“In the same way, you wives should yield to your husbands. Then, if some husbands do not obey God's teaching, they will be persuaded to believe without anyone's saying a word to them. They will be persuaded by the way their wives live. Your husbands will see the pure lives you live with your respect for God. It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.”---I Peter 3:1-4 (NCV)
Yield: to give up, as to superior power or authority; to give up or surrender (oneself); to give up or over; relinquish or resign; to give as due or required; to give a return, as for labor expended; produce; bear
Persuade: to prevail on (a person) to do something, as by advising or urging; to induce to believe by appealing to reason or understanding; convince; to draw or incline to a determination by presenting sufficient motives
Gentle: kindly; amiable; not severe, rough, or violent; mild; not steep or sudden; gradual; easily handled or managed; tractable; polite; refined; to mollify; calm; pacify; honorable; respectable; tender; not strong, loud, or disturbing; easy
Quiet: free, or comparatively free, from noise; restrained in speech, manner, etc.; saying little; free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful; being at rest; refraining or free from activity, esp. busy or vigorous activity; making no disturbance or trouble; not turbulent; peaceable; motionless or moving very gently; free from disturbing thoughts, emotions, etc.; mentally peaceful; said, expressed, done, etc., in a restrained or unobtrusive way; subdued
Spirit: the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul; an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action
OK, ladies (and gents) in waiting. We are actually nearing the end of this “series” journey. God, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:12), was pretty clear with me on how this should go and so, I don't foresee there being more than one or two after this. Now, who knows what God will inspire once this is completed, but I think for now that we all have received enough to pray about/meditate upon/walk through in preparation for the king/queen that is to come.
As I was brought to this lead scripture, I couldn't help but think how, in many ways, this message has come full circle. Ladies (because you were actually the inspiration for this series), we started out with the instructed vision on how to pen 365 ways to love our husbands within the first year of marriage (Deuteronomy 24:5). Now, God is showing us how to win our mates over in the sense of making them confident with their choice; especially the ones who do not (initially) obey (to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of) God's teaching(s). (Bookmark that.)
You see, here is what I want you to catch: Remember how Proverbs 18:22 tells us that he who finds a WIFE finds a good thing? I have said several times that because it doesn't say, “He who finds a WOMAN”, then that must mean that we must be wives---in the sense of being “wife quality”---when he gets to us. Now, I didn't see this curve ball coming, but I am so thankful that God is into the details; that since God cares about the numbers of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), then he certainly is interested in our desire to be married and putting us all onto the path that will ultimately lead us to love, peace and harmony.
PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION. Some of you are going to be set free...liberated...released from the fear that's been holding you, not just from your mate, but from yourself and the purpose that God has in mind for you as it relates to your mate. (John 8:36)
Now, let me say to the guys that while there will be a section written especially for you, this intro is for the ladies. I urge you to read it because I think it will help us make some better sense to you as well, but if you feel like you are on the outside looking in, in a way you are right. This is something that God wants to share with his daughters...a secret that he is about to reveal because they have asked for clear direction in this area (Amos 3:7, Jeremiah 33:3).
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a married male friend of mine about how he knew his wife (of several years) was the one for him. He went on to explain that the day he met her, he watched how she treated her family and friends...especially the children around her. In his mind he thought, “Crap! I'm not ready. I enjoy being single...but you don't see ones like her often. I can't let her pass me by.”
AND HE DIDN'T.
Now, watch this, ladies: God is about to bless you...and release you from your anxiety. (Philippians 4:6) Being that we should be “wifeys” when our intendants approach us (or God brings us to them), go again to the lead scripture and see the kind of wife we should be to bring our husbands to a certain place in their walk with God. Now, the one part that does need to be tweaked a bit is that until we are married...until we are “one” with our mate (by God joining us to them-Matthew 19:6), the one who we should be “yielding” to is God. But the rest, we can leave “as is” to understand the direction that God is giving us in this season (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
You all probably know by now that I am a pretty inquisitive chick. Well, I have “polled” many men about marriage and do you know what a lot of them have said? It wasn't so much that they HAD to get married, so much as they HAD to be with the one that they choose to marry. In other words, they didn't want to lose her, they knew what was required to get/keep her and that was one of the main motivations for jumping the broom. THEY WERE PERSUADED TO MAKE A TRANSITION FROM SINGLE MAN TO HUSBAND.
