Do you know that you can be self-righteous without even knowing it? Thankfully, in this post, you will learn the little-known signs of self-righteousness so you can start overcoming them!
CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO LIVE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE. However, there is one particular type of “righteousness” that can easily prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God. In fact, this kind of righteousness had been heavily condemned by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is also the reason that Job was punished by God. This deceptive type of righteousness is so potent that it can easily spiritually blind a person and not even know that they have it.
I am talking about SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. This problem has been a common sin throughout the history of the Church. After all, it is so easy to be self-righteous. It is a human and natural inclination that we all need to overcome.
It is so difficult to detect self-righteousness in our lives. In fact, it takes other people and the word of God to point it out for us. That’s why in this blog post, I want to share with you ten of the deadliest signs of self-righteousness.
Sign no. 1: Self-righteous people repel others
Have you ever been around a person who made you feel uncomfortable, unrighteous, and guilty because you can see how he OBVIOUSLY show his righteousness? This person constantly rubs on your face his righteous acts and in the process, unconsciously PUT PEOPLE DOWN. As a result, you don’t like to make friends with this person because he has this aura of making you feel spiritually inferior.
That’s exactly what self-righteousness does. IT REPELS PEOPLE. On the other hand, genuine righteousness DRAWS people toward you. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a righteous Being. He draws people toward Him and not fend them off.
Sign no. 2: Self-righteous people parade their good works
The Pharisees and scribes are the perfect EPITOMAI of self-righteousness. For that reason, Christ ardently reprimanded them. Read Matthew 23, and you will see how many times Christ said, “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees.” Christ stated that we must exceed the righteousness of these people if ever we want to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:20).
So what’s wrong with the Pharisees and Scribes? They love to PUBLICLY display their righteousness to people. They were “wearing their righteousness outwardly.” When they fast, they want to appear to people fasting (Matthew 6:16). When they repent, they don’t produce the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8). When they give alms, they sound a trumpet (Matthew 6:2). And the list just goes on and on.
You get the point. Self-righteousness is more of the outward manifestation rather than an inward conversion of the person.
Sign no 3: Self-righteous people are uncompassionate
Being self-righteous makes you a person without much compassion. Why? Because you see other people full of sins and faults and you don’t understand why they are that way. You have a hard time looking into yourself and REALIZING THAT YOU ALSO HAVE A LOT OF UNCHECKED PROBLEMS. Instead of being compassionate, self-righteous people are very critical of others.
Sign no. 4: Self-righteous people hate and condemn sinners
Whenever you are in the presence of a thief, adulterer, extortionist, or somebody who have committed a horrible sin, does it make you feel uncomfortable? A self-righteous person hates sinners instead of just hating their sins.
JESUS CHRIST LOVES SINNERS. He even ate with tax collectors and talked to them. He spent more time with the perceived sinful people in His day than the Pharisees who are thought to be “righteous.”
The danger with self-righteousness is it makes you believe that you are in the position of God. You CONDEMN people and pass permanent judgment. You determine who will be part of God’s kingdom and who will not.
True righteousness loves the sinner but hates the sin.
Sign no. 5: Self-righteous people love the approval and praises of men
Among the motivations of a self-righteous person is to gain approval from people. He wants to look righteous, so people hold him in high regards. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. They did their alms in front of many people, disfigured their faces when fasting, loved to sit at the best seats in the synagogues, and enjoyed being called with pompous titles, just to name a few.
Sadly, they have their rewards. They have not waited for a far GREATER reward that only God can give them.
Here’s food for thought:
When we do something good, we do it not to show how righteous we are, but instead, WE DO IT TO SHOW HOW AWESOME THE LIVING GOD IS. We do our good deeds so that people “may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Sign no. 6: Self-righteous people list their good works
Have you ever noticed how hard it is for us to forget the good things we have done to other people? Every time we do something good, we have this little notepad in our brain where we list all our good deeds. Afterward, we add them all up and show ourselves and others how righteous we are!
When we do this, we forget that our righteousness is just like FILTHY RUGS (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness pales down to nothing when compared to the righteousness of God.
In reality, it is not our job to list our good deeds. It is God’s. “For God is not unrighteous to forget [our] work and labor of love, which [we] have shewed toward his name, in that [we] have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Sign no. 7: Self-righteous people reject correction
If we remain self-righteous, time will come that it will make us callous. We hold on to our self-righteousness and it will harden us. And by the time when we need to be corrected, PRIDE sets in, and we become unteachable.
This hardness of heart may spring from the belief that you know almost everything, that you already know what the scripture says, and nothing new can impress you anymore. You think that there’s nothing to learn anymore and you won’t let anybody tell you what to do. We have become too vain in our thinking that we won’t allow anyone to point out where we might have got it wrong.
True righteous people possess a child-like attitude. That is entirely different to what self-righteous people feel about themselves. Jesus Christ was teachable in spite of His wisdom and divine nature. He did everything and anything His Father told Him to do.
Sign no. 8: Self-righteous people talk back to God
For God to work with self-righteous people, they need to be humbled first. However, self-righteousness may persist.
Like Job, we may talk back to God and rationalize our thoughts and actions. We may show God how rich, how we have increased in goods, and how we have need of nothing (Revelation 3:17). We may tell God how good we are by following His commandments and that He owes us a pat on the back and praises! However, just like the Laodicean church, we didn’t know that we are actually “wretched, miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (same verse).
Sign no. 9: Self-righteous people think of themselves as important
Sometimes, in our zeal and passion in doing God’s work, we fall into the trap of thinking that it’s all about US.
We look at the results of our work and say, “Wow! Look how many people came into the church through me!” “Did you just see that? I just inspired the whole congregation with MY SERMON!” “Look at how much I am doing for the work of the church. I’m sure the church won’t grow without me.” “I pay a lot of tithes. The pastor will surely miss ME if I leave this church.”
This type of thinking is focused on the SELF. Self-righteousness literally means “SELF-RIGHT.” In reality, we must all be “CHRIST-RIGHT.”
Sometimes we think so highly of ourselves that we felt that God needs us so badly. Actually, the reverse is true: It is US who desperately need God!
Righteous people DON’T think about the things they lost for following God. But rather, they concentrate on the things God gave them!
