Chapter 12. Strengthening Your Marriage Series

12.1. Marriage – God’s Plan to Establish His Kingdom on Earth

Reference: “Life in the Spirit”, by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones; Eph. 5:18-6:9

Doctrine/Principles: Eph. 1:1-4:21

 

Application/Practice: Eph. 4:22-32

 

Text: Eph. 5:22-33

 

God’s Objectives

( Hosea 4:6-7 ; Matt. 6:9-13 ) Ignorance allows Satan to control our lives, to control our families, and to establish his kingdom of evil on this earth through us; whereas, God has given us His authority to establish His kingdom and His will upon this earth.

( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ; Heb. 5:14-16 ; James 1:2-4 ) Through skillful use of God’s Word, by faith in His word, we become overcomers. No longer controlled by our genealogy, environment, nor by the circumstances of life, but we become complete, controlled by the Spirit, lacking in nothing.

( Prov. 1:7-9 ) Accordingly, parents are to study God’s principles, to be examples, to train children likewise, to multiply righteousness and to exercise dominion over this earth system. This experience qualifies us to rule and reign in eternity.

( Gen. 1:28 ; Gen. 2:24 ; Gal. 6:1,4-5 ) Family is the basic training unit, an excellent classroom for teaching, a birthplace for creativity, a formation center for human relationships, a shelter in a storm, and a perpetual relay unit of truth passed on from one generation to the next. Therefore, the relationship of husband and wife is critical to establish God’s truths as demonstrated in family living.

( Malachi 45-6 ; Eph. 6:11-13 ) For congregations, for the Body of Christ, to increase their abilities to stand, holy and strong, families must be restored according to God’s principles, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Perspectives For Biblical Change

The following principles are foundational to our Christian walk, and must underline all our thoughts and reasonings:

( John 14:21 ; Matt. 21:28-31 ) By an act of our will, we do what God’s Word says regardless of our feelings.

( John 3:21 ; Matt. 7:24 ) By deeds, not by feelings, we reveal our love. Remember, the old self gets its life from feelings (a fertile area in which Satan receives his food). Give him no ground.

( John 14:27 ; John 15:11 ; John 16:22-24 ) Our peace and joy are not dependent upon others, on things, on possessions or on circumstances of life but only on doing what God says to do.

( Ezek. 18:20 ) It is not my responsibility, but God’s, to cause change in others.

( Matt. 7:1-5 ) The only authority I have to judge is to judge and to change myself first: then, I can help and influence others.

( Rom. 8:28 ) Regardless of results or what others do, if I biblically respond, God will turn the situation to my advantage.

( 2 Tim. 2:23-26 ; Deut. 8:2 ) Irritation is a signal that I must change; the situation or the other person does not create my spirit, but only reveals what is in my heart.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Matt. 7:5

Counseling Exercises

Becoming a doer of the Word requires:

•           Devotions: Daily contact with God the Father for spiritual life and sustenance. ( Matt. 4:4 ; John 15:5 ) See Section A.12, “Anchor Posts” .

•           Changes: Daily examining one’s walk and talk to insure a biblical response to life’s confrontations ( Eph. 4:22-24 ; 1 Cor. 11:26-32 )

•           Actions: Separate self from the world and pursue the Lord’s plan for your life in losing self by meeting needs of others, beginning with your family, and then the widow, the orphan, etc. ( 1 John 2:15-17 ; Heb. 10:25 ; James 1:26-27 )

•           Recommended Reading: Unit 1 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

 

12.2. Principle of Authority

( Gen. 2:16-17 ) Tree of Life: Eternal life depends upon being subjected to and being submitted to live according to God’s Word, His authority, and His ethical and moral principles – the supernatural life.

( John 6:35 ) Tree of Knowledge Of Good and Evil: Independent of God, who is life, not submitting to His authority, but relying on one’s own conscious and deliberate capability to distinguish good from evil – the natural life.

Choice: Man given power and ability to choose, to submit to authority or not. The act of choosing is what makes man truly human. In Gen. 3:6 , God’s chain of authority was violated. The act of submitting voluntarily in the Trinity, Adam to God, Eve to Adam is all necessary in order to complete man in God’s image. Being God’s representative on earth, man in union with his wife, are to establish God’s kingdom and will on earth – the supernatural life of faith, hope and love.

Redemption Plan to Establish The Church

( Gen. 3:15-16,20 ) God’s mercy and grace given to Eve to become the means of the redemptive process, “the mother of all living”. Here, again, Eve is told to submit to Adam and Adam to exercise his authority.

( Gen. 2:7,18 ; Gen. 2:22-24 ) Man was made from earthly elements, woman was made from the substance of man – the ribs over man’s heart.

Woman is of substance, mother of life, giver of life. Thus, she has greater spiritual dimensions and the depth necessary in order to make up the ‘deficiencies’ in man. Man is incomplete and needs woman to complete him in order to bring forth the church.

( Eph. 5:22-25 ) Adam is the protector of life, given dominion. Man is to exercise control and authority to protect his wife from any harm whatsoever because his very spiritual effectiveness depends on her.

( 2 Cor. 4:10-12 ) Both husband and wife are to act in the redemptive process: daily dying to reactions of the flesh, meeting the other’s needs, helping to remove the dross from one another, becoming one flesh in mind and spirit. (See also Section 5.3, “What Makes a Man a Man” )

( Heb. 5:8-9 ) Through suffering, we learn obedience, becoming perfect as Jesus. (See also Section 9.2, “Sin, Self, Suffering” )

Perspectives

( Eph. 5:16-21 ) Evil remains unless we replace it with righteous actions. Being drunk is being filled with the world’s ideas, its philosophies (TV, movies, magazines, etc.), living by feelings, by worldly wisdom, reacting in the flesh instead of responding biblically in the power of the Holy Spirit.

( Rom. 12:1-2 ; Eph. 4:22-24 ) Commitment is critical, and it all begins in the mind. Push out and cast away the garbage of self, the world’s ideas, and dwell and act on God’s truths.

( Phil. 2:3-4 ) A Christian is a person who is governed by thought, by understanding, by meditation: developing a spirit of consideration for the interest and concern of others.

( Eph. 1:17-19 ) In the depths of our being, we are to know intimately who we are, what we are, and what we can do in Christ, who is our wisdom, our strength, and our ability. Dwelling on Christ, we begin to live by divine grace.

•           In ourselves, we are thoughtless, selfish, self-centered, individualistic, self-assertive, opinionated, resent criticism, impatient of others’ points of view, and tend to be dictatorial, hyper-sensitive and usually ‘walk out’ when things are not going our way.

•           There is nothing in ourselves to boast of; we are all damned, all lost, all sinners. Thus, we are in a good condition to forego all personal rights and seek the development and enhancement of the whole and of every other part. (See Section 5.2, “Transforming the Natural Self” )

( John 13:12 ; John 14:21 ; Matt. 20-28 ) Controlling principle is that Christ is the Lord of our lives. This is what rules and governs us. His life is our example. We are to be servants to one another because Jesus taught us to be. He gave His life, and in gratitude we keep His commandments that His name might be recognized and glorified by our behavior.

( 1 Cor. 3:11-13 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) Works and reasons outside of the Word of God are always based on fear. The human standard is the sense-ruled mind which results in fear, sickness, worry, bitterness, etc. Cultivate the fear of offending God until every thought, every image, and every action is initiated by God Himself.

( 1 Pet. 2:21-24 ) We are to live this life not because it is the thing to do or because others are doing it, but because Jesus did it as an example for us to follow. As with Our Lord, we turn over all negatives: anger, bitterness, offenses, and the like – to God. Now we are free in spirit to deal biblically with life’s challenges.

( Phil. 2:5-8 ) Jesus’ ultimate obedience, submission to the Father, even unto death, gives us the power and authority to do likewise as we submit one to the other, sacrificing our own needs to meet the needs of others.

