Part of a Beautiful Picture : Christ and the Church

 

Part of a Beautiful Picture: Christ and the Church

These things have been on my mind and heart, and I as a married woman I believe it’s such a helpful thing to meditate on as I walk out my role as a wife. I am excited to share a few of the things the Lord has taught my heart through His Word in regards to this subject.

Let’s look at Ephesians 5 together:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

 

I put the parts of this Scripture that directly speak to wives and their part in this beautiful picture in bold so they would stand out to us.

Wives, we are to be subject to our husbands, submitting to them as unto the Lord (vs 22), why because we are part of a bigger picture…. a picture of what the Church looks like. Unfortunately in our American culture, many marriages and many churches don’t look like this, so it can be difficult for people to wrap their minds around. Many people call themselves Christians, but do not submit themselves to the Lord Jesus with their lives. Unfortunately for these people they have bought into a lie, they think that saving faith is merely giving a mental acknowledgement to the truth of Jesus’s death on the cross and being raised from the dead, followed by simply confessing it with their mouths whether or not the truths or words impact their lives. The truth is in Scripture we see other descriptions of a true believer that don’t line up with this idea. Take this one for example:

Romans 6: 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

 

Being under grace means that we no longer let sin reign in us; we are now instruments of righteousness.

The Picture: Christ and the Church

It is the same in many marriages today, people don’t see the value in serving their husbands and submitting to them as unto the Lord. Now truly, you are in a marriage commitment whether you submit or not (the analogy does break down at this point), but try to follow me here on the topic of this bigger picture.

We are a part of a picture that we see here in Ephesians represents Christ and His Bride- the Church. For this reason our submission is very important so that we can be an accurate representation of this beautiful picture.

The S word

“Did she just say submit?” To some women this may be almost repulsive. Our culture has taught us to fight for our rights to be equal with our husbands, and to have equal say in everything….. or perhaps even fight to run the show. Many television shows today portray the father is the dumbo who doesn’t know anything and messes up everything; and mom is portrayed as the completely competent hero. That is a message that is being sent in almost every teen Disney or family sitcom out there. It’s sad.

Truth is, that is a total mockery of what Christian marriage is designed to represent. As the Church, we are not equal in authority with the Lord Jesus, He is our master! He does love us, He has called us friend, and He even gave up His life for us and bore the wrath that was meant for us because of our sins, but He is still our Lord. If we are in Christ, we do not run our own show, we are not in charge, we don’t even have equal say in what we are going to do…. we are to submit to His Word and commands.

Submission in marriage is a part of God’s perfect ordained order, and it has a greater purpose because of this profound mystery of us imperfect people being able to reflect the beauty of Christ and His Church.

Many women fear this submission thing…. they are afraid of becoming “door-mats”, or being taken advantage of. The believe that their husbands will make a bad decision that will affect them negatively, but this is where we have to trust that God’s wisdom is much wiser than our wisdom. This would not be in His Word if it were not true. We need to trust the Lord in this! And we can not do this without His Spirit indwelling us!

I believe that this looks a little different from marriage to marriage, some husbands desire more input from their wives, and others desire more respect without many questions being raised against what they are leading them to do. Sometimes this varies from situation to situation and we need to learn our husbands and learn to be discerning in each of situation. We should honor our husbands by communicating and asking them how and when they want our input and help in decision making. Within my own marriage there are many decisions that we make together and my husband desires my input and wants my help with discerning what we should do, and there are other instances that he makes a decision for us and even if it may not have been the decision I would’ve made, I agree and commit to it with him with my whole heart. This is a picture of how submission works in our marriage. I have to admit, this isn’t always easy. But the Lord continues to work in me and make my heart more submissive and less self-seeking. We must be honest with ourselves, and repent to the Lord and apologize to our husbands when we push our own will against theirs. We are not perfect, neither are our husbands; thankfully we can confess our sin to the Lord and He will forgive us. The more we walk in the Spirit, the easier submission becomes. We must be abiding in Christ in order to have the humility it takes to serve our husbands and think of them more highly than ourselves. We all know this truth, and it applies to this aspect of marriage as well: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

And we really can!  And when we are walking in this way, what a beautiful part of a picture we get to represent! To be a part of that glorious picture of Christ and the Church is a great honor!

I hope you continue to be encouraged by this, I know that this is not often talked about in certain churches, and for many of you this really upsets you because of the things you have been taught by our culture, and maybe even things you have been falsely taught from churches. Many pastors tip-toe around these Scriptures and change the meanings of them to fit with the ideas of the culture. I pray that you will be receptive to God’s truth. If this is not something you’ve ever heard before, or even if this is something that upsets or offends you, I beg you to seek the Lord in prayer and search the Scriptures for yourself to see what they say on this subject. The above verses are not the only ones that you will find if you look, there are many others.

