Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Excellent Wife: Part Two

(by: me)

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7. NKJV.)

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13. NKJV.)

These two pieces of scripture stand out to me. I love that though we only see what is on the outside, God sees what is on the inside. Only at times do we get a glimpse of what lies in someone’s heart because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

As I continue reading THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace I assess my own marriage and look at all the biblical truths God has taught me through it. Over the course of 11 years I have learned:

1) to humble myself: I used to believe I deserved to be treated a certain way and became frustrated and even at times angry if I was “disrespected”. I struggled with my pride. But, who am I to think I am worthy of anything other than the wrath Jesus consumed for me? I have learned humility;

2) to submit to my husband (unless he is asking me to sin): My brother can tell you when I was younger I used to hold to the belief that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine also. Further, my childhood friend and neighbor could tell you I was quite the spoiled brat who took my toys and went home if I did not get my way. But, I have learned to yield to my husband and defer to him very well;

3) that I am capable of maintaining a home: I need only to put forth the effort and not obsess. A little bit each day makes a huge difference and I must not stress over it. Slow and steady wins the race and consistency is key;

4) how to trust and have complete faith in God and Christ Jesus: I cannot see the entire canvas nor will I understand things this side of heaven. I know God does all things for the good of those who love Him;

5) I might plan my way but God directs my steps: I might think I know what is best and plan accordingly but God intercedes and guides my path in the way that is truly supreme;

6) to look to God’s word for everything because “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). Boy am I thankful for THAT lesson!!! It was a tough refining but I survived and am all the better for it.

7) that love covers a multitude of sins: though I have loved ones who sin against me I have to remind myself I love because God first loved me even when I was wretched and unlovable! And what’s more, Jesus died for me while I was very ugly! Finally,

8) that God is faithful even though I am not:

Deuteronomy 7:9: Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24: He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

But it was not until just recently I realized God had educated me on all this through my marriage. The pruning is hideous and the lessons seemingly unbearable. But my hope is that when people look at me and my life they may see a reflection of Christ Jesus!

Now, THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace is taking my instruction even further. Thank you, Ms. Cindy, for buying me this book. The body of Christ is truly breathtaking!

In chapter three, “A Wife’s Understanding of Sin”, Martha Peace reminds me of Ephesians 4:32 which says, “…forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” How well do I forgive? Am I quick to forgive or slow? And do I truly forgive or do I continue to keep a record of wrongs?

This reminds me of an exercise one of my bible study leaders had assigned. I would like to take a moment to do it now, here. She said to go to 1 Corinthians 13 and replace the word “love” with our name. So, here goes:

“[Brook] suffers long and is kind; [Brook] does not envy; [Brook] does not parade [herself], is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek [her] own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Brook] never fails….” (1 Corinthians 13:4-10. NKJV.)

What a beautiful description of what I SHOULD look like! But I am FAR from it! I see here where my work lies and there is LOTS for me to do! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13. NKJV.)

“This God – His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” (Psalm 18:30-31. ESV.)
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