Christlike Wives And Husbands

like-jesusTime after time Peter calls Christians to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. The most countercultural example we have ever seen is Jesus Christ.

Peter shows us how Jesus—in the most excruciating situation possible—lived. Heading into the torture of crucifixion

  • He was submissive to His Father’s will
  • He remained focused on the future glory, not just the immediate pain
  • He continued to be a servant-hearted leader
  • He spoke to those around Him respectfully
  • He extended mercy to His tormentors
  • He prayed for (and purchased with His blood) His tormentors’ forgiveness

Peter then tells Christian wives and husbands they are to behave in the same way as Jesus. Wow!

More specifically Peter challenges Christlike wives to be:

  1. Submissive to their husbands—I like how the Amplified Bible says this in verse 1: “subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them.
  2. Christlike in their behavior.
  3. Distinctive by their purity.
  4. Reverent to God, by honoring the image of God in their husbands.
  5. Beautiful from the inside out.
  6. Consistently doing what is right
  7. Not swayed by fear—“do what is right without being frightened by any fear [that is, being respectful toward your husband but not giving in to intimidation, nor allowing yourself to be led into sin, nor to be harmed]” (v. 6 AMP).

Likewise Peter challenges Christlike husbands to be:

  1. Submissive to their wives—remember the in the same way phrase? That applies to the men too. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:21, 24).
  2. Considerate of her—the King James Version says, “dwell with them according to knowledge.” That word for knowledge means to study your wife and know what she likes and doesn’t like.
  3. Respectful in the way he treats his wife.
  4. Treating her as a partner and heir in your spiritual heritage.
  5. Understanding the part she plays in your spiritual development—“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run a ground” (v. 7 MSG).

Here are two questions I think Christian wives and husbands need to seriously consider: Are you thinking about your role as a husband or wife in biblical terms or cultural terms? If you are thinking in cultural terms, are you willing to try it God’s way?

Our Christian marriages should be “alien” to the way the world operates; they should be counter-cultural. That kind of marriage is what points people to a relationship with Jesus!

God’s Design For Sex

gods-design-for-sexI recently completed a reading plan on YouVersion called God’s Design For Sex. This plan was put together by the staff at Focus On The Family, and was an excellent study! Here are six quotes that caught my attention.

“Pornography represents a departure from God’s design for sex in that it depersonalizes real people, strips them of their dignity, and turns them into sexual objects.”

“Sexual immorality inhibits us from focusing on our truest Lover, the Lord. … Chastity, then, is first and foremost a spiritual discipline. Like prayer, fasting, study, silence, charity, and giving, it’s something God asks us to practice, not because it will get us into heaven, but because it will help transform us into new creatures.This kind of purity is not the mere absence of illicit sex, but an active conforming of one’s body, soul, and mind to the image of Christ.”

“As theologian George Weigel explains, when we view God’s directives for our sexuality in this way, ‘the first moral question shifts from ‘What am I forbidden to do?’ to ‘How do I live a life of sexual love that conforms to my dignity as a human person?’ Sex, then, rightly understood and practiced, is in a very real sense fundamental to mankind’s function, purpose, and destiny within the miracle of God’s creation.” 

“Most critics and skeptics of Christian chastity argue that the Bible has ‘nothing to say’ about pre-marital sex. The problem, they say, is nothing negative is ever mentioned ‘condemning’ the practice or suggesting a ‘thou shalt not.’ But the Bible expresses its perspective on this matter primarily in positive terms.”

“It’s vital to add that God wants us to reserve sex for marriage not because it’s ‘bad’ or ‘dirty,’ but precisely because it’s such a unique, exclusive, and wonderful thing. Sex is a holy mystery. It’s a powerful bonding agent that shapes and affects the relationship between a man and a woman as nothing else can. To take sex outside of marriage is like taking the wine consecrated for Holy Communion and using it for a drinking party at a frat house. This is why the writers of Scripture so often compare idolatry to the sin of fornication or adultery.”