Blessings to all of you as you serve your husbands this week!

For your further pursuit:

20 Ways to Love your Husband

20 ways to love your husband

Well it’s here tomorrow, the day of love! My girls have been counting down to the days to Valentines Day because my sweet husband has been telling them about how he plans to take us all out on a special date. They have been picking out dresses and making crafts for him all week. It’s so sweet to watch them consider more and more ways that they can show daddy love. It got me thinking…. I want to come up with a list of ways that I can show my husband love, not just tomorrow but for each day of my life. I wanted to share this list with you all to encourage you to love your husbands well. Considering that our purpose as married women is to be a help mate and companion to our husbands, I think this is a very valuable thing to consider that will honor the Lord.

20 Ways to love your husband:

1. Smile and greet him joyfully in the mornings and when he gets home from work.

2. Choose not to nag him, question his ideas, or complain, but instead thank him for the good things he does for your family (big and small).

3. Choose to think good thoughts of your husband and to speak good words about him to your friends.

4. Ask your husband how you can help him accomplish his goals for the week, or if there is anything you can do differently to make things easier for him.

5. Put him first over the children, friends, and other obligations. Be willing to rearrange your schedule for him.

6. Consider him as more important than yourself.

7. Create a clean and peaceful environment for him to come home to.

8. Don’t try to compete with him, if he says he is tired or has hard a hard day…. just listen, don’t start trying to “one up” him by telling him how hard your day was or how you aren’t getting any sleep because of the baby. Instead listen, encourage, and offer to pray for him.

9. If he is having a bad day or seems a little edgy, answer him with kindness and gentleness, and avoid bringing up stressful topics or asking unnecessary questions. Remember, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

10. Submit to him without complaining or questioning his reasons, if he requests something that he wants you or the kids to do or not to do, then simply say “yes”, and if you have questions ask them after you have expressed that you will do what he’s asking no matter what he says to your questions. This shows you aren’t fighting for your own way. Choose to trust him as the leader of your home.

11. Leave him sweet notes of encouragement in places he will see them.  Ideas: post-it note on the coffee pot, a little card in his lunch you packed him for work, a little letter tucked inside his Bible or devotional book, the possibilities are endless.

12. Get the kids to bed early and put on a special outfit that is for his eyes only. ;-)

13. Feed him and the kids well. Make sure the pantry and fridge are stocked with good and healthy things to eat and things that you know he likes.

14. Dress yourself in a way that shows him respect. Cover your body and let it be for his eyes only. And present yourself well in public and at home. Make an effort to be pleasing to him in your appearance, wear things he likes and get rid of the things he says he doesn’t care for.

15. Joyfully accept instruction and ideas from him.

16. Do kind things for him without expecting anything in return.

17. Pray for him continually! Bless him and pray for God to give him what he needs to be the leader and provider of your home. Pray for him to have victory over sins in his life. Pray for God to use him mightily to advance His kingdom.

18. Willingly forgive without expecting an apology, and choose not to bring it up or hold it over his head, and don’t bring it up to justify yourself whenever you make a mistake. Jesus forgave us and He was perfect, so we who are sinful should be all the more willing to forgive our husbands when we are wronged in the same way that Christ forgives us.

19. Be joyful and content in your current situation whatever it may be. Don’t complain and ask for more and do not compare him to your friends’ husbands or other men in your life. Express that you are happy with who he is and what he provides for you. (Helpful tip here: it’s not your husband’s job to fulfill you and meet all of your needs anyway, only Jesus can do that for you!)

20. Focus on honoring the Lord with your time, conduct, and decisions… if we are honoring the Lord then will be honoring our husbands as well.

I hope you ladies all have a happy Valentines day and can use some of these ideas tomorrow and from now on to show your husbands that you love them! And be content with whatever your husband does for you tomorrow, if he forgets Valentines Day altogether, not a big deal. You show love without expecting it in return because this honors the Lord!

Be blessed!

Created for a Purpose

created for a purpose

In the previous post I laid a foundation of truths from Scripture that are true for women and men alike. Today I will begin to get more specific, and dive in to what God’s purpose and plan for women was and still continues to be.

We find out why women were created reading what God says here in Genesis 2:18:

 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

So woman was created to be a companion and suitable helper for man.

