need each other

Fearless Wife

This poem is dedicated to all you brave women – you fearless wives.  You chose to put your husband and family first ahead of your career, thereby serving them instead of yourself.  You chose to truly have it all by ordering your life in the sequence of marriage and family first, then career in the latter part.

You know who are and the cost of your sacrifice.  Thank you for your inspiration.

Fearless Wife

A real fearless girl am I, listen to my ROAR,

Away from my husband I’ll never be tore.

The thought of that, I simply abhor.

A victim mind I’ll never be,

No matter what the critics say to me.

On this I know, we’ll never agree.

 

Truly fearless became my heart,

When I married my forever counter-part.

Home’s, truly powerful sweetheart.

The more wholly feminine I am,

A bigger bite out of the enemy’s plan.

To increase the breadth of, his career wingspan.

 

Excellent skill gives respite to refresh,

Grows iron thighs of masculine flesh.

To bear, the more on my Suresh.

Prosperity and strength success to symbolize,

Guarding till he returns with our prize.

His kept await in anticipation, his allies.

 

Fearless wife lacks victim’s gene,

And never divides the homeward team.

Nor forfeits her position of ruling queen.

 

 

Love covers

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… love covers  (1 Peter 4:8)

… He clothed them (Gen 3:21)

… they covered him  (Gen 9:23)

One of the things I love about God is that He never just says, Do this rule.  He always demonstrates a clear model to follow. To me, He is the forerunner of what it means to cover an offense with love.

HIDING SIN?

God was the first to sacrifice in the name of love in order to cover the sin of another.  He loved all His creation yet He sacrificed His own creatures so He could cover Adam and Eve’s offence.  It must have been hard, but that’s what love does.

And who was He hiding their sin from?  Obviously not Himself, maybe Satan?  Although Satan was aware of getting them to disobey God, I’m not sure he understood the full ramifications of what he had just set in motion, but that’s another post.  Perhaps it was from Adam and Eve themselves?

It wasn’t to “hide” in a fearful deceptive way, like Adam and Eve did with the leaves right after they disobeyed.  There is nothing anyone can hide from God, He knows all, is all, sees all.  But when God covered them, that was something completely different, it was done with a pure heart.  It was done for them.

Covering is for love

After Noah and the gang disembarked and were safely moving on with their lives on dry land, there was cause for celebration for sure!  Having come from a long line of weekend-warrior alcoholics, I know what a blindingly drunk party looks like and the numbing affect it has on the senses.

I don’t think it was a one-time event in Noah’s life; he was a drinker.  That’s how his two older sons knew immediately what to do when the youngest son was disrespectful.  Shem and Japheth showed love for Noah by covering him when he was unable, to do it himself, because of sin.

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It wasn’t so much about modesty as it was about demonstrating love through respecting their father.  Ham choose to expose the sin; he chose wrong.

Love covered my sin

Sometimes, sadly, our first response isn’t to reciprocate what God did for us — what Jesus did for us — what Shem and Japheth did for Noah:  To cover.  Too often we’re like Ham, we want to point out the sin and expose it.

It’s not that we don’t need help.  On occasion, marriage is hard and sometimes we do need a voice of reason.  But if we are intellectually honest with ourselves, not in most cases.  In most cases, it’s a matter of, I don’t think you’re doing it right; my way is right, you’re wrong.  You need to change.

Our first response is to reveal what our husbands have done and that makes us wrong on three counts.  First:  We are more concerned about ourselves than our husbands.  Second:  We are complaining out of inconvenience to our own lives.  And third, we just think we are better than them because we can see their sin and offences and we think theirs is worse than ours.

Because of selfishness we miss the whole point.  The purpose of putting on God’s covering of love isn’t primarily for self, it’s for others.

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We wear the covering of love because that’s what Jesus did for us.  He covers my sin so that I may come boldly before God.  If I’m being continually remade into Christ’s image, I’ll behave more and more like Him.  So shouldn’t I want to try and cover in the name of love, like He did?

WHY?  Why cover it up?

The covering of love doesn’t pretend the sin isn’t real, nor does it take away our flaws, it just hides them from all-out exposure to everyone else.

… Except God.

Now God is left alone with the person and the problem, to work quietly and to completely heal their heart.  It’s only God who can really tell* what needs changing, healing or to be left alone.   And no one wants the ugliness inside them exposed for everyone to see.  Most of us just close off when there’s a threat of exposure, including shutting out God.