( Heb. 13:20-21 ) A mind dominated by God’s thoughts, nature and ways is a Word-ruled mind which is never prepared to fail because it is supernatural in content.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Phil. 2:3-4 and meditate on this verse.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Read Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” and Unit 2 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1], and make a list of failures noted in your reading.

12.3. Submission – Act of Bringing Forth Wholeness

Biblical Submission

To voluntarily place oneself under the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that He may live out His life in and through us, we use our endowed gifts and talents to be a blessing to others in order to establish His purposes on earth.

Thus, all of life, every person’s actions, is to be characterized by a spirit of submission. We did not make ourselves. God made us to fulfill His purposes. Thus, God is the very source of our ability to even think, to speak, to act – our every breath comes from Him.

Therefore, by the power and provision of the Cross, as with the 1st Adam, we have the choice to partake of the Tree of life – a taste of supernatural grace – which enables us to sacrifice our own interests in order to fulfill the needs of others: an act of self-donation.

Or we can choose to partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to exercise natural grace, will-power and natural wisdom to find the meaning of life – being a god without God and His supernatural grace – a death process.

Since we all begin life with a fallen nature, we are to move from an independent spirit to a dependent one, one in submission to God – His word. And begin a life of submission as Our Lord who knew nothing and did nothing until He heard from His Father. We are to do likewise: “he who humbles himself shall be exalted”. (See Section 5.2, “Transforming the Natural Self” )

Order and Harmony

( Eph. 5:21-23 ) It is the duty of all to submit one to another, but it is a special duty of the wife to submit to her husband. Not as a slave to him, but as a slave to Christ, submitting as an expression of her submission to the Lord – not for man’s sake, but for the Lord’s

( Gen. 1:26 ) Man was created first, made a lord of creation, put into position of leadership, authority and power to make decisions and rulings.

( 1 Pet. 3:7 ) Because of his role, man was made physically stronger to equip him to guard, protect, honor and respect his wife. As head of the wife, and the head of the family, God endowed man with faculties and powers to fulfill his responsibilities.

( Gen. 2:23-24 ) God made woman to ‘complement’ man, to make up a ‘deficiency’ in man. Man is not only responsible for himself, but for his wife, for his family, and in all ultimate matters. Therefore, man needs help. His wife is to support him, to aid him in everything, to encourage, to exhort, and to console him, thus enabling him to function effectively as the lord of creation. God placed man into this position, this is not man’s idea.

( 1 Tim. 2:11-15 ; Gen. 3:16 ) Authority usurped, placed self as a god into leadership. After the fall, woman’s subordination to man increased.

( 1 Cor. 11:3 ) We are dealing with God’s order of creation, not equality of man and woman. Order of creation is God’s plan, not man’s. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-eternal. But for the purpose of salvation, the Son subordinated Himself to the Father and the Holy Spirit to the Son and to the Father. Likewise, we are to be of the same spirit, fulfilling our roles in order to be the church, to bring forth salvation. Therefore, a woman voluntarily subordinates herself in order to complete man, to comfort, to strengthen, to encourage, to bring forth purposes of salvation. Man is to forsake his own interests in order to meet the needs of his wife.

Issue of Authority

ERA, unisex, feminism, the aggressiveness of woman challenges God’s plan of creation. Today, there is the problem of authority and honor. People are losing respect. Loss of respect really starts in the home, in the marriage relationship. The family is the center of life and of society in order to perpetuate God’s plan (restoring the principles of authority and submission) to bring about salvation for mankind.

Order of Creation

God ordered and ordained wives to submit to husbands, who is the head of the wife as Jesus is the head of the church. Sin started with Satan challenging God’s authority. Thus, original sin is being independent of God and being one’s own god, which is rebellion; rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

•           ( Eph. 1:19 ) The greatness of His power is in us to bring about an organic and vital union and intimate relationship in the church body.

•           ( Eph. 4:16 ) One aspect of this union is the role of the wife depending upon and supporting the husband, causing growth of the body, the union, building up itself in love. This is the true nature of the Christian marriage-each building the other in love. It is one life, the same way as the life of the church in her relationship to the head which is Christ. Therefore, via dependence and submission, life is flowing. Dependence is related to submission necessitating a spirit of humility-each meeting the needs of the other. An independent spirit stops the life flow. Just as Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, so does the husband nourish and cherish his wife. Thus, as the wife submits, she gives life to her husband which enables him to keep, preserve, guard and shield his wife. To do otherwise is self-defeating.

•           ( Gen. 2:22-24 ) Woman was taken out of man, to be a helpmeet, to complement, to make up the wholeness and completeness of the body.

•           ( 1 Cor. 12:25 ; Rom. 12:14-17 ) The wife is to husband what the body is to the head, what the church is to Christ. It is an organic, vital unity. Husband and wife are not two kingdoms related by a treaty, in s state of tension, subject to quarrels. The wife is never to be guilty of action independent of the husband, else chaos and confusion will result. The wife must not act before the husband. The initiative and leadership are ultimately the husband’s, but the actions must always be coordinated. Coordinated action brings about “one flesh” wholeness and completeness which is to be demonstrated to the world.

•           ( 1 Cor. 12:25-27 ) As the church does in respect to the Lord, wife does to the husband, manifesting the essential spirit of Christianity, building up one another in love. Each family is a unit, learning and training to build selves up in love, serving as examples to others, and helping other families.

Perspectives

( Ezek. 18:20 ; John 16:8 ) As the church is to Christ, so the wife is to her husband, that nobody should act against his or her conscience. Each is accountable for his or her own moral actions and each is subject to the Holy Spirit. Scripture exhorts us to obey conscience in all circumstances, but that is not the same thing as holding on to your own opinion. It is easy to confuse one with the other. The husband is not to force his opinions, which opinions need not be accepted by the wife. The wife is not to submit to her husband to the extent that this interferes with her relationship to God and Jesus.

( 1 Pet. 3:1-5 ) The wife can give her opinion, but if the husband is stubborn, she should abide by his ruling. To maintain peace and gentleness, the wife may go to the extreme, sacrificing self for Christ’s sake, short of violating God’s principles.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 4:22-24

Devotion:

Select your own verses from this sheet and do a BSAF on at least three verses.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Read Unit 2 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1]. Make a log-list of respective failures with a view of working through Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” .

12.4. The Husband’s Role in Submitting

•           Eph. 5:25-33 -The duty of the husband towards his wife in terms of the union between Christ and the church and husband and wife.

•           ( Eph. 5:29-33 ) Doctrine of the mystical union between Christ and the church.

•           ( Eph. 4:21-25 ) The controlling idea is the husband’s love to and for his wife. Submission is part of wife, love is part of husband. To maintain harmony and peace and unity in the home, the wife has to keep her eye on the element of submission, while the husband has to keep his eye on love.

•           ( 2 Tim. 1:7 ) The husband is the leader and authority figure. To keep him from becoming a tyrant, this power is to be tempered with love. The reign of the husband is to be a reign and rule of love requiring a mind that is sound, disciplined, and self-controlled.

The Nature of Love

•           Eros: Essentially loving if loved in return. The world exists by this kind of love.

•           Phileo: Brotherly love, or being simply fond of one another.

•           Agape: Unconditional love, not with terms or conditions, not feelings, not erotic, not merely being fond of one another, but having fruit that resembles God’s love. ( Gal. 5:22 )

Eros and phileo are natural and okay in their place; man and woman should physically and mutually be attracted. Eros, the sexual, is part of man’s make-up. Phileo represents companionship. All three loves should be experienced by Christians.

We do not get drunk with all kinds of feelings ( Eph. 5:18 ), but filled with the Spirit. In this spirit, the husband is to respond to his wife as a matter of course. Agape is the highest of the loves and should be sought ( 1 Cor. 13:13 ).