I know this isn’t a popular idea in our culture, but popular or not it is in the Bible and the Bible is true. This is not to say that the woman can not and should not fulfill other purposes because she should (and I will get there in this series, just have to take one step at a time). Women can certainly serve the Lord in many ways, but being a companion and helper for the man was her purpose in being created. And God is unchanging, His plans for us women today are no different. We see Paul share this truth with the women in the church of Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 11:9:

 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

A woman’s relationship with her husband is the first and primary place God intended for her to serve. God intended for us to serve our husbands, not to serve ourselves, and especially not to demand that our husbands serve us.

Now what about the single women who wish to remain single or who are single due to their current circumstances (perhaps widowed, divorced, or never been married)? Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 7:34:

The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

The single woman should be concerned with serving the Lord, being holy in body and spirit. God intends for her life to center around serving the Lord, not serving herself.

Now this may seem unfair if you don’t realize how perfect God’s plans are. God has given a lot of responsibility to the men as well, but that is simply not my focus here…. that shouldn’t be your focus either. You should serve the Lord in your intended role not because your husband serves the Lord in his intended role, but because you wish to honor the Lord because HE alone is worthy! It certainly makes it more difficult to serve an ungodly husband, but it is not impossible and in fact it is commanded as a means for winning him to Christ.

1 Peter 3:1

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

Now I realize that what I’m sharing does not come easily or naturally. Our flesh and our pride wants to fight this and rise up against this or at the very least to make excuses for our failures in this area.  The truth is fulfilling our God-given role to serve our husbands (or to selflessly serve the body of Christ if single) will only be possible if we are abiding in Him. We must be faithful in our relationship with the Lord… praying continually, reading and memorizing the Scriptures, and delighting in the Lord and who He is. We must be careful not to buy in to the lies of our culture that will tell us that a woman is a “doormat” for serving her husband. That is one of Satan’s tactics and sadly it works for many. God planned for us to serve our husbands.

Praying for you ladies this week, and I hope you will pray for me as well, that we would be guided by the Holy Spirit and given power to serve our husbands diligently asking nothing in return.

No Divisions Among You

no divisions among you

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Sisters in Christ, we should be unified! And in a world where we all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and circumstances there is only one way that unity is possible.

Unity is only possible when we all fix our eyes on Christ, and base what we believe as truth on the only one source of truth that we have, The Bible. We are commanded to love one-another by Jesus, John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. And we know that by the Biblical definition of  Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” 1 Corinthians 13:6. 

God has revealed truth to us in His Word…. He is by definition truth.

Psalms 31:5b “You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” (God the Father)

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (God the Son)

John 14:17a “the spirit of truth” (God the Spirit)

He is truth! His Word is truth! This is the only place we can find unity!

Outside of truth is lies… and where there are lies… there is disunity.

How do we avoid these lies? By comparing everything a person says, preaches, or writes to the Scripture which is where God has revealed Himself to us. And not just some Scripture .. or select verses in Scripture, but ALL Scripture is truth!  I hear some people say, “well we also have the Spirit to reveal truth”, and yes we do…. and God will never contradict Himself! If the Spirit is leading you in a way that is contrary to the truth revealed in Scripture, then that is a different spirit, it is not the Holy Spirit. Satan will try to deceive us, he has been doing it since his deception with Eve. John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. We must be careful to discern whether we are hearing from the Spirit of Truth or the Father of Lies. Also, there is some worldly advice that everyone likes to say… “follow your heart”… well this is terrible advice according to Scripture. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Please be careful my sweet sisters! There is an enemy out there who wishes to deceive us, and to cause disunity among us. We must be in God’s Word! You can’t just take 5 minutes a day to read a little devotional app, or book written by someone who is paraphrasing God’s Word, or talking about what God revealed to them… You must be in the source! And how can you expect to discern truth when you spend so little time in His word, yet will sit and watch a 2 hour long movie or even a couple of TV shows with worldly ideas. Even if the shows aren’t Rated R and you don’t consider them to be “that bad”.. they are not God’s Word, and very few of them are actually based on God’s Word. We need to be careful, not just with the shows we watch, but also the books we read, the blogs we read, the music we listen to, the people we talk to, our teachers, our mentors, everyone….. compare compare compare to the Scripture. Not for the sake of legalism, no you will not earn any special merit of salvation by cutting these worldly things out of your life…. but for the sake of not being deceived…. for the sake of guarding our hearts! Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 The same is true for our children… we must be diligent to guard their little hearts as well! Be careful the things we let them watch, the books we read to them, the people we allow to teach them, the friends we allow them to be around.

The bottom line is this… if we wish to be unified as Christ has commanded, then we must be unified in Him! He is truth! Truth is something we should all agree on… lies are what cause dissension.

