Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three ways I hold myself back from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage

Here are three ways that I hold myself back from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage:

1. When Bev and I sin against each other mutually, Bev is almost always the first one to initiate repentance. Over time, this wearies my wife and can be the cause of bitterness in her. Additionally, when I do "confess", sometimes I make sure to minimize my sin against her and maximize her sin against me (of course, this is not true confession). In both instances, I am choosing to wallow in sinful pride, rather than be quick to lead my wife in true confession and true repentance. This holds me back from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage.

2. When Bev sins or is in need of encouragement I can be slow or unwilling to go to her and offer words of encouragement or gracious exhortation because I do not believe that she will listen to me or desires to change. This shows a lack of faith on my part, that God is doing what He has promised to do with all of His children; to sanctify them and make them more like Christ. This holds me back from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage.

3. I often judge Bev's words and motives and wrongly believe that she is against me and that she is even trying to undermine me. This is an especially grievous sin of not believing the best of my wife and of attributing things to her that are not true. This is not love ("Love believes all things" - 1 Corinthians 13:7). This sin of mine can eventually exasperate my wife and embitter her (catching a theme here?). This holds me back from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage.

Now, having written about the ways I keep myself from experiencing the good God has for me in my marriage, I find that I am encouraged! Yes, I am encouraged because God is at work in me, convicting me of sin, bringing about a desire to mortify it (that means "kill it") and to gratefully submit to His loving and gracious rule in my life as my Lord and Master. I am so thankful that He does not leave me where I am! What a  gracious and kind Lord He is! Left on my own, my pride and selfishness would poison and completely destroy my marriage and the lives of my children not to mention everyone around me. That's the kind of evil I am capable of. For that reason, I am grateful that I belong to God who came and sought me when I was running away from Him as fast as I could and redeemed me with the precious blood of His Son. That is why I am encouraged even in light of my sin. I know that God is for me in this and that He will not leave me where I am. He will go on to sanctify me completely and conform me to the image of His Son (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

So, what about you? What are some areas of disobedience that are keeping you from experiencing the good God has for you in marriage? (Remember, we are talking about your disobedience here, not your spouse's.) Will you admit the areas in your marriage where you are not obeying the Lord of your life? Will you ask Him to give you a desire to turn from sin (repentance) and live in grateful obedience to the One who for your sake gave the best He had to give to free you from slavery to sin? Will you trust God, that He wants your marriage not only to get fixed, but to flourish, way more than you do?

The important thing to remember is that He has not abandoned us. He is for our marriages and He is for us.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ~ Romans 8:32

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