Monday, March 14, 2016

"On Fire": Be Careful. The World Can't Tell You How to Be a Wife Because...

Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

As the Scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."---Ephesians 5:21-33(NLT)


So, there's a verse in the Bible that I am settling into more and more these days:

"See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah)."---Colossians 2:8(AMPC)

It reminds me to be a student of the Word, to teach what the Word says...but to not, as my mother and I call it, "talk to the tree" (Genesis 3). Basically that means to avoid doing what the Woman did with the serpent by getting into long debates with people who try to *excuse what the bible is saying* in order to make a point. (Or condone a behavior.)

Oh, it's amazing how much I'm actually having to do that with believers more than non-believers these days. As some of you have probably noticed, I've been speaking up more and more about what *the biblical covenant of marriage* really and truly is. It's one husband and one wife who are married until death parts them. Nowhere in the Word does it permit any believer and especially any disciple (Matthew 16:24) to "edit" these instructions. If marriage ends in divorce between a husband and his wife, they are to remain unmarried and be reconciled to their covenant partner (I Corinthians 7:10-11). Christ himself said in Matthew 19 that to marry a divorced person is committing the act of adultery. (You can read more about this here, here and here.)

Just because it is not taught as often or responsibly as it should be...
Just because many people decide to ignore these instructions...
Just because it's an uncomfortable thing to hear...
That doesn't make these realities any less true.

Marriage is something that is a blessing to us...
But it is not something that God owes anyone...
Nor is it something that he has permitted us to do our own way.

It's a hard reality.
That, I know.

That's a huge part of the reason why this blog exists, though. It's to prepare women to enter into *covenant*---to understand and embrace all of what that means.

So, if you're a single-never-been-married-before woman, it's important to do as much biblical research as possible about what GOD'S WORD not THE WORLD says marriage is about.

If you're a woman who is on her second (or more) marriage and you didn't know all of what the Word expects, you're welcome too. We all make mistakes and fall short (Romans 3:23). I must say that I am careful to call *first marriages* "marital covenant" and others "marriage". Covenants are serious and the Word is clear about what a first marriage is. However, because the success rate of second, third and so on marriages decreases with every one, I do want to do whatever I can to make sure your current marriage is your last.

At the same time, if you're a woman dating a divorced guy or you're divorced and looking for encouragement to marry someone other than your covenant partner, I honestly am not at peace condoning either situation. Simply put, it's just not biblical. I can pray God's best for you and that you make peace with what that is. God has used me to even help to bring divorced couples back together, so I know, firsthand that it is possible. Yet now, more than ever, at a time when people are becoming more and more deceived (Matthew 24:4) by their own desires (James 1:14-15) and the world and its lust-filled and prideful way of thinking (I John 2:16), being that the Word says "woe to those who call good 'evil' and evil 'good'" (Isaiah 5:20), I have to take a firm stand on what God has already taken a firm stand on.

Not just when it comes to the topic of divorce (Malachi 2:16) either...

Last week, I caught two articles that basically had me be like "Oh brother." One was "Beyoncé Incites Internet Ire For Saying Motherhood Is Her Proudest Accomplishment". The other was "Here’s Why Iyanla Vanzant Says She’ll Never Marry Again After 3 Divorces".

As far as the first piece, the world's a trip ain't it? So you're mad that Beyonce' feels like becoming a mother is the best thing that she's ever done? WHY? Please believe I have my theories. Let's not forget that motherhood is a gift from God just like marriage is (Psalm 127:3, Malachi 2:15-NCV). Satan is the prince of the air (Ephesians 2:2). He hates anything that God has done---and given us the ability to do.

The second? Here's what Iyanla said from her own mouth:

You know what's interesting? When I told a godly wife of over 25 years what she said, the wife said "Sounds to me like she doesn't want to change. Marriage requires a lot of self-adjustment." Hmm...

Now, after all that I said about divorce, I'm all for Iyanla remaining single (wonder if she knows that the Bible says that means being abstinent too--Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6). This was the part that caused me for pause (per the article):

"I would never, ever, ever," she said again, just in case Tyrese or his co-host, Rev. Run, didn't hear her right the first time. Vanzant, a life coach who guides other people through life's most pressing crises, said that she realized she's not willing to do things required of wives.

She'd much rather be someone's partner.

“You know what? I would not be a great wife based on the definitions and the standards of today. I'm a great partner because I see my partner as my equal," she said.

It sounds as if she's suggesting that in order to be someone's wife, you have to be submissive in some way. There's the idea that men like to have dominion over their wives, and it's a role that Vanzant is not interested in or supports. If so, it's nice that she realizes that's not an arrangement she wants to partake of.

