EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 AMP
Lately I have been meditating on the above scripture, and the reason is because I can honestly remember all the way back to my salvation. I was so excited about the Lord that I really got into the Word of God because I wanted to find out what God expected of me. Who was I? What was I called to? What did God think of me and how was I supposed to live out my life now that I was a new creature in Christ? The one thing I remember most vividly is that when I read Proverbs 31 I knew I wanted to be like that woman. I married very soon after meeting Jesus and wanted my husband to have full confidence in me and to be known as someone who would always bring good to him and not harm. I wanted to be known as a woman who worked hard to take care of her family and as one who would be such a builder of her husband that he would one day be known in the city gates where he would be a respected elder.
Proverbs 31:25-31 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
FROM HUMILITY TO PRIDE...
I think since the beginning of time the enemy has taken many of us who started out in such a wonderful place of thankfulness and humility to a deceptive place of ungratefulness and pride. I have shared with you before that when I write I am sharing from my own life experiences and the things that the Holy Spirit has walked me through. It is never my heart to come across as judgmental or critical of others. In fact it is always my hope that as I openly share my own trials, tests and struggles that in some way the things that I have walked through would help others to grow as well. I would like us to take a look at Ephesians 4 & 5. I will add portions here below. You will not understand this article unless you take the time to read them. I encourage you to read both chapters in their entirety, but I won't be posting them here for space reasons.
1I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service,
2Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.
3Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.
4[There is] one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received--
5[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6One God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all.
14So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of [a]unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.
15Rather, let our lives lovingly [b]express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
16For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.
17So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.
18Their [a]moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is [b]deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].
29Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).
31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.
15Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),
16Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.
17Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.
18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.(A)
19Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [[a]and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,
20At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
21Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
The End...OR IS IT?
Actually if you know your bible you know as well as I do that Ephesians 5 doesn't stop at verse 21. In fact it goes on through verse 33. It speaks to us about our marriages. It gives us light and shares with us what God expects of both the husband and the wife. Paul just told us how to walk in unity, but he couldn't possibly mean in our homes too could he? Dear ones, I believe the answer is YES. Sadly, many have done just what I did above (added 'The End'). They close the book at verse 21 and don't want to believe that in all reality this was all one thought, one letter and one teaching. Paul did not move on from one thing to another. He wasn't bouncing all over the place and trying to teach us many different subjects. In fact in both Ephesians 4 & 5 Paul is still talking about the same thing which is 'Unity in the body of Christ', but once he gets to verses 22 thru 33 we somehow feel he wasn't speaking to us or he couldn't possibly be speaking about my marriage. We so want to believe that we are pleasing to the Lord, mature in the Spirit and walking in the unity that Paul speaks of that we completely close our eyes to the fact that our own spouse is a brother or sister in Christ.
Let's look at Ephesians 4:2 2Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.
Many would say this is how their walk with Christ is daily, but can you honestly say this is happening in your marriage? Paul says 'Complete lowliness of mind (humility)', but I have sadly watched the enemy kill Christian marriages today. You've probably seen it happen in your circle of friends as well. Through a false sense of self righteousness a woman begins to exalt herself, her spirituality and her mind above her husbands and once this thought is entertained the door is opened for strife and every evil work. If unity is not immediately brought back in, that false spirit of self righteousness grows into a destructive spirit of pride.
Let's look at Ephesians 4:16 16For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.
Who is more closely joined then a husband and a wife? This verse says that 'when each part is working properly we grow into maturity and are building up in love. Yet, I have found that often times husbands and wives tear each other down. Not only in their own homes, but sometimes even in conversations to others or what about the destruction caused when husbands are disrespected in front of the children, or wives are not loved in front of the children? So isn't the opposite affect happening here? If the married couple is not working together properly can't we assume that they are not growing into maturity?
Let's look at Ephesians 4:29 29Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.