My job?  To cover as the process is happening.  Jesus doesn’t cover my sin with His blood to hide it from God so I can slip into heaven with it.  Jesus covers to make it private:  Just between me and God.  This is where my salvation is worked out, privately under the cover of love.

As wives, we have the distinction of being invited to work co-operatively with God as we cover in love.  So I’m left with a question.  Am I going to be like Ham and expose sin and flaws to others (sidenote: like Satan the accuser of the brethren**).  Or, will I choose to cover like Shem and Japheth?

God places the onus on me to figure out the difference.  In this responsibility, I get to see who I really am by discovering the real motive in my heart.  Why do I want to expose his flaws?  Or, why do I want to cover his flaws?

It’s tricky ground for sure.  Navigating the steps on the soil of our own hearts.

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* (Jeremiah 17:10;  Psalm 139:1-4;  Romans 8:27)

**(Zechariah 3:1;  Revelations 12:10)

 

 

A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Sarah didn’t follow Abraham’s schemes because she was a doormat who believed she had no choice other than to sit in a victim mentality.  She was a woman who was victorious in love and victoriously ahead of her time.  She was living in the dispensation of grace before grace had arrived.

It was her choice.  She already had the freedom to choose, otherwise, Abraham wouldn’t have asked her to decide in his favour.

The World is a system.  It is more a way of thinking than it is a specific activity that takes place outside of a religious venue.

There is a sharp contrast between how the world system operates and how God operates in the spiritual realm.  The peace Jesus refers to in John 14:27 is just one of the examples He uses to draw our attention in order to contrast the two different methods.  Sometimes it gets tricky because the world masquerades as Jesus by appearing as right, righteous or good.  It’s only in the outcome of the benefit that the truth is revealed; am I all for me or am I all for another.

Sarah chose Abraham instead of herself, not just once but twice (see Genesis 12:11-13 & Genesis 20:2).  She trusted God and He protected her.  Her radical faith enabled her to choose grace for her husband, unlike Eve who believed her way was better than Adam’s.  Eve chose self-benefit which lead her to self-trust.  Sarah chose for the benefit of someone else other than herself which lead to deeper trust in God, instead of self.

In Sarah’s choice, she became free.  Free where it really counts.  In Eve’s choice, she became a slave.  She lost the freedom she already possessed and lost it where it really counts.  God has got some fine things to say about Sarah, but all He says about Eve’s character is that she was deceived.

Through feminism, the world tries to tell me I don’t have any freedom and to get it I must choose self over everyone else.  Yet it never actually gives way to any real freedom.  There is only one way to have freedom; true freedom for everyone.  It’s not found in a movement that tells you to take what you think is yours, but in a Person who demonstrated how to give it.

Satan uses the same old strategies in new trendy ways:

                Deception of withholding.  By masquerading as a good choice.  For the illusion of freedom.

Is the old Garden now the new Kingdom?  As the Church grows up in the world could feminism possibly be the one tree in the midst, to not eat from?

Sarah demonstrated how to shift our focus from the debilitating self-centered view that only sees a glass ceiling and instead rise to the top with the true vision of the only corporation that really matters:  Heaven’s hierarchy.

 

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WIFE: the missing link

"She’s got gaps and I got gaps, between the two of us,our gaps meet and we sort of fill each other in." -Rocky Balboa, Rocky

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t use the same raw material and method to create Eve that He used for Adam?  I have.  He could have used the same dirt or a petal from a flower or a leaf from a tree.  Why from the man at all?  And what is so significant about the rib?

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; And while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.

I wonder what that experience was like for Adam.

What is missing?

Imagine standing in your kitchen, in the middle of making thanksgiving dinner.  In a brief lull as you wait for the turkey drippings to reach boiling for gravy, you doze off in a daydream for a few seconds but when you snap out of it, all the spoons are missing, even the one in your hand!

That’s what happened to Adam.  God took something away from him.  The part that God took was not a spare part or an extra part, but an essential part; it made him autonomous.  The piece that enabled self-sufficiency in Adam, was now missing.  Let that marinade for a second:

Adam was created complete and self-sufficient; he needed nothing

but when he wakes from his nap

he now has a … gap.

Something has changed inside of him,

he is not self-sufficient anymore.

he has a lack.

Adam’s rib, more than just bone and marrow, is an essence.  The Amplified describes it as, a part of his side.  Not literally less a rib, because men and women have the same number of ribs, but something represented by a rib.

WHo & what wives are?

Dig a little deeper into this essence and what you find is power and strength.  God took power and strength out of Adam’s side (his rib) and used it to create another human.  This strength and power is both beautiful and dangerous.  Beautiful because it can propel a man to be his best.  Dangerous because it can cause a man to limp along in life or even stop him in his tracks; to literally cause him to halt.  That is some serious power.

