Tag Archive | husbands

Julia’s Story: Enter the Elk!

I love to hear ladies tell their stories as they study Biblical marriage and begin to desire to respect their husbands, and love and submit to them. Each story is as varied as the husband and wife in the marriage.  But one thing is sure. Things will begin to change!

I recall the young wife who came into a marriage class so excited, as she reported that for years her husband had been asking her to wear her hair down rather than in a pony tail.  It was fun just to see her excitement as she had arranged her life under her husband, and the conflict went away.

Certainly, submission is not usually so easy as changing a pony tail, but many times it is in the small things where the changes first begin.  Those changes are actually occurring in the heart.  In instances where there has been resistance for many years,  a wife will delight as she submits to her Lord by submitting to her husband, no matter how small the issue may seem.

My favorite example of the simplicity of submission came from the young wife whose husband had asked her for years to put the ironing board on her side of the bed rather than on his, but she had persisted in her own way.  Again, the simple joy of simple submission as she gave in!

But ironing board, move over! I now have another favorite story.  This is a simple story of a wife desiring to honor her husband as she arranged her life around his. Here, in her own words, is her story.

Julia’s Story: Enter the Elk!

Enter the Elk

For years I never would allow mounted animals in my house. I grew up with all kinds of creatures staring at me on the walls: squirrels, deer, and raccoons. If it could be mounted it would go on the walls. I do not know why, but I never wanted that to follow me in my adult life. It was normal, and almost expected, as a child to enter homes in my family and see this sort of trophy on walls, but as an adult I was not “HAVING IT”.

My husband, through the years, began to hunt more and more.  He killed a deer and had it mounted. I would not hear of that animal hanging in my living room, so he hung it in his closet. That was fine with me. He got to enjoy it, and I did not have to be bothered with it – seemed like a good deal to me.  Along the way, he acquired another deer; he hung it in the garage. As years passed, trips got bigger and further away from home. Instead of local hunting camps, now he went to Colorado. It was his 2nd trip to Colorado, and I was really dreading it. He is gone for at least 10 days and with 2 small children at home, it gets rough for me and them. We were sitting at the table the last night before he was to leave, talking about how great it would be if he killed something huge.

My 6 year son said, “Daddy, when I kill my 1st deer, I am going to hang it in my closet, too!”  UGH, the agony of hearing him say that made me see how wrong I “MAY” have been. My husband teased and said, “Do you see what you have done to our ‘manliness’?”  I felt worse.  My husband told our son that he was sure if he killed a deer, I would let him hang it over his bed.  I told my husband if he killed a ‘huge’ animal, I would let him hang it in our house. I felt safe because he had gone before and not killed anything…. Right???  Well, little did I know what I was saying.

The trip came and went, and, yes, he did kill the 2nd to largest ELK in the hunting camp area/region. It took a year for the ELK to get mounted and be sent home. The closer it got to that animal coming home, the more I thought I do not know where it is going, but it will not fit in my house.  The whole year I said that thing is too large for this house. Let me give you some dimensions. I have 10 foot ceilings. For the mounted animal to fit under my ceilings it has to be mounted 5 foot above the floor, which to me is not appropriate level. It sticks out from the wall 52 inches, so to hang it takes special care. I would not want anyone to round a corner and poke their eye with a horn..

On the night prior to the Elk arrival, my whole house was excited to think the Elk was on the way home. Yes, I was too. My husband had said he would probably take the elk to his boss’s camp in Arkansas… it would fit in perfect there. The camp has cathedral ceilings and rustic décor. I did not want to see him do that but I was not satisfied with hanging it in my house either. Before bed I was reading a Blog on husbands and wives and putting the needs of others before your own.  I went to bed praying for my marriage and to have a heart more along the lines of what God would want me to have. When I awoke the next morning, I had a joy and assurance that my husband must bring the ELK home, and I wanted it to stay at home. I wanted it in our foyer and even assured my husband that could be his trophy room. He was so excited and almost giddy. It’s funny how the power of prayer can change a heart. I know it was the power of God because I could not change myself. I now look at that beast of an animal and call it “pretty”.

What I had resisted for years, I now welcomed into my home. Surely, it wasn’t for me.  But because I wanted to honor my husband in our home, my heart had changed.  ENTER THE ELK!

