Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I Need to be Committed - Part I

I realize the title of this blog opens a number of doors for those of you with rapier wits but I trust the holiday spirit will help to keep you in check.  We were privileged to have Paul Tripp visit our church yesterday.  He laid out five essential principles that a grace filled, evangelical church must be committed to.  As I wrote them down I couldn’t help but think the principles are also ones that are essential for a marriage that would glorify God.

 Principle #1 – Have a commitment to patterns of confession and forgiveness.

To commit ourselves to this principle means that we must possess a humility that makes it easy for our husband / wife to approach us, to feel comfortable confessing a sin of omission or commission.  This principle assumes a few other components.  First that each of us will have the courage to speak the truth in love to one another.  Secondly it requires that we willingly extend the same grace and forgiveness that has been extended to us through Christ’s death on Calvary.

Principle #2 - Have a commitment to growth and change

Since I have never met anyone who has become fully sanctified, i.e. possessed all the attributes of Christ, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that each of us has room to grow.  I am older than dirt and I see many places where I need to grow, numerous opportunities to repent and ask God to help me overcome some obvious flaws in my character.   Some of that growth can come about from principle #1 if we allow our spouse to speak into our lives, after all no one on earth knows us better.  If you are someone who has become accustomed to saying, “That’s just the way I am, take me or leave me” you may want to consult the Creator of the universe.  I suspect He may have different plans for your life.

 Principle #3 – Have a commitment to Biblical communication

The book of Ephesians, chapter four, verse 29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Let’s unpack this verse.  It tells me that I am not to say anything that my spouse could construe as humiliating, debasing, demeaning, undignified or unbecoming.  Next it says I should only say those things that God has laid on my heart that are meant to build my wife up.  Obviously this includes every affirming, supportive and encouraging words that come to mind.  But it also includes, from point #1 those truths that will ultimately help my wife grow in her Christlikeness.  Finally in this step I must consider everything I know about my wife so that I can present the truth in a loving way such that she will hear it.  I must consider the situation, perhaps deferring my comments to a more appropriate time.  Lastly I must consider the process, i.e. how I tell her.

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