If someone is teaching or writing falsely  speak out against it, warn others so that they will not be deceived by it. The Bible takes false teaching very seriously! Go to that false teacher if possible and discuss the truth with them, perhaps they will repent and believe what is right. If you find that you are not unified with a believer in some way (do not go talk about that person behind his/her back!), go to them and ask the Scriptures they find for the basis of this idea which you disagree on, show them the Scriptures that you have found that are contrary to that idea. Pray together and seek to understand the Word of God together. Some people will tell you that it is being divisive to go and question another, but it’s not… it is seeking unity and delighting in truth. It may not be the popular thing to do, and it may not get us lots of friends or pats on the back, but it is right in the eyes of the Lord for us to love truth and His Words more than we love what people think of us. We will be more dis-unified if we just walk on and say “to each their own” instead of seeking to be unified in truth.

And let us take time today to pray for unity, and to pray that God will open the eyes of those who are being deceived.

Blessings and have a good weekend!

The Same and also Different

the same and also different

It is my heart to blog here often about Biblical womanhood….. What it means to be a woman and how we view this rightly.

I plan to focus deeply on how God created women differently than men, but I believe that knowing how we are the same will help us ladies more joyfully embrace our God-designed role as women.

So today I simply want to focus on how we are the same….. and in future posts, I will post about differences from a Biblical perspective.

According to God’s Word- Men and Women are both:

1.) created in God’s image

Genesis 1: 27  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

We were both designed to reflect the image of God, we as women have a duty to reflect God in a different way than men do, and I will get there, but for now just understand this is something both men and women were created to do.

2.) sinners

Men and women have both sinned, this happened in Genesis 3 and has been a problem ever since, and it affects both men and women

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

3.) in need of the Savior

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4.)Fellow heirs of the grace of life

        For those who have repented of theirs sins against our Holy God, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ they have now become joint heirs in His kingdom. This applies to both men and women!

1 Peter 3:7  You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

          Try not to get too focused on what the men are suppose to be doing here, I posted this so that you can know something God said about you as a believing woman… that you are a fellow heir of the grace of life. Now you may be saying what does that mean? I’m going to go back to Ephesians 2…. I know I quoted that in a previous blog post already, but it’s so great it can be quoted again and again… and probably will be around here. :-)

Ephesians 2:
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

All of these things are true for both men and women who are in Christ!

I wanted to establish these things first because sadly our culture has been told a bundle of lies when it comes to gender…. specifically in the form of Feminism. As I begin to share the truth from God’s Word about what women were created for and what a Biblical and Godly woman looks like, it would be easy to buy into the worlds lies (Satan’s lies) and believe that the Bible is saying women are inferior, oppressed, and less important than men (as a whole and in the sight of God)…. and those things simply are not true and that is not what the Bible says.

Honestly, I really just scratched the surface with this list. Men and women are both very valuable to the Lord and equal in many ways! God made us in His image, when we needed a Savior because of our sin against Him Christ died for us! Women who believe in Him we are His workmanship! We have access to Him in prayer. He is making intercession for us to the Father. He empowers us with His Spirit! He gives us gifts to serve the church and others for His glory. And one day we will worship Him in heaven around the throne! These things aren’t just for men, which tells us something very true…. that we are not less important, we are not oppressed, and we are not inferior….. if we were, then these things would not be true… Christ wouldn’t have died for us, only men would be made to reflect God’s image, we would not be able to pray to God, we would not be able to serve the church, we would not one day be able to worship around the throne. I hope you see what I mean by this, YOU, dear woman in Christ have a very special and important place in God’s Kingdom.

Galatians 3: 26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

A Prayerful Beginning

SAMSUNGThis is the beginning of something that I pray will make an impact for Christ and His Kingdom. I’ve been blogging for a long time and I’ve had many different types of blogs. It is something that I enjoy, but more and more I’ve been feeling the Holy Spirit press upon me to blog as a ministry and a service to my sweet sisters in Christ. That is why I am here.

I have prayed and will continue to pray over this “place” on the web. I ask that you would pray as well.

Here is how you can pray for this ministry and for me:

Pray for Jesus to be exalted above all else! This is not about me… it is about Him.

Pray that He would speak/write through me and guide my each and every word here.

Pray that the Lord would use this to encourage women to abide in Him and to live for His glory.

Pray that anyone who comes to this site and does not know Jesus as their Savior would be drawn to Him through the posts and resources here.

Pray for the Lord’s protection over me against the spiritual warfare and the temptations that come when one sets out to do something of this nature that will publicly proclaim Biblical truths and salvation.

And finally, please pray that I would not grieve the Holy Spirit, that I would not fear what people think, but that I would fear the Lord and say and do what will honor Him with this little space on the web.