We couldn't find what you are looking for. Try searching for something else.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. - Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
At the risk of losing you on the first sentence of the devo on Monday morning, I have to say this: I’m a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. Boom. I said it. And if you assume there’s nothing to learn from a comic-book-born storyline involving mutant turtles that fight crime, evil aliens, and ancient eastern villains, well, I’m sorry to say that you’re wrong!
In the 1990 movie that came into the theaters and changed my world forever, there’s a villian, Tatsu, who is training some new foot soldiers. As the fight ends, one soldier bows to the other in reverence. As he bows, he lowers his eyes and Tatsu explodes on him. The young fighter gets knocked around and then onto the ground as Tatsu, his master, angrily says, “Never lower your eyes to an enemy.” The inexperienced apprentice carelessly assumed the fight was over and let his guard down to his enemy. Big mistake in Tatsu’s eyes.
But guess what. That’s fiction. That’s fighting your enemy. That’s not how we should operate in a family. But all too often we take Tatsu’s advice in our family dealings. We’re too nervous and insecure to lower our eyes and submit to one another. We’re peeking around corners, going through purses, thumbing through phones, and constantly trying to get the upper hand on the very people to whom we should be submitting.
Your home, your family, should be a place where you’re never afraid to lower your eyes. You should never have to fight for yourself because you know there is already someone fighting for you. In my house, I submit to my wife and four kids. But I’m not worried about them taking advantage of me because they love me and they’re submitted to my well-being, too.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends… - Romans 12:19 (NIV)
I remember when my oldest kid started to face the likes of bullies, intimidators, and tormentors at school. Once, when she was in kindergarten, she came home forlorn and tearful about a boy on the playground who called her ugly. Before you have kids, you think it’s silly to want to face off with a six-year-old. But the minute your little girl comes home self-conscious and brokenhearted, you’re tempted to ignore the age difference and make this kid pay for his offenses. I wanted revenge. Obviously, I controlled my emotions but I truly did want that kid to pay for hurting my family.
I’d do anything for my family. Most of us would. But what happens when someone in your family is the one bringing oppression on your family? Your eleven-year-old son punches his eight-year-old brother (this happens in my house). Your daughter lies to you and betrays your trust (this happens in my house). A husband hurtfully lashes out at a wife because of his own insecurities (this happens in my house). What do you do when your family hurts your family?
Honestly, I think revenge is an all too common practice within families. We get comfortable with one another and we start to take jabs. We remember past offenses and let manipulation become a valid currency for trade in our relational economy. We know which buttons to push and we push them. We withhold affection as a form of punishment. We lay in bed and wonder how we could make them feel the way they made us feel.
Yikes. The enemy wins when he tricks us into a revenge mindset with family. But it’s a trick he often pulls off.
Have you tried to repay offenses to anyone in your family recently? Do you owe anyone an apology? Do you need to confront pain that your family inflicted on you and release that pain in forgiveness? Write down what step you need to take to eliminate a revenge mindset and pray over that today.Share Tweet
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… - Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)
In my house, there are a few people that I trust more than others. When I say, “You can’t eat dessert until you finish your dinner,” I can trust my daughter, Bliss, and my son, Abe, to do the right thing. I could get up from the table and walk away and they’d still eat all their food without trying to sneak a cookie. Rosie and Clive, on the other hand, would sooner hide their veggies in their underpants than ingest anything green on their plate. So I’ve got to be a little more clear and police them a little more closely than the other two. And I’m fine with that. It’s the nature of teaching different people different things.
I think Paul has a similar teaching moment in this Ephesians passage. Three and a half verses are devoted to the wife; eight and a half verses are devoted to the husband. Apparently, he understood that sometimes it takes guys a little longer to understand this family stuff. I was discussing this passage with some buddies recently and they noted that, in an unhealthy scenario, wives will quote specific verses here to husbands and husbands will quote specific verses to wives. I think Paul would tell us that we’re all on the hook for this stuff. But, fellas, it begins with you.
We are to love our wives as Jesus loves the church. That doesn’t just mean the volume of love but also the posture we take in that love. C.S. Lewis said, “Men, in the marriage relationship you wear a crown, but the crown you wear is first and foremost, a crown of thorns.” We don’t just love our wives a lot. We love them sacrificially.
Men, what are you sacrificing right now to show your wife you love her? Ladies, pray for a spirit and posture of sacrifice for husbands in today’s culture. Men and women, our culture is not one of sacrifice and the absence of men and fathers is worth a mighty effort in prayer. Let’s commit to that prayer today.Share Tweet
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word… - Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV)
There’s a rare, special occasion in my house that often inspires a giddy anticipation in my heart; when my wife makes pulled pork barbecue. It’s a several day process of soaking the meat in brine and methodically preparing the meat to eventually cook slowly enough to allow the juices and fats to flavor every single bite. When she’s finished, the meat falls off the bone and is gently pulled apart and placed onto my burger bun as a tear rolls down my cheek. I’m sorry, y’all. I need a moment. I can’t even type while daydreaming about such a delicacy.
Okay, I’m back. Whew. That meat is good. And do you know why? Because it steeped in flavor. It takes time. It’s a long process and fairly laborsome. But it’s worth it. The flavor of the whole thing permeates through every ounce.
Today’s verse points to the same idea in marriage. The “cleansing” that takes place by God’s Word can bring so much healthy flavor to your relationship with your spouse. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. A couple years back my family had a difficult season that threw me off my spiritual game. My rhythms changed. My disciplines were forgotten. And slowly, over time my marriage had a void of Scripture. Even though the specific issues that created the difficulties were over, I was still suffering from a flavorless marriage.
None of that is true of my marriage today. Our love and zeal for one another has never been greater than it is now. I’d give up pulled pork for a lifetime before I gave up a day with Angie. And do you know the biggest change? I initiated daily reading of Scripture between Angie and me. We spend time every morning inhaling the breath of God through the pages of our Bibles.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. - Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
From baking cakes to frying chicken, my wife knows how to heavily tempt me away from any avoidance of caloric intake. Early in our marriage, that joy became a burden. Her passion for cooking started to feel like an obligation as she told herself, “If I’m a good wife, I need to have a home-cooked meal on the table every night.” I’d come home and the meal was incredible. But she had worn herself out making it happen.
Two big changes came early in our marriage. The first: Communication. I remember I finally had the guts to ask, “Why do you feel like it’s necessary to cook? Do you know I’ve eaten cereal for dinner five nights a week since I moved out of my parents’ house?” The instant I made it clear, she could breathe a little deeper. The second change? I tried to cook. I went beyond pouring milk in a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats and started making simple stuff like tacos and spaghetti. She was able to feel less pressure and I was able to help more. Nowadays it’s one of our favorite things to do together.
All the spiritual stuff we talked about this week is conditional on one word: Mutual. Submission is painful when it’s not mutual submission. Love, care, laughter, beliefs, and stuff that comes along with having a family can get messy when those things aren’t mutual. So some of you have probably felt lonely this week as you said to yourself, “Yeah, but my husband/wife would never…” You may be right. So I challenge you to do two things.
Communicate. At the very least, let them know how you feel. It takes courage, yes. But things tend to not grow in the dark. Second, Try. You cannot always control what your spouse or kids will do. But you can certainly work at setting an example and be the person you’re hoping they become.Share Tweet