Qualities of A Good Wife

Whoso Finds a WifeWhoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 Suppose we took a surveyThe question that we would ask is:  What makes a good wife?  I can just imagine all of the answers that we would  hear!  Some would probably make us smile.  Others would, perhaps, make us very sad. But, from the beginning, God intended the wife to be a “good thing.”

Before we address our answer to the question, let’s recall the Creation for just a moment.  Day by day, as God created, He viewed His Creation, and in each case, the Scriptures tell us that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  However, as details are given in chapter 2 of the creation of the man and the woman, we find, for the first time in the Scriptures, that God says that something is “not good”:  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  Then immediately following that declaration, He announces His solution: I will make him a help meet for him.  In contrast to that which was not good, the wife, being a help and companion to the man, was to be a good thing.

And, when God finished His Creation, we find this truth:  And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Being a wife according to God’s intent and design truly is a good thing.

Listen to the truth of Proverbs 18:22:  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.  Here we find the same truth again – a wife is to be a good thing.

Listen now to the question of Proverbs 31:10-12: Who can find a virtuous woman?  And then hear the answer to that question as it relates to her husband:  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So we can see that God not only created and designed the wife to be a “good” thing, but He commends the wife who gives all the days of her life to doing good, and not evil, to her husband.

A “good” wife – do you have a heart that desires to be a good wife to your husband?  Perhaps you are wondering in what ways you could be a better wife. Well, if God created the marriage, and He did, then let’s look at the three instructions that He gives to wives.  We will find that these three truths describe qualities that  truly do make a good wife.

1. RESPECT

… and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Reverence – respect!  This reverence and respect – or the lack of it – reflects a wife’s heart attitude –  how she truly feels about her husband, from the heart.  It is from the heart that all of a wife’s words and actions will flow.  Respectful words and loving actions come from a respectful heart.  Let the wife see to it that she reverence her husband!

Also, did you notice that this is a command?  God does not make this optional.  Neither does He say that a husband must earn the wife’s respect.  Actually, the Lord requires this of us.  Listen again to the wording:  … and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Be careful that you do not fall into the error of negating the Word of God by saying “I know that this is true, BUT …”

God’s truth is always true.  We all have faults and failures.  A wife can respect her husband, in spite of his faults and weaknesses.  She can respect him just because he is her husband.  And, if a wife will make a list of his good qualities, she will be surprised how many ways that she can find to respect him.  As her heart toward him becomes more respectful, their marriage will begin to change.  See to it that you reverence your husband.

2. COMPANIONSHIP

The book of Titus instructs the older women to encourage the younger women to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).  There are misunderstandings as to what love really is.  The particular Greek word used in this passage is a friendship, companionship love.  It is the kind of love that focuses on the relationship between husband and wife.  This kind of love can only be fostered as a wife spends time together with her husband, sharing common interests, walking through life as friends and companions. A wife may feel as though she has nothing in common with her husband.  There is a sure way to build common interests.  Be interested in what he is interested in!  Yes, a wife can be interested in what he is interested in – if she is truly interested in him!  She can lay aside her desires, her schedules, etc., and love her husband.  She can be a friend and companion to him as she shares his life with him.  Through the ability which God supplies, love your husband.  It will be a blessing to you both!

3. SUBMISSION

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

Did you know that this is the most frequent command in the Bible given to wives?  Yes, it really is.  No other instruction is given to wives as often as this one.  It must be the one that we need to hear the most often – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.

What does submit yourselves actually mean?  It means being arranged under the authority of another.  This is not the teaching of the twenty-first century, but it is most definitely Biblical teaching.  Additionally, it is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:17-22).

Once a wife acknowledge, from her heart, that the  husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), she will find submission an easier thing.

No matter what the world says or how a wife may feel personally, the Word of God is true – even submit yourselves!

There is a key to learning to be arranged under a husband’s authority – simply learning to really listen.  Husbands say what they like and what they do not like.  They say what they would like for the wife to do or not do.  It really is that easy – learning to listen and, without arguing, walking in agreement with him.

From my experience, I have found that my struggle will always be that I prefer my own way, that I think I know a better way, or that I think I am more spiritual.  But not so!  The Lord always knows the best way, and He is the most “spiritual” of all – and it is He who says submit yourselves.  And, for those wives who have husbands who are not obedient to the Word, the words found in 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 will be an anchor for you!

The timeless truth of submission will take the tug-of-war out of a marriage.  When a wife ceases from pulling against her husband, the struggle will stop.  When, by faith, she arranges herself under her husband’s God-given authority, she will be pleasing to the Lord.

