I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
In a Christian marriage there is a goal to put God first, but I’ll be honest–my husband and I didn’t really know what that meant when we got married. We knew we wanted to honor God in our life together and be part of a church family, but we really didn’t know the extent we’d be called to put God first.
At the beginning of our marriage we were consumed with personal needs. We’d read all kinds of marriage books talking about needs and love languages and respect, and while we tried hard to please each other, we got upset when we didn’t feel the same effort in response. Now, the lessons in those books are great–but we didn’t have the right mindset. We needed a mindset of grace if we were ever going to really put God first in our lives. Thankfully, over the last couple of years we’ve learned more about how to live a grace-filled marriage and it’s made such a wonderful impact on our life together.
Here is the new foundational truth for our marriage:
Our relationship with God is more important than our relationship with each other. This is how we truly put God first in our lives and in our family.
Now, you might not like the way that sounds but hear me out—
Supporting each other on your individual walks with God is the most important thing you can do for your marriage.
When your spiritual life becomes top priority you think differently. Your mission in life is no longer about your happiness on earth but your eternity with God–and this affects your marriage in a good way! When you are focusing on your eternal destination more than your current one you will be a better spouse. How do I know this? Well, focusing on my eternal destination means that I’m striving to be like Christ, and who can love my husband better than Christ? My best love for my husband will be fruit from my relationship with Christ.
“Every marriage goes through moments of anger and temporary failures. But you must determine your goal. What matters most: winning arguments or resembling Christ?” – Francis Chan (You and Me Forever)
I don’t know about you, but I want my life to resemble Christ. That’s way more important to me than making sure my needs and love languages are met. I’m not saying love languages and meeting needs are bad–they can be a very good thing when you are putting your desire to please Christ above your desire to please yourself. Then you will use those methods as God intended–as a way to serve your spouse.
Now, as wonderful as all that sounds we still have a little problem.
Are you still with me? My husband and I have a very tricky enemy working against us and he can use those needs and love languages as a stumbling block. Sometimes our spouses don’t meet our needs and don’t speak our love language and then what?? How will we respond?
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The devil is looking to devour me. The devil is looking to devour my husband.
When a spouse messes up (no matter how insignificantly), you can bet your bottom dollar that Satan is on the hunt for victory. He’s watching how we will respond. This is why we need to lavish our marriages with grace.
Why? For us it’s simple.
Because the devil will NOT gain victory in our household.
No, he will not get an ounce.
Christ gets all the power, all the glory, and all the victories in our house.
So what do we do when the devil is prowling at our door? How do we let Christ get the glory in our home? Well first, we stay on our guard and know who our enemy is! It’s really easy for me to feel brokenhearted when things aren’t going my way. In return, I can act pretty ungodly, treating my poor husband like he is my enemy. I know that my husband has triggers too, times when the devil is crawling at his feet. There are going to be misunderstandings and times when we mess up and end up hurting each other.
However, Satan is our enemy in these times. It’s not my husband. It’s not me. Knowing that Satan is the enemy makes it easier to extend grace to each other because we know that we are each on the pursuit of holiness. We want to encourage each other on this process, not get in the way. We want Christ to come first in our marriage. This means that we want to be like Christ and we want to show Christ’s love to be fruitful in our marriage. We want God to take the victory, and he does! God takes the victory every time we set our personal needs aside and extend loving grace in His name!
Live a grace-filled marriage.
When you and your spouse find yourself at odds, offer grace. Once you extend grace, you can then demand the enemy leave your home. If you’ve seen the movie War Room, then you remember that powerful scene where Elizabeth Jordan literally yells at Satan to get out of her house–she even yells him out of her front lawn! There is something to be said for verbally voicing Satan to leave. It shows we really mean it and we want him to hear it! Also, then you should pray.
We can’t fight the enemy on our own. We need God’s help. So get down on your knees -together or alone. Beg God to fight the enemy out of your life and your household.
Let God do all the fighting in your marriage.