Love Wife as Christ Loves The Church

Christ loved the church in spite of her deficiencies. Christ gave Himself for the church. Sacrifice is characteristic of this kind of love. Christ gave His life and His present concern is for her well-being and for her to be perfect. Likewise, the husband comes up against deficiencies, difficulties – things he feels he can criticize in his wife. The husband is to express the love that gives, not for what he can get out of it, but seeks primarily to benefit his wife, to shield, protect, and guard her(See Section 5.3, “What Makes a Man a Man” ).

•           ( John 14:21 ) Love must be expressed in action, in the doing; not just the saying, but in what is done.

•           ( Phil. 2:5 ) The Lord did not consider Himself, He became a servant, He did not count the cost, the shame; but He came to make the church perfect. Likewise, the husband is to look beyond his wife’s faults, and to give her what she needs, not what she deserves.

•           The Lord set the church apart for Himself; we are His special possession, His bride. We have a polluted nature, lusts of mind and flesh – an infection. We are cleansed by the Holy Spirit within Who operates through the Word of God. Through the Word, we are progressively cleansed from pollution and being brought into a state in which we will be finally perfect – without spot or wrinkle.

•           ( James 1:21 ; 1 Pet. 1:23 ) Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit Who does His work through the Word of God. As we obey, this gives the Holy Spirit something to work on, conforming us to Our Lord.

•           ( Phil. 2:12-16 ) Christ is cleansing His church through the Holy Spirit Whom He has sent and Who uses His Word to accomplish the task. We are to work out what the Holy Spirit works within. God can only sanctify us as we respond biblically to life’s challenges.

•           ( Isa. 6:3 ; Col. 1:10-11 ) Do not start with your needs, your problems. Start with God, His being, His nature, the character of God. Growing in the knowledge of God leads to holiness and sanctification. Daily devotional practices and prayer are the keys to spiritual growth (See Section A.12, “Anchor Posts” ).

•           ( Eph. 1:3-4 ; Eph. 5:27-28 ) We are baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the process of sanctification begins in our union with Him which leads to His Second Coming. In the same way, husbands are to separate wives unto themselves in order to enhance her in the process of purification. The husband is to take the lead in separating the family from the corrupt influences of the world’s system by establishing kingdom principles in the family unit.

•           ( Eph. 5:30-32 ) The doctrine of the mystical union between Christ and the church helps us to understand the union between husband and wife. “Mystery” means something that is inaccessible to the unaided human mind; spiritual truth that is only understood by a born-again person. The mystery concerns Christ and the church, not husband and wife; but it sheds light on the marriage between husband and wife.

•           ( Eph. 1:18 ) To understand these mysteries is the reason God gave to us the five-fold ministries to instruct us accordingly. The church is the “body” of Christ; thus, husband and wife are not merely an external relationship, but an internal “edifying of itself in love.” “Members of His body,” of His flesh, of His bones – vital, organic unity is involved.

•           ( Gen. 2:23 ) While Adam was asleep, woman was taken out of man; so, the “body,” the church, was taken out of Jesus, the second Adam, at the cross – the mystery. The emphasis here is that we are part of Christ’s very nature as Eve was part of man. When man pays attention to his “body,” Eve, he is paying attention to himself. He cannot divorce himself from himself; what he does for his “body” he does for himself.

•           ( 2 Pet. 1:4 ) “Partakers of the divine nature,” We derive our life, our very being from Him. We are truly a part of Him as we live by His Word which is His flesh.

One Flesh

( Eph. 5:31-32 ; Gen. 2:24 ) Woman taken out of the substance of man. In a sense, they are now two; in another sense, they were not two. Thus, two and one at the same time, this oneness, this idea of “one flesh.”

( Eph. 1:23 ) Adam was incomplete without Eve. Thus, she makes up the fullness of Adam. Likewise, the church makes up the fullness of Christ. As husband and wife fulfill their respective roles and functions according to Kingdom principles by completing one another by the Lord’s directions, by increasing in godly virtues, by separating themselves more and more from the world’s system, and, thus, increasing the Presence of their union with Christ, God’s Kingdom and His will are being established on earth as it is in heaven.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Gal. 6:1-2

Devotion:

Select your own verses from this sheet and do a BSAF on at least three verses.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Read Unit 3 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1]. Review Section 9.2, “Sin, Self, Suffering” . Continue working on problem area via Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” .

12.5. The Bride’s Privilege

The ultimate explanation of the state of the world is the state of the church.

•           ( Col. 3:4 ) He is “our life.” This means we are sharers of His life, members of His body… His flesh… His bones.

•           ( 2 Cor. 3:15-16 ) We are new creations in the supernatural realm of the Spirit: sharing His life on earth.

•           ( John 17:22 ) The “standing,” the dignity, the position that belongs to the bridegroom belongs to the bride also.

•           ( 2 Cor. 4:15-18 ) “All things are ours.” We are sharing in His possessions, His interest, His plans, His purposes. Likewise, the husband tells his wife everything, every desire, every ambition, every hope, every thought. His wife is one with him. Thus, we as His bride, we are His “help-meet.” We share His burden and preach the Gospel in the same way that the wife is the “help-meet” to her husband.

•           ( Col. 3:4 ) Finally, we share in His glory.

The Husband’s Duties

There are three basic principles to be considered as follows:

1.         First Principle: We must realize in connection with marriage, as with all else in the Christian life, the secret of success is “to think, to understand.” Nothing happens automatically. If you don’t think and understand, you will revert back to elemental forces which are governed by instincts and impulses such as anger, fear, sickness, greed, weakness, etc. These factors hit you before you can think. Feelings will reign, human reasons prevail and God’s truths will be forgotten.

2.         Second Principle: Conception of marriage must be positive to be lifted up to the position of the relationship between the Lord and His church. Questions to ask yourself daily ( Matt. 5:48 ):

•           Does my married life correspond to, and is it governed by, God’s ideal?

•           Is my marriage conforming and attaining to the ideal increasingly?

3.         Third Principle: The real cause of failure, ultimately, in marriage is “self” and the various manifestations of self. This is the basic trouble in and of the world. As a Christian, the denial of self is to be practiced daily until husband and wife are “one flesh.”

One Flesh Concept

1.         In marriage two are one; that is, two become one flesh. When two become two, problems result.

2.         The wife is the body of the husband, even as the church is the body of Christ.

3.         The husband is to be governed by this principle that his wife is part of himself, not two but one. She is not just a partner, she (whole in herself) is the other half of man.

4.         Therefore, “He that loveth his wife, loveth himself.” Thus, in a sense, he is loving himself.

5.         The whole of the husband’s thinking must include his wife, never himself in isolation or in detachment. He must include her not only physically but intellectually and spiritually.

6.         To do the contrary, man damages and hurts himself when he thinks and act in isolation. This detachment breaks the marriage bond which allows fear and insecurity to enter.

Unity – The Central Principle of Marriage

Unity: The two shall be one flesh. One for all and all for one. Unity is the key ( Eph. 5:31-32 ).

Divorce: Individuality is stressed here. Two people are asserting their rights. The results are clashes, discord and separation.

Leaving, Cleaving, Weaving:

•           ( Eph. 5:33 ) Both husband and wife were in deference and submission to their respective parents. Now the husband must assume headship and the wife must defer to the husband. This is the beginning of a new unit. The parents are no longer to control them, but God is to be God. The parents are not to be God.

•           ( Col. 3:19 ) The husband is inclined to dominate. He is cautioned not to be harsh. If he is not harsh with himself, he will not be harsh with his wife as well.

•           ( Eph. 5:18 ) Do not be drunk with your own ideas, but be filled with the Spirit. A good place to start application of God’s wisdom is in the home. As head of the home, the husband is not to abuse or misuse authority by being harsh or unkind or unfair. To act in this manner reveals the absence of the Spirit.

Reverence of Wife: As the church is subject to Christ, so wives are subject to their husbands.