What makes a good wife?  I guess we really did not need a survey. Respect, companionship, submission – three qualities of a good wife —  three truths that will transform a marriage – three truths that bring glory to God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 


 

Anabelle’s Story: No Respect for Him

Reverence Her Husband“Just one verse, God, just one. That’s all I need.”

Here I was, weeping, alternately pacing the aisles and lying on the altar, all alone in the church after everyone else had gone home. I begged God to show me just one verse in His Word that I could use to justify leaving my husband. I was done.

How had we come to this?

I hadn’t always felt this way. I met my husband when I was fourteen years old, and I knew when I saw him I would marry him. We married once I graduated high school and began life together with a baby and a move to another state, away from all I had ever known. He found it hard to keep a job, and something happened that I didn’t expect. I began to not like this man very much.

I disliked his job-hopping. I disliked that fact that he had made us move away. I disliked his spending. I disliked how he spoke to our daughter.

This marriage business was hard. Why couldn’t he just stand up and be a man and take care of us like he was supposed to?

After several years, we moved back home, and my mother began to invite me to a church she was attending. At first, I dismissed her. After weeks of asking, though, I finally gave in and found myself in a little church. Something was different here. These people actually tried to live what they heard on Sundays. They talked about their failures, and there was no shame, only forgiveness. No grudges, only reconciliation. To an unsaved young woman, educated and bitter, this all seemed too weird.

For two years, I attended ladies’ classes and ladies’ retreats, sat in on prayer meetings, and learned to trust the elder women in this church. Through their example, God turned my heart to Him and I was wonderfully saved. One area still bothered me though. The women talked of how they loved their husbands, what great men they were, how thankful they were for them. Each comment made me ache. How could they have such perfect marriages and mine be such a disaster?

And then the darkness came. My husband had suffered a debilitating injury and was required to have a dangerous surgery. The risks were high, the doctors said, and recovery would take months. Even if the surgery were a success, there could be side effects that would affect my husband permanently.

The doctors were right.

Then only three months after his surgery, Hurricane Katrina came. Our home flooded, and there was no money to repair it. My husband fell into depression and stayed on the computer constantly. I would get up in the morning and see him in front of the screen; come home from work, there he was; and go to bed, with him never coming out of the office. There was no intimacy between us, either emotional or physical. We were roommates, not husband and wife.

I was so lonely, and it wasn’t long before the tempter began to whisper, “He shouldn’t treat you like this. He’s so selfish. Doesn’t he know that you need him? Doesn’t he know that you need to feel loved and wanted?”

And it wasn’t long after that that the tempter came in the form of a man, a man who smiled at me and told me I was beautiful and how much better he would treat me if he had me.

It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t fall completely. It was my Father Who protected me, not my vows or my fear of what others would say if they found out. I was long past caring about any of that. I was wrapped up in my own longings and disillusionment.

And now here I was, depressed, broken, alone at the altar in that little church. I picked up my Bible, barely able to see through my tears. I opened it up randomly and began flipping the pages, going to the places that I knew taught on divorce, hoping I would find a verse that would justify my leaving. The first place I found myself was Matthew 5—divorce allowed only in the case of fornication (v.32). He hadn’t cheated on me, so that was out.

Matthew 19—“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (v. 6)

Next, I Peter 3: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” (v. 1)

WHAT??!! I’m supposed to love and submit to my husband even if he’s not saved?? God, I know You know how this man is, and this can’t apply to me. I’ll try again.

And then, I Corinthians 7.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband…” (v. 10)

Not exactly what I was looking for, but I read on anyway. Perhaps there were exceptions.

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”(v. 13)

My tears were beginning to dry, not because I found peace, but because I was angry. Why can’t I leave him? Does God expect me to live in this despair, this heartache forever? I slammed the Bible shut, then re-opened it.

Proverbs 31—“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (v. 11-12)

I was struck by these words. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…”

The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the times I had screamed at him like a banshee to “be a man!” The times I had loudly disrespected him in Wal-Mart when he wanted to buy something unnecessary. The times I had complained about him to my mother, my sister, my best friend, to anyone who would listen. The times I refused his attention, choosing instead to work because “it was what I had to do.”

I was so ashamed, and I am ashamed again as I write this. He had just had to walk through the darkest months of his life, and while I had done what was necessary to help him physically, I had abandoned him emotionally. I had committed adultery in my heart and justified it. I, his wife, the one he had chosen to walk through life with, had already left him.