Wow, this is really a mind blower. Husbands and wives have arguments. They don't always agree do they? Is it possible to argue without tearing others down? Is it possible to disagree and still walk in spiritual maturity, humility and love toward the one you are in disagreement with? I admit that there are times when my husband and I have argued and I almost (I said almost. lol..) felt out of control. While I am in the midst of being angry I know that I am not walking in blessing and grace. It almost seems impossible to have 'loud fellowship' without unwholesome talk. However, I do know that what Paul is speaking of here is possible. How do I know? Because although I sadly have done the opposite of what Paul is saying here in my past, my husband has never in our entire marriage turned on me, tore me down, cursed at me or said hurtful things. I can honestly say that I am being changed by watching his behavior.
Let's look at Ephesians 4:31-32 31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul is speaking to EVERYONE here. Not just our churchy friends, people in the store or our neighbors. He is speaking of you and your spouse and me and my spouse. He tells us not to be bitter or resentful, not to quarrel and never to slander. He asks us to be tenderhearted and forgiving, but today in the body of Christ there seem to be less and less examples of what God meant for us in marriage. In some cases even Spiritual Leaders have divorced and we have watched as the two parted in bitterness, slander and anger which only comes through hard heartedness. Statistics show that Christians are divorcing at a rate almost higher than unbelievers and that many who are remaining married are not necessarily happy. In fact some actually believe they hate each other, but knowing that God hates divorce they stick it out month after month and year after year even though their lives at home are far from the life that God intended for His children in marriage.
ARE WE JUST HYPOCRITES?
Don't shout me down here. I had no intention of saying that, but God told me to as I was writing this. Anyone who wishes to walk in offence take it up with the Lord because again I am in no way trying to offend. In fact when I write I am listening to the Holy Spirit and about 99% of the time I am changed and convicted myself by what I am trying to share with you.
Ephesians 5:22-24 22Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. 24As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
Do we really understand why the word submission is hated in the body of Christ? It's not only hated by women who don't want to live it in their marriage, but many men fall short in this area as well. For one they completely ignore Ephesians 5:21 which asks us to submit one to another in the fear of the Lord, but also the enemy has taken the word 'Submission' and destroyed it in the church, because it is God's way and because Jesus was our greatest example of submission (to the pain and death of the cross) he (Satan) has through false doctrine, false teachers and much error made us believe that submission is a dirty word. The truth is submission is a beautiful thing. God used it to offer salvation to you and I.
Haven't we yet realized that like the Pharisee's of Jesus day we can look wonderful on the outside, but be filthy on the inside? Jesus said that it wasn't what went into us that made us filthy, but what came out of us instead. Isn't this exactly what is happening when one tears down their own spouse to their family or friends? Let me ask you this. If 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is truly being lived in the lives of Believers, why is the Christian divorce rate so high?
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
THE BALANCING ACT...
The truth is when Ephesians 5:22-24 was spoken by Paul he didn't stop there. He went on to bring balance to what he was teaching. Let's look at Ephesians 5:25-27.
Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, 27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].
So then wives subjecting themselves to their husbands is to be balanced with the husband loving his wife. In fact I would go as far as to say that most women would find joy in submitting to a husband who was kind and loving and most men would be more loving if they felt respected and honored in their homes. There is a breakdown somewhere and like every other relationship that we have (including our relationship with the Lord) marriage is something that we must work on daily. The breakdown is in both the husband and the wife. It's not all because she won't submit and it's not all because he doesn't speak lovingly. The truth is there are issues on both sides and to have a wonderfully restored marriage both the husband and wife must take heed to the Word as if each scripture was not only about the body of Christ, but particularly their own spouse.
NOTHING IS HIDDEN...
We truly deceive ourselves if we believe that God is pleased with our attitudes of lording over one another in our homes. Are we really so foolish as to believe that God rejoices when there is physical or verbal abuse in a marriage and one is deceptively using Ephesians 5:25-27 as their right to do so? What about women who lie as Potiphar's wife did or those who dominate and control like the wife of Ahab? And then there was Lot's wife who couldn't let go of her past and loved sin more than righteousness. We can see through out the Word of God how He felt toward those walking in this manner yet many continue in this manner because of deception.