In my prayer time today, God was showing me though these verses what a lot of us do wrong during our waiting season. Just today, I was talking to a wife of almost 20 years about feeling like I was headed towards a “project” when it came to being united with my future mate. Her response, “Honey, they are ALL projects.” I drove home really letting that sink in. As long as we are living in this sinful world, our flesh and spirit are going to, as the Bible says, lusting against one another. (Galatians 5:16-17) So, like it or not, there is always going to be an inclination for people to run from the very things that are meant to restore and save them, with one of the main ones being, love. And, while I think a lot of us want to be married, the reckless actions of singles and the (un)successful rate of marriage reveals that many of us don't take the “true love mission” part of marriage's purpose to heart:
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”---Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV)
“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”---Romans 13:10 (NKJV)
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”---Luke 17:3 (NKJV)
“My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love.”--Galatians 5:13 (NCV)
“Brothers and sisters, if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin, too. By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is important when he really is not, he is only fooling himself.”---Galatians 6:1-3 (NCV)
“If anyone sees a brother or sister sinning (sin that does not lead to eternal death), that person should pray, and God will give the sinner life. I am talking about people whose sin does not lead to eternal death. There is sin that leads to death. I do not mean that a person should pray about that sin. Doing wrong is always sin, but there is sin that does not lead to eternal death.”---I John 5:16-17 (NCV)
My point in listing these scriptures? Well, something that one of my married girlfriends told me was that she recently heard a sermon in which the pastor said that one of the biggest problems with marriages today is that couples don't respect one another as BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST....you know, what we all are in the spirit realm, whether we are married to one another or not. It kind of goes along with my theory that many people seem to be better friends with the same sex than with members of the opposite sex (I hardly ever put the “If you do this to me, we're through” mandates on my girlfriends...especially like I do with guys.) What I'm trying to say is that love is good...but for a relationship to work AND to last, mutual respect and a sincere liking for one another are just as important...with a purpose of witnessing and serving one another.
So, ladies, because we live in a sinful world (I John 2:2)...because sin caused curses to come upon both the man and woman which now makes things more challenging than God ever purposed for them to be (Genesis 3:15-19)...and because the Enemy's mission is about division (John 10:10), we have to be open to the fact that a part of marriage is to restore what has once been lost.
Something that my mom often says when we speculate about the emotional chemistry between Adam and Eve after they were put out of the Garden, is that there had to have been some real trust lost between the two of them. They stayed together, so it would appear that love was still there...but a mutual respect and liking? Eh, I'm not so sure how solid that was; at least not like it was in the Garden. Why do I say that? Because SIN CHANGES THINGS. Sin's mission is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) any and all that God put in place. One of the greatest gifts that God ever gave mankind was marriage. It did not come after sin....it was created in the world's perfect state. Therefore, you can best believe that the Enemy will do ALL THAT HE CAN to curse such a blessed union.
He knows that a wife was to be a helper to man. (Genesis 2:18) He knows that a wife is to bring favor to man. (Proverbs 18:22) He knows that a wife is the crown of her husband (Proverbs 12:4) and that a virtuous one is worth more than the most beautiful of gemstones. (Proverbs 31:10) Family, we were made in the image of God...the Enemy HATES that. (Genesis 1:26-27) One of us standing alone is a challenge. Two of us united as one is a threat. ANYTHING THAT HE CAN DO TO KEEP A MAN FROM A WOMAN, HE WILL DO. If he has to use fear, sex, pride, our past, spiritual/biblical ignorance, greed...whatever, he will use it.
What God showed me today that BLEW MY MIND is that many women will bring their husbands to them by doing what the lead scripture instructs. See, the truth is that a lot of men, by the choices they are currently making, are just like the husbands who are not obeying God. If a man is having sex outside of covenant, he is not obeying God. If a man is putting anything (even if it's his career and financial state) before submitting to his Heavenly Father, he is not obeying God. If a man is so angry about what his father/mother did/didn't do that he cannot forgive, he is not obeying God. And, what does the Word say that wives are to do to persuade their husbands to respect God...to restore what was lost? THEY ARE TO WATCH HOW WE LIVE; not in what we say, but what we do.
