Idolatry in marriage and family? Is it possible?! Yes, it can be, and it is possible to fall into this temptation; for we do value the opinion of those we love the most.
Idolatry is defined as excessive devotion to or worship of something other than God. An idol is anything that replaces the one true God. It is wrong and it’s a thing we need to say sorry to God for, and fight against.
What if husband and wife do not see eye to eye on some things yet? What if, as you lead, homeschool and discipline your kids, they hate you? Would it still be possible to honor God still, to make marriage and family life work? YES!
Persevere in the work despite pain
Pastor Steve Murrell, in addressing Every Nation NA leaders, said that “If we let our pain, rather than our purpose become the center, we will quit the ministry.” Isn’t our marriage our first ministry as Christians?
To what do we persevere in? For us wives and mothers, it can be all things – even the simplest ones. Is it the office work lying on your desk? Is it the lunch or dinner that needs to be cooked and served? It can be the pile of dishes waiting in the sink, or the floor-full of toys waiting to be tidied up, in prayer and in surrendering to the Lord the things we can’t control, we can persevere.
Nancy Wolgemuth would differentiate a wise woman’s emotions and habits from an unwise one, calling it a “sophron state of mind.” I have been chewing on this list of 100+ qualities and its mighty helpful.
|Impetuous, impulsive||Exercises restraint and self-government|
|Self-centered – “How does this affect me?”||Others-centered – “How does my behavior affect others?”|
|Choices driven by feelings, external pressure, circumstances||Choices driven by the Word of God|
|Fearful||Trusts in the Lord|
|Wounds, belittles, tears down others with her words||Words minister grace, blessing, encouragement to the hearer|
|Argumentative||Humble, yields the right to be right|
|Struggles to maintain consistent disciplines and routines||Develops and maintains healthy, consistent disciplines and habits|
|Easily distracted – flits from one thing to another, inability to focus, concentrate, or finish a task||Focuses on what God has given her to do at the moment, and brings tasks to completion|
The bible does call us to act in wisdom by persevering in various trials, I’ve had this verse plastered on my clothes cabinet growing up, it has helped me a lot!
“Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12
Your identity is still true in Christ despite what others may think
Today’s most erroneous value source is in social media likes, comments, subscriptions and repost/retweets; but not so in the gospel. Ultimately this rings true even in the disagreement of those closest to us.
Victory Morning Devotions has been a constant source of encouragement during this pandemic for many Filipinos, including me, and the July 14 devotion on Ephesians 1:18, is about us believers being God’s treasured possession or inheritance. I learned that the three qualities an inheritance has to have is:
- a recognized or perceived value,
- defined ownership, and
- a paid price.
All of those Jesus has already purchased and declared for me on the cross, and it stands true no matter our dreary daily circumstance. If we look all around us, it can be easy to see dreary circumstances, good thing the gospel reminds us that our first priority is to God, and making the family go first is indeed an idolatry.
It’s also incredibly hurtful and draining for your family to bear the brunt of your perceived identity and security, these can only rightly be gained from Jesus.
As you do the right thing, whether your kids believe, trust, obey you or not, your value in Christ remains the same. Your value in Christ remains the same even in relational stress with the ones you hold most dear, husband and kids included.
Kevin DeYoung would say that our commitment to family must not come before our commitment to God. He says that family is good, necessary, and foundational, but not ultimate.
I love my family to pieces, and I would surely do all I can to enable them to fulfill their purpose in life, but indeed, a function of that love for them, is putting them second only to God. To be honest, I’m not sure how I can function well as wife and mom at any rate if Jesus wasn’t my Lord and Savior.
Should we really rely only on visible results?
A ton of things we do daily/weekly/yearly will not have visible results. In time they will, but should we pin our satisfaction in visible changes, it’s unwise and may cause our emotions to go haywire!
We can’t merely resort to stifling our emotions, or even exalting them, instead we can pour them out to God. Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre writes in their book True Feelings: “when Christ restores our emotions, they can work the way He always intended, to work in harmony with our other faculties: the mind and the will. On one hand we musn’t despise God’s gift of emotions by stifling what we feel, we should receive this gift, make use of it, enjoy it; on the other hand we must not favor or exalt our emotions. We must not live only to feel, but we should appreciate and apply our minds and wills in equal measure.“
We can continue to press on, despite not seeing the results we work on and pray for, just because pressing on honors the Lord as he enables us to persevere.
Speck vs Beam
What is the speck in your husband’s eye? Granted, it’s clouding his vision. But what about the beam of wood in your own eye? For us Christian women married to Christian husbands, we are blessed that God is their Lord and they listen to Him. If not, it still holds true that the wife’s godly behavior can win them over to Christ.
It’s extremely helpful to examine ourselves if we are sorely lacking in something, and for us women, it somehow can be distilled as an inadequacy in respect in conveying our thoughts and feelings.
Surely the gift and mystery of marriage is something I try to cultivate and seek to honor Him everyday in, all by His grace!
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