Sign no. 10: Self-righteous people wallow in self-pity
Every time a self-righteous is chastened by God, he sulks in self-pity. Instead of seeing trials and challenges in life as a way to develop godly righteousness, they would instead pity and prevent themselves from developing the ENTHUSIASM to fight back.
James said that we must “count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials.” For a self-righteous person, he would just endure the trial and not actually rejoice in it. WE NEED TO SEE CORRECTION AS A WAY TO BRING US BACK TO OUR LOVING FATHER.
When God gives us a trial, it is NOT because He wants to prevent us from getting into the Kingdom, but to help us develop the righteousness that enables us to be part of His Family.
When we are corrected for our self-righteous arrogance, we must have a positive attitude, learn the lesson, and overcome. That’s the only way we can destroy the shackles of self-righteousness that restrict our spiritual growth.
Here are the 10 deadly signs of self-righteousness. There’s no doubt; it’s HARD TO SEE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IN US. In fact, every time we do something good, the natural response is to have a certain amount of self-righteousness budding in our hearts.
However, if we truly see what we truly are without God, then we will realize that our righteousness must be from God. After all, it is CHRIST WHO LIVES IN US, and it is Him who helps us produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Instead of building our own righteousness, WE NEED TO BUILD THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.
This is a profound and significant subject we all need to think about. Self-righteousness is indeed a fatal sin that we all need to overcome, and by being alert to these 10 signs of self-righteousness, I hope we can be more successful in becoming less like us and be more like God!
***By Joshua Infantado at Becoming Christian / Illustration by Bill Donaghy
In 2 Kings 2:13-14, we read about Elisha dividing Jordan which is symbolic of a ministry of life that conquers and overcomes spiritual death. The waters of Jordan, in the Bible, are symbolic of death. And the parting of the waters is therefore symbolic of triumph over death. In the ministry of Elisha, we find him engaged again and again in bringing life out of death. In Jericho, he brought life into the barren land there (2 Kings 2:19-22). In Shunem, he brought life into the barren womb of a woman (2 Kings 4:8-17). Later, he brought life into a dead child (2 Kings 4: 18-37). He once brought life into a pot of deadly food (2 Kings 4: 38-41). He ministered life to a leprous general’s dying body too ( 2 Kings 5 : 1-14) Elisha’s power never faded away. Even after he was dead and buried and his body had disintegrated,when a dead man was thrown into his grave, the dead man arose!(2 Kings 13:20-21) This was Elisha’s ministry-bringing life out of death wherever he went. This was a direct result of his being anointed. This is the type of power that the anointing of the Holy Spirit brings-power to bring life out of death, resurrection power. This alone is the unmistakable evidence of the anointing. We read of this power often in the New Testament. Paul writing to the Ephesian Christians, says that his prayer for them is that they may know this power. He goes on to tell them that the greatest manifestation of God’s power was not in creation nor in the miracles recorded in the Bible, but in the raising of Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-23). Writing to the Philippian Christians, Paul tells them that his own desire is that he may know more of this resurrection power (Phil. 3:10).This, I am convinced, is the power that Jesus said His disciples would receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8) – resurrection power, the power to bring life out of spiritual death. And God desires to communicate this to us too.
This, brothers and sisters, is the mark of the anointing. Not some experience, not some utterance, but the power to bring spiritual life out of death wherever we go. Is our ministry accomplishing this? This is the acid test whether we have the anointing or not. Alas, so often Christians, instead of ministering life are ministering death. The heathen are so often driven away from the Lord instead of being drawn to Him, because of the bickering and quarrels, the lack of integrity and other un-Christlike habits that they see in the lives of those who profess to be born-again Christians. How we need to humble ourselves before God and ask for His forgiveness for bringing reproach upon His Name by our behaviour.
Let us not glory merely in the fact that we are “evangelicals.” If we are not careful, we can end up like the church in Sardis, having a name that we are alive but in reality being dead (Rev. 3:1). It is not enough that the creed we repeat and the statement of faith we sign are Scripturally sound. We may be able to sign the most fundamental statement of faith. So can the Devil! He knows the Bible well and so he is no modernist. He is a thorough fundamentalist as far as doctrines go! It is not much use therefore taking credit merely for our fundamentalism. Doctrines are important. God forbid that I should decry their value. But over and above doctrine, the thing that counts with God is whether we are ministering spiritual life or not.
The Apostle Paul could say that through God’s help, he was an able minister of the New Testament, ministering spiritual life (2 Cor. 3:5,6). He didn’t just boast that he was a fundamentalist. Neither did he merely talk of his experiences-either the Damascus Road one or the Straight Street one. No. He demonstrated the reality of his fundamental beliefs and of his spiritual experiences by constantly bringing life into situations of spiritual death.
In Paul’s life, as in Elisha’s, there was no fading away of the power. There was no losing of the anointing in later years, as seems to be the case with so many servants of God in our day. Paul and Elisha never came to a stage where all they could do was to glory in what God did in days of yore. They constantly lived in the present enjoyment of the anointing and of God’s power. Their spiritual strength instead of waning, waxed more and more. As their days, so was their strength. Their light shone brighter and brighter until the perfect day. What a blessed way to live! And yet this is the path that God desires all His children to walk in (Prov. 4:18).
Elisha lived in constant touch with God and this was why he was always able to bring life out of death wherever he went. And so people came to him with their problems and their needs. He didn’t have to go looking for a ministry. He didn’t have to go around asking people to sponsor him and to invite him. No. Opportunities for ministry came to him in abundance, without any fleshly efforts on his part.
** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels by
Communication is one of the most basic skills needed to establish and maintain any human relationship. In marriage it is especially important that a couple master this ability. Whenever you find a successful marriage, you will always find two people who have become skilled at communication. Likewise, wherever you find a failed marriage, a communication breakdown is always one of the root problems. Therefore, it is essential that you learn how to become a better communicator. Let’s look at some basic issues that hinder good communication.
1. Check your attitudes. Your attitude is critical to being an effective communicator and is the basis for what you say and do. Without the correct attitude, your words will always come out wrong. You may be totally right in all that you say, but it’s the way you say it that many times turns your mate off. Let’s look at some of the attitudes I am referring to.
