If you’re a wife, Peter tells you how not to win over your husband (with words). And he tells you howto win over your husband (with godly conduct). 1 Peter 3:1-2 says:
Wives submit to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, you may win over your husband without a wordby your actions, when he sees your respectful and godly conduct.
Win Over Your Husband the Right Way
Wives, Peter says you will not win over your husband by what you say, but you might win over your husband by your lifestyle. The gracious submission of a Christian woman to her unsaved husband is the strongest evangelistic tool she has. Just what does this look like in practical terms? Comparing 1 Peter 2:18 with 1 Peter 3:1–2 can help with the answer because of the parallel language between the verses:
“Servants, be submissive to your masters” is similar to “Wives . . . be submissive to your own husbands.”
“Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” is similar to “even if some do not obey the word.”
“With all fear” is similar to “your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
In both verses, it is important to understand that this is not speaking of servants or wives submitting out of fear of their masters or husbands, but submitting out of fear and reverence for God. When an unbelieving husband sees this heart for God it will be a powerful witness. His wife’s godly behavior will convict him to be a godlier husband. Her life will speak louder to him than any words.
James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” The words “joy” and “trials” are in the same sentence. These words don’t go together! Who experiences joy during trials? James even uses the word “all.” He does not say, “Count it some joy…” or “Find a little joy.” He says, “count it all joy.” As contrary as this sounds, it is a theme in Scripture to find joy in trials:
Romans 5:3 says, “We glory in tribulations.”
First Peter 1:6 says, “You greatly rejoice [when] you have been grieved by trials.”
“Count It All Joy” Doesn’t Mean “Feeling” Joy During Trials
You might be thinking: “The Bible doesn’t make sense, because I definitely do not feel joy when I am going through a trial!” The Bible makes complete sense, because it doesn’t say to “feel” joy during trials. Instead, it says “count it all joy,” because we cannot go by the way we feel. Trials make us feel sorrow and pain, so we must evaluate them independently of our feelings. The word for “count” is hēgeomai, and it means, “To lead, go before, rule, command, have authority over.” Here are a few places it’s used:
Matthew 2:6—“Bethlehem…out of you shall come a Ruler (hēgeomai) Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
Acts 7:10—“[Pharaoh] made [Moses] governor (hēgeomai) over Egypt.”
Hebrews 13:17—“Obey those who rule (hēgeomai) over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.”
James tells us to “count it all joy,” because we must “govern” and “rule” over trials. We must control the way we view them, versus being controlled by our feelings. We must make a mental judgment about trials by considering the way God wants to use them in our lives. Then we can face them with joy.
God Brings Us into the Deep End
James 1:3 says, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Sermons and books can teach the benefits of patience and how it is acquired, but only trials can build patience into a person’s life. Over the last few years, I have been taking my children to the pool to teach them to swim. I can talk about swimming with my children, tell them what it is like, or even show them videos of people swimming. If they are going to learn to swim though, at some point, they must get in the water. The same is true with patience. If we want to learn patience, at some point, we must be immersed in trials. Continue reading ““Count It All Joy”…During Trials???”→
We have six children and our seventh is due May 2018. Our oldest child is ten, and while we have enjoyed our children at all ages, we still want to see them mature. When they make decisions that disappoint us, we feel disappointed with their maturity. Consider how tragic it would be if children remained immature throughout their lives.
God Is a Father and He Wants His Children to Mature
The author of Hebrews rebuked some of his readers who had been following Christ for some time, but had not matured. Hebrews 5:12 & 6:1 says:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food…Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.
Unlike these Hebrew readers, the believers in 2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 had matured significantly:
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.
The Thessalonians were a wonderful church. Paul applauded their growth, which he attributed to the trials they experienced. This is one reason we can find joy in trials—we know they are producing patience that leads to maturity. First Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered a little while, [God] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” During trials we can tell ourselves, “This is strengthening me spiritually, giving me endurance, building my faith, and preparing me for the future.” Jerry Bridges said:
Every adversity that comes across our path, whether large or small, is intended to help us grow in some way.
We want our children to embrace the Gospel and follow the Lord at the earliest possible time. We want the best for them, but they face so many threats. Could one of those threats come from us? We need to avoid hypocrisy to ensure our children see the Gospel in us and through our parenting.
To accompany the message, below you will find:
Lesson 1: ____________ ____________________ so you don’t see your sins in your children (2 Sam 13:21, 38-39, 14:33, 18:5; 1 Kin 1:6).
Lesson 2: Don’t let ________ ________ prevent you from disciplining your children (Pro 13:24, 19:18).
Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by:
Lesson 3: ________________ ________ you want from your children (Rom 2:1, 20-24; Matt 7:1-5).
Lesson 4: Telling your children ____________ __ ____________.
Day 1—Read 2 Sam 13:21, 38-39, 14:33, 18:5, 1 Kin 1:6 and discuss: What sins did David see in the lives of his sons? In what ways did David’s sons’ sins reveal his sins? What are the dangers associated with viewing our children too sentimentally?
Day 2—Read Pro 1:8-9, 3:12, 13:24, 19:18, 22:6 anddiscuss: Why didn’t David discipline his sons? Why would past sins prevent parents from disciplining their children? What can parents tell themselves when past sins prevent them from disciplining their children? When parents have sin-filled pasts what can they their children to avoid hypocrisy?
