Category: Family


A few days ago an associate came to me with what seemed to be a rather simple and straightforward question. She asked me why Queen Vashti (The Book of Esther) did not obey the king’s command to enter into his presence while he was entertaining guests. The answer to this question was quite simple: The king’s request was quite an unusual request for a Persian or any oriental king to make of his queen. The queen understood that to be exposed before a company of drunken men was not becoming of her position and status as queen; furthermore she was summoned by household servants instead of the noblemen the king should have sent. According to Persian customs, the queen, more than the wives of other men, was to be secluded from public gaze. So, basically, the queen was being disrespected in the worse way. If the king had been in his sober mind he would have seen the potential dishonor this would have brought on his queen, himself, and his kingdom.

 

How often do we as men dishonor our women with the slightest consideration; however, this is not what I am here to discuss today. In answering my associates question, I was opened to a powerful revelation within this passage that is in direct correlation to what we have been studying concerning Love & Respect in the marriage; man’s greatest fear.

In the book of Esther chapter 1 we have a powerful truth that sort of moves under the radar of all that is going on, but it is powerful in helping us understand the motives and actions of the husband within the marriage.

Once Queen Vashti disobeys the command of the king, the concern or fear is immediately revealed.

12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.

13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times… 15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”

16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. (Esther 1:12-13; 16-18, NIV)

It does not take long to get at the heart of the matter here. According to Persian custom King Xerxes immediately consults his advisors. Memucan responded to the king in a manner that most would say was over the top; but it further exposes the magnitude of this fear. Memucan says that Queen Vashti has not only disrespected or wronged the king, but every nobleman in the entire province. The key to understanding this passage is to find out what they felt her act would ultimately cause. To them it was not a simple single act of rebellion. They felt it would ignite a female revolt in which all Persian wives would hear of this act and despise their husbands in their eyes and disrespect their husbands in the same way. A man’s greatest fear in his marriage is being disrespected.

Understanding this truth does not excuse the man’s irrational fear, but it reveals that a man fears being disrespecting in the same way and with the same gravity as the woman fears being unloved. The greatest yearning and need of husbands is that their wives give them respect. Now the ultimate truth in the story of King Xerxes and Queen Vashti is that God’s Divine Providence is in view here and all of this had to happen in order to place Esther is a place to fulfill her destiny. Yet, it still reveals the husband’s yearning for respect.

Wives, most husbands or men in general will not want me to reveal this, but its intrinsic value in understanding your husband is invaluable. We men are not nearly as big, strong and impervious to the pulls of life as you might believe. In fact, we are extremely vulnerable when it comes to our wives.

“A woman may envision herself as a sweet little dewdrop and her man as a big, strong bear who should be able to absorb any kind of punishment. One huge fellow was stunned by his beloved’s attack and said to her, ‘You hate me.’ Frustrated, she replied, ‘When I scream ‘I hate you’ you should know I don’t mean it. You are 6’9” and weigh 260 pounds, for goodness sake. I do that because you can take it.” (Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, Love & Respect0

The truth is most men cannot take it. They may respond in a tough or unresponsive manner, but it has an extremely powerful impact on them. No matter how big and strong your husband may seem physically, he is still very vulnerable to what he perceives as contempt or disrespect. Why is this important to you as the wife; it important because your husband’s response to this contempt will be the exact opposite result of what you are hoping for. He will shut down and become unresponsive. So, in your venting what have you accomplished is resolving the issue? Absolutely nothing; except creating another one.

No, I am not excusing the husband’s behavior, in responding to his wife’s contemptuous behavior, he has failed to honor his command to love. What I am doing is pointing to the fact that negative behavior begets a negative response. If you notice in all of the analogies that I have presented I have never wasted the time to determine who was right in the ordeal. Why? It’s irrelevant in the sense that it does not have any bearing on the command of Ephesians 5:33. The husband is called to love irregardless to what the wife is doing and the wife is called to respect irregardless to what the husband is doing.

We will delve into this further as we move forward. I promise you when you begin to grasp the truth revealed in this and begin to apply the principle of unconditional love and respect (respectively) in your marriage, you will see the difference.

Bishop Rick Wallace

Rick Wallace Ministries

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In our discussion concerning Love and Respect and its immense impact on the marriage, it may have at times seemed somewhat weighted and this was by design. Men and women are wired differently and so the way that you present things to each species is different. So, when you are dealing with both, especially when dealing with marriage, you confront the issues of the woman first. The reason being that once you begin pointing to the weaknesses and fallibilities of the man (husband), that will be all the woman can focus on and she will miss her culpability in the matter.

