What Does God Ask Of Us?
“These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!” (NIV)
Do you ever wonder if God finds you useful in His kingdom? I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought much about being useful to God, because there are so many other things to think about. Does my behavior please Him? How can I be more holy? Am I following his word? And the tried and true, “What would Jesus do?”
Asking if I’m useful in His kingdom feels like something to consider after I address the other concerns.
Why does this even matter? Well, recently, my husband and I had back-to-back arguments. This was an unusual event, thankfully. We have disagreements from time to time, but never consecutive quarrels that leave us feeling upset and disconnected from each other for a couple of days. We both try to be intentional about apologizing after an offense, and I’ll be honest, my husband is far better than I am about humbly saying, “I’m sorry.” But this time, neither of us apologized. We just silently stood our ground, each of us feeling misunderstood.
The next day, we started afresh, and I was tempted to sweep it all under the rug. We were even. He upset me one day and I hurt him the next. These weren’t marriage-shattering fractures, but small, annoying rifts that would hopefully fade into the background and be forgotten over time. That was a good thing, because I was still upset and in no mood to admit my mistakes. Can you relate to this?
While I wearily prepared to put the last two days out of my mind, I read Jeremiah 13:10. It says, “These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!” Jeremiah 13:10 (NIV)
I certainly related to the phrase, “stubbornness of my heart”. My heart stubbornly wanted to ignore my part in the effects of the last two days and move on. Why should I apologize when I still felt painfully wounded?
The reason, according to the words in Jeremiah, is because I was currently, “utterly useless.”
Obedience to God’s word when life goes smoothly is not very hard. We are willing to look different from the world because we believe the Kingdom is worth our sacrifice. But obedience when we’ve been mistreated is another matter. It’s hard to do what’s right when we feel painfully wronged. It’s a sacrifice that seems too pricy or unfair alongside our circumstances.
Maybe apologies are something that come easily to you, but you have different challenges. Perhaps you struggle to give grace, or extend mercy, or practice patience, or swallow your anger, or humble yourself in moments of pride.
Anytime we justify our actions and refuse to abide by God’s word, we are stubbornly choosing to follow our own rules and are ignoring God’s life-giving commands.
And this matters, because it’s when we show up with love and expect nothing in return that we impact the world for the Kingdom.
Our defiance is useless, but our obedience, especially in the face of adversity, is priceless.
It’s easier to nurse our wounds and trust our emotions, but God wants us to apply His word, even in the face of unfair and hurtful circumstances.
It took prayer and a long walk before I apologized to my husband. He wasn’t very charitable about it (uncharacteristically!), but my soul was free and filled with life-giving peace.
Better yet, harmony was restored in my marriage evidenced by the lighthearted banter that Paul later started.
Next time you’re on the receiving end of an ugly situation, think about the effect you want to have in God’s kingdom. Do you want to be defiant and useless, or obedient and priceless? One feels right but offers nothing to God. The other feels unfair and requires sacrifice but is used by God to impact the world for Him. And incidentally, it breathes life into our injured souls. Which one will you choose?
So, to answer the question, “How do we relate to our husbands?” The answer is, “Humbly, obediently, with thanksgiving for the gift God gave to you, and seeking to be useful to God in your behavior toward him.”
One of our MomQ teachers, Julie Whitehurst, shares wisdom from a biblical perspective about how God designed marriage and what that means for us practically as wives today. When we better understand God’s purpose and role for us as women in the context of marriage, we can build a relationship that is fulfilling, meaningful, and honoring to God. In addition, we leave a legacy to our children for their future marriages. Listen below:
At MomQ we believe that motherhood is a calling from God. While it is both a privilege and an honor, it is by no means easy! Moms have a lot of questions/concerns and need caring support along their journey. Whether you are a brand new mom or a little more seasoned, MomQ is here to help you fulfill your God given role. Don’t see a group in your area? Contact us today about starting one in your community!
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