Parents, We Influence Our Children’s Future Marriages Today

If truly Biblical marriage roles were being better taught from the pulpits and in homes, I cannot help but wonder if Christian women would take much more seriously the decision of whom they marry.

So many parents understandably lament that their young daughters choose men who are lazy, addicted, morally bankrupt, exceptionally immature, or don’t genuinely love the Lord.  But isn’t part of that on you, parents? Sometimes?

Why do so many young women think they can “rescue” a man?

More to the point: why was she under the impression that she could control or change him?

Did her understanding of marriage come from Scripture, or did you allow her to get much of that from unbelieving classmates, unbiblical church culture, chick flicks, and the world at large?

Was your daughter brought up to understand that the man she marries will indeed be her authority— not a peer who she can wrangle, manipulate, or “disciple” into seeing things her way? (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:23, 1 Peter 3:1-6)

That when they disagree in decision-making, she is to joyfully defer to him “in everything” as long as he’s not asking her to sin— so she’d better make sure he’s a man who wants a godly home? (Ephesians 5:22-24)

That even if he turns out to be an unbeliever, Scripture says that her best hope of winning him to the Lord is in the command to treat him with such reverence that he wonders why? (1 Peter 3)

That “reverence” (not mere “respect”) is what all wives are called to give their husbands— whether his behavior deserves it or not? (Ephesians 5:33)

That each spouse is accountable to the Lord for their own actions, which means she is to live out her role even if he isn’t living out his?

Was this dynamic both taught and modeled for her at home?

Did she even know?

To be clear, at times a young person may make an unwise marriage choice despite being diligently taught and biblically modeled for at home. But can we honestly say that’s the case? That the norm in the church today is to both teach and model truly biblical marriage? For that matter, do most even seriously study what the Word actually says about marriage– not some recommended book or marriage study or biblically-derived principles, but the exact, God-breathed words of Scripture itself– to know it well enough to teach it?

In no way am I trying to heap blame… only to warn the next generation.

Year after year, I’m grief-stricken over the number of women in bad marriages who message me, and dozens more who I’ve simply observed desperately reaching out for help. Most of these women (as well as their husbands) would have been spared a lot of ugliness and heartache had they believed these things before marriage.

Too late, they must slowly learn the painful reality that you have to lie in the bed you make. That you get to choose your love, but then you need to love your choice— and submit to him, too. When you choose a husband you are choosing, among other things, your most direct human authority! This is one of the many reasons to choose well.

Marriage matters… so much.

Not only for ourselves.

Not only for the reputation of the gospel and the picture of Christ and His Church to a watching world! (Titus 2:5, Ephesians 5:22-32)

But also for our children who, by watching our marriages day in and day out, subconsciously form their standard of “normal.”

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What Is God’s Love Language?

Many couples are into “love languages,” and even those who aren’t familiar with the term tend to be familiar with the concept: knowing what speaks love specifically to your spouse.

Some people feel most loved through quality time or conversation, others by acts of service, others by thoughtful gifts, others through physical touch, and still others through words of affirmation.

But, have you ever thought about what God’s love language is? God IS love, the Bible tells us. So He certainly is the One Who gets to define it, and He certainly gets to tell us how to love Him.

Scripture actually leaves no question as to what God sees as love toward Himself.

It isn’t passionate words about how much we love Him.
It isn’t singing and praising and basking in the emotional glow of worship.
It isn’t faithful church attendance and ministry.
It isn’t service and sacrifice.
It isn’t even reading the Bible, or time spent with Him in prayer.

Nope.

All of those will be the natural outpouring of a heart that loves Him, and all are necessary— yes!

But one can do all of those things and not love God. And, more importantly, they are not how He tells us He feels loved. Here’s how:

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands.” (1 John 5:3)

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

“To obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22)

So, what is God’s love language?

OBEDIENCE.

Hands-down. No question.

I’ll cut right to the chase.

It is very possible to talk a great deal about loving Jesus, read your Bible, pray regularly, be nice to people, lead women’s ministries, sing at church, you name it…

…but not accept what Scripture says to women. Not accept that God has some very clear and explicit commands for us to obey. And if you don’t accept God’s commands for what they are, according to Him, you don’t actually love Him.

I’m not speaking of women who embrace and love what Scripture says on the roles of women but don’t live it perfectly because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

No, that’s true of the most obedient and surrendered.

I’m talking about ignoring, twisting, or “interpreting” Scripture your way because you don’t really love what it has to say there. “It can’t really mean THAT,” or, “This is my interpretation/how I feel about it.” Finding a Bible teacher who agrees with you and confirms what you wish to hear.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to know what a passage is saying— there are some which are cryptic, or even the original Greek word in question has a wide range of meaning— but many passages are very straightforward.

