsibility to the authority.

To men, Paul writes “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her….love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself”.  Husbands are told to do something differently – to love their wife as Christ loved the church.  What did that look like?  Jesus went to the cross and died for the church.  That’s the kind of love God calls husbands to have – a love that means dying to self and putting another above our own desires and needs.  It’s all encompassing love.  It’s agape love.  It is complete and absolute love.  That’s what wives are to get from their husband.

Paul summarizes what each is to do this way: “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”.  We can boil it down to two words:

  • Men – we are to LOVE
  • Women – you are to RESPECT

Love and respect – the two traits that define what a godly marriage looks like.  The world tells us that these two things are not the secret.  It is all about getting what we want and ‘feeling’ good about our relationship.  It’s about putting in 50% but no more, and if your spouse doesn’t put in their 50% it is time to move on.  But the problem with that approach is that things will be no different in the next relationship.  God calls each of us to put in 100%, because at times, there will be need for you to carry the relationship.  You will need to lead.  We have to be active and focused on intentionally loving and respecting our wife or husband.  That’s God’s plan for success in marriage.  Are you living that way?

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Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 is attributed to King Lemuel, whom we really know little about.  He obviously had a good mother as she gave him some great advice here in this chapter.  She warns him “Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings”.  This refers to the need for single and young men to remain pure, and not give up their sexual purity to a woman who can rob a man of his strength by using sex to steal his power and leadership position.  Sound advice from a wise mom.

She also tells him to care for the less fortunate.  “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”.  We need to defend those who can’t defend themselves.  Take care of hurting people. Defend those who can’t defend themselves. Stand for the oppressed. Support the needy and deal justly with everybody.  This is great guidance for her son to help him be a good king and a great man.

Then she moves on to the section that typically is tied to this passage – the description of “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels”.  She gives him a description of this wife physically, mentally, morally, spiritually. In every dimension the character of the excellent wife and mother is unfolded here. She describes this ideal woman, this model woman by looking at six features:

  1. her character as a wife (vs 11-12)
  2. her devotion as a homemaker  (vs 13 -19)
  3. her generosity as a neighbor (vs 20-24)
  4. her influence as a teacher  (vs 25-26)
  5. her effectiveness as a mother  (vs 27-29)
  6. her excellence as a saint  (vs 30-31)

She is truly a gift from God.  “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all”. As she becomes older, as her children grow, they will appreciate her more and more and so will her husband because of her sacrifice and they will rise up and call her blessed. They will praise her and her husband should say I wouldn’t trade her for anyone or anything.  The lesson ends with an understanding that a woman who fears the Lord is not only beautiful inside and out, but is worthy of praise.  “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.  It’s what’s in the heart that makes a woman beautiful!

1 Kings 11

1 Kings 11 is a sad chapter.  It is a lesson in how not to finish strong.  Solomon had asked God to give him wisdom, which God had done.  That should have been sufficient. But it wasn’t and Solomon lost his way.  In his case, it was women that drew him off the course.  “King Solomon loved many foreign women….700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart”  Can you imagine?  1000 women for one guy to keep happy and living together in harmony.  Holy nightmare.  That would be a task you’d need all the wisdom of God to handle.  But Solomon was attempting this.

There is a problem though.  God had said not to do this.  “The Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them”.  There was a specific command not to marry a woman who worshipped a different God.  Why?  Because it would pull you away from the true God.  Scripture tells us over and over to not view marriage as a mission field.  So many believe if they just marry someone, they can convert them to their belief system. That is not always the case.  But in Solomon’s case, it did derail his walk with God.  It caused him to chase “after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God”.  He lost his way.

The reality is that God’s direction about not marrying from other places was not a suggestion – it was a command.  “So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord”.  What’s the big deal?  It is called disobedience.  God expects us to walk in obedience to Him.  It isn’t optional.  It is a requirement.  And when we fail to obey – well it isn’t a good program.  “The Lord was angry with Solomon”.  That is a bad outcome.  It is not where anyone wants to be.  God is serious about obedience.  There is a cost to choosing to disobey.

So what did it cost Solomon?  His final years were filled with those attempting to overthrow him causing issues.  But the true cost is coming later, after Solomon dies.  God says “I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant”.  Sounds pretty like to happen, doesn’t it?  God doesn’t say it might be lost – He says it is gone.  And He was serious about it as “the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite….and Jeroboam” along with others.  God says this to Jeroboam: “if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house”.  It is about obedience.  Solomon had it all and lost it because he was not obedient to the end.  He did not finish well.  And we’ll see what Solomon spent his entire life building torn from the hands of his son Rehoboam in the days after his death.  “Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years”.  It will all go up in smoke because of his unwillingness to listen and obey.  How sad.

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 talks about an excellent wife.  Having one myself, this chapter just made me smile.  Solomon says it this way: “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels”.  There is nothing better than a marriage that is lived God’s way.  It isn’t easy, and I struggle to do it consistently, but when we are focused on each other and not self, when we are living in covenant relationship instead of thinking about what we need or want or should get, when we are loving by choice and married by commitment – things are very good.  My bride is more precious than jewels.  She is more valuable than gold or any precious metal.  She is the joy of my life.

