Sunday, May 4, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God and Your Hubby (Day 7: Deny Self)

Day 5's was challenging us to be joyful no matter what because we understand what we gain as a result of tribulations: a new understanding that this is not our home, stronger faith, unyielding trust, making us more conformed to the image of Christ. By submitting to God's sovereign plan our character, our prayer life, or worship improves ten fold. This process of sanctifying us will never end in this lifetime. There is no limit to what we can learn! Embrace it.

Day 6's challenge was to memorize Proverbs 3:5, reminding us to put our trust in Him knowing He will guide us.

Day 7:
Step one in drawing closer to your hubby is drawing closer to God. The last 6 days have been spent directing our thoughts to God - to His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (day 1), on day 2 we accepted the challenge of shutting up our minds, and our mouths, in an effort to praise God for His wondrous works, day 3 was learning to trust God wholeheartedly by acknowledging His sovereignty in our lives, day 4 concreted that concept in our mind through music, day 5 was meditating and memorizing Scripture (Proverbs 3:5) to further solidify what it means to fully trust Him, day 6 was understanding the process of sanctification - that without the fire we cannot be refined. Today is going to be a difficult day (for me at least) because we're taking one step closer to what it means to draw closer to God as we draw closer to our hubby: and that means denying yourself. 

After seeking God in the face of Jesus Christ we need to learn what it means to serve others. We know the meaning of true joy when we seek to honor Christ in all that we say and do, then serve others, and finally yourself. Today's society teaches the exact opposite: self first. God does not. In fact, John the Baptist states his joy is complete when his disciples leave him to follow Jesus! His one quote is simple but mind transforming, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) That simple mantra needs to be ours as well! For the sake of our children, Jesus must increase in their lives while mommy becomes less and less. If by making Jesus Christ the center of your own life, your home, your purpose, your example, your vision, your children will be ready to effectively face a world that's trying so desperately to rid us of Him. MORE IMPORTANTLY by making Jesus Christ your focal point in all that you say and do, you are essentially learning to love others more fervently, especially your husband. The gospel message was of FIRST IMPORTANCE because you will be more willing to show love to others when you truly understand the love that God has shown you (that you do not deserve), even if it's never returned.

The order of importance in our lives should go like this:
  1. Jesus Christ
  2. Others
  3. Yourself
We are so caught up in today's day and age to treat our family, our friends, our neighbors, our children, our husbands, with the love they deserve. But let's consider the gospel message. What is it about the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection that we deserve? We are such rotten, selfish, lying, gossiping, sinners that we do not deserve one iota of that gift. But it was given to us anyway! And that is why we PRAISE HIM. So let's apply that same concept in our own lives... What if our husband has not said anything nice today, or in the last month, or years even? Yes, it makes loving him difficult, but God calls us to love our enemy. If we are to love our enemy how much more should we love this man that we vowed to honor for the rest of our days in front of God, family and friends?! 


You're absolutely right. I don't. I can in no way relate to you. I'm married to a wonderful God fearing man who strives to keep Christ at the center of our relationship. He is an unprecedented example of what it means to be the spiritual leader in a home. I am beyond blessed. It's so easy to treat a man like a king when he treats me like a queen. So I don't know, but I do know this:

You made a vow to love, honor, and cherish this man before God. How are you failing that vow today? When you love Jesus first, by understanding His greatness, His sovereignty, His unfailing love through the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, we are better able to love others selflessly. Even our enemies. Even our husbands. Today is step 1 in denying yourself in an effort to serve others joyfully.

Even if that means not responding in anger and frustration to the hurtful things said to you, even if that means joyfully doing laundry, even if that means joyfully preparing dinner, even if that means joyfully changing a diaper. You are doing all of these things to serve others. Being a wife and a mother forces you to put yourself last and Jesus FIRST. And understanding the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross you are better able to sacrifice your will FOR GOD'S SOVEREIGN PLAN. Does that mean keeping your vow? Without knowing your specific situation, I'd say yes. You CANNOT CHANGE YOUR HUBBY, that is the work of God. You can, however, start with yourself, and be a shining example of a servant of Christ. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. No matter the cost.

Today's a mind numbing task. Denying yourself in a world that's telling you to hold SELF above all else. So at the top of your journal write John's quote, "He must increase, but I must decrease." and ask God to help you; you can't do this without HIM.

I use music to help me focus, so I created a playlist called "Deny Self - Soli Deo Gloria" (latin for to God alone be the glory). (Remember Day 4?) I encourage you to do the same. 

If you are just joining us (I'm so excited that you are!) be sure to go back to...

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