A lot of us don't want to hear this, but the truth is that a lot of men are hesitant about getting married because they don't see enough “wives” out here. The Word says that it is our PURE (free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind) lives that show our respect for God that will “urge”...”induce”...”appeal”...”incline” a man to believe in the power of God. Can you believe it? Talk about restoring what the locusts have eaten! (Joel 2:23-25) A woman is what tempted a man to partake in sin (Genesis 3:6) and the Word says that it is through a woman than a man can be restored back to his rightful place...being in relationship with God.
AMAZING!!! Now, do you see why the Enemy wants us half-dressed...settin' it out...compromising our values...chasing them down...being desperate, loud, bitter, jealous, competitive, covetous and angry? ANYTHING THAT WILL KEEP US FROM BEING PURE? It's because he knows that is what will win a man back to God...that is the kind of wife that will change a man's life.
I am so full, I can't stand it! And here, is where we will briefly split up:
Men: It's actually pretty plain and simple for you. WATCH HOW THE WOMEN YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY LIVE. The Bible says that a woman who is more concerned with her outward appearance is not what God defines as truly beautiful. Fellas, you were made in the image of God and so within you is the ability to be equally as discerning. The hair? The jewelry? The clothes? Those things are temporal...they will pass away (Luke 21:33), but the virtue of a woman will stand, or as the Word states, IT WILL NEVER BE DESTROYED. Ask God to show you how to see the spirit of a woman as apposed to her physical stature. Yes, I believe that God wants you to be attracted to your mate, but more importantly, he wants your soul to be saved. It's a PURE woman that will assist you in doing that.
And while I'm at it, don't spend a lot of time on if you are “good enough” so much as if you are being obedient to the unction of your Father. I Samuel 15:22 says that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. Some of you are sacrificing so many of the unbelievable things that he has in mind for you all because you are not listening to what he is trying to tell you. YOUR WAYS ARE NOT HIS WAYS and neither are your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). He knows, far better than you do, the woman who is spiritually-equipped to bring you favor---even when it comes to stabilizing your relationship with him.
Women: God made it clear the kind of woman a pure woman is. Her spirit is gentle and quiet. Now, did you catch that he used the word, “spirit”? That means that our attitude (AT ALL TIMES) is to be kind, polite, calm and tender. That means that we should live our lives based on principles rooted in things that are free from noise and turbulence; that we should make it a point daily to be free from disturbance and trouble; that we are to be mentally peaceful and that we should move through life gently. In other words, we are to be free from DRAMA.
Newsflash: When it comes to women, men are used to drama. As a matter of fact, it's such a part of their diet that many of them don't see that it's junk food for the soul; that it's killing them slowly...but definitely (yes, Twinkies look appealing and taste good, but that doesn't mean that they are good for you). What's one definition of “insanity”? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right? A drama-filled woman may get a man, but she won't keep him. You want a godly husband? Are your actions reflecting what you say?
If you want a husband, purpose in your mind to be a PURE WIFE...even before he chooses you. There's a great chance that in how you live your life NOW, on the front end, it will then persuade him to move from being a compromised single to a godly husband...again, not from what you say, but from watching what you do. GOD HAS SO MUCH CONFIDENCE IN US that stated that our mere presence can convict a man to change his ways; that we are the agent that he is relying on to assist him in his mission to bring mankind back to him...it's purity, not our looks, that has this kind of affect on a person. It's purity that has life-altering power.
I can't tell you how much this message has changed my life and my perspective. It's not about coming up with strategies and manipulations. Even if my future husband is not ready...is running...is fearful...is rebellious...is carnal, God just wants to me to be still (Psalm 46:10) and be pure. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and it's my purity that he is asking me to give to him to manifest those possibilities.
Do you feel the burdens coming off of you? Do you see that you don't have to do anything other than being who God called you to be in the first place?
I so love him. An on-time, restoration message for me (and my husband-to-be), indeed.
©Shellie R. Warren/2009