Solomon goes on to remind us that relationship matters.  “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain”.  When we do marriage right – when we have the relationship the way God intended – there is no lacking of anything.  The blessing of a marriage done God’s way is amazing.  It is built on a foundation of trust – trust in each other.  Trust in God and the way He created each of us.  The reality is that God is the Author of life – He alone created my bride the way He did – and who am I to question that and spend my life trying to change His creation.  But that is often what we do in marriage.  We spend all our time trying to change our spouse, rather than focusing on what we can change – which is ourselves.  That is what God wants us to do – to change our heart and get our attitude right – not focus on trying to change our spouse into what we think we want.  Why?  Because we really don’t know what we want.  But God does.  And He created our spouse perfectly for what we need, not what we think we want.

The chapter goes on to give a very detailed list of what an excellent wife looks like.  Check these things out:

–       “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life

–       She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands

–       She is like the ships of the merchant

–       she brings her food from afar

–       She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens

–       She considers a field and buys it

–       with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard

–       She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong

–       She perceives that her merchandise is profitable

–       Her lamp does not go out at night

–       She puts her hands to the distaff

–       her hands hold the spindle

–       She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy

–       She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet

–       She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple

–       Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land

–       She makes linen garments and sells them

–       she delivers sashes to the merchant

–       Strength and dignity are her clothing

–       she laughs at the time to come

–       She opens her mouth with wisdom

–       the teaching of kindness is on her tongue

–       She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness

–       Her children rise up and call her blessed

–       her husband also, and he praises her

What a list.  Seem overwhelming?  It is if you try to accomplish those things on your own.  But God created the list, which means He is able to help wives achieve it.  In His power, in His way, you can be an excellent wife!

So guys get off easy?  Maybe in this chapter.  But actually there is one very important thing that Solomon calls out here.  That is for husbands to praise their wife.  He writes it this way: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all”.  That truly describes my bride.  When is the last time you praised your wife?  Publicly?  A lot of us are pretty good at complaining or asking for more, but pretty lousy at praising our wife and kids.  God calls us to do that.  Not once, not once in a while, but regularly and publicly.  An excellent wife is a great gift from God.  I am certainly blessed by my bride every day.  And for that I am grateful.  She is all that I could ever hope for, and the greatest earthly gift that God can provide.  Thank you Lord for my bride!

Proverbs 21

Proverbs 21 reminds us that God is in control.  Not just some control, but complete control.  “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will”.  Solomon illustrates that truth of control by using the king as his example.  This is the most powerful person there is, and yet God has control and turns things the way He wants.  Power is no match for God and His sovereignty.  He is the true King and is in absolute control.  Solomon ends the chapter reminding us of the same thing.  “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord”.  We can prepare and plan and do whatever we want, but the truth is, the outcome belongs to God.  Not me, not you, not anyone else, just God.  He is the One who is in charge.

Planning comes up again in this chapter.  “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance”.  It does matter that we plan in order to have success in life, not with the thinking that we will determine the outcome, because we already know that God does that.  But it is part of aligning how we live with what God expects.  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart”.  We will always think we are right, but God is looking on the inside and measuring our heart.  He cares about our motive and not just the actions we take.  “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord”.  And again it is clear that even if others lead us a different way than God’s way, it will be for naught.  God is in control and we need to plug into that plan of His.

We are reminded again that pride is an issue that will cause much pain.  We can think we are in charge and act like it, taking credit for what happens and bragging about all we have done.  But the reality is that pride will lead us nowhere except flat on our face.  “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin”.  And the truth is that pride is sin.  No sugar coating by Solomon.  When we think more of ourselves than we ought, we are sinning.  “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble”.  We need to hold our tongue when it comes to what we say or even think about ourselves.  Because when we focus on us rather that God as the source of all good things, we are in trouble.  “One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead”.  When we are focused on self, we are on the path toward death, which means separation from God.

Finally, Solomon reminds us of the importance of a good spouse.  He picks on wives here, but the truth is that the sword cuts both ways.  How we relate with one another matters.  It matters here on earth as we live out or marriages, but the impact of a poor marriage spills all over those in our patch.  “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife”.  How we speak to each other inside the covenant of marriage is so important.  We can choose to build each other up and encourage on another, or argue about things and live in constant strife.  It is so easy to be in a continual confrontation mode with someone you are with all the time.  But that is not healthy nor does it build up.  And it will impact those in the path of your relationship.  “`”.  No where here does it give any green light to end a relationship based on quarreling – so don’t think this is a ticket to end a marriage.  But it is a wakeup call to fix the problem.  And the hard truth is that it takes two to tangle – there is no argument or quarrel with only one person involved.  So you absolutely can address this by your action and attitude.  The truth is that we need to do exactly that – recognize the problem, and then commit to resolving it by no longer being a participant.  That is always easier said than done, but it can be and needs to be closed down and a spirit of reconciliation and joy restored to your covenant marriage!

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