Today we will, with great emphasis, examine the command of Ephesians 5:33 for the husband to love his wife. One of the first things I want to address is the belief that, in some way, Ephesians relocates the wife to a position of lesser value by asking her to submit. Ephesians chapter 5 is in no way addressing establishing a premise of greater worth of position in the marriage. What this scriptural passage addresses is the natural tendencies of both, the husband and the wife, to act in a way that is counterproductive in their marriage.

Remember, there is no need to give a command to someone to do something they are already doing. So the command is a response to the husband and wife failing to do something they should be doing. Are there any scriptures in the Bible that support my assertion that wives are to be treated as equals by their husbands? Better yet, are there scriptures that instruct the husband to treat and consider the wife as an equal? The answer is yes.

7In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an[c]intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.] (1 Pet. 3:7, AMP)

After Peter instructs the wives to behave respectfully toward their husbands (verses 1-2); he then instructs the husbands to live in an understanding way toward their wives.

Let’s address a couple of things about this passage to insure we have a clear understanding. Here in verse 7, Peter tells the husbands “ in the same way”, or with the same consideration and effort, be considerate of your wife’s needs. He says that the husband must honor the wife in his actions and words. The same way the wife is to be cautious of her behavior; the husband must do so as well. I want to be lucidly clear in what I am about to say here. When this scripture speaks of the woman as the weaker vessel, it is not speaking in the way of spirituality, psychologically, or anything of the sort. It is simply speaking to the fact that in most every case, the husband will be physically stronger than his wife and must honor her by providing her with physical protection.

The key phrase to touch on our point of equality in the marriage is “but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life”. Joint heirs of God’s grace and favor points to equal partners and sharers of this grace. Husbands are warned that when they do not honor their wives in this way it will negatively impact their prayer life.

Being that scripture does not contradict scripture, we can understand that Ephesians 5:22-33 has nothing to do with ascribing more worth or status to either role within the marriage.

Let us move on to the husband’s command to love his wife. Most wives or women in general look at the commands within this passage as an uneven trade off. Part of it is because they are naturally wired to love, so they don’t see the command for the husband to love as a big deal. Until wives come to understand that their husbands are wired completely different than they are they will always run into the brick wall of disappointment. The second reason why the command for the husband to love his wife seems so inconsequential to the wife is that she does not grasp the magnitude of this love and what it entails. When the husband is called to love the wife, he is called to love the wife in the way Christ loves the Church.

“25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph. 5:25, NIV)

The husbands love toward the wife is to be with the same measure of love that Christ loves the Church. When most people read the part that says Christ gave himself, they miss the word “up”.  It says that “Christ gave Himself up” for the Church. Most people automatically assume that this refers to Christ’s sacrificial death, which is implicit in the statement in that everything that Christ did for the Church is required of the husband concerning his wife. However, this statement concerning giving up is dealing with another sacrificial act of the Christ.

The Greek word translated “gave” in English is

παραδίδωμι

paradidōmi

par-ad-id’-o-mee

From G3844 and G1325; to surrender, that is, yield up, intrust, transmit: – betray, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up), hazard, put in prison, recommend.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G3860

 

So then this is not about Christ’s sacrificial death, although it is in view here; it is pointing to Christ relinquishing his authority and deity and submitting to the authority and power of another in order to bring honor and purity to His bride. Do you hear what I am saying here? In order for Christ to bring salvation, honor and purity to his bride (the Church), he had to surrender his authority and submit to the authority of another. In the same way, the husband has to submit to the authority of another to provide for his wife. Whether it is an employer of a client, the husband submits their desire and commands in order to provide for the security and needs of his wife. When you can understand the pride of a man, you will understand that this is a great sacrifice. He is designed with power and authority and he naturally wants to exercise his authority. He wants to lead and direct not be lead or directed; however, in order to lead in the home, he has to be willing to be lead outside of the home.

Kerry Ptacek addresses this issue in great detail: The command that Christian husbands “love” their wives, upon reflection, may seem unnecessary. After all, Christians in general are commanded to love one another, and even their enemies. However, as I have explained elsewhere, love means seeking good for another. Loving a fellow Christian, loving an enemy (one who seeks to harm), and loving non-Christians in general require different actions and responses. The love commanded Christian husbands in this case also would be defined by the object of that love, that is, “your wives.”