Do you have an arrogant or superior attitude when you talk with your mate, communicating that you are always right and that he or she knows nothing? Do you become indignant and refuse to listen when your spouse questions your actions or motives? Have you ever thought, “Who does he think he is to ask me that?”
The Scriptures teach that this attitude of heart is very destructive to your relationships. Solomon said, “He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife…” (Prov. 28:25). Is this attitude the cause of strife in your marital communication? If so, consider Paul’s counsel, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Humility is the attitude of heart that keeps you from speaking evil of anyone or to anyone, and enables a gentle spirit to communicate effectively. Your home needs this attitude.
Another sinful attitude that destroys communication is deep-seated resentment or bitterness, which is like poison to your life and marriage. The Apostle Peter noticed this attitude when he spoke to Simon the sorcerer. Simon had become envious and bitter at the success of the disciples’ ministry. When Simon asked for similar abilities, Peter said to him, “…You are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). If you have a bitter and resentful attitude, your spouse will pick this up as soon as you begin to speak. Your tone of voice reveals the poison of unforgiveness inside. Jesus said, “If you have anything against anyone, forgive him…” (Mark 11:25). A heart of forgiveness will be your only remedy for this poison.
Indifference or apathy greatly hinder progress as well. Jesus described this attitude in the parable of the marriage feast; He invited many, yet “they made light of it and went their ways…” (Matt. 22:5). This is the same attitude that many experience when their mates try to talk or spend time together. Indifference becomes apparent when you say “not now” or you simply change the subject. When you make light of your mate’s request to talk or spend time together, you are communicating to your spouse that he or she is not really that important to you. Every time you indifferently turn your husband or wife away, it will cause discouragement and a greater distance between you.
Of course, not every time is an opportune time to talk. If you have to postpone a conversation or time together, make sure you communicate your sincere interest and willingness to spend the time it takes to build the relationship. Then, be sure you are the one to initiate the next conversation over that same subject.
Can you recognize any of these attitudes in your heart? If you do, be assured that they will hinder effective communication. The Bible describes each of these attitudes as sinful and requires you to put them off.
2.Check your words. Once you have examined your attitudes or the way you talk, now considerwhat you say. What kind of words do you use?
Do you use harsh words? Do you possess the skill to cut and slash your spouse verbally in the midst of an argument? If so, you may win the argument and be daily destroying your relationship. Solomon said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). David also said the tongue can be like “a sharp razor” that can cut and wound a person very deeply (Ps. 52:2). Is this what your tongue is like?
Harsh, condemning words are incredibly destructive. Think how you feel when a person condemns or belittles you. Doesn’t it drive you away from that individual and make you want to retreat? If you speak this way to your spouse you will see the same results. Paul specifically commanded husbands, “… love your wives and do not be harsh with them”(Col. 3:19). Likewise, this command could be equally given to wives. Clearly then, the husband-wife relationship cannot thrive with the use of harsh words.
Another class of words that must be avoided involves lying or deceitfulness, which slowly undermine your entire relationship. If you are deceitful and tell only half the story or a doctored version that makes you look good, sooner or later your spouse will catch on. Trust is fundamental to your entire relationship, but lies and half-truths will eventually undermine your credibility. Any amount of lying to your spouse is like taking an ax to the bottom of your own boat, it will ultimately sink the ship.
If you struggle with lying or deceitfulness, pray what David did, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Ps. 120:2). Do what Paul commanded; “Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25). As a married couple, you are members one of another in every sense of the word; you are one flesh. Don’t lie to one another.
Similarly, exaggeration works to destroy effective communication. Are you an exaggerator? Do you hear yourself say these words, “you always do this”, or “you never do what I ask?” The words always, never, or every time are like gasoline on the fire of an argument. These words will cause an explosion of anger because your spouse can always think of one time he or she did do what you say never occurs. The only solution to exaggeration is “…speaking the truth in love…”(Eph. 4:15). The truth may be that your spouse many times does this or that, as opposed to always or never.
As we strive to speak the truth, let us remember to speak the truth in love, for certain words of truth can also greatly hinder your communication. I am referring to the true statements about your spouse’s past failures which you bring up to use as ammunition during a conflict. These words cut deep, specifically because they are true, but they are words that should never be used to win an argument. If you have forgiven your spouse for a past failure, then it should be off-limits. Why? Because God talks about your sins this way: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). The word remember means “to hold in a mental grasp or to recollect so that it may be used at a later time to punish.” God declares here that once He forgives, He chooses not to remember your sins and will never use them to condemn you; we must forgive in the same manner. Therefore, speak the truth about the present issue only.
Finally, foul language also tears down good communication. I have discovered that many couples swear and call one another names in the midst of an argument. If this occurs in your home, understand that these words will not be easily forgotten because they demean your spouse and signify your lack of love and respect. Once you have said these words, you can’t take them back. This is why Paul said, “…you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8). He also said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). Don’t tear your loved one down, but build him or her up when you speak. Ask God to put that check in your mind before you open your mouth. Pray as David did, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my mouth” (Ps. 141:3). God will answer this prayer.
3. Check your actions. The specific actions you take while you interact will either enhance or hinder your ability to effectively communicate. Let’s look at some of these actions.
Are you a good listener, or are you quick to interrupt when your spouse is talking? This disrespectful action will greatly frustrate your mate and tends to stir up anger. James said you must be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). When you interrupt, it means you are thinking of how you want to respond instead of really listening, and this hinders meaningful and enjoyable conversation with your mate.
A related action to interrupting is sentence-finishing. This occurs when your spouse takes a pause to think about what he or she is about to say, and you help your mate out by finishing the sentence. Such behavior, is again, extremely frustrating and reveals that you are not listening or trying to understand. It indicates that you have already pre-judged his or her thoughts and declares that you think you know what your spouse is about to say. Solomon said, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). Rather, allow your spouse to fully complete the sentence, then respond. This will demonstrate you care and are truly listening in order to understand.
Explosive anger is another pitfall and is often only used to control a conversation. Sometimes people use anger to simply manipulate the other party into doing what is desired. This person knows that his or her spouse will cower and retreat in the argument once the rage appears. Yet, this ploy is very foolish because you may seemingly win the argument, but in the end you risk losing relationship and intimacy with your spouse in the process.
