4 Leadership Essentials For Church Revitalization
Wed Jul 23, 2014
by Mark Hallock
Resurgence Leadership #026: Leading Church Growth, Part 3
Tue Jul 22, 2014
Best Books: Unceasing Worship, by Harold Best
Mon Jul 21, 2014
by Mark Driscoll
Pastor Mark Interviews Pastor Dave, Part 2
Wed Jul 16, 2014
Resurgence Leadership #025: Leading Church Growth, Part 2
Tue Jul 15, 2014
A Warning to Women
Ladies, what is the current condition of your marriage?
For all wives, this hard question must be asked on a regular basis. It is too easy to drift into maintenance mode. Or worse yet, discover that our disappointments and desires have turned to resentful demands, believing that we deserve more out of matrimony and this man.
Our fickle hearts easily stray as we get wrapped up in self. In our reluctance to repent, that we turn our backs on God and the men we love. We'd like to think that we're humble, but we're not. May God open our eyes, convict us of sin and grant us repentance.
I do not begin to pretend that I have a message that does not include myself as an offender. While I have not committed adultery in my 17 year marriage to my husband, and I am not on the verge of walking out, I am no less guilty of the underlying sin that leads to these destinations.
Our Fear of the Lord is Small
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. - Proverbs 31:30
Harken back with me to the beginning of (wo)mankind – the Garden of Eden. Our first mother was created from the side of her man by a kind and loving father who placed her smack dab in the middle of paradise. Unfortunately, we women often don’t recognize when we’ve got it good, even if it is surrounding us on all sides.
When we find ourselves wandering about in the arms of another lover, it is because we have no fear of the Lord.
Eve was propositioned with a simple question from the snake and her resulting conclusion was, ”God is holding out on me. I deserve better than this. My eyes are delighted and my desire is stirred (Gen 3:6) – I think I’ll take this matter into my own hands.”
Eve had no fear of the Lord. In that moment, she did not:
- Cherish God’s provision
- Trust God’s goodness
- Believe God’s promises
She feared missing out on something she believed she had coming to her more than she feared disobeying God. We are more like Eve than we dare admit. We do not cherish God’s provision (Eph 2) of grace (unmerited favor) and mercy (undeserving pardon). Instead, we take it for granted and decide we deserve something more comfortable and easier than the current strife we are facing.
Trust His Plan, Not Yours
We do not trust his goodness (Psalm 27) but instead devise our own plan for satisfaction or escape, convincing ourselves that the momentary delight is better. We do not believe that his great and precious promises (1 Peter 1) apply to us in our current struggle. They do not seem fast enough, tangible enough to quell our anxious and exhausted ache.
My sisters, we are wrong. We must repent. We must be women who fear the Lord.
Without Fear in God, We Cannot Rest Satisfied
The fear of the Lord leads to life and whoever has it rests satisfied; (s)he will not be visited by harm. - Proverbs 19:23
Life is found in the shadow of the cross. He gave his all for us and somehow, we still find ourselves devising contingency plans, straying from the place of freedom and forgiveness to seek what feels like life found in the arms of another – be it another man, another bite, another drink, another dollar, or another substitute savior.
We are told that whoever has fear of the Lord rests satisfied. When we find ourselves wandering about in the arms of another lover, it is because we have no fear of the Lord. We do not fear a holy and righteous God who has no tolerance for sin – we just want what we want. Right. Now.
Satisfaction comes purely and solely from knowing there is nothing else that compares to living our lives in submission to his glory.
No Harm in Him
As women who fear the Lord, we will not find harm. To a woman who truly loves and fears the Lord, harm is singularly defined as being in a situation where God is not near. We will never find ourselves there. As his daughters, we are never outside of God’s sovereignty, Christ’s righteousness and the Holy Spirit’s comfort.
I know that often harm feels as though it will overtake and crush us. In those moments, we must fight. Ironically, it is in those times that the quiet, gentle spirit of a woman that is pleasing to God (1 Peter 3) must come alive.
Fight for the Right Things
Fighting might look like actively proclaiming the gospel of Truth to yourself, combating your deceived heart and determined enemy with a vengeance. Fighting may look like full and utter submission, resting in the power and provision of the Lord to sustain you. Harm, as defined by the absence of God, will not touch the woman who fears the Lord.
Rest in Repentance
Repentance begins with God-focused worship. Turn your back from worshipping yourself and the empty places you have sought life. Be enveloped in the forgiving and loving arms of your Father who waits to be gracious to you (Is 30:18). Pray for a marriage than is truly grounded in the gospel. It starts with recognizing that the scariest place to be is away from him and the safest, most peaceful and joyous place to be is holding hands with Dad.