So now I had a decision to make. Would I obey the words that my Father had so gently, but firmly, brought to my attention? Or would I forever damage my daughter and my testimony for my selfishness?

I am glad to say that my Lord gave me the courage to walk in His truth. This was not an overnight change in my heart, but a day-to-day commitment that I would be a daughter my Father would be proud of. I resolved that I would no longer speak negatively about my husband to anyone. When discussions began to turn ugly, I would close my mouth and refuse to rise to the bait. I would make myself available to help him and listen to him and love him.

Over time, I saw my Lord bless His Word. My husband was saved, and our marriage was renewed gloriously. The defining point in our renewal was the night God pressed upon my heart to tell my husband about the other man. Oh, how worried and afraid I was! But I knew that in order for us to truly be one, there could be no more secrets.

What happened that night cemented my love for my husband and for my Jesus. I saw my husband’s heart break as I told him of my betrayal, and I saw the battle he fought within his mind. Then, I heard the sweetest words I’ve ever heard: “I already knew. I love you, and I always will. I forgive you.” And he really did. He never brought the subject up again, and his actions toward me afterward never held any bitterness.

I cannot express to you what the Lord worked in my heart that night, but what I do know is that the man I was so determined to leave became the man who showed me the love of Jesus like I had never known. The Lord has shaped my husband into a leader, an innovator, a man with talent, compassion, strength, and grace, and I have seen through him the clearest picture of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Just one verse.  That’s all I thought I needed.  But God had given me so much more.  He gave me truth.  He gave me love.  And by His grace and mercy alone, He gave me a true marriage.

Katherine’s Story: An Unfaithful Husband

Oh, it would never happen to me!  When I get married, my husband would never be unfaithful to me.  How sure I was!  And quite boldly I would proclaim that I would never leave my husband except for two things – physical abuse or unfaithfulness.  I would declare, quite frankly, that should either of these things happen, I would be “out the door,” never to return.  But the reality of life often hits hard, and when it hits, a marriage can be shattered.  You sit in that shattered heap of rubble and wonder, “How did I ever end up here?”

My husband and I had been married for several years, and was thought by most, including myself, to be happily married.  My husband’s career was quite successful.  We had beautiful and healthy children.  We had a very nice home, and from all appearances, all was well.  But all was not well.  My husband often stayed late at work.  He went out after work with friends.  A few drinks to relax after a hard week’s work –  what could be the harm?  But that lifestyle and many “few drinks” led to the bed of adultery and to much harm.

I was unaware of how deeply our marriage was in trouble.  I knew that there was a distance between us, but I didn’t know what it was.  I knew that he was gone often, but I tried to be understanding.  I wanted things to be different, but I didn’t know where to begin.  But God knew just where to begin.

The place that He began was not with my husband, but was with me.  He began to teach me, through His Word, how to be a wife to my husband.  He began to teach me how to be a help to my husband.  He began to teach me how to stand in support of my husband.  And after several months into becoming this new wife that the Lord was creating, the Lord did an unexpected thing.  Through a series of circumstances, the Lord removed my husband from his job, causing our financial state to immediately change.  As difficult as this seemed at the time, how graciously the Lord removed my husband from the very surroundings that were pulling him astray.  We were now in each other’s company almost constantly, and the truths that the Lord had taught me about being a wife were truly becoming a part of our marriage.  Though finances were difficult, our marriage seemed stronger than ever.

And then came that fateful day – my husband said that he wanted to talk to me about something.  I knew from the tone of his voice that it must be serious, and as I settled into my place on the sofa, I heard that still, small voice of my Lord say, “Just listen.”  I knew to be quiet and just listen.  My husband began to tell his story –  his story of unfaithfulness to me and to our marriage.  He said he would understand if I wanted to leave, and concluded with, “I truly am sorry.”  Still not having uttered a word, words began to come from the depth of my heart –  words that definitely were not my own words.  My words would have screamed.  My words would have accused.  My words would have lashed out to make him hurt as much as I was hurting.  But instead of hurtful words, I heard myself saying, “The Lord has forgiven me much.  I know that I must forgive you.”  The conversation was ended.  He again reiterated that he was sorry, and he went to work at a small job that he had begun.