However, there are times when anger is not a ploy used to control another. Sometimes an individual just has no control of the emotions that rage inside, due to a lack of desire or understanding as to how to control them. Such a person is simply out of control. Irrational anger is what drove the religious people of Jesus’ day to attempt to throw Him over the cliff at Nazareth. These religious people were simply out of control. Luke says the people were “filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city…that they might throw Him down over the cliff”(Luke 4:28, 29). If you have explosive anger that is not dealt with, deep and intimate communication will be impossible. No one ever wants to communicate the deepest things of their heart with someone who is raging out of control in an angry fit. Remember, “…the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Your wrath and anger can never produce something good or righteous in your marriage relationship. What you need to do is get some specific counseling from your pastor regarding how to control your anger. The sooner you take this action, the sooner you will learn how to communicate effectively.
Third, beware of blame shifting. This is usually done when your spouse points out one of your faults and you quickly cover yourself by shifting the blame to your mate or to another. This is what Adam and Eve did when they were first confronted by God for their sin. Adam said that it was, “…the woman You gave to be with me, she gave me to of the tree, and I ate”. Eve also shifted the blame to Satan, “…the serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12, 13). Neither Adam nor Eve would take responsibility for his or her own actions. Adam in one breath blamed God for giving him this woman and blamed his wife for giving him the fruit. Eve in essence replied, “The devil made me do it.” What solves this problem? Simply take responsibility for your own actions. Blame shifting is the result of pride and dishonesty. You know what you have done and your spouse does too, so why not admit it? Without you personally taking responsibility for what you’ve done, all you will do is play the blame game which only delays progress to a solution. This is a game that no one will win.
The last action that hinders good communication is the unwillingness to confess your faults during or after an argument. This is a problem that results from that same attitude of pride, and to resolve it the Apostle James suggests, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord…Do not speak evil one of another…Confess your faults one to another…” (James 4:10.11; 5:16). God requires you to humbly and honestly look at your own actions and not shift the blame. When either husband or wife takes this action of first confessing personal faults, it usually softens the other to do the same, and communication is restored.
But, you may ask, “How do I change all these sinful attitudes, words, and actions?” Take heart, there is a way!
What helps build your ability to communicate?
Let’s look at some of the most important ways to build your ability to communicate.
1. Establish intimacy with God and find His help for change. Here is where you get the power to change in the areas where you have been failing. When God is at work filling you with His love and teaching you His Word, you can’t help but have something to talk about. Establishing this intimacy with God will inspire the most important communication between you, the sharing of spiritual things. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they went everywhere sharing Christ. When they were commanded not to speak anymore in His name their response was, “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). God was at work in their lives and they had to share it with someone. David experienced the same drive to communicate what God was doing in his life. He said, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul” (Ps. 66:16). What is the Lord doing in your life? Are you sharing that with your mate? The kind of relationship you have with the Lord, will naturally translate into your relationship with others and especially with your spouse. Your relationship and communion with Christ is where real communication with your mate begins.
If you are not walking with Christ at this time and have never made a personal commitment to Him, this is the primary reason why you are struggling in marriage and in your ability to communicate. He can dramatically change your entire life, but you will never experience it without a personal relationship with Him. You can start this relationship by simply acknowledging your sin to Him in prayer, asking Him to forgive you and come into your life. If you really want to change, He can help you do it. Take a moment right now to communicate with Him in prayer, and ask Him to come into your life. You won’t be disappointed!
If you are a Christian, you can also be greatly hindered in your ability to effectively communicate by simply having sporadic devotions or no devotions at all. This is because when you are spiritually dry, you will have no power or joy to communicate with others. Let me illustrate. Think of the times when you have struggled spiritually and you have seen another Christian in a store, what did you do? Did you run up to this individual with an overwhelming desire to fellowship, or did you turn and walk another way so you wouldn’t have to talk to him? The answer is obvious, you don’t want to talk to another person when you are discouraged or depressed; it’s the last thing you want to do. When you aren’t growing spiritually the same thing will happen at home. You won’t have any desire to communicate with your spouse either. You will naturally retreat from communication with your partner.
Therefore, return to the Lord and ask Him for His help. Renew your relationship with Him, then the desire, power, and love you need to communicate with your spouse will begin to flow again.
2. Acknowledge your faults. This will take some brutal honesty in your own heart. Stop now and look back over your attitudes, words, and actions. Where have you been failing in your communication with your mate? You must first acknowledge your faults if you desire to see anything change.
Next, go and acknowledge these faults to your spouse, asking his or her forgiveness. Tell your mate that you truly want to change in these areas. Your spouse will probably be amazed that you would honestly confess to these things without being forced to do so. When you take this action, your ability to communicate will take a dramatic step forward. Acknowledging and reconciling your faults with your spouse is half the battle.
3. Spend time together. Once you have dealt with your failures in your attitudes, words, and actions, and have sought God for His power and help, you need to take the opportunity to communicate. Do you set specific time aside to communicate? You did this before you were married. You talked on the phone every chance you could. You went out on dates and would talk about everything and anything for hours. Do you remember how romantic and how much fun it was to talk? This is what must happen again. How?
You need to start dating the one you love on a regular basis. Why not call your spouse and set something up today? Then tomorrow, make a special effort to call your spouse again just to say, “I love you.” Talk to your husband or wife about your upcoming date and your anticipation of being together. You may also try turning the T.V. off and sitting after dinner just to talk over your day. Take a bike ride or a walk together. You need to regularly set time aside to just be together because failure to do so is one of the fundamental reasons why many couples slowly drift apart. Other things soon take priority over being together, then slowly and imperceptibly the distance begins to grow. You can stop this drifting, but it takes constant vigilance to keep time together as a high priority.
Solomon and his wife had the right idea. The Shulamite requested of her husband, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away…Let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your countenance is lovely” (Song of Solomon 2:10,14).
Do you want the kind of romantic relationship Solomon and his wife had? Then, take the same action that they did, and you will afford yourself the best opportunity for real communication and romance. Is the voice of your spouse still sweet? It can be, if you will again make the same effort you did before you were married. Your spouse is worth the time and the effort!
4. Encouragement and praise. If you desire to build good communication with your spouse, try this strategy. Each time you are together look for something that he or she has done well, and praise him or her for it. If you encourage the actions which are godly, loving, and responsible, you will build your mate up and build your overall communication.
