REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Sam Lee who leads Catalyst Agape Church in Northern New Jersey, was first posted on July 24, 2014. He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Dying to Ourselves in Marriage”
1 Peter 3:2-3, 7
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
I believe the Lord instituted the family so that we can practically encounter the love and grace of God. But sadly, this is not what many are encountering in the family. Instead, some of the deepest hurts, dysfunction, and rejection come from the family. With the family undergoing such great spiritual attack, how are we to fight this spiritual battle?
It cannot be through the philosophy of “eye for an eye”; that is, if someone hurts you, you hurt them back. This belief system has caused wars, destructions, divisions, and continual bondages. On the other hand, today’s passage contains words like “submit,” “purity,” “reverence,” “be considerate,” “respect,” and treat “as heirs.”
So we can see that it is not about getting back at our spouse or teaching them a lesson. Neither is it about control, domination, and manipulation, nor about projecting the past issues on to your spouse. Instead, we need to move in the opposite spirit if we are to win this great spiritual war on the family; we need to fight to love and respect our spouse.
We need to die to ourselves and go the opposite direction, the direction of grace. Grace opens the door to the kingdom of God, bringing redemption and restoration. Grace stops the enemy’s stronghold. In this way, we can experience God’s original purpose for the family—encountering the love and grace of God.
Prayer: Father, manifest Your presence in my heart, so that You will be like a river in my marriage and family. Shower Your presence in all the dry places, bringing life in the areas where it used to be dead. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Esther 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 5:22-28:Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Questions to Consider
- Why would some people recoil at this passage?
- Based just on this passage, what are the respective roles for man and woman? (Consider the marriage of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11).
- In what ways is our marriage like the relationship of Jesus to the church?
- Here, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is specifying divine roles in a marriage. But certainly, he is not saying that men are intrinsically better or greater than women.
- After the husband and his wife have discussed an issue [e.g., look at the examples of Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:26) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10)], the role of the husband is to make the final decision. He, thereby, becomes responsible for that decision, no matter who influenced him. But does that mean that the wife blindly follows that decision? Well, the situation with Ananias (who had his wife Sapphira agreed to his lie) suggests, “No.” Sapphira should have opposed her husband for trying to lie to God over money (e.g., 1 Sam. 25:14-34). Apart from that type of black and white situations, a prudent wife would give her husband the benefit of the doubt. But with God, we never have to worry about having to agree to a bad decision, for He is always right.
- We obey God and His perfect will while the Lord takes cares of our every need.
Before you go to sleep, pray for your parents, your marriage, and your children.