Who or what is the standard in your life? Too many times today it is an athelete, an actor, the pastor, or it can even be the neighbor next door who seems to have it all - the perfect marriage, a gorgeous home and the best behaved children you ever been around. We think to ourselves how nice it would be if my family could act like that - just once! If you knew what was going on behnd closed doors, would you really want it? We all have masks that we like to pull out and slip on from time to time depending on the situation or who we happen to be standing in front of - I mean let's face it, my pastor has never seen some of the faces/masks I have shown my husband - and trust me it's best for all of us that way! But you know what? God has - He has seen every one and sometimes that can be a scary thought. The Word says to imitate God in everything we do. So as I read over Ephesians 5, I made a list of things that I am supposed to be doing if in fact I am going to imitate God:
- Be forgiving (Eph 4:32) - it just says "forgive one another" - strange, but it doesn't list anything I can omit from the forgiveness list.
- Walk in love - and not just any love, but a self sacrificing love. (Eph 5:2) Die flesh die!!
- Walk in purity (Eph 5:3) In morality, in speech, and in actions
- Give thanks always (Eph 5:4, 20) - not just when the kids are behaving and when there's money in the checking account
- Understand and walk in the will of the Father (5:17) - His will be done, not mine.
- Be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) - I know a lot of people who fill themselves with a lot of things, and it's definitely not the Spirit (of God anyway).
- Be submissive; accountable (Eph 5:21) This one is speaking loudly to wives!
- Love and respect without conditions (Eph 5:33)
Remember ladies, when we said "I do" we signed on to be part of a mission - God's mission. We were meant to be part of a team. God's Word clearly states "the husband is the head of the wife". It doesn't mean we are beneath him or less than he is, it just means that he is our "mission" leader here on this earth. We don't walk behind him or in front of him, but we walk beside him as his helpmate. God has placed him over our little mission team and we are to allow him to walk in the position God has set him in. We are the "help" not the boss. And men, remember, God gave us to you to be helpful - not helpless. Yes ultimately, you do have the last say, but sometimes the help comes up with some really good ideas that will contribute to the succes of the mission. Be open minded!
God gave us only 2 rules to abide by in order to have a successful marriage - one for the woman and one for the man. I guess he thought any more than that would be too much for our pea brains to remember. To the woman, "respect your husband" and to the man, "love you wife, the way Jesus loved the church". Almost all problems within a marriage are to due to the disobedience of these two rules. Once one of these rules is broken by either spouse, it gives way for the remaining spouse to retaliate so to speak. They begin to have the mindset of a child in their thinking believing that if you don't have to play by the rules than neither do I. This mentality of "when she respects me then I'll love her" or vice versa "if he would just love me the way I need to be loved, I would have no problem respecting him" only leads to a life cycle of craziness. Somebody has to be willing to jump off. So who's it going to be? It will be the one whose goal is to please God. It will be the one who is willing to be selfless. It will be the one who determines to be an imitator of God.