A Christian husband should love his wife “just as Christ also loved the church.” But how did Christ love the church? He “gave Himself for her.” Some have thought that Christ’s sacrificial death is in view. However, the Greek verb translated “gave for,” paradidomai, refers to giving someone or something over to the authority or custody of others. Therefore, the part of Christ’s life which is being compared to the role of the husband is when Christ was given over to the authority of others. Christ let Himself be given over by Judas and the Jewish religious leaders to the Gentile authorities. As the Son of God, He was in control of these events, yet as a human, as the Son of Man, He truly gave Himself into their power.

Failure to properly understand the meaning of Christ giving Himself as in this verse leads to a wrong understanding of the first aspect of the husband’s love for his wife: giving himself over to the authority of others, for her sake. The main error in understanding this passage is to think that Christ’s sacrificial death is the example intended for husbands. Under the cover of false heroism too little is actually demanded from the husband. A husband is unlikely to face the prospect of dying for his wife, even if this were the intended sense of our verse. However, all husbands will give themselves over to the authority of others for their wives. They do this especially in going to work, thus being under the power in some sense of either employers or clients during most of their waking hours. Husbands also put aside the tendency of young men not to worry about getting into trouble with the law, so they accept these authorities, for the sake of being there for their wives rather than being in prison or on the run. This may seem like a strange application, but reflect for a moment on the everyday life of young men in those parts of our society in which marriage has broken down.

The love of a Christian husband for his wife begins with giving himself for her. However, even many un-believing husbands love their wives to that extent.

In verse 26 we see the second aspect of love for his wife, which is distinctly Christ-like. The word “that” indicates that what follows is the purpose of Christ giving Himself up for the sake of the church as it applies to the Christian husband.

Here “sanctify” means setting apart someone or something for God’s purposes. God the Father sanctified Christ and sent Him into the world (John 10:3:6). Christ sanctified, set apart, a people for Himself through the gospel. Those given to Him by the Father, the elect, respond to Christ’s words in genuine faith because they are drawn by the Father.

Christ’s word through the Holy Spirit acting on the new heart also cleanses His people from the lives from which they were called. The word “cleanse” refers to the removal of uncleanness which hinders one’s approach to God. For example, the Lord told Peter in a vision that foods previously prohibited under the law had been cleansed and so could be eaten without becoming ceremonially unclean (Acts 10:15; 11:9). Peter when asked to explain his subsequent decision to risk defilement by going to the household of Cornelius the centurion identified the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles assembled there as God “purifying [cleansing] their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9).”

You can begin to see the magnitude of what the husband is called to do. As you can see, although the phrase “gave himself up for her” is not directly correlated with the sacrificial death of Christ at Calvary, the statement “as Christ loved the Church” is implicit of it. Women (wives), when your husband says that he will die for you, he means it. Dying for what he believes in is a part of a man’s DNA. This is why when there is some great international incident in which the honor of the US is challenged, young men will come out of the woodwork to offer their lives to defend it. Men relate to honor; even in the streets it is a code of honor. We may not understand it or agree with it, but it exists and it is adhered to with rigid conformity.

28Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

29For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,

30Because we are members (parts) of His body.

31For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. (Eph. 278-31, AMP)

As you can see, the husband’s command does not stop at giving himself up or sacrificing his life. The husband is to love the wife in the same way that he loves himself. Again this points to treating her with equality born from a love that is willing to look beyond self and see her needs. He is to “nourish” Greek,

ἐκτρέφω

ektrephō

ek-tref’-o

From G1537 and G5142; to rear up to maturity, that is, (generally) to cherish or train: – bring up, nourish.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G1625

And “cherish”, Greek,

θάλπω

thalpō

thal’-po

Probably akin to θάλλω thallō (to warm); to brood, that is, (figuratively) to foster: – cherish.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G2282

 

Men, we are called to put it all on the line. We are to give ourselves up for the sake of honoring, purifying, protecting and providing for our wives. We are to look past our needs and desires and see theirs. To give up our lives is natural and instinctive, but to sacrifice of ourselves while living has the greatest impact and it will draw our wives to us.

There is one last thing I want to point to here men, and that is that there is no conditional clause involved in this passage. What this means is that we are to love our wives unconditionally. Regardless to how irrational she is behaving; not matter how disrespectful she is being, we are to love with every ounce of our being. “As Christ loved the Church” says so much. We must understand that Christ made his greatest sacrifices for us while we were most undeserving of them.

6 For while we were still(L)helpless, (M)at the right time(N)Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God(O)demonstrates (P)His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, (Q)Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:6-8, NASB)

So, husbands, your command to love your wife must come from within; an “agape” love that looks through your wife and sees God’s design and plan for you as the head.

 

May God Bless and keep each of you.