•           ( 1 Pet. 3:2 ) She is to respect, defer, honor, esteem, admire, praise and be devoted to him. Above all, she is to encourage husband – never demean. Each is responsible to the Lord to change their respective lives to conform to godly principles regardless of the other’s responses. By godly responses, we can influence, but only God has the authority and power to change the heart, the motives of another.

•           ( 1 Pet. 3:6 ) Sarah recognized the biblical view of marriage – the husband as head of a new unit. As head, he conveys to his wife by thought and by deed that she is valued, that he cannot do without her. She in return views her husband with great honor and respect. Husband, above all else, is not to take his wife for granted. He is to convey to his wife, in spirit and in action, that she is ‘needed’. Wife needs to know that she is needed in entirety, else sense of detachment and separation opens the door to fear.

•           ( Psalm 45:10 ) The wife formerly owed deference to her parents, now she owes it to her husband, but neither are to be controlled by their parents. The wife is never to be the head. However, decision making is to be coordinated. When Sarah called Abraham “lord,” she recognized and honored the authority which is of God. It is this God-given authority that she honors, not just the man only. She submits to him, to fulfill him, does not compete or strive with him.

Secularism Vs. Christianity

Secularism always talks about generalities. The individual is forgotten.

Christianity realized that the mass, the nation, is nothing but a collection of individuals. Thus, it is as individuals are put right that a nation is put right. It is not by attending disarmament or population conferences, earth summits, etc., but it is by the application of Christian doctrine in practical living that will change a nation. One of the major means is the family unit, the marriage relationship.

( Phil. 2:5 ) Above all else, the supreme factor is for each to consider his/her personal relationship to Jesus Christ. And when they do, the husband’s and the wife’s relationship to each other will grow and abound in grace and fruitfulness. As each concentrates on Christ, two become one in minds and in judgments.

The Concept of Authority

Lucifer’s pride challenged God’s authority. He did not want to submit, which resulted in rebellion and chaos.

God reinstituted His chain of authority in the garden. With this chain is the strength and ability to live God’s principles which begins by an act of submission. This requires a giving up of self, an act of humility which is necessary to swallow up the pride of Lucifer and sin in its entirety, the corruption of deceit and lust upon which the world subsists and operates.

As Christians, we are no longer independent of God in our thoughts and actions, but everything we think and all that we do is dependent upon God and His Word. As we move from self-loving-self to self-loving-others, we exercise the very nature of God.

Therefore, in humility and dependence upon God we complete the plan God originally intended in the garden, that is, being conformed to the image of God’s Son and in Him to destroy the works of the devil. By doing this, we are establishing God’s kingdom, His righteousness, and His will on earth.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Rom. 12:1-2

Devotion:

Work out three verse, at least, through BSAF.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Read Unit 4 and 5 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1]. Review Section 9.1, “Cleansing and Purifying the Soul” . Continue developing log lists of failures and working through these failures.

12.6. One Flesh Marriage

( Heb. 13:20-21 ; Rom. 5:5 ) We don’t pray for love, it is already living within us. As we die to selfish acts, Christ is allowed to work in us to do all that is pleasing in His sight. Love is an action, an act of the will, regardless of feelings to the contrary.

( 1 Cor. 13:4-8 ) The authority to exercise love came by the blood of Jesus, the blood which forgave us and cleansed us from all sin. Therefore, the power to love is resident within the person of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to exhibit and demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.

( Matt. 7:1-5 ; John 14:27 ) Your peace and joy and ultimate happiness are not dependent upon your spouse, on others, or anything else, but it comes by doing what God says to do regardless of the actions of others or the conditions of life.

( Ezek. 18:20 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) I am not held responsible to change others or to bring about moral and ethical results except for myself. I am responsible to examine myself only to insure that I am biblically responding to life according to God’s word.

( Phil. 2:2-4 ; Rom. 12:9-21 ; Rom. 8:28-29 ) Practicing dying to self, to fleshly instincts and impulses, requires that my focus be on God. Allow God through me to work out responses to life situations in a manner which brings glory to God and honors His reputation.

( Eph. 4:15,25,29 ; 1 Pet. 3:1,7,8-15 ) A believing spouse has the responsibility to present God’s truths to an unbelieving spouse in speech and actions that are Christ-honoring and biblically submissive.

( Matt. 22:37-39 ; 1 John 2:4-6 ; 1 John 3:14 ) To love is an act of the will, not of feelings. God will not ask us to do anything unless He first equips and empowers us to do so. But we must take the initiative. God will not do for us what we are expected to do, but when we take the first step to biblically respond, God will do the rest.

( 1 John 3:23 ; Luke 9:23-24 ) To love your spouse as God commands requires that we daily die to our own selfish desires and live to please God by serving our spouse.

( Col. 3:19 ; 1 Pet. 3:7 ) Husbands are inclined to be harsh and embittered towards wives, to abuse them, to neglect them or take them for granted.

( Matt. 20:25-29 ) As spiritual head of the home, husbands are to set the example by being a true servant, giving up their own desires to meet the needs and desires of the family.

( Prov. 21:9 ; 1 Pet. 3:1-6 ) Wives are inclined to be quarrelsome and contentious, usually challenging and contending for recognition. Instead, she is to put on love, submission and respect for her husband.

( 2 Cor. 4:10-12 ) Both husband and wife are to act in the redemptive process, daily dying to reactions of the flesh, developing one mind and one spirit: a spirit of sacrifice.

Perspective

God’s solution to problems in your marriage is for you to:

1.         …First, make a commitment to please the Lord in all things ( Col. 1:10 );

2.         …Examine and judge your own failures in a biblical manner, do not blame shift ( 1 Cor. 11:28-31 );

3.         …Confess your sin to the Lord and confess your marital shortcomings as sin to your spouse ( 1 John 1:9 );

4.         …Seek to edify your spouse biblically and do it heartily as unto the Lord ( Rom. 14:19 ; Rom. 15:1-2 );

5.         …Seek to resolve conflicts and live at peace with your spouse. If your spouse refuses to resolve problems biblically, continue to trust in Christ Jesus for your peace and joy.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Phil. 2:3-4

Devotion:

Select and BSAF three or more verses as the Holy Spirit directs.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review Unit 6 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

12.7. Parent/Child Relationships

( Ezek. 18:20 ) We can’t blame others, not our past, not our present, nor the circumstances of life. God is sovereign over my life. If I cooperate with Him, He will use all of my experiences to conform me to the image of His Son.

( Eph. 6:4 ) Fathers are inclined to provoke a child. The parents’ responsibility is to train in a godly manner to make it easy for a child to receive and accept the training.

•           Child may be untrainable, but the parent is to “keep keeping on.” Don’t go beyond a child’s will and force them to accept training. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to change the heart of the child, not ours. Our job is to obey God’s commandments, and not follow our feelings.

•           Being led by the Holy Spirit, parents can’t blameshift either, but are to do what God’s Word says to do.

( Luke 9:23-24 ; Prov. 18:21 ) Living is a life and death situation. Life is really learning how to die to self, not defending self or protecting self but getting rid of self in order to be a blessing to others. This is the theme of the New Testament.

Major Principles in Relationships

1.         When someone bothers or irritates me, the other person needs help, not condemnation.

2.         Always ask self, “What good can I do for that person who is acting in such an unbiblical manner?”

3.         When I get my attitude right, God will give me the answer on how to respond in a nasty or trying situation.

( 1 Cor. 3:18-20 ) Children belong to the Lord. We are to raise them according to His commands, not our feelings, impressions, or what others say, but according to what God says.

( Deut. 4:9 ; Deut. 6:6-7 ; Deut. 6:20-25 ) Scriptures are our guide, nothing else, day and night.

( Prov. 22:6 ) You are to raise your children according to the gifts and talents God has placed in your child, not what you want them to be. Parents can’t change thoughts, motives, and attitudes in a child; this is God’s sovereign work and responsibility.

