Ephesians 4:25-32 NIV
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
What stood out to me….
Last weekend, Jason was on his own with the three kids while I headed to a conference with a few friends. While I laughed until I cried, Jason and the kids had the best time too. They had pizza, bike rides, Wii way past bedtime, the park, and a picnic lunch. While I am still recovering from the work fun of having all three kids home this summer, I’m sure the events of this past weekend leave Jason exhausted.
A few minutes after I get home, I notice our toddler son has no fruit squeeze packets in the refrigerator. Without thinking before speaking, I ask Jason, “Did Jack have any fruit while I was gone?” He says, “There wasn’t any made.”
Marital victory is mine (or so I think) as I purpose to keep my mouth from saying out loud, “Did you think of blending any?” Jason is looking at me and makes a snide remark. Apparently, my facial expression has given my thoughts away.
Let’s just say the next few words were a blur and when we started speaking again several hours later, the root of the issue wasn’t just the fruit packet. (We talked about this last week, yes?)
The funny thing is, I had already been reading and rereading the above passage for a few days in preparation for this blog post. “That it may benefit those who listen” continued to stand out to me, but beyond these 7 words, I had nothing.
Reading it again through Sunday and Monday, it became clear to me why I didn’t receive an “ah-ha” moment last week, but instead after my argument with Jason. God is so good to know when we will have ears to receive His truth most.
Jesus has brought us far enough in our marriage for me to know it isn’t uplifting to condemn Jason with a list of items he didn’t get done while I was away.
If I want more for my marriage, I can't just have a trained mind, I need to have a transformed mind.
When we are able to manage the items we are not to do, there is an achievement we recognize. We are able to physically see our small victories and it serves as a sort of checklist in our brain.
Didn’t say the unkind thought out loud ☑
Didn’t flip out over spilled milk ☑
Said yes to an apple instead of the sleeve of oreos ☑
Seeing the check marks in my brain helps me to verify my obedience with my thoughts. I can control the training of my words and actions, but only Jesus can transform them.
As I ask the Holy Spirit to transform my mind, I am expecting more than I can imagine.
When I ask for a transformed mind when it comes to my husband, I believe God can not just remind me to keep my mouth shut. He can convert my thoughts about Jason and my expectations to not even see what I previously would have.
Jesus wasn’t looking at Jason thinking he had missed a mark; He saw all the ways Jason had been an amazing dad. By focussing my expectations on the goodness of Jesus and not the actions of others, the Holy Spirit will give me eyes to see differently.
The idea of building others up…..edifying others; these are not just principles we put into place to protect us from causing others turmoil. They are principles standing on the promise God has for us; to build us, renew us, edify us.
We are to take our agenda of training ourselves to do better and replace it with a plan to follow after Jesus more.
As our identity becomes centered in His truth, we take on the character of Christ. We become builders, redeemers, renewers, edifiers….all in the name of the One who is all of those things and more.
This week, I’m asking the Lord to give me an abundance of His character when I look at my husband. While our marriage is great, I believe for immeasurably more when centered on the Rock. What relationship are you going to seek a rich harvest from and not just checking the box?
For Monday, August 24, read Ephesians 5:1-7