Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Why is Christian Marriage So Hard? Hope and Possibilities Within

The look on my face must have been one of utter confusion.

A woman who had been married almost forty years just told our group that, as a young fiancee, she had a bright and sunny outlook on marriage. To her generation, marriage was full of hope and possibilities for a blissful life.

Say what?

Contrary to us millennials who constantly hear and experience, “Marriage is hard.”

Why is Christian Marriage so hard

We’ve heard the stats: divorce rates in the church are the same as outside the church. In fact, anecdotally, many of us know marriages of unbelievers that are thriving and happy and united. 

Why aren’t ours?

Why is Christian marriage so hard?

There are two answers in Ephesians 5.

1. Marriage is a picture of God’s relationship with His people. Thus, much is at stake.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…

This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:24-26,32 NIV)

You may already know this, but why does this necessitate hardship?

God has given marriage as a primary tool to teach the gospel (the other big one being the love that God’s people have for each other). Thus, a lot is at stake. Redemption is at stake. Souls are at stake.

So a battle for our marriage is waged. Notice that the famous marriage passages are bookmarked on either side by guardianship against sin and spiritual warfare.

Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15-16 NIV

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph. 6:11 NIV

It should perhaps be no surprise at all that marriage is difficult. It’s a General in a massive battle for the kingdom.

Why is Christian marriage so hard?

Photo by CreationSwap

2. Marriage is a union of two sinners.

You could have guessed this, right? Paul is teaching the “faithful” in Ephesus how relationships work in God’s design, and he has to frequently call out our selfishness.

Get rid of all bitterness…

Find out what pleases the Lord…

Submit to one another…

Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies… All from Eph. 4-5

So now we don’t just have a relationship that is under attack by the enemy, but our very selves attack from within, letting selfishness breed like cancer.

I don’t now how well a cancerous soldier can fight. Do you?

Two ways to fight for a better marriage

So what’s the solution? There must be something that can make marriage better!

1. Trust in the victor.

Why is Christian marraige so hard

We already know how this battle ends. Christ’s heel is struck, but the enemy is crushed.

For God has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Cor. 15:57 NIV

We must rest in this truth. Meditate on it and know that God wins!

2. Seek help and accountability.

You must  must  have help to have a great marriage. This includes

  • Personal accountability for your relationship with the Lord
  • Community with others who can encourage your marriage
  • Counseling for traumatic pasts and martial hurts

Why is Christian marraige so hard

After being married for forty years, do you know why that lady was in our group? Because it turns out marriage is hard, and she was leading other married couples to have better marriages, marriages that illustrate God’s work on the cross, marriages full of hope and possibilities. 

 

 

The Weapon for Fighting Your Doubts

What happens when you trust God, are taking big risks for Him, and feel like you’re not seeing results?

This is something I’m struggling with right now. Even though I know that God’s plan and timing are perfect. And I should know, I’ve seen it played out over and over again in my own life. Even though I know that nothing is guaranteed and that a life of faith also brings certain sufferings and prejudices, I still want to see something happen with all that I feel I’m giving to God.

And when I read that last sentence, I feel pretty pathetic – because I know I’m not giving everything I have and everything I should. And I most certainly am not giving anything compared to true Christian martyrs.

What’s worse is I usually don’t struggle with insecurity in my faith. So why now?

Why do I know God’s will in my life, am following my husband’s leading in that will as he follows the Lord’s, and I still feel anxious? Anxious that no growth will occur?

I can think of at least two reasons.

1. Faith – I am lacking faith.

Certainly, we always have room to grow in the faith department, but I am at a place spiritually where I am not fully trusting God, and I want to trust myself instead.

And here’s the important thing to know: When our faith starts to shake, we have the greatest opportunity for it to grow. Here’s how I know:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:2-8, NIV, emphasis mine)

2. The Enemy hates it when Christians stick their necks out for God.

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, NIV)

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV, emphasis mine)

And so I will fight this enemy and my lack of faith with God’s own Word, knowing that His word is true and good and perfect.

Photo by sardinelly

 

When Being a Pastor’s Wife is Hard: Trials

There are times when being a pastor’s wife seems unbearable. Something has happened, whether you’re aware of it or not, and all  of a sudden, you feel like your family, ministry, career, etc. are all crumbling down. And you want to crumble with it.

I’m not going to point fingers in this post because I know that congregations and pastors/pastors’ families alike can bring pain into ministry. We are all sinners, and we will all seek pleasure over God at some point.


{Read this entire post over at Clutch Talk here!}

The Gospel Will Triumph

Our church is dong something right.

I know because we have been bombarded with attacks. There have been so many health issues and personal crises that I can’t keep up. And those are the ones I know about personally.

These issues are taking *a little* attention away from what the leaders of our church are up to: A series on How People Change, and an intensive for all of our members on how to be a missionary in your own zip code. I think Satan is licking his chops waiting for a fall, waiting for a failure, hoping to mock God.

Maybe you already read between the lines to hear that Brad is slightly busy. In fact, I’m not sure the last time I didn’t get asked to pray about a difficult meeting he would be having.

And in the midst of all of this spiritual warfare, here I am: ill (with I’m not sure what), having the busiest work-week of the year, and struggling with a 13-month old who is cutting molars and yelling about 50% of the time. While my patience is still strong, so is my weakness. And I’m reminded:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)

Back to Wedded Wednesday. You see, I am not a very good support to my husband right now. I’m zapped; he’s zapped. How do I encourage him during this time when I am so discouraged myself? How do I show him that he’s the rock star of our home when he’s not here very much right now? How can I practice my kissing experiment!? 😉

The question is: How do I let the gospel triumph right now?

It’s not going to be by doing more cleaning, cooking, or even kissing. It’s going to be by doing more praying.

And when I’m overwhelmed with the big stuff going on, and all I can do is lie down, I will seek God and let the Holy Spirit speak for me.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26, NIV)

Lord, it’s true I don’t know how to pray right now. The list is too long; the urgencies are too close. Forgive me for pitying myself in the midst of these trials. I trust you – that you are using the sufferings in our body for the perseverance of our faith. That you are taking care of my marriage and my family when I can’t take care of it like I think I should.

It’s WEDDED WEDNESDAY! Bloggers can link up any marriage post during the week. If you’d like to spread the love, add the button to your post, but please link back to me somehow. Button code: