I have wondered much lately about the world around us that we don’t see: the forces that surround us, whisper to us, influence us and seek to gain our attention and affection.
I’ve thought of the power we give to the Holy Spirit when rightly connected to Him and also of the power we give to Satan when we believe that his means may acheive for us a better end in any particular situation of our life.
“…for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal.”II Corinthians 4:18
We are used to seeing the “end” of things here. Temporary things end. If we can see it and touch it or buy it, it will rust, rot or otherwise change. Eternal things, however, continue on and on without end. That is why the penalty of sin is eternal because sin is eternal. There is no end, therefore, the punishment of it goes on througout eternity, but the same applies to joy and love they are forever and ever.
When God speaks of treasures in heaven, He speaks of the temporal aspects of life that have eternal value. They are to be diligently sought after and used as a means of effecting the temporary with the eternal. The point? Spiritual fruit.
It’s very interesting to me how marriage on earth is a clear picture of our relationship with God. Marriage with man on earth produces the earthly fruit of children. Marriage with God produces the eternal fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Why the symbolism of marriage between man and woman? Why the mystical union of Christ and His Church? In a marriage the two shall become one; no longer two walking alone but an intertwining of two life forces united for a grand purpose: the building of a home where a godly expression of love can be seen in the midst of this present evil world, and the raising of a godly seed to continue on the presence of believers here. Likewise Christ and His church dwelling intimately with one another for the object of carrying out The Grand Purpose: spiritual procreation.
Salvation is in part a picture of marriage with Christ. That is why it is so serious to be faithful to Him along with being faithful to him(husband). Another spirit, carnal in nature, wants to remain within you. We must exclude that spirit from our affections and from our life. Our Only Love and Sovereign must have full reign over my being: body, soul and mind. As our only husband is to have a rightful place in my heart and a rightul rule over my body. Do you see The Battleground? Loyalty, fidelity, faithfulness and sincerity.
At the moment of salvation Christ’s blood is poured out upon my soul and the crimson stain of sin is covered. His life for mine. He now dwells within me. He proclaims Himself my Deliverer and my Protector (sounds like marriage). He demands Supreme place in my life (“forsaking all others”), and He promises an intimate bond of pure peace, love and joy.
The Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 7 to withhold not your body from your husband, likewise the Scripture says to withhold not your heart from God: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” (Exodus) and “Thou shalt love the LORD your God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Praise God for this relationship! And as both a warning and a comfort He says that surely, “..all things are naked and opened” before Him and that’s a very intimate statement.
Your relationship with your husband is going to be a picture of your relationship with God. So, three bits of advice: Walk in truth and sincerity. (That covers your relationship with God and with man). Pray without ceasing (means to persist in clear and consistent relations with God that exercises your faith and expands your trust in Him.) And, thirdly, be prone to love (This pleases God and rights your relationships here while keeping you humble before Him and one another.)
First: Walk in truth and sincerity
Trust God and walk closely to Him. No deceit. No hiding in the bushes while God calls for you in the evening hour. How? Pour God’s Word into your heart and mind, let it flow out of you and swirl throughout your being so that it may be your guiding light, your North star.
How? Make God your first thought in the morning, your final thought of the day, and weave His Word and His love throughout every step of the way. The littlest actions are the showcase for this other spirit. Look for the multitude of quiet ways to glorify God’s name by moving through this life in love. But watch out! Once committed to walk on this path, surely Trouble you shall meet. Know who your enemy is and who your enemy is not.
As you walk in truth remember to walk in sincerity. God has a particular disdain for hypocrisy. “Hypocrisy cannot properly be said to be one single sin, (but rather) the sinfulness of other sins. It is among sins, as sincerity among graces. Now that is not one grace but an ornament, that beautifies and graces all other graces. The preciousness of faith is, that it is ‘unfeigned,’ and of love to be ‘without dissimuation.’ Thus the odiousness of sins is, when they are committed in hypocrisy.” It is bad enough to sin, but so much the worse when done in hypocrisy.
However, “Sincerity makes the soul very open and free to God. Though the sincere soul hath many infirmities, yet it desires to cloak and hide none of this from God, no, if it could, it would not, and this is that which delights God exceedingly. To be sure He will cover what such a soul uncovers. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive.” 1 John 1:9.
Save yourself some time, go right for the heart, YOUR heart. Work on that, not on him. Live sincerely and openly before God. How? Spend much time with God and talk to Him often in prayer.
Secondly: Pray without ceasing
“(Prayer) has, and God has determined that it should have, a positive and an appreciable influence in directing the course of a human life. It is, and God has purposed that it should be, a link of connection between human mind and Divine mind, by which, through His infinite condescension, we may actually move His will. It is, and God has decreed that it should be, a power in the universe, as distinct, as real, as natural, and as uniform, as the power of gravitation, or of light, or of electircity. A man may use it, as trustingly and as soberly as he would use either of these. It is as truly the dictate of good sense, that a man should expect to achieve something by praying, as it is that he should expect to achieve something by a telescope, or the mariner’s compass, or the electric telegraph.” Austin Phelps
Have confidence in His ear. Your words are living and powerful. Have confidence that He hears. Have confidence in the effectiveness of fervent prayer.
So many today want to be heard. They adulterously lay their thoughts before strangers on social media longing to be heard, to feel worthy and to be understood, when all the while there is One who stands ready to hear, One who has already bestowed great worth upon you and who understands you the best of all.
Your weapon is prayer. Your power is love. Your strength is intimacy with The Word. Capital “W”—a Person.
And last: Be prone to love
Jesus said over and over again, “Love one another.” The theme remains throughout the entireity of the New Testament as we see in Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” The phrase, “kindly affectioned” means: “the mutual love of parents and children and husbands and wives; loving affection, loving tenderly.”
And here is where you may fall prey to bitterness: when you discover the weakness of his soul, his “infirmities” as Jesus calls them. “That want of strength in the body or the soul. The want of strength and capacity to understand a thing, to do things great and glorious, to restrain corrupt desires or to bear trials and troubles.” Remember, it’s not the particulars of the trial that constitute the temptation, it is the resistence to the proper, godly response that sends you tumbling across the threshold into sin.
Covering another’s infirmities can only be done if you act as a supporter, encourager and lover in their life as opposed to one that seeks to usurp the power and position of the Holy Spirit. You cannot change anyone. In fact, it’s quite hard to even change yourself. It seems to me that most women pick on other people in their life when they are most unhappy about themselves. If I find it overwhelming to clean up and clear out at my house, (physically or spiritually speaking) I head over to my neighbor’s and tell them how to clean up and clear out at their house; and then I feel like I’m accomplishing something, and I’m being a good Christian because I’m helping someone.
No, keeping our eyes low in humility and our spirits high in hope, we must move through this life-- and especially in your new home together—in love. In order to do so, sincere communication is key.
You know, I’ve been thinking lately that in Satan’s kingdom conversations are dangerous so he seeks to keep us separate from one another, feeling alone, assuming the thoughts of others. Love, ideas, hope, encouragment, understanding and forgiveness are all passed in conversations. Praise God that He says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
God is love and He is patient. He is kind and He is understanding. He dwells in you and you are to speak and act for Him. Truly an impossibility without Him living inside of you, but amazing are the possibilites if you let Him have His way with you!
“By all means, use sometimes to be alone.
Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.
Dare to look in thy chest; for tis thine own;
And tumble up and down what thou findst there.”Geokoe Herbert
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Two of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife of almost 30 years.