Divine Nature

About Life and Love

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Does Submission Have to do With Marriage?

Fact number one in God’s blueprint for happy homes, then, is that the husband is to submit to his wife, and the wife is to submit to her husband.

Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Marriage, Relationships
My wife, Pat, and I have been married more than 30 years, and every day I thank God I married her! We’re different in many ways, but we complement each other. Pat is a levelheaded thinker, while I tend to be a more impulsive decision-maker. I appreciate her strengths and have learned to rely on them regularly.

In marriage, God wants us to learn to rest in each other’s strengths.
It’s exciting to have a wife who complements you, and if you marry in Christ, that’s what happens. Your weaknesses she balances; her weaknesses you balance. God built this concept of complementing one another into marriage at the very beginning. After creating Adam, God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18), and then He formed Eve. Why? Because without her, Adam was incomplete.

Interestingly, that word helper is used throughout the Old Testament to describe someone of strength. Obviously Eve had a lot going for her. She supplied what Adam lacked. But Adam could receive what she had to offer, and she could receive what Adam had for her, only by submitting to each other.

Before we’ll get anywhere, we must submit to each other.
The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about how husbands and wives should relate to each other, but before saying any of it he commanded, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Fact number one in God’s blueprint for happy homes, then, is that the husband is to submit to his wife, and the wife is to submit to her husband.

I can’t insist on having my own way all the time, and neither can Pat. Our marriage relationship immediately begins deteriorating when either of us wants our own opinion to dominate. That’s why the Bible teaches that we are to submit to one another.

The concept of submission is found throughout Scripture:
In 1 Corinthians 16:16, we’re told to “submit to…everyone who joins in the work” of serving others.
Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.”
First Peter 2:13 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among man.”
1 Peter 5:5 says, “Be submissive to those who are older.”
Ephesians 5:21 – 6:4 shows submission for the entire family.
5:25-33 – The husband submits to his wife by sacrificially loving her.
6:1-3 – The children submit to their parents by obeying and honoring them.
6:4 – The parents submit to their children by spiritually nurturing them.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say that even slaves and masters are to submit to one another, because we all serve God.
Submission is necessary for order and stability.
Without it, each person does his own thing. One popular song says, “I did it my way.” Go ahead—and see how many people you hurt, including yourself. Lack of submission leads to disaster.

To husbands:

Too often, we men insist on having our own way in a futile attempt to mask our insecurities. Listen, your wife knows your weak points! The Bible encourages you to rely on her, just as she is to rely on you.

Notice that God doesn’t tell us, “Make your wives submit. Assert your authority as head of the house. Show who’s boss.” Instead, Ephesians 5:15 tells us men, “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” To do that, we must die to self.

By dying to self, I can enjoy my wife’s specialness. I can let her meet my needs—even needs I might rather not recognize. As I honor Pat, my relationship with her—and with God—is blessed (1 Peter 3:7).

To wives:
Remember that your husband is the head of the home—not because he is superior, but because God has given him this responsibility. Frequently, husbands try to shirk their duties as leaders of the home. When we get married, some of us men secretly hope our wives will be tough-minded and good decision makers. You may have to help your husband be the spiritual leader in your home. So how do you do that?

Early in our marriage Pat told me, “The Bible teaches that you are the head of the home. I will help you make decisions, but I will not make them for you.” This encouraged me to be a better husband and a better Christian. Encourage your husband to do the same.

Are you a wife or a husband? Share with us what struggles are going on in your marriage and get advice from a caring Christian.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Finding Your Spouse According to God’s Design

When you’re looking for a spouse, you’re looking for a ministry

Written by GodLife on 15/08/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Marriage, Relationships, Husband, Wife, Submission
…let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33
So many stories confuse our picture of what love is. Romantic love has been the subject of most popular music, much poetry and fiction. The message is often that the exciting feelings can last forever. Or that there is one person out there with whom everything will fall into place automatically. True love, people say, will complete a person. But if we have such high expectations, and if we aren’t very clear about God’s plan for romantic love, how can we avoid being swept up in the world’s songs and stories? Do you really want Jesus to be at the center of your future marriage? If so, how can you get started His way?

