Dying To Self (part one)

183/365 days of blogging.

I am posting a guest blog today from April over at Peaceful Wife.  I am going to break it down into two parts.  it is about how us as wives need to die to ourselves to be able to submit to our husbands.  I hope you enjoy.

This process of learning to respect our husbands and honor their leadership is a VERY painful process – especially at first.   There are no short cuts!!   This is not just some self-help 10 steps to controlling your husband and getting everything you want in your marriage by changing your words and tone of voice.  My motives MATTER here!  If I am trying to obey God just to get the feelings I want or the response from my husband I want,  it won’t work.  I have to have pure motives – desiring to obey God’s Word out of reverence for Christ alone.

What I am advocating is to completely expose your deepest soul to God and allow Him to search the darkest recesses with the blazing light of His Word.  And then to allow God’s Spirit TOTAL access and grant Him complete Lordship and the ability to decide what stays and what goes.  And anything He finds offensive – well, it simply has to go. God is Lord now, NOT ME!  This means facing your deepest fears, challenging your definition of God, your understanding of His sovereignty, your true beliefs that govern your decisions and priorities, seeing the mountains of sin that you may not have even known were there, and being willing to part with all of that humbly before our mighty God.  It means wrestling with God over those most painful issues and deciding whether you actually can trust Him or not.  Is He REALLY BIG enough?

This is DEEP, LIFE-CHANGING, PARADIGM SHIFTING stuff.

This is where you tear out everything from your heart but Christ and are willing to give up all that is dear to you – laying it on the altar to God.  You die to your dreams, your desires, your wants, your goals and your plans.  You embrace His will, His desires, His dreams, His goals, His plans and His life for you – even if that means not getting what you really wanted, and even if that means going through the worst case scenario in your mind.

You will have to personally wrestle with these questions.  I will give you some examples in a bit.

Let us be willing to die to ourselves!  Let us joyfully give up our rights, our goals of happy feelings, and all that we hold dear except for Christ!

The thing is, you can’t respect your husband and empower his leadership on your own.  You can’t just be quiet and smile and hold the raging ocean of emotions and negativity inside while you pretend to be “nice” on the outside.  That does NOT work.  In order to do what God commands us to do, we have to be filled with His Spirit.  If we do NOT have His Spirit – it is IMPOSSIBLE to be the godly wives Jesus calls us to be.

So let’s look at what might be KEEPING His Spirit from having power and control in our lives and hearts.  I have had some wives think that I am saying THEY alone are fully responsible for all the problems in the marriage and that I am expecting them to take 100% of the blame.  This is NOT at all what I am saying.  Husbands are all sinners, and so are wives.  I am asking women to focus on their own responsibilities, their own sins and their side of the relationship.  We can’t control our husbands.  We have to trust God to deal with them.  And really, we can’t change ourselves – but we can allow God the freedom and permission to change us.  So that is where we have to put our focus.  That is where our power is!

WE CONTROL HOW MUCH ACCESS GOD’S SPIRIT HAS TO OUR SOULS

I’d like for you to stop and read Galatians 5:1-26 – 6:1-5

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Paul is referring to the Judiazers who said that for non-Jews to become believers in Christ, they first had to be circumcised.  Paul was VEHEMENTLY against this.  Why?  Because then the believers would put their faith in what THEY had done instead of what Christ had done.  Then they put themselves under the Law again.  And if you are circumcised to try to be close to God – you have to obey the whole law, he says.   And then you are trying to EARN your salvation and right relationship with God.  And NONE of us can do that.  We are ALL FILTHY, WRETCHED, VILE SINNERS.  None of us can be “good” enough to please and impress God.  Only God is good.  And God says that our best attempts at right living and holiness are like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

We do the same thing!!!!!!  We start thinking that we can be “good enough” to impress God on our own.

We think, “I don’t really need the grace of Jesus THAT much.  God hasn’t had to forgive me much at all.  I’m a pretty good person.  Look at all the good things I do!  I hardly ever got in trouble growing up!  I made all A’s almost all the time.  I am ‘nice’ to people most of the time.  I am generous.  I am loving.  Yeah, I’m really a pretty impressive person.  I have things under control.  I pray a lot.  I read my Bible EVERY day.  I go to church 3 times a week.  I tithe.  I don’t need God’s grace nearly as much as all of those REAL sinners – murderers, adulterers, thieves, immoral people…  – my husband.  God, my husband is SO far away from you!  I mean, he hardly ever prays.  I never see him reading his Bible.  He doesn’t lead me in devotions like he should.  He doesn’t teach our children from Your Word.  He doesn’t tithe.  He doesn’t want to give to orphans and the poor.  He isn’t a very loving man.  He hurts me constantly.  God, You need to change him!  And he needs to change NOW!  You need to make him be a godly man because he is so far away from You!  I can see his sins pretty clearly from here, and I don’t know why You are letting him go on and on like this.  He’s pitiful.  I really deserve SO much better!  If I had a godly man, well THEN I could be a godly wife.  It’s my husband’s fault that I’m not a better wife.  I am just reacting to him.  If he wouldn’t provoke me so much, I would be respectful all the time.  He’s so impossible to respect..”

We think that we are so good that God has to be impressed – meanwhile we are condemning, unforgiving, prideful and judging our brothers (our husbands) who actually are not any more sinful than WE are!  It’s SO easy to think that our husbands are so much worse sinners than we are.  I mean – they have issues with looking at women, or pornography, or lust – plus they don’t lead the “right” way, they don’t seem to be nearly godly enough or loving enough.  Most of us wives aren’t very visual so it is very easy for us to condemn our husbands’ visual struggles and label them as MUCH WORSE sinners and for us to look down on them with great self-rigteousness.  We focus on OUR strengths and THEIR sins.

When we are cherishing sin in our hearts – we grieve and alienate the Spirit of God.   We cannot have God’s power flowing full strength in us when we are embracing sin and getting cozy with it.

 

Part two will be in the next post.

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