Sometimes, it’s hard to discern the specific will of God for our lives. But there’s a whole lot of His general will very clearly revealed to us in His Word, no doubt about it. And if we pick and choose which passages we will obey, are we truly being obedient? If my children said, “Sure, Mama, I’ll obey you in this one area, but not this one over here. You can keep that one, because I don’t like it…” would we consider them to have obedient hearts? Of course not.

So, let’s be clear:

  • God says wives are to “reverence,” not merely “respect,” their husbands. (Eph. 5:33)
  • God says a woman is not to teach nor hold authority over a man, not just, “women can’t hold the office of pastor.” (1 Tim. 2:12)
  • God says the older women are to teach the younger women to “be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God Be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:4,5)
  • God says women are to be “obedient” and “in subjection” to their own husbands (Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5)
  • God says women are to “adorn themselves with modest apparel,” as well as with “a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3,4)
  • God says that a wife does not have the right to deny her husband sex. (1 Cor 7:4)

Are these passages the sum total of what God asks (commands) of us?

No, not at all!

These are just some of the ones written specifically to us women… the ones the church seems to dislike, argue, or ignore altogether.

I mean, we seem more than willing to espouse and try to obey the commands about other, more culturally-acceptable, less controversial stuff. Commands written in the exact same letters, to the exact same churches, as these doctrines and ordinances about the role of women.

We don’t throw out passages, directly surrounding these, on baptism or the Lord’s Supper or how husbands should treat their wives. No, it’s only these passages to women that we find so “controversial.”

But who made them controversial?

God didn’t. The early church didn’t.

The world did. And we did, as we were all too happy to follow suit.

So… how have we loved (obeyed) God today? How can we love Him through obedience if we won’t even acknowledge His commands?

Food for thought.

A Call To God’s Women On Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

If you browse social media for a little while, it will be impossible not to observe masses of women applauding themselves with cries of, “Me! Me! Look at ME! I am awesome! I am amazing!” In the spirit of the builders of Babel: “We will build a monument to our own greatness!”

Aside from coming off as immature, cringe-worthy, self-glorifying, and deeply insecure, it’s hard not to notice that this behavior stands in glaring contrast to the woman in Proverbs 31, who cheerfully, humbly, and industriously goes about her God-ordained, home-oriented role and is instead praised by her husband and children. (Proverbs 31:28)

It’s also in direct opposition to the Biblical command, “Let another praise you, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)

Today I would like to call us to something different.

For the last number of years, God has stirred in my soul a deep, urgent, aching desire to search my own heart and to call my fellow sisters to search theirs.

To confess… to repent… to, yes, weep and mourn and fall on our faces… over the stubborn hearts and the rampant rebellion that has come to typify Christian womanhood.

Yes: CHRISTIAN womanhood.

We have NOT been amazing, nor excellent.

We have NOT loved, embraced, and sincerely pursued lives of willing and joyful submission to our husbands, walking that out in the fear of the Lord.

We have NOT loved our children the way they need to be loved, without complaining about how they naturally make it hard to focus on “self-love.”

We have NOT been thankful for who God made us to be, either running from femininity altogether or looking to the world for its definition.

We have NOT pursued the development of “gentle and quiet spirit(s),” which, according to Scripture, “in God’s eyes is very precious.” (1 Peter 3)

We have NOT lived in humility and embraced the priceless, unspeakably beautiful role of serving and supporting behind the scenes, and we have failed to see and believe the COLOSSAL, ETERNAL RAMIFICATIONS of that.

This is mostly because we don’t know or don’t believe what Scripture has to say to us as women.

We have had the arrogance and the audacity to not only set ourselves up as judge enough to know how our husbands need to change, but also to take it upon ourselves to set out to change them. All while not doing the one thing Scripture tells us wives that we can use to influence our husbands for God: changing our own behavior, and being obedient to them. (1 Peter 3:1-6)

We have acted as our husbands’ mother, teacher, armchair psychologist, ball-and-chain, policeman, guy friend, nuisance, cold shower, third member of the Godhead– everything except his help-meet, lover, and true friend.

We have had the presumptive gall to put ourselves in the place of God and of men: to obsess and speculate loudly over male behavior, to make ourselves judge of what is acceptable masculinity and what is not, to condemn them with labels such as “toxic” rather than focusing on our own areas of shameful shortcoming, and to run our unbridled tongues on subjects about which we are truly not even qualified to speak.