Day 3—Read Rom 2:1, 20-24, Matt 7:1-5 and discuss: Do you have expectations for your children that you don’t have for yourself? What would your children say in answer to the previous question? Do your children see behaviors from you that you don’t want to see from them? Are you presenting a high view of God in your home, not just from what you profess, but the way you live?
Day 4—Read Rom 3:9-23 and discuss: Why should parents share with their children that they’re sinners too? What are the dangers for parents if they don’t share with their children that they’re sinners too? Why is it important for parents to avoid making excuses to their children? What happens if children grow up with parents who regularly shift blame? In what ways can children see Christ through humble, loving parents?
For the moment all chastening seems painful rather than pleasant.
Making it more difficult is the fact that God expects us to receive His discipline well. First Peter 2:20a says:
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?
God expects us to humbly accept His discipline the way parents expect their children to receive discipline without kicking and screaming. This can be very difficult! Fortunately, the author of Hebrews provides a number of reasons believers can still be encouraged by God’s discipline.
1. God’s Discipline Means You Are His Child
Hebrews 12:6–8 records:
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
When we sin and God disciplines us, we can be encouraged that He does so because He loves us. We want to be confident in our salvation, and experiencing discipline allows us to say, “God is my Father. I am His child.” When I see other people’s children misbehaving, I do not discipline them because they are not my children. God acts similarly toward unbelievers. Sometimes people sin and it looks like “they are getting away with it.” Either God is giving them time to repent, or they are not His children.
2. God’s Discipline Means You Are in His Hands
Prior to pastoring, I taught elementary school for almost ten years. When students disobeyed, I regularly found myself wondering what the appropriate punishment would be—detention, suspension, time out, or call parents? Circumstances make things even more complicated. What is the punishment for a student who lies once, versus a student who demonstrates a pattern of deceitfulness? What about a student who mistreated a student for no reason, versus a student who acts out when provoked? Continue reading “3 Reasons to Be Encouraged by God’s Discipline”→
God gave sex as a gift. The problem is that as sinful people in a fallen world, we have the potential to ruin anything good God gives us. Let’s take a look at three of the most common threats to healthy intimacy in marriage.
1. Intimacy in Marriage Is Threatened by Selfish Attitudes
Husbands and wives should be committed to satisfying each other, but Scripture must also be balanced in light of other Scripture. If 1 Corinthians 7 were the only passage considered, people could demand their spouses satisfy their desires regardless of the way the other person feels. But other verses command love, gentleness, compassion, and deference in the marriage relationship. While it would be unhealthy, and even sinful to deprive our spouses for selfish reasons, it can also be equally unhealthy and sinful to be demanding or insensitive toward our spouses.
Although Paul listed fasting and prayer as possible reasons for abstinence, common sense and simple consideration dictate there are other acceptable reasons—sickness, pregnancy, or grief. When people are suffering or struggling, they might find intimacy very unattractive. God wants sex to be enjoyable for both individuals. Selfish and unkind attitudes threaten the joy and pleasure God desires for couples.
2. Intimacy in Marriage Is Threatened by Mismatched Desires
Intimacy in marriage is not a neglected topic in Scripture. It is discussed a number of times in the Old and New Testaments, and one entire book—Song of Solomon—is dedicated largely to the topic. When God’s Word makes something important, Christians have a responsibility to make it important as well by learning what Scripture teaches on the subject. If Christians don’t do this, they are likely to gain their understanding from secular society, which has a perverse view of sexuality.
1. Intimacy in Marriage Is Blessed by God
Just as the devil has been successful in encouraging intimacy outside of marriage, he has been equally successful in discouraging intimacy within marriage. I once counseled a man in his fifties who was addicted to pornography. I mention his age only because pornography might be more typically considered a struggle for young, single men. In reality it can enslave men—and women as well—of any age, in any season of life.
The man’s actions were absolutely sinful; there is no minimizing the wickedness of his behavior. With that said, after months of counseling it became apparent that one reason for his addiction was a wrong view of intimacy. His mother had convinced him at a young age that sex was filthy, and he had never been able to rid himself of that belief. He told me: “I look at porn, because at least then I am not involving my wife in a dirty activity.” Though I tried to convince him otherwise, it was very difficult for him to shake his mother’s teaching, even though Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Continue reading “A Biblical View of Intimacy in Marriage (and Abstinence)”→
Lesson 1: Husbands love their wives by ______________ them with the ________ (Ephesians 5:26; John 15:3, 17:17).
Lesson 2: Husbands love their wives by setting the ________________ for ________________ in the home.
Lesson 3: Husbands get the wives they ______________ for __________________ (Ephesians 5:27; Galatians 5:19–23, 6:7).
Lesson 4: Husbands love their wives by __________ as ___________________ about them as they are about themselves (Ephesians 5:28–29; Genesis 2:23–24).
Lesson 5: (Part I) Wives must feel like the ______________ ______________________ in their husband’s life, (Part II) which can take ____________________ ________________ things from the husband’s life (Ephesians5:31; Matthew 5:29, 18:9).
Lesson 6: Think of how Jesus loved ______ __________ (Matthew 13:44–46; Romans 3:11; Hebrews 12:2).
Husband asks wife:
Do you feel like I love you? What do I do that makes you feel loved? What do I do that makes you feel unloved?
Do you feel like I take care of you as well as I take care of myself?
Do you feel like the supreme relationship in my life?
Wife asks husband:
What do I do that makes it easy to love me? What do I do that makes it hard to love me?
Do we have anything in our home that should be removed, because it is threatening our holiness?
What fruit of the Spirit or works of the flesh do you see in me that characterize my life?