"Give me an “S”… give me a “U”… B – M – I - T" by Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson has been a friend of Awesome Marriage for a number of years.  Check out his newest book "Divine Applause"

Give me an “S”…  give me a “U”… B – M – I - T
Some single, Christian friends asked if I would share some thoughts with them about marriage.  Yikes!  One thing is for sure.  I am no expert.        

But a wise man once said that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man can become king.  Staring into the glazed-over looks of my younger friends, I sensed a responsibility.  After all, I am married.  And they are not.  With my wife not around, I was feeling particularly bold.  So I crowned myself “King” for a few moments and perched up in my lazy-boy, throne chair in my living room.  

Leaning on Ephesians 5 for inspiration, here are some truths I shared. 
Truth #1:  Submit – Wives let their husbands lead.  …wives should submit in everything to their husbands (Ephesians 5:24).

Ouch!  I realize the “S” word has been trashed in our culture.  Ladies may not like how it sounds; especially when guys liken it to the throttle on a dirt bike – tossing the word around to rev up their ego-engines. 

Aside from its abuse in our dysfunctional culture, men are to lead…and women are to submit.  This is the biblical model for marriage.  It won’t be awesome without it. 
If you are single, there are things you can look for now. 

Ladies - if your marriage prospect is to lead you spiritually, he must first lead himself.  This goes deeper than making decisions about where to have dinner...or what to watch on ESPN.        
And your prospect should have a spiritual vision and sense of purpose for his life.  And I’m not talking about how many kids he would like to have with you.  That usually means something else to him. 

But can your prospect lead you in a direction that appeals to your faith… and lines up with God’s Word?  Does he take interest in your life decisions and speak wise counsel that you find helpful?  Does he make choices that reflect a godly spirit?  Does he show discernment and take steps to guard his faith in a faith-less culture?

That’s the stuff worth submitting to.    

And guys, what do you see in your marriage prospect?  Is she open to your ideas?  Does she allow you to express your thoughts?  Does she ask you deep questions and listen to your opinions?  Or is she too busy only talking and telling? 
Here are some red flags. 

Ladies, is your marriage prospect’s momma the dominant leader in the family?  Does daddy run the remote while momma runs the show?  If so, watch out. 
Guys, is your marriage prospect’s momma the boss in the home?  Is momma building daddy up – or tearing him down? 

Often the apple does not fall far from the tree.  Take note of what you see.   
Ladies, this “submit” thing may still sound suspicious.  But I encourage you to hang on for the next truth.  With a little more context, your bridesmaids will be spelling out S-U-B-M-I-T with pom poms and letter cards as you walk down the aisle one day.  Stay tuned.  

Jeff Anderson

"The Greater Life" - Spirit Led Singleness (Part 2) by David Skidmore

There are two primary ways that I live. One is Spirit-led satisfaction, and the other is Flesh-based fulfillment. Paul talks about the flesh a lot in the Bible. It is the part of us that wants to gossip, act out on lust, and the flesh causes us to crave every evil behavior, even the illusion of power and control. The challenge we face is this: Our flesh lies to us about the fulfillment of sin. The flesh promises to fulfill you, but the promise is hollow. Lust does not fulfill. Neither do gossip, control, bitterness, anger, or greed. Every kind of sin promises fulfillment as you act on it, yet the fulfillment is only an illusion. We are fish swimming through the lake, not noticing the hook attached to the bait. When we bite on the illusion of fulfillment, it causes something worse than pain in our lives. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23.) Sin causes something inside of us to die. In our hearts. In our minds. In our love. And all of this is based on the illusion of fulfillment. You end up unfulfilled and worse off than you started. The good news is there is another way, as I’m calling it now, Spirit-led satisfaction. Paul writes, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:17-18

Why won’t you gratify the desires of the sinful nature? Because you are being filled by the Spirit with that which satisfies. Paul continues, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23.)

If you think about the fruit of the Spirit, the only way for it to grow in your life is to trust God. You cannot make any of them grow. You cannot create them. They are the Spirit’s fruit. And fruit is meant to be enjoyed. It is healthy. Others will enjoy it. You will enjoy it. The fruit of the Spirit is meant to satisfy you, because these virtues are from God and God loves to satisfy us. (Isaiah 58:11, Psalm 145:16.)

You live a greater life when you let the Spirit lead you. Your life becomes more full of God’s ways, and the fruit of the Spirit begins to crowd out the evil in your life. You “go out in joy, and are led forth in peace.” (Isaiah 55:12)

Let’s focus on this verse this week as we live the greater life in the Lord. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16.)

David Skidmore

"The Greater Life: Spirit Led Singleness (Part 1)" by David Skidmore

How important is it to you that you’re future spouse be a Spirit-led follower of Jesus? I hope it is a high priority to you. The kind of person you marry is a great determining factor in the life you live on this earth. That being said, how important is it to you that you are a Spirit-led follower of Jesus? Isn’t it interesting how we can focus on the other person instead of ourselves? It is key to be a Spirit-led follower of Jesus. After all, the Spirit is our “guide, comforter, and counselor” according to Jesus. We are given the Spirit so that we can live a new life in Christ that is based on His power instead of our own power. Wouldn’t it be a shame to spend all your time thinking about the “kind of person” you want to date or marry, while missing the present opportunity to become more Spirit led in your singleness.

Here are a few blessings of being Spirit-led.

  1. A Spirit-led life guides you to become more like Jesus, and makes you more likely to attract someone who is like Jesus. (John 16:12-15)
  2. A Spirit-led life is centered on trust, not control. As you trust the Spirit more with your day-to-day, you will be free to live in peace and love. (Romans 8:6)
  3. A Spirit-led life is a powerful life. When you know the Holy Spirit of God is leading you, it creates a boldness and confidence that goes beyond self-confidence. Your life will be full of confidence in the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)
  4. Being Spirit-led heightens your desire to make disciples. You are making the most of your time on earth when you are making disciples, and you are setting the standard for the kind of marriage you want to have. (Acts 2)
  5. The Spirit provides peace, joy, and love that are not present without the Spirit’s love. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Here is a verse to focus on this week. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” The Spirit is on the move. Don’t miss His activity by being caught up in the mundane, excuses, or a casual attitude towards Jesus. Create space in your schedule to wake up early to talk to God, and to spend time in silence listening to Him. Invite the Spirit to transform your heart so that your life will be full of the Spirit’s fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). God did not save you so that you could become spiritually stagnant. Instead, God wants to lead you into a greater trust, greater faith, and greater love by His Spirit today.

David Skidmore