This is what the Scripture teaches us to do. Paul says we must, “…Exhort one another daily…”(Heb. 3:13). Speak the words that, “…build others up…” (Eph. 4:29 NIV). Solomon declared that, “…A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). This encouragement could again be equally given to women to praise their husbands. But, the question is, do you do this? One day Jesus Christ will say to you, “…Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matt. 25:21). If Jesus considered these words important to say, shouldn’t you do the same? Praise and encouragement is an acknowledgment of your love and appreciation, which naturally builds a person up.
How often do you say an encouraging word, or a “well done?” Your mate must do something right, responsible, or loving each day. Look for these things and then tell your spouse that you appreciate them. If harsh and critical words destroy your communication, think of what praise and appreciation will do. Take the time to talk and to spend time together. Be gracious with your words, and encourage instead of being harsh and critical; it will build your communication more than you could ever imagine.
Remember, “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious…” (Ecc. 10:12) Therefore be wise. Go and give a word of praise and encouragement to your loved one today!
**By Covenant Keepers / Photo by Polina Zimmerman at Pexels
She was born Elisabeth Howard in 1926 – one of six children – to missionary parents in Brussels, Belgium. Her parents moved to Philadelphia, USA, a few months after Elisabeth was born. She later described them as devout, disciplined Christians who built their family life around the Bible.
‘We grew up with the understanding that the scriptures were top priority… we had bible reading and prayer at the end of dinner every night as we sat around the table, and up until the age of, I suppose, seven or eight, each of us children was put to bed by one of our parents and prayed with, and sometimes we had the bible read to us again. so we heard the bible read aloud at least twice a day, sometimes three times a day.
‘And the other very very powerful influence in our lives, I’m sure was the fact that my father got up himself between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning in order to have time alone with the Lord.
And when we came to breakfast, we knew that we had been prayed for… meaning my father was in his study for those hours before breakfast with his prayer lists and his notebooks and his bible and down on his knees praying for us.’
Elisabeth reckoned she herself came to faith at around the age of five. This was followed by a definite commitment to Christ when she was twelve: “I think I realised that if Jesus was my saviour, he also had to be my Lord, so I then committed my life and said, ‘Lord, I want you to do anything you want with me.’”
We can surmise from this that even at this tender age Elisabeth realised she had a calling to the mission field. She studied classical Greek at Wheaton college, Illinois, believing that it was the best tool to help her with her desire to translate the New Testament into a yet-unreached language.
It was at Wheaton where she met Jim Elliot. Before their marriage they both went individually to Ecuador to work with the Quechua Indians; the two married in 1953 in the city of Quito, Ecuador.
Before Elisabeth started her work, she listened to the words of Maruja, a woman of a neighbouring tribe who had been held captive for a year by the Huaorani, sometimes called the Aucas, or ‘savages’. She told Elisabeth that the tribe was fierce and they acted like savages, but that the women were likeable and kind. In 1955, only ten months before Jim was killed, Elisabeth gave birth to a daughter, Valerie.
Elisabeth said that she had a premonition that Jim’s mission might end in his death, explaining, “I often thought I was going to lose my husband.” In fact, just before he left for his fateful mission to the Aucas they had talked about what she would do if Jim should not return.
So as they said what turned out to be their last goodbyes in January 1956, her mind was a filled with thoughts as to whether that would be the last time she saw him alive.
Jim and four other Christian missionaries Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed Mccully and Peter Fleming – were speared to death in the jungles of Ecuador. Their killers were Huaorani Indians, the same group that Elisabeth had been warned about earlier.
After Jim’s death, Elisabeth, together with Rachel saint, the sister of another of those killed, continued her work among the Quechua at a site which was several days by trail from Auca territory.
Despite what had happened to their men, Elisabeth and Rachel were still determined to reach the killers with the gospel. At the time, their only link with Auca culture came when they met Dayuma, a young woman who had fled the tribe some years before to live with white missionaries. Dayuma, who was by then a believing Christian, helped them with the Auca language.
In November 1957 came a breakthrough. Elisabeth heard that two more Auca women had left their tribe. She hurried to the neighbouring settlement where the women – Mintaka and Minkamu – were, and spent the next ten months with them, seeking to learn more of the Auca language and culture.
Eventually the two Auca women – together with Dayuma – decided to return to their native tribe, leaving Elisabeth and Rachel wondering what the fate of the three women might be when they arrived home.
However, after three weeks the women returned to the mission compound bringing along seven other Aucas, plus a invitation to the missionaries to visit the tribe!
‘As long as this is what the Lord requires of me, then all else is irrelevant’ Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth and Rachel lost no time in taking up this unprecedented offer. However, Elisabeth admitted that taking her three-year-old daughter, Valerie, along strapped to her back was ‘the biggest test of faith ever’.
As well as the usual dangers found in jungle terrain, she had to face the possibility that the Aucas might choose to kill her and carry off the youngster.
In a later interview she said that, although she appreciated the kind warnings of fellow Christians, she felt that ‘as long as this is what the Lord requires of me, then all else is irrelevant’.
The journey to the Auca village took two-and-a-half days by canoe and trail paths. Ironically, the party arrived on the afternoon of 8 October 1958, Jim’s birthday and the day which would have been the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.
When the missionaries reached a clearing in the jungle, there stood a welcoming party of three Aucas.
SEARCHERS AT THE MISSIONARIES ABANDONED PLANE
Elisabeth described the reception as ‘friendly… it seemed like the most natural thing in the world’. For the next year the missionaries enjoyed a good relationship with the tribe as they ministered to them. the Aucas gave Elisabeth the tribal name ‘Gikari’, Huao for ‘Woodpecker.’
She later returned to the Quichua and worked with them until 1963, when she and Valerie returned to the USA. Rachel saint continued the work with the Aucas under the auspices of their sponsoring missionary society, the summer Institute of linguistics (sIl).
Over the years some anthropologists have criticised the missionaries’ work, viewing their intervention as the cause for the widely-recognised decline of Huaorani culture. In response Elisabeth Elliot said in an interview that there is absolutely no point in trying to reach tribes like the Huaorani unless you believe the New Testament message that people – however few and remote – are lost without the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And while no-one would claim the missionaries didn’t make mistakes along the way, the gospel they preached resulted in a marked decline in violence among tribe members, together with numerous conversions to Christianity and the growth of the local church.