“All the best research indicates that the most sexually satisfied people in modern society are not the adventurous swingers, but rather faithful, monogamous married couples.”

Countercultural Marriage

my-thoughts-or-gods-thoughtsThe Apostle Peter uses an appropriate term for Christians living on Earth: “Aliens and strangers.” This means that those who call Jesus their Lord are to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. Not a lifestyle that changes with the popular culture, but one that stays true to God’s Word.

There probably has never been a more controversial subject in any day or culture than marriage and the relationship between the sexes. Why are these terms “controversial”? I suspect it is because we are naturally bent toward being pragmatic people.

In pragmatism, the outcome determines meaning. If I find something easy to do, convenient for me, and I seem to get applause from those around me, then what I did must be right. However, if it’s challenging to stick with something, and seemingly only a few people approve of how I do it, then it must be wrong. That is letting culture determine morality, instead of letting God determine it.

As Peter begins to address the topic of marriage, and the interaction between spouses, he uses two similar phrases—“Wives, in the same way … Husbands, in the same way (vv. 1, 7).”

In the same way as what? Actually, if you look at the five verses that come before this you will see that it’s not what but Whom. Those verses are talking about our example in Jesus. Peter points out that Jesus showed:

  • submission to God’s purpose—His prayer was, “Not My will, but Yours be done.
  • longsuffering—He did not retaliate nor threaten His persecutors, but for the joy set before Him, He endured the shame of the Cross.
  • servant-leadership—At the last meal He had with His followers before being crucified, He washed their feet, and told them He had given them an example of how they were to serve others.
  • respectful behavior—Jesus willingly suffered the penalty for the world’s sin. He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said He remained silent before His accusers.
  • mercy—This always means not getting the penalty we deserve. Jesus came to save us when we were the least worthy of His love.
  • forgiveness—As the spikes were being driven through His wrists, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.

Pragmatism looks at God’s design and says, “Yes, I understand that, but….” Pragmatism tries to find an “out” or a “loophole” that let’s someone change a definition or skip out on doing something God’s way.

If anyone ever had the authority to say, “Yes, Father, I know what You want Me to do, but look how they’re treating Me” it was Jesus.

A wife with a difficult husband may want to say, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to submit to my husband, but….” A husband with a nagging wife may say, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to treat my wife with consideration and respect, but….”

But Peter says, “Wives and husbands, exhibit the same submission, longsuffering, servant-leadership, respectful behavior, mercy and forgiveness toward your spouse as Jesus exhibited toward you!” 

So the question we need to ask is: Am I thinking about marriage—a husband’s role, a wife’s role—in counter-cultural biblical terms or in popular cultural terms?

If I find I am thinking culture’s thoughts, am I willing to try God’s way?

Join me next Sunday as we look at this passage again, and see how a wife and husband can love and serve each other in a God-honoring, counter-cultural way.

3 Quotes For Uncommen Husbands

Uncommen HusbandsI recently finished a reading plan on YouVersion called Uncommen Husbands. Here are some quotes that I especially appreciated from Brian Goins’ insights.

“Paul indicates there a came a time in his life when he grew out of an immature, boyish love and embraced a more mature, and dare we say, manly love [1 Corinthians 13:11]. If we’re going to love our wives like Christ loved the church, we must let the boy die. And in marriage, that’s far easier said than done. Check out the comparisons below:

  • Boys retaliate quickly when hurt; manly love is patient and kind.
  • Boys require constant affirmation; manly love is not arrogant or rude.
  • Boys stew, stammer, and hold grudges when they don’t get their way; manly love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
  • Boys try to win every argument; manly love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  • Boys have a short fuse; manly love bears all things.
  • Boys write people off when wronged; manly love believes God’s best for the relationship.
  • Boys lose hope after they’re hurt; manly love always hopes for reconciliation regardless of the pain.
  • Boys expect to be served; manly love endures all things.”

