184/365 days of blogging.
Guest blog from April at Peaceful Wife. Part three.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
If you have God’s Spirit in control of your heart and life, and you are living with Christ as LORD, dying to yourself and living for Him, you will have these things in abundant supply on a daily basis:
- love – I can love with GOD’s UNFAILING I Corinthians 13:4-8 love by His power no matter what my husband does or does not do! Love to my husband means respect. He can’t feel or see my love if I have disrespect for him. That means respecting him by HIS definition of respect, not mine – and whether he deserves it in my opinion or not. I don’t have to respect sin. God doesn’t ever ask me to do that. And I don’t have to follow my husband into sin. But cooperating with my husband’s leadership and respecting the good things in him show him love and show my love for God!
- joy – I have an internal constant source of joy that no one can remove or dampen – I have the joy of the Lord as my strength! I am depending on Christ to be my true husband and to meet my needs when my husband can’t. I release my husband of all my expectations of him and I find my spiritual needs and emotional needs met in Jesus. I take my pain and hurt to Him. I sing praises to Him. I hope and trust in Him. I know that He is using all things for my good and His glory so I am going to win even though things don’t look so great right now. I trust Him to lead me to where He wants me to go and I trust Him to be big enough to lead me through my sinful husband. YES! God is THAT BIG! And I had to wrestle with that and discover it for myself!
- peace – I used to think I had peace. I didn’t. It would only last about 20 seconds and then my mind was spinning and whirring about what I needed to do and how I needed to make things happen and what was I going to do if this didn’t work out right or that didn’t work out right. See, I didn’t have God’s Spirit in control of my heart and soul before so I would worry. And when I worried, I didn’t picture God’s Spirit with me because He wasn’t in control in the present, so I couldn’t picture Him being in control in the future. Now, I trust God to lead me. I know how to wait patiently. I wait for God’s leading. I wait for my husband’s leading. I know that if I try to run ahead I will just mess things up A LOT! So I wait. And I don’t get upset if I have to wait. If God wants me to wait right here until I am 80 years old – That is ok! I want His will, His total will and nothing but His will! So I know whatever happens will be under His sovereign hand and He will use it to take me to where He wants me to go. So I don’t worry. I don’t fret. I trust and have faith and patiently wait and I am content regardless of the outcome of decisions or circumstances because I know my God is working behind the scenes to accomplish His perfect will in my life!
- patience – Oops, I already addressed that one!
- kindness – I have the power to be kind, even in the face of anger, hatred, retaliation and abuse – because I have the power of God’s Spirit living in me to direct me and enable me to act as Christ would act! It’s NOT me! It’s totally a God thing!
- goodness- ditto!
- faithfulness – God will empower me to keep myself to my husband and to avoid friendships and relationships with other men that could be dangerous and to pour all my energy and soul into building up my husband, my children and our marriage and family
- gentleness – God’s Spirit in me empowers me to respond in godliness and gentleness with a whisper instead of with anger and yelling.
- self-control – that is also TOTALLY a God thing! I can’t do this on my own!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
If I am not seeing the fruit of the Spirit in my heart and life and in my marriage on MY side of the relationship on a daily basis. I have a BIG problem!
FACING MY FEARS
I had to examine each of my fears and decide whether I believed God could take me safely through that fear if it were to happen, and decide if I believed that God knows best, much better than I do, and that if He allowed it, I would be ok as long as He was with me:
– if my husband died
– if my children died
– if I died and left my children orphans
– if I lost my job
– if my husband lost his job
– if my husband didn’t love me anymore
– if my children grew up to be murderers
– if I accidentally killed someone in a car accident
– if I made a huge mistake in the pharmacy and someone died as a result
– if our house renovations never got finished
– if I didn’t have the physical intimacy with my husband that I wanted
– if I didn’t have the spiritual intimacy with my husband that I wanted
– if I didn’t have the emotional connection with my husband that I wanted
– if I didn’t feel loved in my marriage
– if I didn’t feel fulfilled in my marriage
– if my husband never changed in spite of all I was doing to change and all God was changing in me
– if my husband made major financial mistakes or other mistakes in leadership and I had to suffer and/or my children had to suffer as a result
– if my husband messes up my children (which he will!)
– if I mess up my children (which I will)
– if our government collapses and our country falls apart or we are taken over by enemies
– if I get robbed in the pharmacy
– if I got raped
– if I got cancer or some horrible terminal illness – or my husband or children did
Could God REALLY handle all of these things? Could I REALLY trust Him? I read a lot in Jeremiah, Psalms and Isaiah about God’s sovereignty. I wrote out my struggles. I wrestled with God until I had peace that He really was capable and competent enough to handle my deepest fears. I discovered He WAS, He IS and He WILL BE MORE THAN ENOUGH for me! And you will have to discover that on your own in your own intimate time with God, being still and listening to His voice.
This takes time. It takes a lot of pain and energy and effort. It takes humility and willingness to lay there under God’s surgeon’s light and scalpel and to allow Him to cut out all the gangrene in my soul – all the rot and filth and completely remove it. It takes courage not to roll off the operating table.
When we are obeying God and we have confessed all sin and we invite His Spirit to be in control – His Spirit will fill us and empower us to do the impossible!
Show us and convict us of our great sin before You! Show us our mountains of pride and idolatry. Break us. We can’t be the women You want us to be until we are broken and see our sin clearly. Show us how we have grieved You. Let us be on our faces before You in repentance – maybe even with fasting. And let us weep before You and humble ourselves and truly repent and allow You to be our Lord. Help us to accept Your sacrifice on our behalf. Help us to have godly sorrow that leads to repentance, not worldly sorrow that leads to death. Let us repent to You and our husbands and let us be empowered to live for You. Help our husbands have patience as we learn. We have SO much to learn! Let us live for You and serve You alone. Let us obey You. Let us have Your Spirit’s power at work in our hearts! Make us the godly women You long for us to be! Let us completely submit our hearts to You first. And then let us be empowered to submit our hearts to our husbands knowing that we are actually submitting to You, not them. And fill us with respect for our husbands to meet the deepest masculine needs of their souls! Give us the wisdom and strength we need for each step and each moment. Let us respond to our husbands and children out of Your powerful Spirit not out of our sinful nature. Give us soft, pliable hearts that are sensitive to Your Spirit and willing to obey You NO MATTER the cost! Change our hearts. Renew our minds. Remove every contentious, resentful, unforgiving, prideful, bitter thought and replace it all with YOU!
In the Name and power of Christ,