Indeed, it has been argued by others that the effects of Christianity were very positive, as it served as a way for the Huaorani to escape the cycle of violence in their community, providing them with a motivation to abstain from killing. Ironically it was probably exposure to Western ‘civilisation’ – not the gospel – that had the most detrimental effect on the Huaorani people.
On her return to America, Elisabeth became a noted speaker and writer. Her book, ‘through gates of splendour’ is ranked among the most influential books that have shaped the thinking of evangelicals. The book became a bestseller, as did ‘shadow of the Almighty: the life and testimony of Jim Elliot.’
According to Kathryn long, professor of history at Wheaton college, ‘those books became the definitive inspirational mission stories for the second half of the 20th century. [Elisabeth Elliot] really had a sense of her audience as evangelicals, and she could tell this story in a way that keyed into [their] values.’
Elisabeth went on to write more than a dozen additional books and launched a raddio show, ‘gateway to Joy’, which ran until 2001. She almost always opened the programme with the phrase, “‘You are loved with an everlasting love,’ – that’s what the Bible says – ‘and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ this is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot…”
Two later books on missions, ‘no graven Image’ and ‘the savage my Kingsman’, raise important questions about mission work and reveal Elliot as a extraordinarily perceptive thinker and writer.
In 1969, Elisabeth married Addison Leitch, professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell theological seminary in south Hamilton, Massachusetts.
They were together until Leitch’s death in 1973. In 1974, Elliot became an adjunct professor on the faculty of Gordon Conwell theological seminary and for several years taught a popular course entitled ‘christian expression’.
Her third marriage to Lars Gren, a hospital chaplain, took place in 1977.
After their marriage the couple worked and travelled together.
‘Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ’ – Elisabeth Eliott
Elisabeth Elliot died in Magnolia, Massachusetts, on 15 June 2015, at the age of 88. Sadly in her last years she suffered from dementia. Her husband, Lars, said: “She accepted those things, [knowing] they were no surprise to god.
”It was something she would rather not have experienced, but she received it.”
Elisabeth’s only daughter, Valerie, who spent part of her childhood among the Aucas, married a pastor, Walter Shepard, in 1976. Since then Valerie has spent her time being a pastor’s wife, raising eight children, teaching the bible and speaking at conferences.
She described her mother as: “A speaker of the truth, a teacher of obedience, a woman of strength and dignity. She always loved and encouraged me. she was a woman of prayer.”
Perhaps Elisabeth Elliot’s whole philosophy of life and ministry can be summed up in the words she once wrote: “We have proved beyond any doubt that he [God] means what he says – his grace is sufficient – nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We pray that if any, anywhere, are fearing that the cost of discipleship is too great, they may be given a glimpse of that treasure in heaven promised to all who forsake.”
** This article was taken from the October 2016 issue of Heroes Of The Faith by Dave Littlewood / Photos Elisabeth Elliot Foundation
True love eliminates fear, anxieties and insecurities that torment one’s heart, mind, and soul.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
15. Love Loves Even Those Who Don’t Love It.
True love does good things even to those who hate it. It will love you even though you are treating it as your enemy.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7
17. Love Makes A Great Sacrifice.
True love does extraordinary things. It goes out of its comfort zone or sacrifices things important to it just to show its love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
18. Love Loves through True Actions.
True love is not based on words or hypocritical deeds, but it is based on truthful actions. It doesn’t only believe or hope, but it does actions that will make the things it believes or hopes a reality.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18-19
“And now these three remain : faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
19. Love Loves Itself.
True love takes care of itself, not hurts itself. It develops itself to be stronger, healthier and more capable to continue loving.
“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:28
20. Love Binds A Person’s Good Virtues In Perfect Unity.
True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14
21. Love Gives You The Confidence To Face Even The End Of Time.
True love keeps you away from sins and cleanses your soul so that you may become confident even on the Day of Judgment.
“In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him.” – 1 John 4:17
True love is indeed powerful and that’s why it’s not an easy thing to do. Giving pure love involves making great sacrifices and enduring a lot of pain. However, it rewards genuine happiness and fulfillment in life and beyond.
Perhaps we cannot make our love perfect on our first try. But love is not only a one-time act – it’s an act that we should practice consistently. Remember that practice makes perfect. Therefore, don’t stop trying to love truly.
I hope this article serves as your guide, not only in identifying if someone is giving you real love, but most importantly in learning how to give it. Take note that true love is more about giving rather than receiving. So start building true love inside you.
Note: All Bible verses presented in this article are based on the New International Version (NIV).
**By Victorino Q. Abrugar at Inspiring Tips / Photo by Flora Westbrook at Pexels
There is a marriage myth that few people know about before they marry. (We sure didn’t!) But spouses NEED to recognize it. That’s because the health of their marriages depend upon it. We’re talking about the Marriage Box Myth. It’s a myth we fell into and then climbed out of (and continue to climb “for as long as we both may live”).
To give you an idea of what we’re talking about here, regarding this myth, read the following:
THE MARRIAGE BOX MYTH
Most people get married believing a myth. They believe that marriage is a beautiful box full of things they have longed for… companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.
The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out.
There is no love in marriage. Love is in people. And people put love in marriage. There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.
A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.
(Written by Dr J Allan Peterson)
The Marriage Box Myth is True
Anyone who has been married beyond a month or two, KNOWS how very true this is! If we’re serious when we say our wedding vows to “love” each other for the rest of our lives, we need to be proactive in continuing to grow our love. It’s not a once for all time type of situation.
We didn’t know that when we first married. We should have. But we didn’t. Naively, we thought our love would just naturally grow more wonderful with passing time. However, that was a fantasy! The opposite happened. Our relationship grew to be ugly. That’s because we didn’t do what it takes to put love and romance into our “marriage box.” We just took and took and took and didn’t even notice that it was depleting our relationship of love. So that didn’t work out well for us at all!
We can only take a relationship for granted for so long before it goes into deficit mode of not having anything left in reserve. If we want love, we have to feed it, or it will starve to death. (At the very least it will become anemic.)