We have grasped for control, power, prestige, comfort, pleasure, egalitarianism, to be heard, and to do things our way. We have chased applause, acceptance, popularity, flattery, and a name for ourselves.

We have been gossipy, cliquish, busybodies, lazy, self-righteous, hypocritical, immodest, gluttonous, disobedient to our husbands… and by some miracle, we have managed to spiritualize all of this behavior in our own minds.

We have become brazen, without fear of God or His ordained order of authority, and then have had the gall to call it “strength.”

We have been blasphemously self-exalting. We have been so very proud of ourselves— and for what, exactly?

We have followed our hearts— and they have led us astray.

When I say “we,” I mean professing Christian women as a whole and in general, with exceptions. We have become hopelessly, tragically, indistinguishable from the Godless world around us.

Some of you are going to sneer at this. Some will justify their dismissal by calling it unloving or an exaggeration, or will criticize and pick it apart. Some will simply not be able to see the vision I’m painting. Many will go back to living life as they always have. I accept this.

But some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m speaking to you– those of you with tender hearts, in whom God is stirring this same vision. Maybe tears are filling your eyes at this very moment because it’s resonating with you as truth.

Some of you are sick of fighting your husbands, sick of faking your life, sick of the struggle, sick of holding in resentments, sick of the energy it takes to be stubborn and proud and defensive, sick of trying to explain away passages of Scripture directed toward women, sick of trying to live with one foot in your Biblical role and the other squarely in the world’s way of doing things, sick and exhausted from acting like your husband’s Holy Spirit.

Are you longing to be honest, craving truth that will set you free, wishing for a clean slate, desiring more more holiness and wanting to press on to higher things? Wanting to start building your home rather than tearing it down? Aching for a glorious marriage? Done with the excuses, the winking at sin, the mediocrity?

Our men are not likely to become bold, strong warriors for Christ who lead their families, change their communities, inspire other men, and charge the gates of Hell if at home they are disrespected, disobeyed, unappreciated, nagged, emasculated, belittled, interrupted, usurped, gossiped about, and their every other decision questioned, disagreed with, or challenged.

Our sons will probably not grow up to cherish, respect, and protect women if their mother was anything but respectable and lovable.

Our daughters will probably not grow up to have happy marriages, enjoy running their homes, find deep fulfillment in loving and shaping the next generation, and joyfully submit themselves to male authority in the church if we don’t.

And our children are most definitely not going to have a healthy relationship with authority in life if we mutilate the image God chose as their closest and single most visible example: our marriages.

That’s because we hold massive power in the form of influence. Feminism sold us Satan’s brainchild lie from the pit of Hell when it said, “You were born a powerless victim. You need to be empowered.” The church swallowed that lie almost as quickly as the world did.

Women… it’s not too late. You can change. We all can.

The thing is, we can’t just resolve to “do better.” We can’t just muscle up and buckle down and try harder. We all know that’s how we land on our faces.

We cannot do this apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, and we will not be living with the reality of that power as long as we are grieving His voice in our hearts. We will not be availing ourselves of all He has to offer as long as we’re denying our sin, ignoring passages that speak directly to us rather than taking them for exactly what they say, digging in our heels about our roles in the home, church, and toward our husbands. The Bible says that in God’s eyes, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23)

Ever opposed your husband? Despised having to do things his way? Been uncooperative… stubborn? “Witchcraft, iniquity, and idolatry.” God said it… don’t look at me.

I want to call us all to a time of serious Scripture reading, prayer, and fasting for the rest of the month of March (fasting however you wish, not necessarily for the rest of the month). I’m pregnant and highly sick and wouldn’t be able to participate in fasting right now, and didn’t want to call any of you to something I’m not doing with you— so I’ll just suggest the idea for any who are able, willing, or feel led to do so. 

This is my vision for us. Will you commit to do this with me?

1.) Confession and repentance. This means getting alone and serious with God, and getting right with Him. Asking Him to break and grieve your heart if you’re not at that place already. Pouring it all out. Confessing all of the sin that’s been weighing you down… He knows anyway! You’re not going to scare Him off.

Consider also confessing to a trusted friend or two. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, that you may be healed.” The old saying that “Confession is good for the soul” is really just adapted from Scripture. There is great healing in confession.

Then go to your children and apologize for any way you’ve wronged them, as well as for sinful behavior and attitudes toward their dad. Tell them that God has put their daddy in charge, as the head of your home, and that you have been wrong to argue, contradict, nag, make irreverent faces, sigh, roll eyes, not act as his helper, be judgmental about his spiritual state, be dismissive of what you know his wishes to be… whatever it is in your particular case.

