10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
When I first began attending church again, I had a burn for the Lord that I hadn’t experienced since I was a kid. It made me want to listen, to hear and to read God’s word all the time. As many of you have read, I wasn’t always a good wife. In fact there were many years where I called myself a Christian, but my daily life did not reflect this. I knew nothing and more importantly I didn’t love the Lord. I just did as I pleased, and I loved the world.
So what happened to my life? It wasn’t what God had intended. It was full of malice and anger. It wasn’t joyful and I probably walked around with a sour puss on my face. The most memorable thing about my prior days was an unhappy marriage. This is how I remember “Old Me”.
The first thing that the Lord did in my life was to reboot my marriage. Ladies, do you know that old saying “If Mama’s not happy then no one is happy”?, well our christian walk is just like that. If Mama is not in the Word daily, knows the Word, feels the Word and has her own separate walk with God where she is ALLOWING the Lord Almighty to mould her and shape her, then it affects her house and more importantly it affects her marriage.
I began pouring over passages that taught me about speech, that corrected the way I behaved towards my spouse, that corrected my attitude to my house chores, that corrected my thought processes…I willingly allowed the Lord to do that for me, and wouldn’t you know it, the more I obeyed and followed the Lord’s leading, the closer I felt to Him and to my husband. A prominent American pastor described a Christian marriage as a “triangle” once. It was said that Christ is at the tip of the triangle, and the husband and wife are at each end. The description was this: if we draw near to Christ, we are drawing nearer to our husbands. This was a vital piece of information that I have since passed on to many other couples that have expressed their troubles to me on confidence.
The bible tells us earlier in the book of Ephesians, that the husband is the head of the household as Christ is the head of the church. (Ephesians 5:23) This is particularly important to remember daily because, much like our foremother Eve, the wife is very much an influence to her husband. I did not want to be the foolish wife that tears down her house (Proverbs 14:1), or the wife that quarrels and causes her husband to want to live on the corner of the roof (Proverbs 21:9) or the wife who is a nag (Proverbs 21:19). All of these bad habits tear down the husband’s role. They ruin him and make him doubt his leadership in the family and most of all they cause the family to be in spiritual disunion. When I as a wife and a mother, choose not seek out God’s will for my life or earnestly strive to do as the Bible commands, then I am not being a helper. I am being a hinderer.
If I recall my life before, I chased wealth, I chased recognition and I chased worldly ideas. I thought I would be better if I had a more feminist appeal. If I had the right training, or the right job, or the right resume then it meant something. I allowed these ideals to define me and I pursued them for years. I worked late hours, I volunteered, and was a full time student for a time. Meanwhile, because I didn’t know better and wasn’t walking with the Lord, I had a broken home. It was spiritually dysfunctional and it wore heavily on my marriage. There was no such thing as a valued family bond in my house. I am not even sure the kids missed me when I was gone? This is not what God designed. His word tells us that we were made to be helpers to our husbands (Genesis 2:18) and that we are not to be busybodies (which I certainly was), to be pure, to be kind, to be subject to our husbands and to be keepers of the home (Titus 2:5) and that if we are these things that our families will call us blessed (Proverbs 31:28). Now I know what some of you are thinking, that this idea doesn’t fit with our current century? That times have changed? That we have more responsibility now? But friends, the times have changed yes, but God’s word never ever changes (Malachi 3:6). He is clear on that, and if we are truly living for the Lord and if we want to live according to what He desires for His chosen people, then we need to lay aside our rebellious hearts and follow the leader.
God’s word and the power of His spirit can help us become exactly who we were meant to be. When I came to realize all of my shortcomings, some by my own ponder, and others by the voice of my husband I began to work on the biggest ones first. I had a heated tongue and would use my words to tear down and not to build up, so I poured through the book of Proverbs and underlined all the places where it speaks about speech. I would meditate on those scriptures and allow them to keep my speech pure and guarded. I also struggled with housekeeping. It wasn’t a priority to me because I was so unbelievably busy. I just didn’t have the energy to put into keeping my home clean and organized, and neither was it my forte because I didn’t ever take the time to learn from my mother. Meanwhile, we lived in clutter, in dirty laundry and we ate a lot of garbage food because I was so focused on myself and what I was doing, that I didn’t feel it was important to shop for healthy food for my family, or to plan ahead to make it easier on myself. When I started to study God’s word, this was an immediate rebuke on my behaviour. It was made very obvious to me that I needed to change. Proverbs 31 talks about the wife who is noble, who works hard, who cares about her family and fetches their food from afar, and how she is clothed in strength and dignity. She is a worth far more than rubies. None of what I was doing was helping my husband. It required an immense amount of juggling on our schedules, a lot of time being wasted elsewhere, and the family did not live in community. When I began to make changes in my life that reflected God’s desires and His design for what a marriage and a Christian household should be, I found that my husband was kinder, he complimented me more often, he was at ease, he gathered up all of the extra responsibility that I was trying to micromanage and managed it and I found that he too, began to dig into God’s word to find out what it had to say about being a man, a father and a leader.(1 Peter 3) The Holy Spirit has rested on our household and it began to morph into something beautiful. God has a design for all of us. His design for a Christian home doesn’t look like the rest of the world. It never has, it never will. It looks strange to others. But meanwhile, there is a resounding holy peace in our homes. We are building our homes, we are being helpers, and we are being exactly as God had created. We are lights in the darkness, we are beacons on the hill and He is our mighty tower. Our cornerstone, our foundation. He has designed our bodies to work in such a particular way, for the elements and the earth to be just as they are, and He has designed us. Jesus has shown us the way, He has come to make peace for us all and to forgive us for all of those shortcoming I talked about earlier.
Finally, Ephesians 6 talks about the armour of God. It is vital and important that we ask the Holy Spirit to put this on us every day. Every single morning. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing that roam this earth ladies. They desire to steal our hearts away from God’s desire and His plan for our lives. We need to be on the alert always, so that as we filter where we spend our time and what we do every day, that we can see it through holy eyes. Is it good for our families? does it take away from our role as wife, as mother? Does it make us like the world? Does it hinder our husbands? Are we being a testament for Christ? We need to be in the word, so that we can see what God desires for each of us, and when the time comes (and they will surely come), that we will be confident in our decisions and know wholeheartedly that we walk in the light.
Thank for you Living Word and the guidance that it gives it. Thank you that you give those instructions to us, not for your benefit, but because you love us so much and want to protect us. I pray that you would use this post to speak into the struggling marriages, and families that can’t figure out why things keep falling apart despite of their best efforts. As women (and men) read this post I pray renewed hope. Give these people friends that they can confide in to help hold them accountable for their actions.