Advance in the spirit

Don’t be duped

The more I understand about feminism, whether it’s 1st, 2nd, or 3rd wave, the more obvious it becomes that it’s not compatible with God’s idea of femininity; nor is it actually about equality.  And when we’re raised in a culture saturated with a particular idea, it’s bound to permeate some of our views without us realizing it.

To see if a belief you have is rooted in feminism, you just have to contrast it to a principle that Jesus teaches, and see where it leads.  He tells us to use our whole minds in the course of loving him – perhaps part of the reason is so we don’t get duped like the small minded, weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women that Paul wrote about.

Here’s an example of a feminist perspective that, in the past, would’ve appealed to my flesh and fed my victim mentality:

Generally, when writers write, they have a main idea called the topic sentence and they surround it with supporting sentences.  It’s the primary message an author wants to convey to the reader.

BUT, when it comes to the visual messages we find in images or memes, you don’t always plainly see what the creator of the message is actually conveying – there’s no topic sentence.  What you see are the supporting sentences.  Usually presented in a vein that’s catchy, rhyming, romantic or utopian – these are more like sound bites directed at the emotions.

This meme is really about  MEquality

It resonates with romantic feelings of freedom, independence and courage; while the undercurrent belies a truly immature definition of love.  Her claim is actually very self-centered.  It’s an outgoing sentiment that would be better spoken from her man to her or about her  – like in Proverbs 31, when the husband brags about his wife, “Baby, you rock!” (verse 28-29 – paraphrased).

– but what really ramps up the toxic, is the disguise.  It appears that her man is the object of her affection; that he’s the subject of her compliments.  But as you read through, it becomes clearer and clearer that her focus is on what she gets from the relationship.  She’s the focus – not him.

Could the Church say this of Christ?

Doubtful.  I think Christ wants to change and renew His bride; He wants her to grow up by, sanctifying her, by cleansing her by the washing of water with the word, to present her to Himself in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, … she will be holy and blameless. (Eph 5:26-27)

Could the Apostles, who were the first members of The Church (and our example of how to relate in marriage) ever say this of Jesus? I don’t think so. He was training, discipling and even correcting them!  Christ found their behavior unacceptable.  Yes, He loved them unconditionally – but that didn’t mean He was going to leave them in the condition He found them in, rather; He was going to begin the process of changing everything about them through transformation by renewing […]. (Rom 12:2)

It’s more blessed to give compliments than to take them

A meme that would really uplift your man would read more like this:

It truly compliments my husband’s qualities, makes his abilities shine.  I’m able to do my part as a wife better because of him.  You can see the difference in the two mindsets by pressing both of them up against the verse, Acts 20:35; we’re reminded that, it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Guard your heart with vigilance

Living in the information age means we intake a lot of diverse data, and sometimes it’s tough to see just how anti-marriage (and anti-God) some of the relationship information is.  This meme might seem insignificant but that’s how it starts – one little meme, then another, and another – and before long you’re thinking, “Our marriage would be better if he would love me without restrictions — if he would listen to what I say and trust meMy life would flow easier if he would just let ME be exactly the way I am and want to be.”

And before you know it, all the problems in your life and marriage are because of your husband.  Nothing’s your fault, you don’t need to change anything – it’s him that needs to change.

The message of self-focus in this meme is actually pretty unhealthy for a wife to consider:

  • That the love she’s receiving has more value than learning to give love without restriction.  ~Titus 2:3-5
  • That the trust she receives has more value than learning to fearlessly give the gift of trust.  ~1 Peter 3:6
  • That the unconditional acceptance she receives has more value than learning to give unconditional acceptance without making demands. ~Ephesians 5:33

We’ve got to guard against little things that appear innocuous, but separate us from our husbands when they’re added up.  We need to trust David’s advice and refuse to take a second look at corrupting and degrading things. Of course, we are going to have deadly information come into our field of vision, we’re living in the world – but that doesn’t mean we have to focus on it and let it corrupt the view of our husbands.

If what you read, doesn’t lead you to give away the grace that Christ gave you, then it’s leading you to hold it just for yourself.  C.S. Lewis rounds it out nicely when he says,  “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inchevery split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”

A 21st century paraphrase might read: There is no neutral ground in the information age:  Every book you read; every meme, illustration, song and movie you hear and see; every split second on a screen, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.  There’s no fence sitting, the Kingdom of God is either being advanced in you or you’re working to counterclaim it with Satan.

SOUL-ution

  • Don’t just believe it:  Know what it is, why and how you came to believe it and who lead you to it.
  • The grace of Christ is always the litmus test:  Does it lead you to give it or take it?
  • Do look to culture!  Sounds weird I know, but it’s a good place to start examination.  Although we might say, “I belong to Christ” – Do we look like Him or the current culture that surrounds us? Do we walk the talk of the world? Do our views conveniently couple alongside the world?