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Rick Wallace Ministries

We have been moving through the series Love & Respect: When Your House is Not a Home over the last couple of weeks. Using Ephesians 5:33 as the principal scripture of focus, we have examined the command for the husband to love (agape) his wife unconditionally and the wife’s command to unconditionally respect (reverence) her husband. We have a spent a significant amount of time examining some of the principles and points Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs sets forth in His book “Love & Respect” as well as some light shed from my book When Your House is Not a Home.

Today I want to delve even deeper into the term “respect” and its application in Ephesians 5:33. Before I get started let me list today’s disclaimer: Ladies, I know that you feel that it seems that all you hear is what the man needs; I promise that the next segment will about meeting the most deepest of needs of the wife. When you examine this series you will find that there is plenty blame and responsibility to meted out on both ends. Now with that being said, let us move forward.

There is an enormous need for wives and women in general to understand the use of respect as it is used in our scriptural text.

“… and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].” (Eph. 5:33, AMP)

This summation elucidates the term respect with exegetical consideration to the original text in Greek and it accurately conveys the meaning of respect and its application here. Regards, honors, prefers, venerates, esteems, etc. all speak to the deepest need; in fact the deepest value of a man; respect.  When these demonstrative virtues associated with respect are present it calls a man to his natural yearnings to honor, fight on behalf for, and even die for his wife. We here the phrase “I will die for you” so often that it has lost its impact and believability; however, the male species of the human race has over history proven that he will gladly lay down his life for that he honors without reservation. When a man sees honor in something, there is no limitation to what he is willing to do to defend and preserve that honor.

I’m sure that there are quite a few of you out there that are numbers people. As far as you are concerned this is great philosophical theory, but when does it move from the mystical arena of hypothesis and into the pragmatic sphere of empirical evidence. I’m glad you asked. There have been a number of studies on the matter. Dr. Eggerichs points to one study in which four hundred men were given the choice between two different unpleasant experiences. They were asked to choose which one they would prefer to endure.

  1. To be left alone and unloved in the world
  2. To feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone

Seventy-four percent of these men said that if they were forced to choose, they would prefer being alone and unloved rather than be disrespected. Think about this for a moment; these men would rather face isolation with no source of love rather than be in a situation where they were disrespected.  I can tell you right now that this makes no sense to women. This is what the wife (woman) needs to understand; this is not about satisfying your rationale; it’s about satisfying your husband so that he may in turn meet your deepest need. He is not wired the same as you. He is not driven by the same things that drive you. Understanding this will go a long way in turning your house into a home.

Let’s take a look at what one of Dr. Eggerichs clients had to say on the matter.

‘Although a Bible student for most of my life, and a very spiritual person, I had given up, but then I read your statement that says: ‘Though there is more to love than dying for someone, it is a sad day when a man knows that he’d die for his wife because he loves her, yet he hears her continually complain, [‘You don’t love me.’]’ The truth hit me powerfully in my spirit like no other thing has hit me concerning our marriage. I felt the kind of shame one feels when she knows she has done terribly wrong, and she knows not to even ask for forgiveness, and she knows that this one will take a long time to heal, but she knows this one thing she won’t do again. “

Ladies, respect is the key to motivating your husband. He is naturally wired to jump into his man mode when he senses respect. Trust me, men want to serve; they are willing to fight and even die for their wives, but when the wife complains, nags, and points the accusatory finger, she drains her husband of his manliness. The husband then becomes frustrated and shuts down and behaves in a manner that is unloving and uncaring to the wife. Can you see how the cycle is perpetuated?

As long as you are waiting for your husband to see things through your lens, you will always be disappointed and you will feel the need to treat him with contempt. This is fruitless and serves only to lead to more destructive behavior.

Remember what I said in a previous installment: You will catch a lot more flies when you decide to put away the vinegar and pull out the honey. Smile!

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

I would suggest that each of you get a copy of Dr. Eggerichs’ book Love & Respect. Simply go to the Rick Wallace Ministry’s Resource Center; then scroll down and click on the resource link. Once you have entered the library type “Love & Respect” in the search box and the entire Love & Respect series will be made available to you. Happy Reading

Love and Respect Scriptural Interpolation

 

The following scriptural passage falls in line with what we have been studying from Ephesians Chapter 5:22-33 and addresses the need in the marriage for Love (unconditionally from the husband toward the wife) and respect (unconditionally from the wife toward the husband). I will not elaborate in detail at this point, just take it in and prepare for the next installment.

 

1 Peter 3

Amplified Bible (AMP)

1 Peter 3

 

1IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,

2When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your [a] reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him–to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

 

3Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] [b] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;

 

4But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

 

5For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them].