( 2 Pet. 1:3 ) God’s principles and precepts are applicable to parents and children alike. Parents are to be of one mind as they teach Scriptures to their children: to develop the character of God in such areas as virtue, moral excellence, knowledge of God, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

( Eph. 6:1-2 ; James 1:2-4 ) Disobedience warrants death which still applies in the spirit. Children have no option but to obey and honor parents.

•           As with the parents, children are not to be led by their feelings, especially when parents are harsh, mean, untrained and selfish.

•           As with adults, children, under God’s grace, have great opportunities to grow in grace and patience when subject to unfair and unjust treatment.

( Eccl. 12:13-14 ; Prov. 3:5-6 ) As you study and follow God’s word for your life and the training of your children and decisively put off any reliance on yourself, your background or your upbringing, you will gain the wisdom and direction that you need to be a godly parent. The key is: Get rid of the old self, so that God’s light can shine through you.

( Deut. 21:18-21 ) Disobedience is very serious: for it is rebellion against God and siding with the enemy.

( Eph. 6:2-3 ; Gal. 3:20 ) Parents are to teach children to honor and to obey parents because the parents represent God’s authority and His standards. As a child honors and obeys parents, he is honoring and obeying God. By honoring God this will guarantee the child’s success in life for it is God Who will watch, guard and keep child forever.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eccl. 12:13-14

Devotion:

BSAF on three or more verses from this worksheet.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review Unit 7 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

12.8. Children Submitting to Parents

( Eph. 5:18,21 ) As in previous discussions, the key is being filled with the Spirit. Submitting to one another follows this infilling.

( Rom. 1:18,30 ; 2 Tim. 3:2 ) In the end days, times of apostasy, when you have ungodliness, you will always have unrighteousness. One of the most striking manifestations of this lawlessness is “disobedience to parents”. Unrighteousness is always the result of ungodliness and the only hope is to have a revival of godliness.

( Eph. 6:1 ) As in the marriage relationship, submitting also applies to children. To obey parents is to listen, realizing one is under authority, to listen “under” their authority. To honor parents is to respect and reverence them in the spirit of the law, to rejoice in it, and to regard it as a great privilege. “For it is right”, this is essentially right and good in itself.

( Gen. 2:24 ; Rom. 13:1-2 ) The principle of “order of nature”, as with husband and wife, so is with children. Without order, life would be chaotic and would eventually destroy itself.

( Eph. 6:2 ) This is the commandment with a promise. The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God and the fifth begins our relationship with one another. God gives a promise in order that it may be reinforced to encourage us.

When neglected, these laws lead to the collapse of society. God’s order of nature has been violated from Genesis onward. When the family idea, family unit, family life is broken up there is no allegiance to anything and chaos is the result.

( Acts 17:28 ; Eph. 3:14-15 ) Relationship between parents and child is a replica, a picture of the Christian relationship with God the Father. God, Himself, is the Father and all of us are His children.

( Eph. 6:1 ) “In the Lord,” obeying parents is required in the “order of nature” (Genesis), “in the law” (Ten Commandments), and today (in Grace). Obey, honor and respect parents because it is part of our obedience to our Lord. He asks us to do it. It is His commandment.

( Rom. 8:4 ; Eph. 3:10 ) Obedience is proof that we are like Him. To obey is to do what Jesus did when He was on earth. To obey is to say ‘Yes’ to God’s truth and to say ‘No’ to the alternative. To assent to God’s way implies a commitment to exercise, to apply, to practice the biblical response until it becomes habitual.

Discipline Involves The Whole of Life

( Eph. 6:4 ) The father has the authority and the position to exercise discipline. To the extent the parent disciplines and controls himself, to that extent will he influence the child. It is up to the parent to judge himself to insure a biblical response to counteract a spirit of harshness ( James 1:2-4 ).

The breakdown of society involves the whole problem of discipline. In fact, the whole future of civilization, it appears, rests upon this! The Bible deals with right, truth, justice, and righteousness. Discipline may be defined as imposed or self imposed standards and restraints to keep one from following the natural inclinations of the flesh in order to follow the life style of self-control and self-donation. This is characterized by not giving or taking offense; by humility in considering others needs and interest before one’s own; and by being teachable in not excusing one’s failures or defending one’s weaknesses.

( Prov. 13:24 ; Eph. 6:4 ) The problems of discipline lies between these two verses, going from one extreme to another; e.g., Victorian age of austere discipline to “no spanking” philosophy currently in vogue. Rebellion ensues in either case. The opposite of wrong discipline is not the absence of it, but the right discipline.

Balanced Discipline

( Eph. 6:4 ; 1 Cor. 9:21 ; Rom. 1:18-32 ) Discipline a child in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. We are under the law, the discipline of it, to Christ. A Christian is to be more disciplined because he sees the deeper meaning of it. God punishes sin by abandoning the world to its own evil because the world refuses to submit to Him.

Biblical teaching recognizes man is in a state of sin which requires that laws be enforced in order that man can see and know God: then man can be brought into the grace of God to get to know the higher law of God and delight in pleasing God by doing His commandments.

( Eph. 6:1-2 ) Don’t exasperate your child. Repeated attacks on the child provokes a child to become resentful. We are incapable of exercising true discipline unless we are first able to exercise self-control, controlling our own tempers.

Negative Influence

An unpredictable and moody parent is a real chore for a child for he doesn’t know from one day to the next what is expected of him. Parents can be harsh on some minor offense and casual on a major offense another day.

Parents must develop a listening ear and never be unreasonable or unwilling to hear a child’s case. Parents are to punish for correction’s sake not to inflict harm and not to humiliate in front of others.

Possessive or domineering parents impose their personality on a child which crushes his own identity. Parents expect and demand everything from the child. The child’s whole life is to be lived for the parents sake; whereas, they are only custodians and guardians to insure God’s life flows through the child.

Positive Influence

Recognize growth and development in your children and treat them accordingly. Don’t treat them as small children all of their lives. Allow them to develop a conscience of their own.

Don’t impose your will over the child. Allow for him and the grace of God to operate through him to allow him to make mistakes and hold himself accountable in order to develop a conscience and self-discipline.

“Nurture.” A general term which includes the whole process in the cultivation of the mind and spirit, morals, and moral behavior: the whole personality of the child dealing with conduct and behavior.

“Admonition.” This puts greater emphasis on speech, things addressed to the child, words of exhortation, encouragement, reproof, etc.

“Of the Lord.” Not simply good manners, but brought up in the knowledge of the Lord as Savior and Lord, that the child may come to know Jesus personally.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 6:1-2 ; Matt. 7:1-5

Devotion:

BSAF on three or more verses from this worksheet.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review Unit 7 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

12.9. God’s Standard

Perspective

( Eccl. 12:13-14 ) The secret for success in life is one word: obedience. Through obedience, we develop a consciousness of God in our thoughts, in our thinking, in our words, in our speech, and in our actions.

( Isa. 40:8 ; 1 Pet. 1:25 ; Gen. 2:8 ; Gen. 1:28 ; Gen. 2:16-17 ) The Word of God abides forever and never changes. God planted the garden, we are to work it out by His Word, not by our own ideas, opinions or suggestions. Be in agreement with God’s Word, which allows His wisdom, strength and ability to flow in order to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.

( Matt. 18:18-20 ; Matt. 16:16-19 ) When husband and wife agree on the basis of God’s Word, this counteracts the spirit of independence of Adam and Eve in the garden. Hearing from God, we have the power to bind the sin and loose the spirit just as Adam had before the fall. Now, we can exercise this power to work God’s garden. Christ Who is the word becomes the center of our lives.

( Matt. 6:33 ; Prov. 3:5-8 ) The key to fruitfulness is to have reverence for God and to consistently keep His commandments in every aspect of living. We are to move from the natural to the supernatural by separation and detachment from the world, the flesh and the devil (being influenced and conditioned by the world’s system). What possesses us in our minds/memory/imagination, controls us. We are to be possessed wholly by His Presence in our soul: for Christianity is God in the soul of man ( Luke 14:33 ; 1 John 2:15-17 ).