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Tack and Tune

upwithmarriage_tack-and-tune

If I can just stick to tacking and tuning myself, often God brings His peace and harmony, in His time.

Part of my tack and tune kit is to keep a copy of our Marriage Certificate on the bulletin board at my desk.  I also have a copy of the promises I’ve made in my vows to Darrell on my computer.  When we’re in the middle of a heated fight (and in some of our less shining moments, those fights were downright vicious), I know, at some point I’m going to see that Marriage Certificate – I’ve learned to use that document as a reset for my heart and head. Instead of emotionally running away, I tack into those vows.

It’s not natural or easy, but it is simple – a simple choice of spirit instead of flesh.  God will give a simple clear way for you too — just ask Him.

Tacking and Tuning always take me to the next level in my role as a wife.  We can go from bad to good and then from good to great.

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TGIF – Fri June 05

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

AAA new thought 8

 

LEADING with TRUST: After Your Trust Has Been Broken – 5 Ways to Avoid a Victim Mentality – “You will have your trust broken. It’s not a question of if, but when. What’s important is your response after trust has been broken. You have two choices: victimization or resiliency.”

Marriage Gems: Is your spouse different from the person you married?“But unless you married a goldfish, the person you married is a distant reflection of the individual who is living and breathing and changing before you each day.”

 The Generous Wife: One Thing at a Time “Bringing up multiple issues tends to cloud the discussion.”

 Journey to Surrender: When Needs Go Unmet “We all have a tendency to withhold love when we feel we aren’t receiving love in the way we want. It’s natural. It’s natural, but it’s not Biblical. We are called to radical love by the One who loves us radically.

 

The mark of a true professional is giving more than you get. –Robert Kirby

 

 

Serving through sex (Part 2 – Serving is not submission)

serving through sex

First of all, my apologies to those following this series. My delay in posting is because I’m having a difficult time keyboarding. I’ve completely damaged the muscles in my back – the one supporting the shoulders (trapezius) – and as a result am only able to type for about 10 mins at a time before they start to ache and then burn. Not only that, but my kitchen work has been seriously affected as well. I’m one of the those people who finds it very difficult to sit still … day after ….day, in order to recover; because this recovery must be done while I lay on my back (pun intended, sort of 😉 ) Anyway, all I can do at the moment is read. That’s it. No note taking and researching or writing.

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In Part 1 I explored the difference between the attitudes of have to have sex and want to have sex. When our mindset is “I have to have sex” we set ourselves up to serving the rules and the law: Being obligated. But when our mindset is “I want to have sex,” we can experience the same powerful transformation that Jesus demonstrated in the garden of Gethsemane: Our hearts will be changed through adapting to God’s plans.

The reason many of us have of a hard time wrapping our minds around this juxtaposition is because we try to reason in our flesh that we need to understand what God is asking of us before we do it. We wrestle with thoughts like:

  • “If it would just make sense then I could adapt.” Or,
  • “If I just knew how this was going to turn out.” Or,
  • “If I do this, how can I be sure that it will be fair?”

Or at the very least, we want to be assured that our spouse won’t take advantage of us in the slightest. It seems we want some kind of guarantee before stepping out in faith. In more lucid moments that are free of conflict, we know this is an oxymoron.

Yet, that is precisely what happened in the exchange between Jesus and God – from an earthly perspective, Jesus got the unfair shake:

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins! –Isaiah 53

In Luke 22:42a, Jesus clearly expresses that execution is not His preferred course of action: please take this cup of suffering away from me. But then in the second part of the verse His change of heart is evident, Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.

 “YET” is the morph from head to heart!

The question we have to ask is how, how did Jesus make this mental shift? The answer: love. He placed His love for God so far above Himself that He was willing to do anything for Him, even to be executed. He demonstrated that love by trusting God. He didn’t need to understand God’s will to want it, He just knew that God is trustworthy and His ways are always excellent.

Love doesn’t say:

  • I will obey and serve with a grin & bear it type of attitude
  • I will obey and serve because it’s what is required & necessary or what I should do

What love does say is, I want to do whatever Your will is.

Serving is for one another not marriage

Service is what we give to others and it’s a great thing. In fact, we are told to serve our brothers and sisters with agape love. For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.–Galatians 5:13

Even done willingly– it’s still a have to. But, when you’ve adapted your heart, your mind is completely renewed, but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideas and its new attitude], (Romans 12:2).

Substituting the word served sexually in place of submitted sexually is an effort to equalize so that serving looks the same in all relationships. No more or less. All the same. But the truth is, all relationships are not the same, nor are they equal to each other.