And, finally, go humbly to your husband, confessing and asking forgiveness for the same things. Ask him for specific examples of how you make him feel disrespected, and how you can better respect him… and really listen. Don’t get defensive. Don’t argue. Ask him what you could be doing (or not doing) to better support him in whatever God has called him to– whether that’s his job, ministry, or developing his skills and talents. Ask him for his top three specific ways you can make him feel like your true priority. You may think you already know, but you might not. And the very act of asking and listening to him shows respect.

Then, change: turn around and start going in the opposite direction. That’s the actual meaning of the word “repentance.”

2.) Prayer and fasting. Let’s commit to a special and significant daily time of prayer this month. This will look different for each of us because we’re all in different seasons and have different schedules– with four very young children myself, I totally understand– but my challenge to you is to make it happen, no matter what.

If you have to get up before the children, stay up for a little while after they and your husband have gone to bed, or use their naptimes as your prayer time… DO IT. You can do anything for just a few weeks. It can be as long or as short a time as you decide. But let me encourage you not to put a time limit on it, if you can help it.

Pray for God to change you, to make you sensitive to the Holy Spirit, to completely erase any wrong and preconceived notions about what femininity or marriage or childrearing should look like, to help you to live in thankfulness rather than resentment, to teach you what it truly means to “reverence” and respect your husband, to help you believe the truths that would help you delight in your role… the list goes on. You know what’s on your own heart– make your own list!

If you are fasting, you can use times you would normally be eating or preparing food to pray. When you feel hungry, you could even treat this as a personal prompt to pray throughout the day, as well.

3.) Studying all that Scripture says specifically to us. The Bible actually has much to say to women, wives, and mothers, and the fact that God goes out of His way to address us is more than enough reason to pay attention. Yet it seems that we currently prefer to ignore such passages, and concentrate on gender-neutral passages. Why would we do this?

Women teachers of the Bible primarily teach anything except the one thing God says older women should be teaching the younger women (which is outlined in Titus chapter 2)! I call this “the lie of omission in women’s ministry,” because by not exploring and embracing these passages, we paint an incomplete or even false picture of God’s intent for womanhood.

So at least for this month, let’s forget what this book said or that teacher said. Go to Scripture as if it’s all you have and all you are familiar with. Ask the Holy Spirit to silence your flesh, quell your pride, destroy your assumptions, and open your eyes to what God’s heart is saying.

Do a word study in Proverbs, looking up every verse that mentions wives or women. Or study the creation of woman in Genesis, and how that relates to New Testament passages about the role of women in the church. Or study the meaning of each of the individual qualities women are commanded to embrace in Titus 2. Ideas abound!

Curious what exactly is meant by a particular word or title? Go to BibleHub.com and click on the Greek lexicon (I’ve linked to an example– you can open up the passage in Greek and then click on any word! Try clicking on hupotassomenai— “be subject”– and see the true meaning ;)). The original Greek or Hebrew word can offer a colorful array of meaning, which may have been butchered by the translation into English. Don’t you want to know God’s exact intent and message to us?! Discovering the meaning of the actual words God Himself inspired is an exercise I find to be insanely exciting!

Women, our nation and our world have fallen apart and are in many ways a depraved, doomed, dystopian nightmare. Many people are aching for the truth, whether they recognize it or not. This is a time when the light shines ever more brightly in the darkness. We have an incredibly important role to play “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), as women who both act and intercede for our families, the lost, the hurting, the needy, the innocent, and “all who are in authority.” (Romans 13)

But Scripture says that it is the prayers of a righteous person which are “powerful and effective” (James 5:16), and I do not believe that God blesses the prayers of women who willingly reject or live in defiance of His words to them.

Now is the time to change.

To humble ourselves and become a “servant of all,” like Christ. (Mark 9:35)

To, like Jesus, “not consider equality something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6).

To pray, as our Savior in the garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will– Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

To get behind our husbands and be adaptable as we support them in God’s calling on their lives– with kindness, prayer, affection, service, obedience, joy, and a helping hand.

To believe that the One Who created us, Who literally put every piece of us together, knows best how we operate and what we need, and intends all things for our good! (Romans 8:28)

To cut out of our lives any sources of false messages that feed our flesh, mimic the world, or align with the whispers of the Serpent in the Garden… no matter how tasty they may be, and no matter how much we may want to believe them.

Are you with me!? I KNOW some of you are, because you have said so— BLESS YOU. Would you also consider sharing this challenge with a woman friend? Let us be the lifter of each other’s arms when we feel beaten down by the lies all around us.

Let it begin with us.

Go with God! ❤