Monday, August 29, 2011

Marriage - Are You Doing the Word?

James 1:19 KJV

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man (or woman) be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man (or woman) worketh not the righteousness of God.

- emphasis added -

My grandmother always taught me to "kill'em with kindness."  She always said it would be difficult  for someone to be ugly to you if you continued to treat them with respect and dignity.  As hard as her lesson was for me to understand as a child, today, I can clearly see how her teachings were Biblical principles that God would one day reveal to me as truth.  These words were buried deep within my soul as a child, and, no doubt, have helped me to withstand some difficult situations in my own marriage while I patiently waited for my breakthrough to finally arrive.

I think the book of James is a good starting place for us to study in seeking how we can learn to silence arguments and put an end to dysfunction in our homes.  James says that we are to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath."  Until we recognize that change begins within US, we will forever be trying to "fix" everyone else  - in particular, our spouse.  We will never rest in the promises of our Lord for complete victory in our marriage, until we settle it in our heart that "we cannot change our spouse!"  So, let us take instruction from James that our breakthrough will manifest only if we do our part.  We must learn to control OUR MOUTH by praying, "Lord help me to listen more and talk less, so that You can work in my marriage."

In addition, James 1:22 says that we should be "doers of the word, and not hearers only."  Now, being a doer of the word does not mean that we make others...  "do the word."  On the contrary, it means that we make ourselves come into agreement with the word of the Lord even while in adverse circumstances.  Marriage is not always easy (especially if one spouse is lost).  Even so, as Christians, we are to do our part by being obedient to the things of God - even while it is not convenient.  If it were easy to be a "doer of the word", then being a "doer" would not require faith.  But, we are people of faith and we need to understand that our faith grows as we exercise it.  So don't be afraid to exercise your faith when it comes to being a doer of the word in your marriage.

There is one themed rebuttal that is always spoken to me by someone hurting in marriage:  "But you don't know what they did to me" or "You don't understand what I have to put up with."  When these valid comments come across my ministry, I gently take these broken souls back to God's word which speaks of self control, controlling our tongue, praying, and trusting Him.  Granted, one spouse in the marriage may be like a wild bull running through a china store.  Still, that doesn't justify the other spouse to be moved, shaken, or provoked to sin against God.  In the midst of a marital storm, we must remember that God is on the throne and He loves our marriage.  He is on our side and will fight our battles for us if we will just tame ourselves and lay our marriage on the altar for Him to work a miracle.  Malachi 2:16 says, God hates divorce, so our job as a married Christian is to work toward avoiding divorce... even through the fiercest storm. 

The devil is forever tempting God's children.  He knows that if he can just get a Christian to be drawn away of his own lust and enticed to sin then he can kill them.  His greatest thrill is to see sin conceived in a child of God because it is sure to bring forth death in certain areas of their life.  For instance, if the devil can get us to enter into arguing with our spouse, he has a better chance at getting us to believe that we are justified in hating them.  Then once we are convinced that we don't need our spouse anymore (because we just can't get along), we are now in a position to believe that divorce is OK in our situation.  Divorce is the calculated death that the devil is ultimately seeking to arrange in the lives of every married couple.  But the devil doesn't stop there.  The enemy of our soul will go much further than the initial divorce.  Most often, divorce  causes bitterness to fester.  Bitterness leads to wrath... and wrath leads to revenge.  Now does anger, bitterness, wrath, and revenge sound like characteristics of one claiming to be a Child of God?  (See James 1:3-15)

So in conclusion, James 1 says that our religion is vain if we don't learn to bridle our tongue.  Remember the trying of our faith (especially in marriage) teaches us to have patience.  And, the patience produced in us will make us perfect in the end.  This means that our faith will be purified in our trials, making us ready to receive the reward that God has waiting for those who believe Him and act according to His word even throughout adverse circumstances. 

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

If you haven't already read my story, I'd like to encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, Healing a Broken Marriage, today.  I have experienced, first hand, how God's word will come to pass in seemingly hopeless marital conditions of my own.  Today, my marriage is healed and thriving because the Lord is faithful and His word is true!  My book is a step by step faith walk of praying for my husband for twelve years as heartache after heartache pointed toward divorce.  Glory to God, the devil didn't win the battle and now I live to tell others how they, too, can claim victory in their home.  My book teaches practical and spiritual lessons that must be mixed together to bring results.   

The Lord doesn't want any to perish.  He wants all to come to salvation.  As the spouse who professes to know God (I say this because you are reading this article), I exhort you to stand strong and see the salvation of the Lord for your loved one.  Believe God against all odds.  And, very important, mix all of your faith with God- centered actions that will create fertile soil for your miracle.  When you line yourself up with Kingdom principles in your "doing", you can expect results from a God who loves you, loves your marriage, and loves your children.

So take the narrow road, tame your tongue, harness your emotions, exercise your faith, and trust God in all things.  He loves you!

 Job 6:24 KJV
Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Biblical Order of the Home


God has established order to everything... He is the God of order!  When studying scripture as a marriage life-book of "how to", it is easy to see that God has a divine command we must all heed if we want our marriage to endure: the tests of time; the on slot of offense; and the pull of worldly influence.  Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).  He hates families and will stop at nothing by instigating terms for division, strife, and even divorce - in every home - as he slithers his way into situations, circumstances, attitudes, and presuming lifestyles between a man and his wife.  So don't be surprised when the gates of hell turn up the heat in your household.  There is nothing new under the sun.

