April 18, 2012 by Dwight Bernier
Last week, I had a meeting where we were talking about Satan and his involvement in different areas of life. My friend said something that has stuck with me since our conversation, “the first thing Satan wants to do is make us forget the gospel”. The very first thing that the Enemy wants to do is take our eyes off of the Person and power that just delivered us from his grasp.
Since arriving in Quebec, I’ve seen that the Enemy is at work in many marriages, sowing seeds of discontentment, disunity, distrust, dissatisfaction, and distance. I’m sure it’s not just in Quebec, but I’ve seen it on many accounts in a short time (including my own marriage). I believe that these things happen because the Enemy is succeeding at helping us forget the gospel in two major areas.
The first area that we forget the gospel is in our expectations of our spouse. We all have ideals and dreams of what life will look like together. Well… marriage rarely looks the way we picture it. Unfortunately, no matter how incredible your spouse is, they will fall short in some area that you were expecting them to be a little more mature in. We expect our spouses to perform and accomplish our list of what a spouse should be. We make them live up to what we think they should be. We create lists in our mind of things we want them to change. And when they don’t, we can easily punish them for that. We can distance ourselves emotionally or physically because they aren’t becoming who we want them to be.
What this says is that we are creating the criteria for what a good spouse should be. We might even take our cues from Scripture and throw around a few verses to justify why we are disappointed with our spouse. But the reality is that rather than looking at our spouse and their shortcoming of our (pitiful) list, we should look at our hearts. Matthew 7 gives a great picture of a person (potential spouse) who is extraordinarily out-of-touch with reality. The one who wants to accuse the other of having a piece of dirt in their eye, is the one who is walking around with a log hanging out of their own, doing collateral damage as they try to get close enough to the other so that they can help them with their problem.
The reality is that in order to serve your spouse, you need the gospel to humble you. The gospel says that you brought nothing to the table except that infinite list of sin you performed either through commission or omission. You brought to Jesus exactly what you aren’t supposed to be! And rather than telling you how screwed up you are and separating himself from you, He was nailed to a log and separated from the Father so that you never have to be!
You and your intentions aren’t as good as you thought they were. But Jesus and His intentions for your marriage is perfect.
The gospel promises that Jesus is going to change your spouse. Give up your list of what you want them to be and let Jesus change them. Speak truth in love (speaking truth alone is not enough) and ask the Spirit to help you encourage your spouse as they grow in holiness and into the image of Jesus. Don’t nag them or lecture them. Pray for them and serve them out of the strength that the gospel provides.
We will look at a second way we miss the gospel tomorrow.