 

6It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].

 

7In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an [c]intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]

 

In this lies the resolution to the vast majority of marital issues, either directly or indirectly. I would encourage you to study this passage in depth along with Eph. 5:22-33 and I also suggest that you use the NASB, NIV, for accurate and direct translative expression and the AMP for its lucidity in expressive expansion. In other words it expands the idea to give you the closest meaning to what was intended by the author of the passage based on a number of variables. This is necessary because the English language is not as rich in vocabulary or expressive in context as the ancient Greek. The AMP uses a number of hermeneutic approaches to present the intended message without ambiguity.

~ Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

This morning I posted the following excerpt on my facebook page. I did it primarily because it is in direct correlation with what we are dealing with in building a loving and respectful marriage.

February 15, 2012

“Words Can Captivate Your Man
(or any number of people)
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

A good wife is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds (Proverbs 31:10, The Message).

Friend to Friend

OK, today is a devo for our married GiGs, but you single gals are not off the hook. Words are so powerful. We can use them to build people up or tear people down, to encourage or discourage, to speak life or to speak death. If you are not married, think of a friend or family member looking at your picture and musing about the impact you’ve had on their life. What would run through their mind? Now, you can read this devotion and put someone else in this buddy’s seat.

Today, I want you to use your imagination. I want you to imagine your husband sitting at his desk or at a quiet place at work. Imagine him lost in thought about how blessed he is to have you as his wife. He holds your framed picture in his hand and moisture begins to pool in his eyes. He is captivated.

All the riches in the world are not to be compared with the jewel I have in this woman,he muses. What did I ever do to deserve her? God has given me such a gift. All our married life, she has done nothing but love me, bring out the best in me, and look out for my best interest. All the guys at the office are envious of our relationship. I see the way their eyes soften when she comes by just to tell me hello, grabs my hand when we’re at office functions, or pecks me on the cheek for no apparent reason. I notice that her loving words to me are in stark contrast to some of the cutting remarks of other wives…and so do my friends. I look around at the accomplishments of my life, but having this woman as my wife is my greatest. Oh sure, there are many women out there in the world who are accomplishing great feats, but my wife…well, she surpasses them all.

What a picture! That’s the woman I want to be, don’t you? And amazingly my words can be the determining factor as to whether this scenario is possible or not. Did you know that there are words your husband longs to hear? Did you know that there are words we should never say? Let me give you a few from my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words.

Words Never to Say to Your Husband

1. I told you so.
2. You just don’t think.
3. It’s all your fault.
4. What’s wrong with you?
5. I can’t do anything to please you.
6. All you care about is yourself.
7. You never listen to me.
8. I don’t know why I put up with you.
9. What do you want now?
10. How many times do I have to tell you?

Words Your Husband Longs to Hear

1. I’ve been thinking about you all day.
2. What can I do for you today?
3. How can I pray for you today?
4. The best part of my day is when you come home.
5. You are one of God’s most precious gifts to me.
6. You are so wonderful.
7. You look so handsome today.
8. I don’t feel complete without you.
9. I will always love you.
10. I trust your decisions.

Today, be aware of the words you say to your husband. Do they build him up or tear him down? Do they make him glad he came home, or wish he hadn’t?”

Shortly afterward I received a message from a person very close to me that took issue with it. Her stance was that a man needs to hear the truth. That he should want an honest assessment if he is truly trying to improve and live his life as God desires. (Sharon Jaynes – Girlfriend to Girlfriend)

 

What you will find below is a more amplified version of my response to this particular point of view.

 

What I posted is a direct repost of one the most respected Christian Counselors in the Country from her New York best seller and it is in direct correlation with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, one of the nation’s top Christian marriage counselors. Eggerichs points to the fact that the man is called to a greater responsibility than the woman, but emphasizes the importance and power of the woman’s words. I posted the post this morning because it was sent this morning and it correlates with the series that I have been teaching. All of this is based on Ephesians Chapter 5:22-33 with emphasis being placed on verse 33 which is the summation verse.

33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. (Eph. 5:33, HCSB)

The husband needs respect and the wife needs love!

I mentioned something several days ago that was brought to my attention a long time ago and was reinforced when I reread Dr. Eggerich’s book; you can be right in “fact” and wrong in “delivery” and you are wrong because there was no efficacy in the effort. The truth was spoken but nothing positive was accomplished. This arrogant approach says that because I am right I can present the fact in any manner I find befitting. The truth is that a woman must understand her power to build up or to tear down. The truth is like any other sword, it must be wielded with precision or it will become destructive and counterproductive. “I am right” is the battle mantra in marriages as they crumble into the dust of irreconcilability.