“God will fight for you; you need only to be still.”- Exodus 14:14
Let God claim the victory in your grace-filled marriage.
There is this quest–adeep and passionate desire to truly know God. Because of this desire, we often find ourselves turning to those who offer us the deepest understanding and knowledge of who is God. Through books, sermons, podcasts, articles, blog posts, and conversations we seek to fulfill that longing. This quest we set out on, however, perhaps is leading us farther away from the very One our hearts are longing to know in the first place. It is almost as if, before we realize it, we find that we are living out our spiritual lives, as outsiders.
The spiritual outsider is the one who will hear and read about a great God who does great things, but will miss out on knowing Him due to a lifetime spent learning about Him. His magnificence and splendor is the very thing He is beckoning us to come and know, not just hear about and understand. He pursued and ransomed us, not just so we can sit back and learn what others have come to know about Him, but rather, so we can personally experience Him.
In His sovereignty and grace, there is a provision of many solid spiritual mentors for believers to gain godly perspective and insight. I am thankful for these men and women, many of whom have blessed my own spiritual walk with the Lord. I read their words and listen to what they have to say, because I know they are His vessel and God is accomplishing His work through their lives. There is a great importance and value in the gift of teaching.
Who do we seek first?
I recently listened to a Francis Chan podcast, a very good message about The True Vine. Towards the end of the message, He quoted a friend of his who had made an observation concerning Christians, particularly American Christians. Chan quoted,
“They (believers) talk about Him (God) like an outsider, like an outsider looking in and observing Him, rather than having just been with Him.”
An outsider? Is there so large a group of people who spend the majority of their lives spiritually on the outside of their relationship with God? Is it possible that many are spiritually living as though on the outside of the tabernacle veil? Is it that we are more consumed by what others have to say about God rather than hearing from God Himself? When I look into my own heart and my own spiritual walk, I can’t say that I have much room to argue.
Here is where it hit home.
Chan goes on to quote his friend,
“I feel like the people in your country are happy to hear from Moses when they can actually walk up the mountain themselves and meet with Almighty God…but they aren’t interested. They just want to hear from Moses, they want to hear from you, Francis.”
I thought, If I graphed my time learning about God, the time spent listening to sermons and podcasts, and the time I spend reading articles and books, and compared it to the time I spent before the presence of the Great I AM…would I see that I, too, am an outsider? Do I find myself satisfied being connected to “Moses”, rather than connected directly to God? Do I get so distracted with hearing from others about God, that I forget that through Christ’s death and resurrection, I have access to walk up the mountain to God Himself?
There is so much more. Yes, God has divinely given people gifts, through the Spirit, to reveal who He is and He has given gifts to people to communicate His truth. His glory is being proclaimed, and that is so very good.
However, here is where we (I) need to realize that His very nature calls for so much more from us. He doesn’t want a satisfaction to be found in Moses, He wants satisfaction found in Him.I want my desire and my actions to reflect a deep want in knowing Him over knowing about Him. When we move to the intimate space on the mountaintop and spend the time to know Him, we experience Him deeper and in a beautiful way. In the direct connection to Him, is where He reveals Himself to us.
His Spirit is whispering words of truth as He begins drawing us into the sacred space of that holy mountain. Do we turn our gaze to Holy of Holies and fall in awe of His wonder and grace? Do we sit on that mountaintop and meditate on His word? Do we still all other thoughts and voices as we center our hearts and mind on Him?I hope the answer, is yes.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, so that I may somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phillipians 3:1
The mountain may sometimes be a hard climb and it absolutely takes effort. But, don’t you think that when we are sitting at the top of that glorious mountain, in the throne room of grace, that it absolutely will be worth it? Is it not that much more fulfilling to know Him, than to just know about Him?
But to enjoy him we must know him. Seeing is savoring. If he remains a blurry, vague fog, we may be intrigued for a season. But we will not be stunned with joy, as when the fog clears and you find yourself on the brink of some vast precipice.
– John Piper
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