The right words had been spoken, and again all seemed well.  But all was not well.  As my husband left our home to go to his job, I was left alone to face the darkest hour that I had ever known.  In the midst of hurt and despair that words cannot describe, I walked into our bedroom, closed the door, and wept, and wept, and wept before the Lord.

As strange as this may sound, there was a voice, though not audible, speaking to me.  The voice was very clearly telling me that my husband had a gun, and that I knew where he kept it, and that I knew that it was loaded, and that it would be so easy to end this whole thing.  As this voice cleverly attempted to pull my thoughts toward death, I so very clearly heard another calm, but authoritative, voice say, “No, she is mine.”  My Lord had spoken.

At that point, I was able to pick myself up from the floor.  I went to get my Bible, sat in the middle of my bed, and said, “Lord, speak to me.  I need to hear from you.”  The Lord God, by His Holy Spirit, walked me verse by verse through forgiveness.  He showed me, in the Scriptures, the truth of the words that I had spoken before but had not understood.  He showed me that truly He had forgiven me much and that I was to forgive my husband in this same way.  He took me, passage by passage, through the epistles where Christians are commanded to forgive.  Step by step, these are the truths (NKJV) through which He had me walk:

I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love … (Ephesians 4:1-2).

… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind … (Ephesians 4:23).

… put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness … (Ephesians 4:24).

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification,  that it may impart grace to the hearers … (Ephesians 4:29).

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you,  with all malice … (Ephesians 4:31).

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you … (Ephesians 4:32).

And again:

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above ... (Colossians 3:1).

Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth ...”   (Colossians 3:2).

… put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him ... (Colossians 3:10).

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering … (Colossians 3:12).

… Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against one another; even as Christ forgave you, so must you do ... (Colossians 3:13).

Yes, my Lord had spoken.  I must forgive my husband, just as my Lord had forgiven me.  Then, my Lord brought me to yet another passage:

… so that on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow ... (2 Corinthians 2:7).

Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him … (2 Corinthians 2:8).

… that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things …  (2 Corinthians 2:9).

… I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices … (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

I had no doubt – I had asked to hear from my Lord, and I had heard.  I knew that not only was I to forgive my husband, but I was also to comfort him and to reaffirm my love to him.  This was truly a test.  Would I be obedient in all things?  By a work of God’s grace that I cannot explain, the Lord enabled me to walk in His truth.  Exactly how I was to reaffirm my love to my husband I was not sure, but I was committed to do what my Lord had spoken.  I had regained my composure, had settled my heart, and was prepared to obey my Lord.

The telephone rang.  The person on the other end of the line said that my husband’s grandfather, who had been a special part of my husband’s life, was dying, and if my husband wanted to see him, he needed to come right away.  My husband’s grandfather lived out of town, and of course, no one knew all that had transpired in our home that morning.  I, however, knew exactly what the Lord wanted me to do.  I knew that our finances would not allow my husband to make the trip.  We simply had no money.  But God always knows exactly what He is doing.  A Christian friend had sent me some money, some while back.  She said she knew that I wouldn’t want to keep it, but begged me to keep it because she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord had told her to send it.  Because she was so sure, I tucked the money and envelope away, with a prayer.  If the Lord had actually sent the money, I would wait until He showed me its purpose.  I called my husband, delivered the message about his grandfather, and prepared myself for him to come home.  I knew that I was to tell him that I was committed to the Lord, committed to him, and committed to our marriage.  I was also to give him the money from the Lord and offer to go with him to visit his grandfather.  That was the beginning of the working out of the forgiveness that the Lord had worked within.  My husband did see his grandfather before he died, and at the same time, a new season of our life was born.

Although the Lord had done a wonderful work, the reality of life is still real.  Each step of the way, I had to lean hard upon the Lord, listening keenly for His voice.  Nauseating pictures of my husband with another woman would arise in my mind.  I would have to refuse to think upon those things and replace those thoughts with the truth.  My Lord had forgiven that horrible sin, and I must not and would not allow my mind to dwell there.  Time after time, I would have to refuse to allow myself to think on the sin, and force myself to think only upon the Lord’s grace and forgiveness.  Slowly, through days, weeks, and months, the thoughts came less and less.   I had to work through the feelings of rejection, the feelings of insecurity, the impressions of myself as undesirable, and the question of “What was wrong with me?” I also had to work through the times that my husband would turn to me for intimacy when everything within me would want to push him away.  But as always, my blessed Lord would speak truth to my heart, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  And with a desire to obey my Lord, I would willingly submit.

