The Sweet Christian Bride

Philippians 4:8 in Marriage: Right

by admin on August 21, 2012 in Faith, Purpose, Relationship, Spouse with No Comments

If you missed out on the intro to the Philippians 4:8 series, check it out here.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).


How much can I do without getting in trouble?  How far can I go without crossing the line?  How much can I get away with without sinning?

Does that moral compass sound familiar to you?  I definitely grew up with that mind-set of “half-glass sin” as opposed to “half-glass righteousness.”  Throughout the years, as God has changed my heart, my desire to glorify God has increased and my perspective has shifted more towards how much I can do to glorify God.  Same inquiry, different intention.

The concept of right living scares people.  It scares non-believers because it drudges up notions of judgement and hypocrisy.  It scares believers because they will have to honestly examine themselves for the purpose of change or because they don’t want to end up like “crazy Christians” (to borrow a term from the short-lived TV show Studio 60.)

But right living simply means living our lives as God intends for us.  It is what Jesus did.  He lived in the flesh, in our world, with our temptations, yet He did not sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He is our model for right living, not radio programs or home school curriculum, no matter how much truth those might offer.

Don’t we want our marriages to be right before God?  Do we trust that God’s way is the best?  Do we desire what He desires and hate what He hates?

Unfortunately, a truly honest yes to all three questions is rare, as seen by our stumbling to put God before us.  But let’s start trying.

First thing is first:  Get to know God.

You have a Bible.  You have 5 minutes every day.  Read a passage or a chapter daily.  No matter your learning style or language of worship, you can always afford this time and you can always mold it into the methods that suit you.  For some that means to read the Bible like a story, cover-to-cover, in sweeping chunks that allow you to connect all the pieces.  For others it means sitting with a passage and journaling, drawing, or meditating on it, or perhaps studying its language and history with the help of other commentaries and study tools.  For most of us there are seasons of both ways.  Read His Word and ask His Spirit to teach you about Who He is.

The more you know about God, the more you can adore Him and invite Him into your life.  Sing to Him while you are listening to the radio.  Marvel at Him when you see a sunset or a lush garden.  Debate with Him as you are pondering politics and current events.  Petition Him as you are preparing your daily agenda or casting your annual goals.

Second thing: Ask God to search your heart.

Where are you falling short?  What do you put in front of Him?  Where are you wounded?  Why is your self-worth wrapped around people and successes?  In what ways do you love yourself over your spouse?  What sin do you nurture?

These are brutally tough questions, but they will bring you freedom if you can bear for God to walk you through them (2 Corinthians 3:16-18).  The more you encounter His Truth in Scripture, His power in others’ testimonies, and His presence in your own life, the easier it will become to desire for God to shine a light on your own insufficiencies.  You will want Him to clean up your heart because you will grow to hate sin and desire righteousness as He does.  Ask Him to give you watchfulness so that you might daily assess yourself and steer away from danger.

The third thing: Desire what is right for your spouse.

As you begin to correct your mis-version of Who God is, you will long for your spouse to know Him better too.  God is the ultimate balm, the source of love, the hope for peace.  Anything you can do to direct your spouse to Him will become enticing to you—well, at least the destination will, but not necessarily the journey.

Allowing your spouse to move forward with God takes a patience, a humility, and a trust.  You must let go of the reins and allow God to take them.  For men and women, this usually looks different, although for both, the more we can model a right relationship with God, the more apt our spouse will be to follow us.  For women, our husbands’ growth with God often correlates directly with how we respect them.  For men, your wives’ growth with God often correlates directly with how you lead them.

Of course we are all responsible for our own relationship with God apart from our spouses, and certainly spouses can grow with God if wives don’t respect husbands and husbands don’t lead wives, but the journey of right living becomes so much more adventurous and fruitful when husbands and wives can figure out how to walk through it together—drawing out the goodness in each other, sharing in spiritual disciplines with each other, creating goals and time-lines that nurture each other all for God’s glory.

What can you do today for your spouse that would glorify God?

God 3: Enemy 0.

Protect your marriage from attack by thinking on what is right.  If you don’t know what that is, think on Christ and that will calibrate your thoughts.

Photo © Marc Montplaisir

By Lindsay

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