Hope

( 2 Cor. 3:18 ) This is a process, we move from one stage to another until we reach maturity.

( Matt. 11:28-30 ; James 4:6-7 ) Turn our burdens over to the Lord; in turn, He will give us His thoughts and ability to work the burdens and to be perfected by them.

( 1 Cor. 11:31-32 ) If we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. Let this be a natural process in every encounter.

( Phil. 2:12-13 ; Matt. 6:9-13 ) God works through us, but we do the doing. We are to work out our salvation. Salvation is not just a change in destination, from hell to heaven, but a change in relations. God is now my Father – Satan is no longer. Now my responsibility is to be conformed to the image of Christ ( Rom. 8:29 ), to establish righteousness on earth, and to destroy the works of the devil ( 1 John 3:8 ).

( 2 Pet. 1:10 ; Rom. 13:12-14 ) Working out God’s plan is evidence that we are children of God. The decision is ours to make. It is our choice to put off works of darkness, and to put on light.

( Rom. 5:3-5 ; 2 Cor. 4:10-12 ) Tests and trials are great opportunities that God uses to perfect us. All we need to do is to cooperate, to choose God’s way. The world is evil, but the power of resurrection enables us to swallow up evil with good. As Jesus lived, so do we.

( 1 Pet. 4:1-2 ) Patiently suffer rather than fail to please God. Thus, we learn to stop pleasing ourselves and the world in order to please God. Thus, we move from the natural to the spiritual realm, and begin to look at life from God’s perspective.

( Gal. 5:22-23 ) By faith, by choice of our will, we make the decision to die to self, getting down into the death of Jesus. And, by faith, we acknowledge that we are now in the Spirit, and thus act accordingly: allowing the fruit of the Spirit to flow through us.

Change

( 2 Pet. 1:2-10 ) Considering all that has been discussed, all that God has done on our behalf, all that God has given to us, our function now is to fulfill our responsibilities by the…

1.         pursuit of excellence in a spirit of commitment, diligence and perseverance

2.         study of God’s principles

3.         exercise of self-control

4.         increasing patience and endurance

5.         honoring and worshipping God by putting His Word first in our lives.

Thus, the love of God is demonstrated by our biblical responses to others. God will provide and meet all our needs as we seek to glorify Him.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

1 John 3:8

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review Unit 8 of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

12.10. Upbringing Goals for Children (and Adults)

Love of God

( Deut. 6:5-9 ) The first goal of raising children is to cultivate the love of God in them, in the following three areas:

(a) Salvation ( 1 John 2:15 );

 

(b) Heart devoted to God ( Matt. 22:37 );

 

© Mind of God – His thoughts and desires ( Phil. 2:5 ).

 

Love of Neighbor

There are three areas that children have to learn in order to relate to others:

(a) Treat them as yourself ( Matt. 22:38-39 );

 

(b) Being an ambassador for Christ ( Gal. 6:1-2 );

 

© Use talents to be of service to others ( Rom. 15:2 ).

 

Character

( Matt. 16:24-25 ) Equip children with these character traits:

… Be rid of selfishness ( Eph. 4:22 );

 

… Be contented ( Phil. 2:14 );

 

… Be upright ( 1 Tim. 4:16 );

 

… Be disciplined ( 2 Tim. 1:7 );

 

… Redeem the time ( Eph. 5:16 ).

 

Principles of Decision-Making

( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ; Deut. 6:1-9 ) Children are to be taught the Law. The Law is to be remembered, and not to be forgotten, in order for them to pass God’s truth on to others. God’s truth is to be taught at home; we are not to rely on school, church, etc.

•           Scripture is the basis of life’s activities ( John 8:30-31 );

•           God’s purposes are primary: seek to please God in all things ( Matt. 6:33-34 );

•           Act on faith, living on and by God’s wisdom, His word, not doubting ( Heb. 11:6 );

•           Not being a manipulator, overcoming selfish motives ( Rom. 12:9 ).

The primary responsibility of parents is to secure the child’s welfare and the child’s soul on the basis of eternal values and the teaching of Scriptures.

( Matt. 6:33 ) The child’s career or popularity in the world are secondary factors. As the child learns to depend on God, to learn God’s ways, His thoughts, His principles, to learn to honor, to please and to glorify God, then His heavenly Father will take care of the child’s needs on this earth. As the child depends on God in everything, God will take care of everything else.

All of the above is the long-range plan; reduce it to the level of the child, which is the short-range goal. Code of conduct is essential; that is, a system of rewards and punishment are necessary in order to control behavior. The goal of the parent is to teach the child to gradually be independent of the parent in order to be completely dependent upon God.

Priorities For a Married Woman

( Ps. 128:3 ; John 15:5-8 ; Gal. 5:22-23 )

Her relationship with God;

Her ministry to her family;

Her development of a godly character;

Her expression of godly conduct toward other people in and out of the home.

Priorities For a Married Man

1.         To be in awe of God; to worship the beauty of the Lord. ( Ps. 128:1-4 ) The God-fearing man who reverently fears and worships God enables God’s blessings to flow into the home. ( Jer. 32:38-40 ) We are not inclined to fear God, but God will inspire us as we ask and beseech Him. ( Ps. 25:12 ) To develop fellowship, partnership, communion with God in order to establish God’s will and purposes on earth through his family and associations.

2.         To be a man of prayer, as the spiritual head, he is to lead the way. ( Eph. 1:17-19 ; Eph. 3:16-19 ) To know God and His ways, that God’s personality be expressed fully through the husband. Through prayer, this wholesome fear of God will be nurtured and increased and enable the man to build his family God’s way.

3.         To be a meditator. ( Ps. 46:10 ) “Be still and know that I am God.” Meditating on God requires spending time learning Scripture, learning about the person and work of Jesus, developing a God-conscious and Christ-centered life.

The Established Heart

( Rom. 8:31 ) If God is with me, no one can successfully be my enemy. ( 1 Cor. 3:3 ) The human standard is the sense-ruled mind which engenders fear, sickness, poverty, and weakness. ( James 1:5-8 ) A mind dominated by God’s thoughts, nature and ways is a Word-ruled mind that is never prepared to fail.

( 1 Cor. 2:16 ) We have the mind of Christ; therefore, we have the thoughts and purposes of His heart. We are either ruled by impulses or God’s Word. Being ruled by God’s Word, no matter what happens, we can stand unruffled and unaffected. And as we do this, we bring glory to the Father; we bring joy to Jesus; and we bring victory to our own hearts.

AMEN! ( Gen. 1:26 )

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review Conclusion of Strengthening Your Marriage [15][Mack1].

12.11. Maintaining Good Marital Communications

Guidelines

1.         When there are problems, each must be willing to admit that he/she is part of the problem. ( Gen. 8:8-19 ; Prov. 20:6 )

2.         Each person must be willing to change. ( John 5:6 ; Matt. 5:23-26 )

3.         Avoid the use of emotionally charged words. “You don’t really love me.”; “You always do…….”; “You never do anything right.”; “ I don’t care.” …

4.         Be responsible for your own emotions, words, actions, and reactions. Don’t blame them on the other person. You got angry, lashed out, became depressed, etc. ( Gal. 6:5 ; James 1:13-15 )

5.         Refrain from having reruns on old arguments. ( Eph. 4:26 )

6.         Deal with one problem at a time. Solve one problem and then move on to the next. ( Matt. 6:34 )

7.         Deal in the present and not in the past. Hang a “no fishing” sign over the past unless it will help you to solve the present problem. ( Phil. 3:12-14 ; Jer. 31:34 ; Isa. 43:25 )

8.         Major on the positive instead of majoring on the negative. ( Phil. 4:8 )

9.         Learn to communicate in non-verbal ways. ( Matt. 8:1-2 ; Rom. 8:14-15 ; Ps. 32:8 )

Change

Express your thoughts and concerns to each other. Relate your activities. Listen, understand, and respond to the meaning behind what a person is saying. When he flies off the handle at you, he may be saying, “I had a terrible day at the job. Nobody respects me.” When she says, “You don’t love me”, she may be really saying, “I desperately need some affection. I’m starved for love.” (Example of Jesus in John 1:45-47 ; Mark 5:1-15 ; John 11:20-35 )

Practice the golden rule – Matt. 7:12 . What would you like your mate to do to you? Would you like your mate to: Tell the truth? Ask your opinion? Help in time of need? Be natural around you? Thank you for your help and services? Well, do the same for him.