What about the husbands who are unwilling to listen to their wives? They dominate and rule instead of understanding that their wife is filled with the Spirit as well. Even going back to Abraham & Sara we find God standing up for her as she tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ismael away. I don't even have to go into the scriptures that tell us that our bodies are not our own once we marry do I? Sadly I think 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 was cut out of many bibles years ago.
GETTING BACK TO BEING A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER...
This article may seem harsh and difficult to read, but often times we really don't see the error of our ways or the deception that has clouded our eyes until God somehow begins to raise the veil that has fallen over our eyes. Dear ones, there is truly nothing that is hidden from Him. Oh sure, you might be able to hide things from your churchy friends and you may even be able to make a Pastor or Leader in the body of Christ think you have arrived somehow and have the greatest marriage on earth or that even though your marriage might be a mess, you are not the problem, and your spouse is. But remember one thing, the bible tells us that there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed.
If your heart was ever to be a wife of noble character I encourage you to go through your bible and look up every scripture on marriage, what the wife's roll is and especially go through the book of Proverbs. Don't allow the enemy to keep you from children that rise up and call you blessed and a husband who praises you. Proverbs 31:31 gives us a piece of the puzzle I believe many are missing.
Proverbs 31:31 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
So then we can see that if your hearts desire is to be praised at the city gate yourself, your first assignment is to love your husband so much that you make him known in the city gate even before you.
Walking as Jesus and Paul taught is a constant battle friends. I have fallen short far too many times and actually what it all boils down to is a few simple questions...
· 1) Can you be corrected?
· 2) Are you teachable?
· 2) Can your Spouse, Pastor/Leader or a brother or sister in Christ share something with you for your own good and help you to see areas that might need some adjustment?
My husband shared some things with me a few days ago and to be honest my initial carnal reaction was to argue, bring up his mistakes, faults and failures and then get him off my back. Ugh!!! Forgive me Lord. I'm sure you would never do something like this, but I admit that these were the first thoughts I had. However, God was able to speak to me and before I got even one word out of my mouth this time I heard him say; "Listen, you know that he is right." When I actually took the time to listen I heard what he was saying. Without all my ridiculous defenses being up I also heard what the Holy Spirit was saying to me.
This is not what my husband said to me, but I will share with you what I heard from the Holy Spirit.
· 1) How much do you want to please your Father in Heaven?
· 2) How much do you want to resemble My Son?
· 3) How important to you are the feelings of others (do you prefer others or are you most important)?
· 4) How much do the gifts & blessings (spouse, children etc...) that I give you really mean to you?
· 5) Can you see that pride (having to be right at all cost) is not of Me, but a destructive lie of Satan?
· 6) Can you take up your cross and follow Jesus example of humility and put your complete trust in Me?
· 7) Will you allow Me to mold and make you into a vessel of honor?
· 8) Will you learn My ways and allow Me to be your defender?
We must live the Word of God even behind closed doors. We must put a stop to making excuses for our attitudes and turning deaf ears to the Word of God where we would rather not grow or be challenged. We must remember that everything is naked and open before God and live every day unto Him. Our marriages will flourish, our children will rise and call us blessed, and we will be good examples for others in the body of Christ as well. Most of all dear ones, never give up because you can be a wife of noble character.
hy·poc·ri·sy https://secure.reference.com/premium/login.html?rd=2&u=http%3A%2F%2Fdictionary.reference.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DHYPOCRISY k -sFPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=" )
n. pl. hy·poc·ri·sies
The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
An act or instance of such falseness.
n 1: an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction [syn: lip service] 2: insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have
This is very good. Both husband and wife have to contribute for the marriage to be a good one. I know from almost 45 years of marriage, which I contribute mainly to our relying on God; not just her, but me, also. Thank you, and I am sure your husband must be praised in the gates. Thomas