Do any of those thoughts ever return to my mind?  On very rare occasions they do, but as before, I must steadfastly refuse them.  They are not thoughts from my Lord.  It is the enemy speaking; he is called the accuser, and he seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  I simply respond with, “It is forgiven.”

There is no way to describe how fully and completely the Lord does a work.  Many years have passed since those hurtful days.  The Lord has truly healed and blessed our marriage.  My husband and I sincerely love one another, and both of us fully enjoy married life.  What the Lord has created is a stronger marriage than we ever possessed before.  How is this possible?  The only answer that I can give is that if you belong to the Lord, He loves you with an  everlasting love.  He will care for you in every situation and circumstance.  The greatest challenge that you will face is to trust Him, to hear Him, and to humbly obey Him.  Don’t refuse the only One who can truly help you!  He truly is the only hope that we have!

I’ve grown so much since those naive days when I thought that this would never happen to me.  None of us know what life holds for us.  And as to the bold assertion that I would never stay with a husband who was unfaithful to me, stay I did.  “Why?” – you may ask.  “You had every right to leave.”  The only answer that I have is that my God is a God of forgiveness, and He tenderly spoke truth to my heart.  These words I will never forget, “Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”  Glory to His name!

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,  according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus  throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

The above anonymous testimony was first printed in Woman – Precious in the Sight of God © 2002.  I, again, extend my thanks to ladies willing to share their story to the glory of God.

What Is a Meek and Quiet Spirit?

image … whose adorning … let it be the hidden man of the heart

even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,

which is in the sight of God of great price.

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

We hear much of the Christian woman having a meek and quiet spirit.  Many loudly object.  Others rigidly attempt to conform.  But what is a meek and quiet spirit?  Do we really understand the meaning of that phrase?  Or – have we taken someone else’s meaning, or – have we even invented a meaning of our own?

Let’s look at those words in the Scripture to understand, first of all, what a meek and quiet spirit is, and then, how that kind of a heart will affect the whole of our lives.

Meekness is not a word that just describes what a woman is to be.  The word, in actuality, describes what every Christian should be.

  • Moses was described as a very meek man, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).
  • Jesus said of Himself:  I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
  • In His teachings, Jesus Himself declared: Blessed are the meek:  for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
  • The wise man who is endued with knowledge is described as a man whose behavior demonstrates the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13).

We can readily see, then, that meekness is a quality that should be possessed by all Christians.

What, then, does this word meekness include?  Meekness is referred to in 1 Peter 3:4 as being in the hidden man of the heart.  It is an inward quality – something hidden – hidden deep within the Christian heart.

The heart of meekness knows of a certainty that God’s dealings with us are good.  The Scripture declares:  If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?  Therefore, meekness does not resist, meekness does not fret, meekness does not worry, and meekness does not dispute.  It is a heart that is settled upon both the goodness and the power of God, upon both the love and the might of God.  It simply trusts God to do as He wills, according to His good pleasure.  This quality of meekness should be evident in all of God’s people.

Quietness will, of a necessity, accompany meekness.  Because meekness dwells in the hidden man of the heart, quietness will result in that life.

Does this mean that the meek person will never speak?  Although meekness will certainly affect the way that one speaks and the extent to which one speaks, the primary meaning of this word does not deal so much with speaking as with the demeanor of one’s life.  With a heart that is settled and resting in God’s goodness and His control of every situation, a calm assurance will be exhibited in any and all situations.  To grasp an understanding of the word quietness, we will again return to the Scriptures.  (Note: The word that is underlined in each reference is the same word translated as quietness.)

  • We are instructed to pray for leaders and those in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • We are commanded and exhorted by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:12).
  • Again, we are exhorted to study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11).  This verse has the meaning of:  Make it your aim to exhibit this calm, undisturbed demeanor.
  • Listen to the same word used in Acts 21:14:  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”  One can hear the heart resting in God’s will.
  • Again, listen to this same word used, though translated in a different way: And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

The word quietness seems to carry with it a meaning of:  undisturbed, peaceful, calm rest.  Think back to the word meekness.  Can you see how easily these two words go together?

As we join the meaning of these two words, we find a meek and quiet spirit to be that inward heart attitude that is assured of God’s love and control and rests peacefully in Him, no matter the circumstances.

As we look back to 1 Peter 3:1-6, we find the context of this passage to be for the woman who has a husband that does not obey the Word.  What is to be her heart attitude?  Should we see a fretting heart, a resisting heart, or a complaining spirit?  According to the truth of the Word of God, no.