To be fair, Iyanla didn't say that she didn't want to get married again because she didn't want to submit, but it does seem to convey that "in between the lines". Good for her for knowing that because the Word says that's *exactly* what a wife should do. She shouldn't be a wife if she doesn't wan to do *what the Bible* says comes with the position:

Here: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22-NKJV)
And here: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18-NKJV)

For the record, that doesn't mean you and your husband are not "equal", though...

Equal means "as great as" (men and women were made in the image of God--Genesis 1:26-28).
Equal means "uniform in operation or effect" (walking in agreement--Amos 3:3).
Equal means " like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc." (suitable--Genesis 2:18-AMPC).

What it does not mean is we serve the same purpose in marriage...
Men are the leaders of the home...
Wives are the helpers...
*It's biblical*.

A lot of people, both in and out of the Church unfortunately, do not want to acknowledge/honor/follow the Word. You can tell by the amount of people who clapped when Iyanla said she didn't want to get married again. Note, she didn't say "I'm happy in my singleness" (that's applause-worthy). She said "I would never, ever, ever" get married (again). And that's something to be celebrated...because...what exactly?

Again, Satan hates what God does.
Satan works overtime to get us to do things so off-script that we find ourselves detesting God's own gifts and blessings.

But while the world is condemning women who relish in motherhood and celebrating those who declare they don't want to be married, the standard of godliness still exists. I saw it in a very moving testimony from a wife last week as well:

I'm not going to give it away. Check it out when you get a chance. For now, I'll just say that she speaks on what it's like to be a wife who doesn't keep the Word and what it can do to a marriage and then to be a wife who does honor the Bible and how it can transform a marriage. It's pretty powerful and *very different* from what the world says and does.

This brings me to one more article...

One that I just saw today:

"Ciara and Russell Wilson’s Engagement Proves Waiting to 'Put Out' Isn’t a Crazy Idea".

Two points first.

One, If you know anything about this story, you know that Russell is a divorced man. People have asked me before if I believe God forgives divorce. Of course I do (I John 1:9-10). However, check it: I'm very open about my abortions. How would I sound if I said "I'm so glad God has forgiven me" on the way to the clinic to abort another child? A part of what comes with *true repentance* (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) is renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) so that you *get the gravity of what you did* and you *then strive to keep the Word---just as it's stated*. Asking for forgiveness and then ignoring the Bible and doing whatever you want anyway is...dangerous. Remember, when Christ forgave the woman caught in adultery, he told her to "Go and sin no more" (John 8:1-12) not "I forgave you, now do whatever your heart wants." I'm pretty sure you see where I'm going with that. Maybe Russell doesn't know what the Word says. Maybe no one is bold enough to tell him. I'll say a prayer about all of that. Marriage is not just about "happiness". It's about surrender and sanctification. Marriage must be done God's way. To a "t".

Second point, yes. It *is* nice to see where abstinence will bring a person. Here are some excerpts from the article:

“What would you say if we took all that extra stuff off the table? And just did it Jesus’ way?” Wilson told the audience he suggested to Ciara.

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin,” according to the Biblical Book of Thessalonians 4:3.

Doing it Jesus’ way. What a novel idea in a time when the hyper-sexualization of women is apparently no longer shocking. In fact, it has become the norm. It’s well known that “sex sells” and has been absolutely true at least since Biblical mentions of Jezebel...

Ciara and Wilson’s apparently unusual decision to enter into a relationship premised on mutual affection, respect and emotional intimacy, shouldn’t be shocking, and is happily having its moment in the sun right now. It was also a choice made by Hollywood actress Megan Good and her film executive husband, DeVon Franklin, and inspired the Christian couple to write their recently-released book The Wait. It’s heartening to see that public figures are championing the celibate lifestyle, especially as they’re a whisper in a cacophony of sexual hedonism.

Any naysayers out there are of course entitled to their critiques about the value of waiting to have sex. There is no doubt that when sex is good it’s amazingly good, and who doesn’t want to feel amazing? However, sex can also come with heartache and confusion for those who are looking for intimacy and mistake sex for affection, commitment, love and other warm, fuzzy feelings. It also comes with the real risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. Whether or not you believe in God, or are Christian, that’s a thought worth considering...