Now the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Of all the English words to describe God’s intent for wives, helper meet is the weakest.  I struggle with the English translation because it casts the vision of a companion to remedy isolation or to fill a void of loneliness.  God said “alone” not “lonely.”

The word for wife [helper] is ezer.  It means power and strength; just like God is power and strength.  Interestingly, the word ezer is used many times in the Old Testament and it is almost exclusively in reference to God.  When you are at a loss or at the end of your rope, and you’ve got no one who is powerful enough to do the job … God Himself will be your EZER.  He is ESSENTIAL.

Dig even deeper under the strength and power and you find purpose:  To rescue, to save.  Not to save eternally, as God does, but in a human relational sense: to save the emotions.

In keeping with the fullest meaning of ezer, a more accurate interpretation of Genesis 2:18 might be:

I will make for him a power and strength that will rescue and save

How Wives Do It

In simplest terms wives receive, respond and reveal through reflection.

It makes perfect sense that God chose the power and strength from the man to create woman. He knew there was going to be some tension in marriage as two people become one flesh.  The woman needs to be a match for man’s strength and power, otherwise, she wouldn’t be an accurate reflection and she wouldn’t be strong enough.

The original word is, kenegdo.  It means parallel or opposite to  each other.  Think of a mirror.

In her book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge quotes Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, as saying, “…that this phrase [ezer kenegdo] is “notoriously difficult to translate.”  She goes on to say, “The various attempts we have in English are “helper” or “companion” or the notorious “help meet.”  Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat … disappointing?” “

I’m with this Stasi on this.  When I hear “helper, companion, or help meet”, I think of a two-dimensional, compliant safe Stepford Wife, one that is a supplement to a husband; instead of a real woman like Sarah.  Ready to risk as she steps into the fray for Abraham.  Sarah, the essential.  The power and strength that would have been required for her to submit to Abraham’s requests to exchange her own safety for his just aren’t captured in the word “companion.”

Training Partners?

The Torah Study for Reform Jews defines an ezer kenegdo as a “helper against him.”  The tension between male and female is there by God’s design.  We are adversaries with a common goal:  we are against each other for the sharpening of each other, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].(Proverbs 27:17)  But these well-sharpened blades are not to be used on each other, but FOR each other in the greatest battle against our common enemySatan.

Training from within to conquer together is played out every day in sporting teams.  I love sports metaphors and analogies because they transfer from the natural to the spiritual perfectly.  There isn’t a team sport out there that doesn’t practice against one another, as adversaries, to get stronger and to learn.

This is why God wants us bound in marriage.  The sharpening of each other, that is, the becoming of one flesh can be quite a ferocious battle.  We are both such powerful forces on our own … but together, wow!  When we stay together and fight together; back-to-back against Satan through God’s power … we are unconquerable.

Are you using that strength and power that God used to create you for your husband or against the marriage?

 

WHAT IS MARRIAGE AND WHY DO WE DO IT?

The Wedding

Do you ever think about your wedding day?  I think about mine.  Do you remember that morning when you woke up, I bet your heart wasn’t filled with doubts and second guessing, “Well, I guess it’s better than being alone.” Or, “I’ll give it my best shot … and see what happens.”  Like me, I bet your heart was full of hope for a great day and the expectation of a wonderful future with the man of your dreams!  I remember laying in bed that morning excitedly thinking, “Today, is the day!”
Generally, most of the weddings we attend, or hear about, unfold seamlessly.  The day is a blur of excitement starting with the ceremony itself leading to a great wrap-up party, the reception!  Lastly, the bride and groom are swept off to some exotic destination … just the two of them.  Life couldn’t get much sweeter!

The Honeymoon

During this beginning season the marriage holds such high hopes of promise.  Beginnings are like that.  In fact, we see the same delight at the inception of creation, everything is:  GOODx6 and a VERY GOOD marks the finale.  But then, within one and a half chapters into the story of humanity, something goes tragically wrong.  Adam and Eve free in the garden, lost in wonder and delight of all that was very good, had their eyes maliciously and irrevocably opened … and the first brick in the wall of separation was coolly placed between them.