“Paul says, ‘cherish’ our bride like we cherish our own bodies. The word means, ‘bring warmth to,’ and from which we derive our words, thermal and thermostat. … When Paul tells us to love our wives as we love our own bodies, he’s encouraging us to cherish their emotional needs in the same way we cherish our own physical needs. If she’s chilly, it’s our job to warm her up. If she’s steaming, then we help lower the mercury. In other words, the call to cherish means we have to engage when we’d rather shrink back.”

“I’m not sure Paul was the most popular men’s retreat speaker. When he spoke, some fell asleep…and then fell out a window (Acts 20:9). He admitted to the church at Corinth his messages were a bit convoluted (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). Even his buddy Peter threw him under the bus for his ivory tower verbiage (2 Peter 3:15-16).

“Then there was his unfortunate use of the word nourish in Ephesians 5:28. I’m pretty sure every guy in the audience cringed a bit when Paul said to husbands, ‘nourish’ your wife. We may think of nutritious foods, but in Paul’s day, the word often referred to nursing moms. Try and get that picture out of your head.

“When my wife used her God-given equipment to nourish our children I don’t ever remember a time when I asked her, ‘Honey, when was the last time you fed the baby?’ and she responded, ‘Oh, I don’t know, it’s been a few days.’ Because instinctively a mom knows her baby’s nourishment has to be consistent, catered to their tastes, and is crucial for their survival. In the same way, Paul calls husbands to nourish their brides. Is your love consistent? I don’t know about you, but I rarely miss a meal. Unless I’m fasting (for a very short time!), about every 4-5 hours I feed the beast. It’s all too common for our wives to go months between meals: a date night, taking a walk, go on an adventure, a simple text saying, ‘are you tired? You should be because you’ve been running through my mind all day long,’ or a well thought out letter. Nourishment must be ongoing. Is your love catered to her tastes? You’re not going to catch me at the all-you-can-eat tofu bar. Unless I’m on the mission field, I generally nourish my body with stuff I like. It’s common to give love the way we want to receive love. But your love language probably doesn’t match hers. Want to know if you are catering to her ‘love’ taste buds, ask this UNCOMMEN question: ‘Honey, do you feel the depth of my love? Not do you know it, but do you feel it? If not, how can I nourish your soul?’ Do you realize your love is crucial to her survival?”

6 Quotes About Understanding Sexual Sin

Focus On The FamilyEarlier this week I shared some quotes from a Focus On The Family (FOTF) reading plan I completed on YouVersion regarding the problems with pornography. Here are some additional quotes from a related FOTF reading plan called Understanding Sexual Sin.

“Sexual sin distorts the image of the Trinity mirrored in our marital relationships.”

“If our sex lives are meant to function as reflections of the image of God, it stands to reason that they should be shaped by the qualities of the Trinity. Three primary principles apply here.

1) We may never use another person as an object, sexual or otherwise. The members of the Trinity never relate to each other as objects or things to be used. Instead, they relate to one another in love, each seeking to serve and enhance the goodness and glory of the others.

2) We must keep sexual relations within the bounds of a loving and committed marriage. … This sexual embrace within the bond of marriage mirrors the nature of the relationship between the members of the Trinity as nothing else in creation can. Ideally, the marital bond is designed to be loving, permanent, exclusive, and self-giving.

3) We must respect and honor the God-designed differences between male and female. Male and female are not simply cultural constructs. They are God-created characteristics of humanity. Together, they personify the Trinitarian nature of God in a fundamental way…. The differences between male and female provide the fullest picture of the image of God in creation.”

“Biblically speaking, sexual immorality (Greek porneia) is any sexual activity that takes place outside of marriage. This includes adultery, premarital sex, and extramarital sex. Scripture teaches that both are off-limits for Christians (see 1 Corinthians 6:9; Acts 15:29; Hebrews 13:4).”