Because of the man’s makeup, the woman is designed to impact him optimally. This means she has the greatest potential to influence his self-image. Her most powerful tools are her words and her intimacy. It is funny that the wife’s most powerful tools are also her most powerful weapons, even when she does not mean for them to be (there is nothing more powerful in affirming a man than his wife’s affirming words and her sexual intimacy toward him). It can also be said there is nothing more devastating to a man than his wife’s negative words toward him or her coldness is the bedroom). There are certain things a man yearns, and the wife in the right frame of mind understands this and seeks to service her husband’s needs in this area. Now these needs are totally different than hers, so she has to truly understand her role and responsibility in the marriage. The average wife will look at her husband and see an insensitive jerk that just doesn’t get it. The average man will look at his wife and see a woman that doesn’t appreciate or respect him. The key is to understand why this is and to make the necessary adjustments.

What the summation of Ephesians 5:22-33 reveals is that men and women are distinctly different and their needs and desires are different. The husband is commanded to love his wife; the Greek word for love Paul uses here is not “Eros”; romantic and physical love driven by different forms of attraction, but “agape”; unconditional love (a subjective love not dependent upon the actions of the object). Now the man is called to perform this act of love whether or not his wife performs her responsibility to respect. In other words, the husband’s command does not provide a conditional clause. He cannot decide that his wife is being unreasonable and not “agape her”. He is required to “agape’ her regardless. Let’s look at the text for just a minute.

 33However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. (Ephesians 5:33 AMP)

The husband is to love the wife as himself; what this does at the very least is call the husband to bring the consideration of his wife’s needs and desires to a place that is equivalent to his. He is to agape her. This love calls for sacrifice, even to the point of death.

Now the wife is to respect her husband. The amplified version spells out what this entails because a woman’s view of respect and a man’s is quite different.

As I stated earlier that are no conditional clauses that allow either spouse the leeway to abandon their mandates based on the failure of the other. In fact, Paul, the author of Ephesians, writes in another one of his epistles that even when the husband in not saved, the wife performing her responsibilities as unto the Lord, can win the purity of her husband, meaning that the husband can be brought into compliance. It works both ways, but for a number of reasons, the wife has a greater power of drawing her husband.

The bottom line is this: Husbands yearn respect while wives yearn love. A wife monitors every movement of her husband in an attempt to determine whether his actions indicate that he loves her. A husband hangs on every word of his wife searching for an indication that she respects him.

A side note: The woman did not receive the command to “agape” her husband for one major reason: She is designed to “agape”; it’s a part of her DNA. If she has not been corrupted by social influence and negative experience, the woman will give sacrificially without prompting.

 

The evidence has mounted over the years. Husband and wife interaction creates a cycle (either negative or positive). When the wife doesn’t feel loved she reacts in a disrespectful way and the husband perceiving disrespect will react in an unloving way and the cycle has begun. Now the opposite is also true. When the wife feels loved and the husband feels respected the positive cycle of edification is established.

So, though it may seem right to say what is on your mind as long as you assess it to be true it is not the biblical formula for a successful marriage. In fact, you only need to survey the increasing number of people who were “right” based on the facts, but are now alone because they did not understand their power to lift or to tear down. This does not mean that a spouse does not need honest evaluations (It simply says that what seems to be the natural and direct way of expressing this assessment for the woman has no positive impact on the man). Those “Words Never to Say to Your Husband” that you read in the above post are at the top of the list of destructive phrases in a marriage, based on the contributions and insight of thousands of marriage therapist and counselors. What has been found is that when those terms are used the opposite of the desired affect is achieved. Whereas when the “Words Your Husband Longs to Hear” phrases are used, the negative qualities of your husband, without prompting slowly dissipate.

The thing is the woman’s natural inclination is to tell it like it TIS; which never gets results. Because of the woman’s God-given insight, chances that she will be right on many occasions are relatively high. The questions then arises, is her number one priority to be right (at all cost) or to develop a prosperous and lasting marriage?

Many women will say that they feel that they should not have to coddle their men’s sensitive egos.  The thing is it may seem silly or even stupid to you, but a man’s psyche is fragile. He has physical strength (which God endowed him with), but his mental strength is lacking. This is why God empowered the woman to give him strength in that area. It is a balance that God created to maintain the humility of his creation, but we have taken it and corrupted it.