On the other hand, married couples can expect to overcome all of life's twists and turns - so that their passion never runs cold - when they commit to making their relationship with each other of highest priority (under Christ).  Contrary to the assumption of most unsuspecting married couples, staying true to the marriage vow, "until death do us part", doesn't just happen.  It takes work... continuous work...intentional work!  But, keeping a marriage alive is not a begrudging chore.  Instead, it is a fulfilling journey of growing closer and closer as, together, you work to serve one another! 

Speaking of order, 1 Corinthians 11:3 says that the order of the family should be as follows: God, Christ, Man, Woman.  As much as women hate to admit it, our role in the marriage is to be a helper to our husbands (Genesis 2:18).  The man is to be the head of the household, under Christ, and has the burden of carrying the weight of the home on his shoulders.  Even the natural strength of a man over the femininity of a woman paints the picture of God's design for establishing order in the home (see: 1 Peter 3:7).  Does this mean that women aren't supposed to work?  Not necessarily.  It does mean, however, that the predominate role of a woman in marriage should be that of an encourager to her husband and a nurturer to her children; while the prevailing role of the man should be that of a provider and spiritual leader.


When it comes to work, men and women, alike, all-too-often get caught in a work-a-holic syndrome.  The obligations of keeping the bills paid, the lure of a success driven society, and the sin of wanting too many "things" can all lead to burn-out in marriage.  God intended for us to have balanced lives and while work is essential, it should never be elevated above the family.  After all, you work to make a fruitful life for your family.  What benefit is "the good life" if, in the end, the family unit is shattered - all because of the obsessive cycle of making more, spending more, and expecting more?  The best way to evaluate your allegiance to your career is through the filter of the following order of importance:  #1 - God;  #2 - Family; #3 - Business.  If your work priorities tend to slip from this formula, it's imperative (for the sake of your marriage) that you reevaluate your motives and restructure your lifestyle - immediately!


Another mistake I often see young mothers making is that of becoming preoccupied with their everyday duties of nurturing, cooking, shopping, and cleaning, while presuming that their husband will "understand" her constant neglect of affection - especially in the bedroom.  I know how it is, by the end of the day a mother is zapped and "one more thing to do" when her head hits the pillow at night can become the dreaded love making task instead of a joyful finale of intimate communion with her man.  There is great danger in allowing affection with your spouse to wane.  Again, the most important part of your duties as a husband/wife and dad/mom (besides your complete devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ) is that of putting your marriage above all else.  Romance, sex, and even date nights MUST be a part of your "schedule" in order to avoid the subtle drift of growing apart.  Men, that means putting the remote down, turning the computer off, and making an effort towards being creative in how to spend quality time with your wife, as well.  Each partner has an obligation to meet the need of the other when it comes to keeping the flames of passion burning brightly throughout the course of a life-time in marriage. 


In a thriving, Christ-centered marriage, your relationship with your spouse should always come before your relationship with your children!  While this may seem like a no brainer, it is actually a big problem with families today.  Does this mean that the children are not important?  Not at all.  It simply means that marriage is - first, and foremost -  about the husband and wife honoring one another, as two souls remain one flesh under the banner of Christ Jesus.  Children can be very demanding and, while we should aim to be great parents, we should never let our marriage suffer from the pressures of parenting.

In today's American, fast-paced culture, I am seeing more and more parents putting a significant amount of time into the extracurricular activities of their children and the pursuit of keeping up with society.  While this may seem like a wonderful thing to do on the surface, an unbalanced approach to activities outside of the home early on, can lead to serious marital problems - later on.  After all, what good will all of these endeavors be if after years of running here, there and everywhere, you end up with a broken home - all because you neglected to prioritize your life in such a way that gives glory to God.  Psalm 46:10 says to "be still and know that He is God."  Carve out time each day to "be still" with your family as you worship God together with the sweet aroma of a balanced lifestyle. 

Furthermore, Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 says that "children should obey their parents in the Lord."  From here, we can see that God's divine order for the home is for the children to come up under the parents (not just the mom and not just the dad, but both parents - functioning in agreement with one another).  Many well meaning mothers tend to elevate their children to a position of priority over their husbands.  NEVER allow your children to come between you and your spouse. Remember, a healthy marriage ultimately makes the children happy because their confidence will be increased when they live in peace knowing that mom and dad love each other, have respect for one another, and express appropriate affection toward the other. As you and your spouse show forth a selfless, unconditional love that gives high priority to times of privacy, hand holding, hugging, laughter, and honor for one another, your children are learning what a healthy marriage looks like and will likely aim to have a balanced marriage of their own one day, as they learn life application skills from you.  This is the essence of what it truly means to train up a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).     

In closing, I remind you of the following points about "how to" enrich your marriage so that your love for one another never grows cold:

·        God has an order to everything. 

·        Marriage takes work. 

·        You must be intentional about making your marriage all that God has planned.    

·        The devil is working hard to strategize the demise of your wedding vows.

·        You must be adamant about APPLYING the Word of the Lord to every area of your marriage on a daily basis. 

Don't be duped by the devil.  Life is about choices and making the right decisions each and every day will add up to the sum total of the destiny of your family (see: Deuteronomy 30:19).  Remember, over half of ALL MARRIAGES (the church is no exception) end up divorced.  Shield your marriage from destruction by getting your life in order, NOW!

Deborah Ross is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, author, and choreographer.  Her new book titled, Healing a Broken Marriage: LoveNever Fails, is a great resource for more on "how to" have a healthy, God-centered marriage.  Deborah has been married to her husband, Jay, since 1984.  Together, they have two teenage sons.  Deborah's passion is to know God and her calling is to share His love with the world.  To find out more about her ministry go to