Practice the principle laid down in Luke 6:35 . “Do good – do that which will help others; and lend expecting and hoping for nothing in return.”

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Phil. 2:3-4

Devotion:

BSAF on selected verses from above.

Put-Off/Put-On:

( 1 Cor. 6:19-20 ; Rom. 12:1 ; Ps. 24:1 ) Consciously recognize that as a Christian, all you have, and are, (rights to yourself) belong to God. Dedicate all that you have and are, including your “rights”, to God. Trust Him to take care of His property. Cease to think in terms of your “rights”, and concentrate on God’s will and purpose and promises. Whenever you are tempted to become sinfully angry, write down:

•           What is happening?

•           What qualities God may be trying to develop through this situation.

•           What personal rights of yours do you think are being denied? (Your ‘rights’ belong to God)

•           What may you have done to promote the situation?

•           What does God want you to do, and how does He want you to act? (Search the Scriptures)

•           What is keeping you from doing the right thing when you are tempted to become sinfully angry?

•           Is it your ignorance? Lack of desire? Fear? ,etc.

Or – Simply ask self 3 basic questions:

1.         What happened?

2.         What did I do to contribute to the problem?

3.         What must I do now to fix the situation biblically?

Reference: [15][Mack1].

 

 

12.12. Maximum Husband and Father

Perspective

( Prov. 22:17 ; Heb. 10:24 ; Ps. 128:1-4 ) Psalm shows that to be God’s kind of husband and father, you must be a man that fears God. Appropriate fear of God makes a man an unusual blessing to his wife and children. The fear of God will be the soil out of which the man’s positive influence will grow and the basic reason a man’s family will arise and call him blessed.

Hope

( Rom. 5:9-10 ; Rom. 8:15 ; Rom. 8:17 ) If you have trusted in Christ alone for salvation and forgiveness of sins, confessing Him as Lord, the Bible says that you have no cause to be in bondage to the negative fear of God. God now is the ultimate and compassionate Father Who is the maximum husband and Father Who will give us His grace to function to the fullest as husband and father.

( Col. 2:20 ) As with Moses and Abraham, a godly Christian chooses to put God’s will before everything else, including his own feelings and desires.

( Jer. 33:38-40 ; 2 Cor. 4:6 ; Eph. 1:17-19 ) It is prayer that connects us to God, and through prayer God Himself inspires us to comprehend His majesty and glory. It is He who turns on the light in the darkness of our hearts. He provides illumination in our inner man. If we are to understand His splendor by which we fulfill our responsibilities on this earth, prayer is the key, the link, the channel by which God’s wisdom, strength, and ability flow through us to our families.

Change

( Ps. 46:10 ; Phil. 3:10 ; John 5:39 ; Ps. 19:7-9 ; Heb. 7:25 ) “Be still and know” the Lord means taking time to reflect on who and what God is. Jesus is the Radiance of God’s glory, reflect on Jesus what He did, see how He responded to the people. Go often to the cross on which He died for your sins, proceed to the empty tomb, see Him as He arose from the dead, contemplate the throne room, see Jesus in the Presence of His Father, see Him interceding for you now, praying for you to respond to life as He did, being a blessing to your family and to others.

( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ) Develop the attitude that God is speaking directly to you as you read the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s book, it reveals His attributes, His works, His concerns, His will, His intentions, His plans His desires for His people, and His design for the world that rejects Him. See everything in the Scripture as an invitation to enter into a deeper relationship with your majestic, infinite Father and Redeemer.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 1:17-19

Devotion:

BSAF for Ps. 46:1,10

Put-Off/Put-On:

As you look at the following passages, ask self what is God saying about my relationship with Him? How should what I see be applied to my life and family? How well am I doing in implementing the teachings of the passage?

•           2 Chron. 20:7 ; Isa. 41:8 ; Jer. 2:23 ; Gen. 12:1-8 ; Gen. 13:8-9 ; Gen. 14:14,24 ; Gen. 21:10-11 ; Gen. 22:11-12 ; Rom. 4:19-21 .

What does the following teach about the excellence of God, of fearing God, what our relationship with God should be like, what place God should have in our hearts, how to develop the fear of the Lord, and what happens to the person who fears God?.

•           Gen. 5:22 ; Exodus 15:11 ; Exodus 34:6-7 ; Deut. 6:10-13 ; 2 Chron. 20:6-19 ; Ps. 19:7-11 ; Ps. 34:7,11 ; Ps. 128:1 ; Ps. 130:4 ; Ps. 139:1-6,13-16,23-24 ; Ps. 147:11 ; Prov. 1:7 ; Prov. 8:13 ; Prov. 14:26-27 ; Prov. 19:2-3 ; Prov. 28:14 ; Isa. 40:10-31 ; Matt. 10:28 ; Rom. 8:26-39 ; Rom. 11:36 ; Rev. 4:8-11 ; Rev. 5:9-14 ; Rev. 15:3-4 .

Reflect on what you have just studied and write out your response to this question: what difference should all this make in my own life and family relationship?

Reference: Adapted from [16][Mack2].

 

12.13. Fulfilled and Fulfilling Wife and Mother

Perspective

( Ps. 128:3 ; John 15:1,5 ) Jesus described Himself as the vine because this vine symbolized life, refreshment and ministry. God underscores the woman and her strategic ministry in comparing her to a vine. In God’s kind of family, a wife and mother must be more concerned about being than doing, more concerned about what she is than how she performs. Christian conduct is rooted in Christian character. Without Christ within, we cannot do a thing.

Hope

( Gen. 1:28 ; Gen. 2:18 ; Deut. 33:29 ; Ps. 25:9 ; Ps. 121:1-2 ) God gave a command to both the man and woman: woman is a partner in being fruitful and ruling the earth. Because of what woman is by divine creation, she is the very helper man needs to fulfill his God-given responsibilities in the world and in the home.

( John 15:8 ; Gal. 5:22-23 ; Prov. 31:30 ; 2 Cor. 12:9 ) A fruitful vine is a woman who fears the Lord. She is a God-centered person, and God is a powerful reality in her life. God is the motivating force, her strength, her hope, her counselor. The secret of her fruitfulness stems from her vital and deep relationship with God .Her sufficiency is from God, else she would burn out by doing and going, seeing motherhood as a duty rather than as a service and privilege to be used of God and accomplish His purposes in the family unit.

Change

( Prov. 31 ) Priorities are established here showing that a God-fearing wife and mother is a family-oriented person. She is utterly devoted to her family as her number one ministry. Her family is not neglected while she does other important things.

( Prov. 31:11-12,23,28 ; Gen. 2:18 ) She is also a husband-oriented person. She does not look to people or things for meaning rather than to God. She serves rather than being served, and ministers out of her fullness of her relationship with God rather than looking to be fulfilled.