The Marriage

It is the same pattern in our marriages, something … changes.  It happens ever so subtly.  Something has slowly crept in between the bride and groom that we didn’t expect and certainly didn’t plan for.  Somewhere between The Wedding and The Marriage, there has been a shift.
Isn’t it true that we wake up on our wedding day assured that we could conquer anything and that we’d grow old together?  But within a few short years we sense an UNsureness, we start to feel a little suspicious that our fairy tale wedding day isn’t delivering everything to our marriage that it promised.  Slowly our expectations are dashed one-by-one as reality is revealed, this slow creep causes the shift to become more prevalent and our marriage begins to get hard … along with our hearts, and it starts to show in our thoughts:  Why did I ever marry this personWhat was I thinkingMaybe they are the wrong person.

MISperception

I know it might sound silly but it never occurred to me that my marriage would be nothing like my wedding day.  In hindsight it became completely clear though, either no one told me or I failed to listen.  Either way reality proves the truth that the marriage and a wedding day are actually polar opposites!  A wedding day is so well planned that you might as well call it a script; everything falls into place perfectly and we work on that script for almost a year, sometimes longer!  Lots of hard work, planning and compromising with each other went into that script for that ONE day.
How did I miss that?  A marriage is not just going to magically happen when even a magical wedding day didn’t magically happen.  I think the knowledge is there for the learning, we just don’t believe the information applies to us when it says, “It could get ugly at some point, what’s your plan?”  Even though we read statistic after statistic that divorce rates have been climbing.  We can’t see past the euphoric pleasure of the present to comprehend any such conflict driving us apart.  And still, somewhere deep inside us we know it makes sense because marriage is the single most challenging adventure of all the earthly experiences.
Marriage is the most significant institution we will ever join and it is the relationship with the most consequential and far reaching effect in our lives.  Yet there are no courses on spousal selection and anyone can get a marriage license with zero training or preparation.  Sydney J. Harris captures the mindset perfectly, “Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves a great success in any field of activity, yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.

Why Choose to Marry?

So … why do we get married?  It’s a question that begs self-examination.  Is it because of some innate fear of being alone?  Or is it because, it’s just what we do?  You know, you’re born, grow-up, go to school – fall in love and get married.
Fall in love.  There’s a phrase I find … curious.

Falling in Love?

It’s interesting, for a book that is full of love talk, I can’t seem to find anywhere that God speaks of falling in love.  Why do we say it that way?  It does have a romantic echo to the phrase, but it also has a sense of lack of responsibility, perhaps even commitment.  If the marriage gets too hard there is a pathway already prepared:  we can say that when we were falling in love, we fell for the wrong person.
We humans do that.  You can see it in Adam’s response to God when He was looking for accountability of Adam’s actions after eating the fruit.  Adam didn’t only try and shift the blame to Eve but also onto God Himself!  The woman YOU gave me did it.  And then with Eve, she tried to pass the buck too by saying that it was the snake’s fault.  It seems none of us want to take responsibility for our part, do we?
The most romantic description I’ve ever heard as to why people get married is from the movie, Shall We Dance, here’s the clip of the scene:

 

*SIGH*

Now, although that’s a beautiful sentiment and maybe even a worthy declaration, I don’t believe it’s entirely what God had in mind when He established marriage.

The First Marriage

The first marriage was an act of purpose.  The voice that spoke all life into existence then united a team.  It’s interesting that God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time.  He could’ve but instead He chose to create Adam in a vacuum.  This wasn’t a mistake.  He didn’t create Adam alone then realize, “Uh-oh, Adam is alone – I guess I didn’t think that one through, maybe one of the animals can keep him company.”
I think Adam was meant to experience his aloneness in the real time of watching the animals come and go in pairs as he named them.  God brought all the creatures to him, but … there was not be a suitable companion for him.” (Gen 2:19-20)  God could have just as easily told Adam that when he was done naming the animals that He would bring him someone special.  Someone just like him!  But God didn’t say anything.  Instead, He let a yearning grow inside of Adam; a yearning for his pairing.
Adam was meant to notice something special in Eve; something he needed.  And he did!  You can tell by his response to seeing her for the first time, “Finally!  Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”  Or, in our present vernacular, “Finally!  Now SHE belongs with me!”
The both of them, were meant to see that they needed each other for the journey, that they had to depend on each other, lean on each other … not blame one another.

The Step From Bride to Wife

I think it’s significant that Eve was never a bride.  She was created as a wife.  We are brides for a single day, but we are wives for the life of the Marriage.  We can make make generalizations for the answer to the question, what is marriage?  And there are lots of different ideas, to be sure.  But in order to find out what your marriage means to you and why you got married?  Only you can answer that, because only you know the woman inside of you.  Only you know if she’s a bride or Wife.

 

 

 

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

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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.

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.