Marriage is distinct and completely UNlike any other relationship. No other bond is referred to as a huge mystery, a living and visible demonstration of Christ and His Church. And no other relationship commences by a covenant with God Himself. Therefore, no other relationship carries the weight of glory that marriage does.

As such,

God requires much more from us in marriage

than any other relationship.

Submission is for her OWN

A wife is never told to serve her husband, but to submit to him. Replacing serve for the word submit is a mental twist so the heart doesn’t actually have to fully yield to the complete change at the deepest level of relating: becoming one flesh. The flesh seeks to hold onto even the smallest vestige of itself, while at the same time appearing to be altered.

The closeness of the marriage relationship presses in on each spouse in its own way, forcing* us to give way to the spirit over the flesh. The majority of this pressure comes from living in a dual relationship. With both of us being members of Christ’s body, this means that I have a brother in Christ that I am bound to because he is also my husband; I’m Darrell’s sister spiritually and at the same time his wife in the natural. Yes, I serve my brother in Christ, but it is equal to serving any of my brothers (and sisters) in Christ.

However, in marriage I submit to my own husband. In all of the references regarding submission in marriage God added the little word idios meaning own**, signifying that the submission to this particular brother is separate, different and unique to him alone.

Serving is an act – it doesn’t require change between one performance of obligation and the next. When we lump serving in marriage together with all other Christian serving we only blur the uniqueness of the one-flesh purpose between husband and wife and diminish the value of sex. Serving through sex is a method for a wife to compartmentalize the act itself. She will be able to have sex and at the same time not be fully engaged: only as much as she has to be.

God hasn’t defined exemptions for submission that depend on what area of marriage you are talking about. Submission in the bedroom is no different than submission in the kitchen or the living room, or any other area of the home that the marriage lives in.

When I trust that God’s ways are excellent I will adapt to His plan for marriage. The submission of my whole self in marriage will demonstrate to God that I am all in. Nothing will be held back. I won’t be stuck in the mindset of having to serve my brother through sex. Instead, my transformed heart will want to have sex with my husband.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

*Forcing: Job 5:18; Psalm 51:8; Isaiah 60:10; Lamentations 3:32

**OWN: Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:15.

TGIF – Fri May 23

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

AAA new thought 8

 

Pearl’s Oyster Bed: 12 THINGS MY MOM SAID ABOUT MARRIAGE Six of one, half dozen the other. Sometimes, there’s no perfect decision. You pray and trust God will be there for you in the decision.”

 The Daily Positive: 3 Keys To A Sincere Apology “We’re broken people. But even then, we must learn the skills to step into the pain, to feel how they feel, and to come to a place where our hearts authentically desire to mend what was broken.”

 Choose To Trust: Robinson Cano, Twitter, and Dehumanization “Followers of Christ do this as well. How often do we dehumanize and categorize people by their sin and shortcomings? Forgetting from where we came, we pull out a standard response, judgment or prescriptions for proper behavior.”

 THE XY CODE: More on Brain Based Gender Differences “There are those who deny men and women have any real differences, and there are even those who claim science backs them on that. In reality, science continues to show gender is more than skin deep.”

 

BACKGROUND QUOTES (Fri Fav May 22)

 

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TGIF – Fri May 2

FRIDAY FAVS

 

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

AAA new thought 8

 

WisdomForLife: Dancing lightly on the surface of the earth“For the Christian, this present existence is provisional. He is aware that every activity he undertakes is schooling for something else—that it is all directed toward a higher end.”

Intentional Today: 5 Ways You Can Build Your Marriage Today“1) Pray   2) Commit to personal change   3) Give extravagantly   4) Create a light fun atmosphere in your home   5) Don’t blow up every challenge”

Leadership Freak: HOW TO CONNECT FORGIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITYDon’t lower expectations. Elevate forgiveness.” ~ 1) Forgiveness rises above fairness.   2) Forgiveness is freedom, mostly for you.   3) Forgiveness is a line in the sand that says, “Let’s start over.”   4) Forgiveness is a process not an event.   5) Forgiveness and learning from mistakes go hand in hand.”

Encourage Your Spouse: Saying “I Love You” – What does your spouse need to do?“Most of us believe we show our spouse unconditional love. But consider – There are no prerequisites … for an unconditional love.”

AAA TGIF

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Serving through sex (Part 1 – Adaptability)

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I’ve heard a few times about the idea of ‘serving’ your husband through sex because it’s a need he has. I don’t like that view or the term ‘serving’ as it relates to sex and as the weeks rolled by, I saw it again and again. Every time I saw it, I liked it less and less. This term, serving in the context [of sex] has the slight nuance of obligation (see duty, onus, burden, and liability) to it.