We found out the same thing to be true that Darlene Lopez wrote about in her “Marriage Box” article:
“Marriage truly is like an empty box. Many people get married for all the wrong reasons and have an abundant of expectations when they get married. I was one of them. I thought marriage was going to be filled with all sorts of companionship, sex, love, romance, intimacy, prayer, Bible studies, understanding, deep friendship and love. Boy, was I wrong! I found out that marriage truly is empty unless you are infusing into it daily.”
With that said, we want to ask you:
What are you doing to continue to grow your love relationship with each other?
Yes, we know that life gets busy. We fight that all the time (as does everyone)! But we still need to find the time to grow our love for each other. We cannot get so caught up in daily routines that we allow them to become our continual main focus.
“Marriage is a long journey, and any long journey requires occasionally getting off the road to eat, to fill up the car with gas, or simply to rest. Is your marriage slowly getting buried under the daily routine? What can you do differently to break out of the box and renew your love for each other?” (Gary Thomas)
Furthermore, we want to ask you: are you infusing love, or are you just taking what you can get? Here’s a truth to prayerfully consider:
“When we love another person the relationship isn’t just about us anymore. When we love someone we don’t starve them; we give to them. When we love someone, love becomes a verb that allows us to put stuff into the box. We give to the other person in a way that is meaningful to him or her and work with their schedule, not just ours. And we work with their tastes and preferences, not just ours.” (John, from his article, “What is Real True Love?”)
Further down in this blog John writes another truth:
“When we don’t put stuff in the box, we starve the relationship or marriage. We are takers, not givers, narcissists, not lovers.”
That is point on! If we are to love each other as Christ loves, we will be intentional in finding ways to show love in selfless ways—not selfish ways.
Humbly Fill Your Marriage Box
“Being married is an active process where we daily make our lives about each other and not about ourselves. There’s a quote that says: ‘Humility is not about thinking less of our self, but rather thinking of ourselves less.’ I need to practice having more humility in my marriage. I need to focus more on filling our box, rather than taking from.
“And when the time comes (and it will) when my hand reaches from corner to corner to find an empty box, may I be the first to fill it.
“Here’s to every husband and wife in their journey. May you always fight for your marriage, seek counsel when you need it, show grace where sin abounds and love like crazy.” (Lovelace, from her article, “The Marriage Box”)
We couldn’t say it any better! May we love each other extravagantly! That’s how Christ loves us. Now the challenge is for us to do the same. In Ephesians 5:1-2 we are told to “be imitators of God.” We are to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Another way of saying this is presented in The Message:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
THAT type of love is what we are to keep putting in our marriage box.
Your Marriage Mission
Make it your mission to find out what you can put into your marriage box. You need to find that, which will help you to love one another as you originally vowed to do. This is what God would have you (us) do as husbands and wives. It’s also what God wants us to do as His children so we display His love to a world that needs to witness His love in action.
God wants us to live with each other in such a way that our love reveals and reflects the love of Christ. God can use this to prompt others to say, “I want to know their God better.”
“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
May it be so, Lord! May it be so!
** By Cindy and Steve Wright at marriagemissions.com / Photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexel
In pastor and author Voddie Baucham’s book, “What He Must Be,” he states that the man must lead in the Word. To do so, he himself must be deeply rooted in the Word before he can lead his wife in this area. I have outlined this book for single women to use as a reference guide for choosing a Godly mate and for men to strive for as God’s standard for them to follow.
The information detailed in this outline is not written by me, but was extracted from the book “What He Must Be,” written by Voddie Baucham Jr. There are also additional notes I have added from his video series “Love and Marriage” on Youtube, the links are below.
I am adding this to my blog to help raise my sisters’ standards in the men they consider as future husbands. And to set the standard for brothers to live by and strive for as they prepare to be husbands to my sisters in Christ!
Ephesians 5:25-31 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for herto make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
An act of the will, accompanied by emotion, that leads to action on behalf of its object; not led by emotion, nor is it void of emotion, that demonstrates itself by actions on behalf of its object
Marriage is a Ministry
1 – It was God’s first command, “Be fruitful and multiply…”
2 – A Training Ground for Church Leaders
3 – An Illustration for a Lost World
4 – The Preferred State
a) Be Prepared
b) Two States, One Standard
c) Jesus-Our Ultimate Guide
“Marriage is the God–appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God. The ultimate purpose is to obey God, to find aid and counsel against sin; to call upon God; to seek, love, and educate children for the glory of God; to live with one’s wife in the fear of God and to bear the cross.” — Martin Luther
1 – He Must Be a Follower of Christ
a) A True Believer is Regenerate
a. He must be born again
b. There is an infallible connection between regeneration and salvation
b) A True Believer is Repentant
a. Repentance is at the core of the gospel message. A man cannot claim regeneration if he shows no evidence of repentance.
b. True repentance is the result of an accurate understanding of the significance and gravity of sin, coupled with an overwhelming desire for the remission of that sin through the person and work of Christ.
c) A True Believer is Reformed
a. Consistent, perpetual, undeniable, evidence proceeding from his mouth and life on a daily basis.
b. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (1 John 3:9-10)
2 – He Must Be Prepared to Lead
a) He must lead like Christ
a. Lead in Love
A man who loves like Christ will protect his heart
A man who loves like Christ will protect her heart
b. Lead in the Word
Leading in the word requires personal time in the word
Leading in the word requires a grasp of the word
Leading in the word requires a Plan for Growth
Leading in the word requires patient instruction
VIDEO: If he is not a man who can mentor you in the scriptures, he not worthy of being your husband.
Can he disciple and mentor you in the Word of God?
He has to be equipped to mentor and disciple your children in The Word.
He MUST be this before you even think about him!!
c. Lead in Righteousness
He must be marked with an upright life
He must nurture holiness in his bride
He must influence his family in righteousness
Video: A man who ensures your purity.
What he’s saying if he wants to get physical: “I want to use you and I want to dishonor you.”
He must be a man who desires for me to be Pure.
A guy who wants you to move in with him is saying, “I want all the benefits with none of the responsibilities.”