“It’s a mistake to confuse normal sexual attraction with lust. Sexual attraction is natural. … True lust involves a choice and an act of the will. To a certain extent it’s a conscious decision to pursue the desirable object instead of simply allowing it to pass by. It’s a willingness to give in to the natural impulse.”

“Pornography represents a departure from God’s design for sex in that it depersonalizes real people, strips them of their dignity, and turns them into sexual objects.”

“It is never wise to give more weight to feelings than to rational conclusions and clear biblical teachings. Feelings don’t make you who you are. Beliefs, values, and conscious commitments do.”

5 Quotes To Protect Your Marriage From Pornography

Focus On The FamilyI recently finished reading a Focus On The Family reading plan on YouVersion called Infidelity: Protecting Your Marriage From Pornography. This is one part of a multi-part reading plan on healthy sexuality. I encourage you to check out all of these plans.

Here are some of the quotes I appreciated from this reading plan.

“Porn is powerful primarily because it offers a counterfeit form of intimacy and attachment—a replacement for the one-flesh bond between man and woman that God designed to function as the glue that holds the marriage relationship together (Genesis 2:24).”

“Mental health professionals report that the road to recovery is likely to be much longer and far more complicated for an individual engaged in an ongoing interpersonal cyber-affair than it is for a porn addict. That’s because ‘relationship’ at any level implies a degree of emotional entanglement. When the heart gets drawn into that web, the potential for pathology is inevitably raised.”

“Many porn addicts are sexually anorexic when it comes to normal marital relations. That’s because, through habit and practice, their sexual impulses have been alienated from their natural context—i.e., a healthy, committed personal relationship—and re-oriented around impersonal objects or illicit lusts or fetishes.”

“[Pornography] addiction is based on neurochemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of prolonged exposure to stimulating sexual imagery. Because of its neuro-chemical basis, it’s tenacious, progressive and destructive in nature.”

“Don’t assume that normal marital sexual relations will take the place of porn in [an addict’s] life. No living, breathing, thinking woman can possibly fill that role without doing untold damage to herself as a person. That’s because pornography addiction, in the final analysis, is not about sex. It’s a symptom of an intimacy disorder—a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid deep, meaningful interaction with another flesh-and-blood human being and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery. Unless this disorder is addressed and rectified, your relationship cannot move forward on a healthy footing. Marriage will not fix the problem. It will only complicate matters and increase your pain.”

For more help, visit pureintimacy.org or Focus on the Family’s Help Center.You can also call the ministry’s Counseling Department for a free consultation at 855-771-HELP (4357).

6 Quotes On Commitment From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

Dave writes in the introduction to his book, “God wants love to flow through our lives like a mighty river. The laws of love are the invisible banks God has placed around love for our prosperity and protection. When our relationships live with in those boundaries, everyone involved is enriched. When we dismiss or disregard the boundaries, our relationships can quickly become unhealthy and unsustainable.”

From law #1, here are some quotes on commitment—

“God created love to be a transformative force in every aspect of our lives. … Before that can happen, though, there must be commitment. Without a real commitment, there can be no real love.”

“The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship.”

“God brought His own Son through the lineage of a poor young woman named Ruth who understood the power of commitment in the meaning of love. God wants to create a generational impact through your life as well. The level at which you’ll make an eternal impact is defined by your level of commitment to the people God has placed in your life.” 

“Our commitment to others is evident in the consistency with which we serve them. Grand, one-time gestures can be nice, it’s what we do with consistency that will ultimately shape our relationships.”

“We’ve traded true intimacy for porn. We’ve traded committed marriages for commitment-free cohabitation. We’ve traded having children for having pets. We’ve traded meaningful conversations for text messages. We’ve traded ‘till death do us part’ for divorce. We’ve traded the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of happiness. We’ve traded love for lust. We’ve attempted to exploit all the benefits and pleasures of love without investing the commitment and self-sacrifice that love requires.” 

“Your life and your relationships will be defined by the commitments you make and how well you keep them.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

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