I'm starting something new here at Hearts Homeward.
I'm going to be posting about marriage every Monday:
Marriage Matters Mondays.
I've got some ideas for future series, some guest bloggers who will join me and some other fun plans. I pray these posts encourage and empower you to live out God's will in your marriage.
Sometimes it is just too synchronistic -- how God moves. We know Him in these moments. He shows us His way by echoing a message or confirming something we have been wrestling through.
This week, as I prayed for the theme of this post, I waited and listened. Different thoughts bubbled up and I wasn't sure. My heart is to help others build strong marriages and to become a better wife as I do. I started sensing what might be a good topic and then, at church this Sunday, from the pulpit, it came. The role of a each of us in marriage is to find what God has put in our spouse and to draw it out.
Marriage is God's tool for sanctification.
Sanctification may sound like something solitary, something painful, something like a necessary process that is unavoidable and somewhat boring -- like getting a filling. Sanctification really is the process of becoming free. It is for freedom that Christ set us free and sanctification is the means by which He walks with us and in us to free us up from what hinders us in our life in Him. In a conversation with my mentor this week she said, "We are so scared of holiness, but holiness is really what is precious in us." And, sanctification means to make holy -- to set apart.
In the beginning, God made us in His image. In our individual beginnings He made each one of us in His image -- a unique reflection of Him in every soul. Beyond that, He put specific talents and aptitudes and personality traits into each one of us. A good, healthy marriage draws out these essential qualities and strengths and provides the safe and fertile place for both people to become all they were intended to be.
When we are living out God's will in our marriage, we will partner with Him in the process of our spouse being set aside and called out for God. The Greek word for sanctify, hagoazo, means to hallow or consecrate. Sin keeps us from functioning wholly and holy in God and for God. Sanctification is the process by which we become available to Him and live for Him fully -- bit by bit. Marriage is one of the most intimate tools God uses for this process.
Being honest here, I have failed as a wife in this area over and over. In my marriage we have had many good days and we have a deep friendship and an enduring love for one another. But, as I think over this high calling in marriage, I realize the times when I have been my husband's critic instead of his cheerleader. I have sought to have my own needs met more than I have sought to meet his needs. I have been distracted and distressed when I could have been present and positive.
As I sat in church and God echoed in my heart and said, "This is for you and for others," I knew. I knew I needed to purpose in my heart to focus on studying my husband more closely to see what God has put in him and I need to make it my intention to encourage, support and love him in ways that help him fulfill that call and plan. I, as his wife, am in a unique position to be his cheerleader and confidante as no one else in the world is.
In order to be a blessing to my husband, I have to be wise about my own time and energy. I am so much more healthy about my "yes" and "no" answers in life than I used to be and I carefully choose my commitments and my projects. Still, I can get so busy that I am frayed by the end of the day when my husband comes home. If I let the day take all I have to give, I am left without any reserves for him. If I am burnt out, meeting his needs feels like a burden, not a privileged act of love.
In Ephesians God gives us a picture of the body of Christ: From [Jesus] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. The image of a body with Jesus at the head and each of us supporting one another, building one another up as we all do our own work is not only for the church, but it is for our marriages and our homes. I long to be known by my husband as a support and one who builds him up. I'm purposing this in my heart.
Will you join me in studying your spouse and being their encourager? Will you call out what God has put in? Will you overlook what is not yet completed in order to do what only you can do? Let's love our spouses well and partner with God in this sacred process of sanctification.
It is anything but boring to watch God birth something new in someone we love.