On the contrary, we should see a woman who, by her pure and chaste behavior, adorns the doctrine of Christ so that her Lord may be seen in her life.  From that meekness and quietness that is within, comes a calm outward demeanor, fully trusting in her God.

Did you notice that 1 Peter 3 began with the word likewise?  That word is saying that just like what has been previously described, she should exhibit the same attitude.

Look back into 1 Peter 2:18-20.  Wouldn’t a servant with a harsh master also have to possess a meek and quiet spirit to respond in a godly manner?

Then read on – in verses 21-24, we see the wonderful example of that meek and quiet spirit demonstrated by Christ Himself as He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously.

And for our final thought – Do not think that meekness and quietness will only be exhibited in the husband and wife relationship.  In all circumstances of life, and in every situation that arises, the Christian woman should find her heart resting in the goodness and the power of God.

From this meek heart will flow an undisturbed peace and calm that will be exhibited in her life.

Truly a meek and quiet spirit is an adornment that is precious in the sight of God!

It is evidence of simple faith, trusting in the Faithful One.

The above post was first printed in Dawning Light © 2002.

Rachel’s Story: A Difficult Husband

How in the world can I live with this man?  He is so overbearing, so contrary, and downright impossible.  Those were the thoughts that continually ran through my mind.  My husband was never physically abusive, but he was so sarcastic, so  negative, and so critical that I was emotionally spent.  I had arrived at the place where I was constantly stressed.  I cringed when I heard his car drive up in the driveway.  I did love him, but I certainly did not like him most of the time.  I settled into a place of knowing and expecting his disapproval of most things that I did or said.  In every situation that arose, it was “his way or no way.”  Although we had been married for several years, I was ready to give up and get out.  It was then that The Lord intervened.

The Lord began to show me that too often Christians expect things to be easy.  The Lord never says that life will be easy.  Many times, in fact, we are placed in difficult situations so that He can, not only grow us, but also shine through us, all for His glory.  Such was what I came to understand.

Through the years of our marriage, I had learned to lean on The Lord often.  I had learned to forgive often, yet I still struggled.  I would often cry out to The Lord to show me how to cope.

One thing that I had learned in my life was to turn to the Bible to find answers.  And that is exactly what I did.  I began to study marriage, as God addressed it in His Word.  Over and over, I kept coming to the same truth – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.  But over and over, I responded the same way – Lord, You just don’t know how difficult he is.  This is just not possible for me.

Time and again, I would read the same truth – Wives, be subject to your own husbands.  And time and again I would tell The Lord why this would not work for us.  I had convinced myself that I was the exception to the rule.  It just wouldn’t work in my marriage because no one knew how he was.

I am sure that I had read these scriptures before, but one day I came to 1 Peter 3 in a whole new way.  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.  I sat in absolute amazement!  The truth was the same, but for the first time, I saw us right in the middle of that verse – that if any obey not the word.  Right there! That described my husband perfectly.  I always battled back and forth in my mind as to whether my husband was an unsaved man or an unspiritual man, but either way he definitely did not obey the word.  That was us, a perfect description of us.

But the astounding truth was that the wife was commanded to submit just as any other wife.  The truth captivated me!  I went back to that verse day after day, and it seemed that little by little The Lord opened the scripture to me.  Just because I had a difficult husband gave me no excuse.  I heard over and over – Even if he is difficult, submit anyway!

Then, on one of my return trips to that verse the word likewise caught my attention.  Likewise, I thought: Like what?  Like the scriptures that preceded this one.  So I backed up to the previous verses.  Here is what I found:

We are commanded to submit to governmental authorities – even if they are difficult ones.  (1 Peter 2:13-17)

We are commanded to submit to our masters (bosses) – even if they are difficult. (1 Peter 2:18-20)

Then, we are given the ultimate example – Jesus Himself, when He was mistreated.  And what a perfect and precious example (1 Peter 2:21-23).

He did not sin in return when He was sinned against.

No evil was found in His words.

When He was spoken to in a harsh way, He did not speak harshly in return.

When He suffered, He did not threaten in return.

But this is the thing that He did do: He committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.

Words cannot describe what that word LIKEWISE came to mean to me!  I was supposed to respond just as my Lord had responded.

Humbled, I fell to my knees crying out for The Lord to help me be submissive to my difficult husband.

But The Lord wasn’t finished teaching me yet.  Without a word …. Without a word … Without a word!  I was to submit to him.  No arguing. No complaining.  No whining.  Even when, and especially when, he was difficult, I was to submit, with a good attitude, but without a word!  It was to be my behavior, just as it was Jesus’ behavior that spoke!  How much I had to learn.  The Lord wanted to use me as an example to my husband, right in the midst of the difficulty.  Oh, how I would need the grace of God to walk here.

But this is exactly where I did walk, by God’s amazing grace.  I did not walk here perfectly, but it did become the pattern of my life.  Attempting, from the heart, to walk in obedience, with a meek and quiet spirit, I was enabled to arrange my life under my husband, even in the difficult times.  I walked right here for many years! And years later, an incredible thing happened.  God saved my husband!  I praise God for His intervention into our marriage.

There is one further thing that I would like to share.  Some while later my husband was asked to give a devotion to some young men.  He prepared his devotion privately, and I never knew what he said.  But one day, years later as I was cleaning and sorting some files, there I found a notepad with his notes from that devotion.  And there it was!  I had never shared 1 Peter 3 with him, but there it was!  He had begun his devotion with 1 Peter 3, and gave his testimony of how The Lord had worked through my behavior.

I held that notepad tightly to my chest, and cried and cried and cried!  In a mighty way, I had learned that God is so real, and He is faithful to His Word!

May I encourage you … No matter how difficult the situation, don’t leave God out of the picture.  Don’t refuse or argue with the only thing that can help you.  Don’t rationalize truth away.  I had made every one of those mistakes!

Go to His Word.  Hear Him! Cling tightly to what He says, especially in the difficulties! And trust Him with the results!  He is faithful!

I had wondered how in the world I could live with this man.  Now, I knew how!  It had taken me years to learn, but now I knew!  Even today, all I can say is: Thank You, Lord!

A Willing Heart

… She worketh willingly with her hands.

Proverbs 31:13

Isn’t it amazing the powerful impact that one word in the Scriptures can have?  As the virtuous woman is described in Proverbs 31, Scripture could have simply said that she works with her hands.  But there is a very important word inserted in this passage – and that word is willingly.  She worketh willingly with her hands.

We instantly get the picture of the virtuous woman’s heart.  The work that she does is not just an external action.  It initiates and results from a willing heart.  How different any work is when it is done willingly, rather than out of duty or obligation.  The end result may appear the same when the work is accomplished, but the journey along the way will be, oh, so very different.  The willing heart joys in the journey.  The obligated heart loses the joy.

A similar Scripture is found in 1 Peter 4:9:  Use hospitality one to another without grudging. There is to be a love and outreaching to others, seeking to serve their needs, but look at the remainder of the verse – without grudging.  You see, right actions could be taken to minister to others, but what was the condition of the heart?  Was this a willing service – or was it done with grudging? The Greek word for grudging is gongusmos and is described as a private complaining.  Perhaps the most private place of all that we complain is in our own heart.  It is that murmuring that we do – perhaps to others, perhaps to our own selves – that directly affects the way that we serve.

A full reading of the Proverbs 31 woman reveals no murmuring and no complaining, but rather a willing heart.  She worketh willingly with her hands.

But let’s look more closely at the word willingly.  This word is far more than just saying, “OK, I’ll do that and I won’t complain!”  The most common translation of this word is to take pleasure in; to delight in.  In fact, a full study of the word will show that Proverbs 31 is the only place that the word is translated as willingly.  It is most frequently translated as desire, delight, and pleasure.  So it is very appropriate to say that the virtuous woman desires her work, delights in her work, and takes pleasure in her work.  Isn’t that an interesting view of  her heart!

And in what kind of work was she delighting?  She was delighting in caring for her family.  She was taking pleasure in doing good to her husband.  She was delighting in looking well into the ways of her household.  She was taking pleasure in seeing that they were fed well and clothed well.  She was delighting in reaching out to those in need.  No wonder she is described as such a strong woman!  Her life is not about herself.  It is about her Lord, and it is about others.  And she delights in it!

Lord, we humbly ask that you renew our hearts, that they may be willing hearts – hearts that take pleasure in You and hearts that delight in serving You – hearts that work willingly – hearts that delight in serving our families and hearts that take pleasure in serving those in need.

 

A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

The above post was first printed in Dawning Light © 2003.