1. Wait for God’s Awakening
In the account of Eve’s creation, have you ever noticed how God prepared Adam? How do you get someone to notice something missing? God had said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…” (Genesis 2:18) God said as He announced His intention: “…I will make him a helper fit for him.” How did God get Adam to notice his own aloneness? God brought all the animal life He had created to Adam: “The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:20) By getting Adam to notice the animals with their corresponding mates, God alerted him to his own uniqueness and the fact that he had no one like him. Then God met the very desire He had awakened in Adam: “…the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:22)

The Bible’s Song of Solomon is a book about a fresh new marriage between Solomon and his bride, called the “Shulamite.” (6:13) Some have seen a parallel to God’s awakening of Adam in her poetic advice to the other “daughters of Jerusalem:” “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (Song of Solomon 2:7). The world urgently tells girls and boys to pair up as young as possible, but God's word does not. In fact, the Apostle Paul warns the Corinthians, “…those who marry will have worldly troubles.” (1 Corinthians 7:28) To avoid these troubles, don’t spend time worrying or fantasizing about a life that isn’t (yet) yours. We’re told not to be “…anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) Faith in God’s timing and provision is the opposite of anxiety, and will save you much heartache.

2. Seek God’s Selection
Paul warned the Corinthians, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) This is important advice for Christians in any relationship, but is especially critical when it comes to a marriage. Genesis 24 records how important it was to Abraham that his son Isaac have a godly wife. He sent his servant back to the country he came from, telling him, “…[God] will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” (Genesis 24:7)

Thinking again about the first marriage, remember that God went before them and became the first matchmaker. Before Adam was even aware of his need for a wife, it was God’s plan to “…make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18) If God wants you to marry (or marry again), at the right time He will show you the person He has chosen for you.

3. Fully Embrace the Mystery
The mention of God’s plan hints at a larger truth: Marriage is bigger than our personal satisfaction. Ephesians 5:31-32 and Genesis 2:24 explain: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Verses 21-33 explain in more detail. But as Ephesians 5:21 hints, mutual submission is a big part of the picture. A wife must be willing to “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:22), and the husband must be willing to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Then, both will come to realize that marriage is a ministry. It is the deepest, most intimate and personal ministry we will have on this earth. When you commit to someone else in marriage, you are choosing someone to whom your ministry before God will be devoted for the rest of your lives together. Ideally, God will use each of you to accomplish His purposes for the other in a way no one else could. And He will use your union to accomplish His purpose in the world in a way neither of you could do alone.

Pray this week:

Father, I am committed to your provision, your timing and your purpose in singleness or marriage.

Do you think you may have been approaching the subject of relationship from a different perspective? Just reach out to us for biblical guidance.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Selfish Life? Or Jesus?

A follower is made for God’s calling

Written by GodLife on 09/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Growth, Identity, Leadership, Self Esteem
I answered, 'Why should someone like me have to run and hide in the temple to save my life? I won’t go!'

Nehemiah 6:11
Nehemiah was a leader who did not let pressure, apathy, ridicule or opposition stop him. He knew what to do and how to do it. Most of all, he knew his identity: a chosen and beloved servant of the most High God.

Here are three ways God can give you the same identity:

1. God makes sure you can relate to sinners
Sometimes new believers are surprised to find that their old nature is not gone. You’ll always need God’s grace. Without Christ as your center, you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5) Colossians 2:6 says "As you have put your trust in Christ Jesus the Lord to save you from the punishment of sin, now let Him lead you in every step." If you have nothing you did not receive, (1 Corinthians 4:7), and nothing to hide, (Proverbs 28:13) judgmentalism and hypocrisy make no sense.

2. God means for you to make His mission your own
Hebrews 2:10 says that God "…chose to bring many children into glory.” In chapter 12, we are told how to follow Him: "…by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross…" (Hebrews 12:2) For Jesus, the joy was anticipating you with Him in glory! Soon, heaven will be your home! But while we’re still on earth, will you be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) to those who have never heard His name?

3. God gives you a new nature
Last week's devotion described turning away from a selfish life. Once you put all your hope in Jesus, many great things happen to you: Christ comes into your life, (Revelation 3:20), you become God’s child, (John 1:12) and receive the Holy Spirit, (Romans 8:15). All your sins are forgiven, (Colossians 1:14) and you have the gift of eternal life! (1 John 5:11) You go from being a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) to a worker alongside God Himself! (1 Corinthians 3:9) God even approves you to represent Him to the world: "So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'" (2 Corinthians 5:20) Like Nehemiah, you are a servant of the Most High God!

Pray this week:

Father, teach me what it means to represent you to the world.

What does it mean to live your life in a way that is fitting for the gospel? (Philippians 1:27)

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