“Sex is like Fire. You put fire in a fireplace and it warms the whole room. You let fire out of the fireplace, it will consume and destroy everything in its path. It must be in the proper context…and biblically, the only proper context is Marriage.” — Voddie Baucham Jr.
d. Lead in Selflessness
He will show restraint and patience throughout the courtship process
He must show Christlike selflessness
He must demonstrate his willingness and desire to put her needs above his own
VIDEO: He must be a man who understands what it means to put others before himself. If he’s more interested in what he can take from you than what he can give to you, then he’s not the kind of man who leads in selflessness. If he doesn’t treat you like a delicate flower, keep stepping. Cause what you’re looking for biblically is a man who nourishes you as he would his own flesh.
e. Lead in Intimacy
VIDEO: Intimacy happens when I let someone into a part my life that is not readily available to everyone.
Creates a hedge of protection around the marriage relationship that says this relationship is prioritized above all others.
3 – He Must Be Committed to Children
a) Committed to having children
b) Committed to investing in children
c) Committed to supporting children
4 – He Must Practice the 4 P’s
He must be a Protector
He must possess personal strength, wisdom, and courage
He must be a Provider (Dependence on others is a perversion of biblical manhood)
He must have a job
He must have a work ethic
He must have a plan
He must be a Prophet/Priest
A man must Pray for his family
A man must Preach to his family
A Priest is an intercessor who represents his people before God
A Prophet is one who instructs his people in God’s truth
God has given husbands the responsibility of washing their wives in the water of the Word; Diligently teaching the Law to their children; and bringing them up in the discipline and instruction in the Lord
Love and Marriage Video Series, Voddie Baucham
Love and Marriage, Part 1 (sermon starts at 32min:50sec)
***By Nina Andres author of the book, “God Ordained Relationship”
***More sermons to do with Christian relationships can be found HERE! Covering all stages of a Christian relationship for men and women: single, courting / dating, marriage, home, bringing up children and all the bits in-between.
Most people know the difference between lust and love so what are they? What does the Bible define as love and as lust?
A Definition of Lust
Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body and it can take nearly any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It is an overwhelming self-absorbed desire or craving for an object, person, or experience that might be good but in most cases, is not. For example, a man or a woman can lust after their spouse and since they are legally married, there is no sin in this, however lusting after someone else’s spouse or someone who’s not married is sin, so clearly, lust and love aren’t the same at all and in many ways, they are actually opposites of one another, for example we can lust after riches, for drugs, for alcohol, and for any number of things that are detrimental to our wellbeing.
A Definition of Love
The way the world defines love and the way that God defines love are not even close to the same thing. As far as the world sees, love is a strong and warm affection that someone has for another or others or for something. It could be like that of a parent for a child or a spouse for their mate or it could be a love for reading, eating, drugs, alcohol, or even shopping. Some of these are good and well, but others can lead to ruin. Love can certainly be a strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from a kinship or close friendship, which I have for my own spouse and children and grandchildren and even for my friends but from the biblical standpoint, love and lust are no co-equals since one can be good, while the other can lead to harm.
A Biblical Definition of Lust
I like what C.S. Lewis wrote many years ago. He wrote “If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart.” This is a very good, biblical definition of lust in the heart. If you covet something or someone, that is lusting in the heart. Exodus 20:17 lists the tenth commandment as “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” so lust is not just about looking at someone of the opposite sex, or for some, looking at someone with lust of the same sex, it is coveting what you don’t have. It is a passionate desire to have what someone else has.
What Lust Can Lead To
David let his lust carry him away as “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (2nd Sam 11:2) and so he lusted after her in his heart. This led to adultery and later, to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. This is why James wrote that “after desire (or lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:15). The proverbs say “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes” (6:25). Jesus said that it was “out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt 15:19). Solomon understood this connection, writing that as a man “thinks within himself, so he is” (23:7a). You can commit adultery without ever committing the physical act. Jesus said that “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28) and of course the same thing applies to women.
A Biblical Definition of Love
There are so many places that define love in the Bible that it will be hard to select only a few. Paul writes that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1st Cor 13:4-7). The love of God is not about feelings or words but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Love is a verb; it is what you do more than what you say or what you think. We know that Jesus did not feel like taking on all of the sins of humanity, but His great love for us on the cross proved what the love of God is like. He died for us while we were still wicked sinners and His enemies (Rom 5:8, 10).
The differences between love and lust are that we don’t covet what we don’t have. We shouldn’t covet (lust after) our neighbor’s spouse or their goods (Ex 20:17). Love, on the other hand, “does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10) and this means “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19) but above all “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). The difference for believers is that we are told “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). The greatest display of love was not what Jesus felt or what God feels but it was revealed at Calvary. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and that’s just what He did. Lust harms, love sacrifices.
**By Jack Wellman at what Christians wat to know / Photo by Mark Stebnicki at Pexels
All of us come across others’ who say things so well that there is simply nothing left to add. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth created just such a piece in the form of a bookmark which you can download here, from her series Brokenness: The Heart God Revives
Proud people focus on the failures of others. Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.
Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope. Broken people are compassionate; they can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.
Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others. Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.
Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit. Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.
Proud people have to prove that they are right. Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.
Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit. Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.
Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation. Broken people are self-denying.
Proud people desire to be served. Broken people are motivated to serve others.
Proud people desire to be a success. Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.
Proud people desire self-advancement. Broken people desire to promote others.
Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated. Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.
Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. Broken people are eager for others to get the credit; they rejoice when others are lifted up.
Proud people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts”; they think of what they can do for God. Broken people’s heart attitude is, “I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry”; they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.
Proud people feel confident in how much they know. Broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.
Proud people are self-conscious. Broken people are not concerned with self at all.
Proud people keep others at arms’ length. Broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately.
Proud people are quick to blame others. Broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation.
Proud people are unapproachable or defensive when criticized. Broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.
Proud people are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; they work to protect their own image and reputation. Broken people are concerned with being real; what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows; they are willing to die to their own reputation.
Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual need with others. Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.
Proud people want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up. Broken people, once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; they are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.
Proud people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?” Broken people are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.
Proud people tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin. Broken people are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.
Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin. Broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.
Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught. Broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.
Proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship. Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled when there is misunderstanding or conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.
Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor. Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.
Proud people are blind to their true heart condition. Broken people walk in the light.
Proud people don’t think they have anything to repent of. Broken people realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.
Proud people don’t think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does. Broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.
**Article by Searching4Wisdom @ Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism.com / Photo by Pixabay
Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.
Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.
When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.
God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.
If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.
It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!
Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.
God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.
**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.