The thing is when a woman realizes that she will get very little in the way of positive results by pointing out the flaws of her man, but get unbelievable results by letting him know that she has a respect for him that is from God. His natural response is going to be to meet the worthiness of that respect. He is designed that way. In turn, when a man understands that when he treats his wife in a loving way even when it seems she doesn’t deserve it, she will respond in a way that reflects respect and reverence.

 

My grandmother always told me you will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You may not feel like the flies are worth the sugar, but if you want the flies you will use the sugar, or you can keep trying to catch the flies with the vinegar and live with the results.

It’s up to you!

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

One of the greatest issues within marriage is communication. The problem is that men and women communicate in different codes. Because men and women see things through different lenses, it is difficult to for them to decipher the messages that are being sent by their partner.

 

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27 NIV)

 

This verse establishes that in creating humanity, God created two distinctly different beings. It is imperative to understand that making the effort to understand the differences of our mates will have great impact in turning your house into a home. God designed women and men to function distinctively different with a particular purpose in mind for each. When they come together in harmony (a place where differences actually sync with one another to form a synergistic union) there is nothing more beautiful. Yet, when then harmony is non-existent the chaos that ensues is immensely devastating and demoralizing.

 

As we have already established, the wife’s greatest need in the marriage is LOVE, and the husband’s greatest need in the marriage is RESPECT.
“Angry exchanges are caused when the husband appears careless, depriving his wife of love, and when the wife reacts with criticism and complaints that are vehement, depriving the husband of respect. And why should she be respectful? The stupid oaf doesn’t deserve her respect!” ~ Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

 

What Dr. Eggerichs is explaining is that there is a vicious cycle that erupts from the failure to decipher the codes that our mate is sending. The fact is men and we women do see things differently and failure to realize this and apply it to understanding when we are dealing with our mates leads to a breakdown in communication.

 

What was surprising to me when I first began this study was the fact that couples in the Church are divorcing at a rate equal to or greater than those who are non-believers.

 

“…there is madness in their hearts while they live…” (Eccl. 9:3)

 

The reason that I say there is madness is that with the divorce rate being that high, especially among believers there has to be a level of insanity. What we have is a bunch of adults that find themselves in situations because of a particular type of behavior (selfishness) and yet they continue in the same manner. The problem is our natural proclivity to see things our way inhibits our desire and ability to see things through the eyes of our mate.

 

Books on the topic of marriage are not in lack; there are books on marital communication, finance in the home, becoming a better husband, becoming a better wife and so much more. The problem is those in the church believe they have the truth; however, they are not functioning under the entire truth. They have not committed themselves to obtaining the entire truth. I would even say that believers have adapted secular paradigms concerning marriage which has only served to exacerbate the matter. The cosmic world views that have infiltrated the church has wreaked immeasurable havoc on the Christian marriage.

 

Communicating in Code

 

Earlier, I mentioned that men and women communicate in code. It is a part of our individual and distinct design. Dr. Eggerichs gives a great example of how differently men and women see the same thing. Let’s take a look at his example:

 

“Let’s see how this plays out at home as a couple is getting dressed to start the day.

 

She says, “I have nothing to wear.” (She means she has nothing new.)

He says, “I have nothing to wear.” (He means he has nothing clean)

 

There is no serious danger of conflict here, but the “nothing to wear” line illustrates that we all see things out of our own needs and perceptions.

 

Just the other day, I was working on my computer and Sarah had the radio on in the next room. It was some kind of talk show and just loud enough to derail my train of thought. I yelled to her, ‘Are you listening to that?’ There was no reply. I yelled again, ‘Are you listening to that?’ Still no answer. Finally, I yelled louder, ‘Are you listening to the radio?!’ She yelled back, I have been trying to listen, but you keep interrupting!’ This created a two-minute exchange that almost turned into a serious argument. It seems Sarah was irritated with me because she hadn’t even noticed the radio – she was busy with something else. But she thought I had called to her because there was something on this talk show that I really wanted her to hear. Of course, my real intention was that she turn off the radio if she wasn’t really listening to it. So I was irritated with her because she hadn’t understood me.

 

Finally, it came to me that I hadn’t been very clear about what I had meant, and yelling at her three times wasn’t too loving either. So I apologized. I cite this little misunderstanding to point out that things like this can escalate, particularly if husband and wife are a bit upset with one another about something that happened the day before (or possibly just a few minute ago). In other cases, couples may be experiencing long-term tension, which can escalate when fed by a simple miscommunication.”

 

Because we tend to base the way we engage others based on past experiences, especially with that particular person; it is easy to get to a point where the wife begins to anticipate being treated in an unloving manner. In the same way, the husband begins to expect to be treated with disrespect and these presupposed dispositions impact the way things are perceived by our spouses.

