Well we are in the final stretch! The last two lessons are on Completion and Diligence. Throughout the series of posts we have been talking about the importance of applying everything we are learning. My daughter has this quote on the lock screen of her iPad and I thought about what a profound statement it is…
“God’s Word is like a can of paint…it’s value is in its application.” Steven Furtick
It reminds me of James 1:22-25:
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
If you don’t apply the knowledge that you hear than you will never grow and your marriage will become stagnant. Nothing changes if nothing changes!
The reading focused on this Principle: Embrace Oneness.
The main idea of Lesson 15 was:
“Part of God’s design in marriage is to use your spouse to conform you into His image. You need to allow your spouse to partner with you in spiritual growth.”
Have you ever thought of marriage from that perspective? That your spouse is there to help you become more like God? I love how lesson 15 started off with this quote,
“Reformer Martin Luther once said that he learned more about what it means to be a follower of Christ in a marriage then he did in a monastery. In a monastery, one can isolate. But in marriage, there is no place to hide.”
Amen?? “There is no place to hide.” Sooner or later the ugly sides of us are going to come out. But as they said in the reading…
“Your spouse is to complete you in a way that no one else can and encourage your spiritual growth through their unique role in your life.”
“Previous lessons have pointed out that the goal of marriage is oneness, discussing both physical and emotional intimacy. Oneness is also to include spiritual intimacy, and one of the primary ways to promote spiritual oneness is to partner with your spouse in their spiritual growth.”
They asked this question in the reading, How do you help your spouse become more like Christ? When I first read that question, it took me by surprise because I don’t know if I ever really thought about helping my spouse become more like Christ consciously. But I like what, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (ESV) says…
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
“This passage is talking about how to help four different groups of people, but both you and your spouse often will need the same four things.”
Admonish the Idle.
“There are times when the most loving thing you can do is to help your spouse see their own sin.
Another way to say it is to help them see the blind spots that they have…Those areas that they are not realizing they have a problem…could be working too much, drinking too much or not making your marriage a priority. This me seem like “Circle infringement,” but keep in mind the council that they offered in the book,
“Admonishing always needs to be done in love and humility.”
I know that we have really emphasized the need for you to “draw the circle around yourself and work on everyone inside,” but this is the point in your journey that you and your spouse start to have overlapping circles…And if you allow the overlap, then God can really use them to help mold you into the person that He intended you to be.
Encourage the Fainthearted.
There will be times when they are fully aware of their shortcomings and are trying to work on issues. Praise your spouse for their efforts, regardless of how small they may seem to you. Praise them for successes! Try to overlook the small offenses.
“Pointing out small ways they are changing and growing is motivating and is a great way to help your spouse become who God intended them to be.”
Help the Weak.
“Sometimes your spouse will need more than truth and encouragement; they will also need your tangible expression of support.”
Be Patient with Them All.
“Change in people generally occurs over time. If you are being honest with your spouse, encouraging and helping them along the way, then continue to do so as you pray and wait to let God bring about the change.”
Did you catch that last part? “Then continue to do so as you pray and wait to let God bring about the change.” We MUST pray for our spouse and be patient as God moves in their hearts. Patience one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that can be really challenging sometimes but I think it is one that if we master it, we will reap the rewards in our marriages!
“Helping someone grow will always be difficult, but there is no greater joy than having a front-row seat to life-change.”
This is so true!! It may be difficult but oh so rewarding! One of my favorite quotes was,
“Authors Gary and Betsy Ricucci said, ‘One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!”
I never thought of my spouse that way before this class, but that description is dead on!
“The 24/7 spotlight that marriage puts on your life will fully expose who you really are. You can pretend at work and with your friends, but your quirks, sin patterns and selfishness will become fully exposed to your spouse overtime.”
We heard this quote in Lesson 8 but it is worth repeating… Author Gary Thomas asked this interesting question that I will pose to you…“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”What do you think of that?
“The challenge is to see marriage primarily as a way to become more like Christ by helping you to become a serving, forgiving and more patient person.”
You could look at it this way, Marriage is the vehicle to humbleness.
If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Diligence ★
Or if you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here . . .