To be clear, making the decision to wait has nothing to do with one’s sensuality or sexiness, which is why criticisms leveled at women like Ciara and Good, who has been judged for being a scantily clad siren, miss the point. I am, as each of those women is, a sexual being who has every right to look and feel good about my physical assets and attributes.
I’m certainly an advocate of taking time to put effort into my hair and make-up, and enjoy rocking hot heels, form-fitting dresses and pretty lingerie. But, as far as I’m concerned, if God says I should only give up my goodies once Mr. Right has put a (wedding) ring on it, they stay in the jar.

It's a wise person who once said "In order to be unlike the world, you have to do things differently than they do." Looking to the anyone or anything that tells you, in this case, how to be a wife? If what they are saying is in direct conflict with the Word, no matter what the intentions may be (because they say the road to hell is paved with those, right?), it is rooted in some form of deception.

Only the One who created/designed/invented marriage...
Can tell you how to really and truly be married.

And his Word is clear...
Crystal clear.

On sexual purity prior to marriage...
On vow-keeping in marriage (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)...
On roles that husbands and wives have in marriage...
About the responsibilities that come with marriage (I Corinthians 7 & I Peter 3:1-7)...

About what the title of the leader Scripture says...
That a marriage is a SPIRIT-LED not SELF-LED kind of union.

So, whether you're praying for your future husband...
Or you're praying about if who you're currently with should be your husband...
Don't look to the world to tell you how to be a wife.

The only way the people of the world can offer you any sound advice...
Is by submitting, fully, to the Lord and becoming his disciples (Matthew 28:19)...
So that they can embrace the *biblical truth* (John 8:31-32).

Please don't look to anyone or thing who makes light or less of the Word...

For marriage to work correctly...
You're going to need to follow the instructions...

In walks "The Character Traits of a Godly Wife":

Proverbs is most specific with regard to the qualities of the godly wife. These are highlighted by contrasting the moral flaws of a woman who is far from virtuous.

1. A GODLY WIFE IS GODLY. Godliness begins with a proper relationship to God. A godly wife is, first and foremost, a woman who fears God.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (31:30).

In contrast, the woman to avoid is the one who does not know or fear God. She is sometimes referred to as a “strange woman,” that is a foreigner, one who has no knowledge of the God of Israel (cf. 2:25; 5:3,20; 7:5). She is actively evil and has no grasp of the way of the Lord.

She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it (5:6).

To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress (6:24).

While perhaps not synonymous with a fear of God, the godly wife is referred to as virtuous or excellent (12:4; 31:10). This seems to describe the moral excellence of the godly wife, a result of her godliness.

2. A GODLY WIFE IS WISE. You will recall that wisdom is personified as a woman in the Book of Proverbs (cf. 1:20-33; 8:1-36; 9:1-6). So also the ideal wife is characterized as a woman of wisdom.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands (14:1).

She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (31:26).

The opposite of the godly woman is the woman of folly.

The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naive, and knows nothing (9:13).

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion (11:22).

3. A GODLY WIFE HONORS HER HUSBAND. A man who has married a godly wife has a wife who will bring honor to him. She is truly a helper to her husband.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones (12:4).

The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack, of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life (31:11-12).

An ungodly wife humiliates and harasses her husband. She is not a helper but a hindrance to her mate. She is “as rottenness in his bones” (12:4). By her haranguing, she makes him miserable:

A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping (19:13).

4. A GODLY WIFE IS GRACIOUS. One reason honor is given the godly woman is that she is known for her graciousness.

A gracious woman attains honor, And violent men attain riches (11:16).

The ungodly woman is spoken of in very unbecoming terms. She is vexing, due to her contentious nature:

It is better to live in a corner of a roof, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman (21:9; cf. 25:24).

It is better to live in a desert land, Than with a contentious and vexing woman (21:19).

5. A GODLY WIFE IS FAITHFUL TO HER HUSBAND. This is most clearly shown by contrast with the woman of folly who is an adulteress.

To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words; That leaves the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God (2:16-17).

To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress (6:24).

“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses For the man is not at home. . . ” (7:18-19).

While it is not stated explicitly, it is implied and assumed that a godly wife is one who maintains sexual purity. She is a woman who is virtuous or excellent (31:10), in whom her husband has complete trust (31:11). She does her husband only good and not evil (31:12). She teaches her son the virtues of sexual purity (31:3). Certainly she is a woman of sexual purity.

The world can't tell you how to be a wife...
Because the world does not submit to the Word.

Please don't allow it to *infect* your views on marriage or wifedom...
Follow the Word, *as it is written*...
And watch God honor you for it!

On both sides of heaven (that's key!)...

"But this thing I did command them: Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God and you will be My people; and walk in the whole way that I command you, that it may be well with you."---Jeremiah 7:23(AMPC)

Proverbs 12:4,


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