My first feeling is, serving appears to be something you do for the benefit of someone else. In this context, its serve your husband sex for his benefit. And although that might seem right (Proverbs 14:12); somehow it rings false. I think this whole idea of a wife serving her husband sex is an approach that will backfire in the end.

So I want to peel back this idea and see what it exposes.

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When I let the word serving roll around in my mind, the first thing I’m faced with is a choice: have to OR want to; along with a whiff of resistance – it seems like serving could almost, be placating*.

*to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures

*soothe, assuage, mollify.

How did Jesus view serving? If God is renewing my mind to be like Christ’s, then I can look to His example. When God requested that Jesus go to the cross:

  • Did Jesus do it to appease or pacify God?
  • Was His agreement to God’s plan a conciliatory gesture?

Jesus wasn’t double minded. He wasn’t thinking, “Omg!! You want me to do what!? Do I have to?” But speaking out, “I want to do this.” I don’t think so. On the contrary, Jesus grabbed a-hold of God’s idea and adapted His own will to God’s plan of the cross.

HAVE TO / WANT TO

When Jesus saw there was no other way, He adapted immediately to God’s plan. This morphed His have to into the want to (Luke 22:42). When Jesus chose to adapt to God’s plan for His life, as hard as it was, His heart was no longer divided between have to / want to, and the human part of His mind was renewed (Romans 12:2) and it showed in His willingness. God’s plan became Jesus’ plan – they were united.

Adapting enables the flesh to grow up*. Adapting is what changes the stoic ‘have to’ in our flesh of obedience into the loving ‘want to’ in our spirit. (Ezekiel 11:19)

SCENARIO 1: What would you think? Someone who’s serving at church in the nursery because it‘s a need, but they have no interest in children. They’ve been watching your kids for about 6 months and then you overhear a conversation they are having outside of the church on their cell phone. They don’t really like kids that much. Sure they are cute and everything, but it’s not really what you’d like to be doing. However, you feel God will bless you because there is such a need for it – and there was no one else to do it. Would you really feel comfortable and happy with your kids there? Or would you feel better with overhearing a conversation of someone who said, that they really loved kids, in fact they just enrolled in a child care course because their heart really is for kids – they want to.  Or, scenario 2.

SCENARIO 2: You’ve got this good friend who you‘ve been sharing your life with. You meet every 2 weeks for a coffee and a chat. You’ve become very good friends and feel comfortable in sharing your struggles in marriage with her. You need to drop off something at a different friend’s house and your other friend (the one you’ve been confiding to) is there. They are out on the back deck and don’t know you are there. You decide to surprise/scare them by quietly sneaking up to the gate and barging through with a big smile on your face. NO intentions of eaves dropping – because you completely trust both of these women. But as you approach the gate you hear … not what you expected. Your deeper friend is sharing how she really enjoys your company except when you share about your problems in marriage. She finishes her conversation by saying that, it’s what friends do for each other, they serve each other and this is her Christian duty to serve in their friendship.

See, it doesn’t leave you with a true feeling of warmth and care — it’s not authentic.  It is truth … from the obedience of the mind — but not genuine.

Is it just semantics? I don’t know. Let’s try a different angle and drive it down a little deeper into our own personal experience. Look at the flip-side, from ‘serving’ him sexually (his need) to ‘serving’ her relationally (her need).

SCENARIO 3:  You overhear your husband talking to a friend, “I took her [his wife] out for dinner and a movie last night. I didn’t really feel like it, after the day I had I would rather have unplugged into a book or movie, but God says Christian serving is good, and this kind of serving falls on the husband’s shoulders because God made her with this need, so I ‘loved’ her by SERVING her.”  What a shock to hear; you were thinking that you really had a great time of relational intimacy.

If I over-heard that conversation I wouldn’t be feelin the love. I wouldn’t get a sense of being genuinely engaged in a real relationship of any depth; but more of having been appeased.

He is in the mindset of “I have to” not “I want to.” It feels deceitful and is an affront because when we read, For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), we know God didn’t mean for Christ to love the church through conciliatory gestures.  Have to is serving. Want to is loving. I don’t want my husband to have to love me; I want him to want to love me.

So, back to the sex of it … as long as I feel that I am serving my husband through sex, it will always be a conciliatory gesture and never authentic genuine love.

***IT IS ADAPTABILITY THAT CHANGES THE HEART FROM HAVE TO SERVE INTO WANT TO LOVE***

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Part 2 – Submission is not serving. Serving is not submission.

 

 

 

*Did the God part of Jesus need to grow up His flesh? Probably not, as the God part of His nature was completely mature all ready. However, the part that was fully human need the flesh contended with. This is part of the testing and suffering that He had to endure to be the first born among many. Jesus lead the way, in demonstration with His own life, to show us what it really means to obey with the right heart.