( Prov. 31:10,29-30 ) A noble and excellent character is a consequence of a woman in commitment to and relationship with God, a woman who has established four priorities in her life:

1. her relationship with God;

2. her ministry to her family;

3. her development of a godly character;

4. her expression of godly conduct toward other people in and out of the home.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

John 15:4-5

Devotion:

BSAF for Prov. 31:10

Put-Off/Put-On:

Study the following verses about women, wives, mothers, fruit and fruitbearing. Write down how they apply to your life, and what do hey suggest about the privileges, responsibilities, role and value of women:

Gen. 1:26-28 ; Ex. 21:12 ; Josh. 16:3-6 , 2 Kings 4:8-10 ; Prov. 1:8-9 ; Prov. 6:20 ; Prov. 11:16 ; Prov. 12:4 ; Prov. 14:1 ; Prov. 18:22 ; Prov. 19:14 ; Prov. 20:20 ; Prov. 21:9,19 ; Prov. 23:22-25 ; Prov. 31:10 ; Prov. 31:11-12 ; Prov. 31:26 ; Prov. 31:28-31 ; Ezek. 24:16 ; Matt. 26:13,27 ; Matt. 26:55-56 ; Luke 1:30-38 ; Luke 2:36-38 ; Luke 8:3 ; Luke 10:42 ; John 15:1-16 ; John 20:11-18 ; Acts 1:14 ; Acts 2:17-18 ; Acts 9:36-39 ; Acts 16:14-15 ; Acts 21:9 ; Rom. 16:1-2 ; Rom. 16:3,6 ; Rom. 14-15 ; 1 Cor. 7:2-5 ; Eph. 5:22-24,33 ; Phil. 4:3 ; 1 Tim. 5:1-2 ; 1 Tim. 5:9-14 2 Tim. 1:5 ; 2 Tim. 3:15 ; Titus 3:2-5 ; 1 Pet. 3:1-6 .

Reflect on all you have studied and record to the best of your ability the most important overall impression you have received about being a fulfilled and fulfilling woman.

12.14. Tough Love

Perspective

There is no biblical reference to support being tough and staunch in order to change the behaviour of a child or an adult or anyone else. It is the power of God’s word and the influence of the Holy Spirit, the power in the word which convicts and changes others, not the power of the human personality.

The world operates out of the emphasis of intellectual skills and abilities to reason out the problem, to eventually outwit the child. All this does is to teach the child to also outwit and manipulate the parent.

•           Power Struggle

What follows is the suggestion of ‘will-power’, one pitted against another, one trying to control another. This speaks of witchcraft which in reality is turning over one’s will to another human being, the spirit of Jezebel. The only Person qualified to change another’s will is the Holy Spirit.

•           Holy Spirit

The only way to allow the Holy Spirit to act in the situation is for the parent(s) to act in the wisdom, and in the love and power of God’s word.

•           Sin

Parents and child both are born in sin. All of us have a rebellious and independent spirit. Not a question of will-power but the question is one of obedience, the breaking of this disobedient, independent spirit of doing your own thing. This requires a 100% biblical approach whereas both the parent and the child are placed in the realm of the Holy Spirit. Both parties learn to depend on the Holy Spirit. The parent teaches child to gradually be free of depending on parents to be completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. Human reasoning, strength of personality, witty schemes, tricks, will not do it.

Principles

( Prov. 22:15 ) Folly is in the heart of a child, the rod of discipline drives it out. To reject counsel of the parent who is responsible to God for training the child, the child would be the greatest of fools. ( Prov. 19:11 ) A wise man restrains his anger. He applies patience, overlooks offenses, even for a child, that is, don’t be a nit-picker by being on the back of the child all the time.

( Prov. 16:23 ) A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instructions.

( Rom. 12:9-21 ) These truths apply to the child as well as to your peers. As you follow Rom. 12 , not only will the child be trained to be conformed to Christ but the parent as well.

Conclusion

Experience as a guide leads to reliance on one’s own ability and intellect to discern problems and the solutions which leads to manipulation to change the behaviour of another.

Our sole source, and all that we need, is the word of God for the Gospel is the power of God which changes the hearts, the minds and the behaviour of man.

12.15. Marriage Partnership

Perspective

( 1 Pet. 3:1-7 ; Rom. 8:15-17 ) In God’s eyes men and women are joint or equal heirs, husband not above wife nor wife above husband. Husbands are to know their wives by loving and tenderly taking care of them with warmth and tenderness, as joint heirs of the grace of life. Wife is to submit herself to her own husband’s God given authority, influence and leadership. Wives stand in awe and reverence of God to help complete her husband, to provide support, encouragement, so that both husband and wife operate in order, in cooperation, in relationship and partnership. Thus, walking together, hand in hand throughout life.

Hope

( Eph. 5:18-21 ; Col. 3:17 ; John 14:21 ) In order to fulfill one’s responsibilities and functions, to counteract the inclinations of the flesh, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit, that is, being conscious of His Presence at all times. Accordingly, being filled with the Spirit rests on the shoulders of the believer, that is, he is filled only as he walks obediently to Christ, denying his own self and interest in order to be a blessing to others.

( John 7:38-39 ; Heb. 13:17 ) As we obey, Jesus’ Presence is illuminated, manifested and quickened in the life of the believer, within their hearts and lives. When a believer needs to fulfill his/her role and function, God’s Presence gives a deep sense of His love and care, helping and giving confidence, forgiveness and assurance-giving wholeness the believer needs. This process begins at the point each dies to their own need and desires in order to complete and fulfill the other.

( Rom. 5:5 ) All the love we will ever need is already residing within us. All we have to do is exercise it by an action of our will as God commands. Love is not biblical love unless it involves an element of sacrifice: as an illustration, to respond kindly when treated harshly ( Matt. 5:43-48 ; 1 Pet. 3:9 ).

Change

( Matt. 18:4 ; Matt. 11:28-30 ; 1 Pet. 5:5 ) A spirit-filled person has a submissive and respectful spirit. He does not have a spirit of criticism, dissension, envy, divisiveness, or selfishness, but he goes out of his way to minister and to serve. Even upon the most dire situations when one is heavily laden, weary and burdened, exhausted and despairing, Christ will enable the believer to work through any struggle. Under His leadership, direction, guidance, and care, one can learn from Him how to live and labor in a spirit of rest in any challenging situation ( Heb. 4:1-13 ).

( Eph. 5:22-24 ) To submit is God’s will. We submit because we love God, we do it as to Him, to please Him. It is the God given authority and function in the person we honor, not necessarily the person or his actions. Christian wives do not obey the Lord out of resentment and reaction – they need to check this spirit. They focus their lives to please the Lord and then their husbands. their function is to encourage and develop a partnership and order in the family. Need of woman today is not to compete or long after man but to find herself in a recognized position, and a honored relationship. Thus she fulfills her role by being the number one encourager, to back up her man, to stand firm, to cover his weaknesses, to share in his leadership by providing godly wisdom and influence.

( Eph. 5:25-33 ) Husband is to love wife by a selfless and unselfish love, a giving and sacrificial love, a love of the mind and will as well as the heart. A love that works for the highest good of the person loved, to nourish and to cherish. He is to be a leader in developing relationships by being intimate with wife and children, and for disciplining children in the Spirit of Christ. He is to be the ultimate servant in the home. He is to establish values, order, harmony, and to exemplify traits of integrity, honor, justice, courage and self-denial. Accordingly, the Christian home is to be lived in the very presence and atmosphere of the Lord, to be governed by the Lord. Decisions are to be made in the light of the Lord and His will. Thus, the Christian home is not to have two partners, but three – husband, wife and Christ.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Gal. 3:28-29

Devotion:

BSAF for Titus 2:4 ; Prov. 31:27 ; 1 Pet. 3:7 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

The Christian life is not one of doctrines only, but of relationships. Read 1 Cor. 13:4-8 , God’s kind of love. Review Eph. 4:1-32 on how we should relate and communicate with one another: thinking, speaking and acting out the truth in love. Note how we should speak to one another in verses 25 through 32. For additional insights, see worksheets Section 5.3, “What Makes a Man a Man” and Section 12.13, “Fulfilled and Fulfilling Wife and Mother” as well as Section A.3, “Love Is An Action” .

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