 

 

The Issue is Never the Issue

 

When listening to and counseling married couples there is one thing most psychologist agree on; the issue almost always isn’t the issue. In other words, what you believe you are fighting about isn’t really the reason. In its simplest form, it boils down to the husband feeling disrespected and the wife is feeling unloved and the subsequent actions initiate the downward spiral of disintegrating communication.

 

The problem is most often, we have a tendency to focus on our own needs and desires and we fail to give the proper attention to our mate’s.

 

The manner in which the husband and wife see things differently can be demonstrated by the very foundational scriptural passage that we are using for this series.

 

However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. (Eph. 5:33 AMP)

 

When the woman see this she will focus on the love the man is required to give her and will view her mandates as conditional upon the man executing his responsibilities. She may even feel that what is required of her is a little much based on the fact that she has to deal with this childish behavior all the time.

 

In the same way, when the man sees this he sees that he is owed respect. He focuses on what is required of his wife because it fulfills his most primal need; respect.

 

The problem is that it is not our responsibility in marriage to seek our own needs, but to serve the needs of our mate. This is not our natural inclination by any means, but marriage calls for sacrifice and consideration leading to understanding.

 

I want to reexamine this passage yet again. It calls for a man to love (agape – unconditionally, even to the point of laying down his life for hers) his wife as he loves himself. This very statement calls for sacrifice. It immediately puts the wife at the very minimum on the same level of consideration from her husband as he has for himself. He is not to consider his own needs, but he is to set aside his needs and seek that which is best for his wife.

 

As for the wife; I love the way the Amplified version of the Bible lends to the lucidity of this specific passage.

 

“…and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].”

 

The first thing that most women will notice is that the man has one short line and they, for all intensive purposes have a paragraph. Why is this? It is actually fairly simple. The husbands mandate is to love (agape) his wife is self-explanatory. The use of “agape’ by Paul instead of several other words for love that he could have used, says it all. Agape does not have to be expounded upon, by its very definition, it express complete denial of self and total commitment to the one being loved. However, respect needs clarity because a woman’s need for respect is different than a man’s and her view of it is different. This manner of respect is great. This is not a casual respect as in the sense of not being offensive. No, this is a respect that reflects reverence in manner that is above all others except God.

 

]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].

 

It calls for the wife to regard, honor him (in action and representation), prefer him (in her demeanor and speech), esteem him (hold him in high regard, Sarah called Abraham Lord), praise him and more. When a wife is able to do this, she energizes and empowers her husband to be what he was designed to be. This is not a call for the wife to show weakness or servility, but respect of the husband’s position.

 

Some of you may be asking, especially the men; Well why aren’t the women called to love (agape) their husbands? The answer is that God created women to naturally love unconditionally. There is no need to mandate that the women express unconditional love. This form of love is proclivous to the woman.

 

So, it is quite simple, yet unfortunately, still difficult. It is simple to see the issue here, but human nature makes it extremely difficult to correct the problem. Fortunately for us we have the Holy Spirit through which we are able to do all that is required of us. It all starts with understanding that it is not about us. The divine institution of marriage was established by God to perpetuate the human race, maintain filial order and to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world. When we read the Bible we find that the most analogous representation of Christ’s love for the Church is the husband’s love for his wife. Consequently, the wife’s reverence for husband is reflective of the Church’s reverence for Christ.

 

As we move forward I look forward to opening so much more up to you in the way of understanding. Remember knowledge is transformed into power as it is properly applied.

 

 

Be blessed.

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Several years ago when I first began my study on the dynamics of the Christian marriage, I was pleasantly surprised at the abundance of Biblical insight on creating a truly blessed and functional marriage. I was just as equally and unpleasantly surprised to notice the vast number of Christian marriages that were existing well below God’s design and intentions for this magnificent institution. I learned that there were many principles and precepts. There were a number of commands to both the wife and the Husband; however, there was one revelation that epitomized the foundational structure of the Christian marriage in its purest state. It seems that when this particular principle in practiced it creates the environment for a functional and efficacious marriage.

Paul warned that those that marry will face many troubles (1 Cor. 7:28). By implication, this scriptural passage suggests that there are troubles that are unique to the married life. Old Testament Scripture also predicts this as well (Gen. 3:16). When you question Christian and Secular psychologist, you find one common denominator in the development and perpetuation of marital distress; consistent and increasing conflict. This, at first, seems quite evident; however, just understanding that conflict is involved is not enough. We must determine the origin and cause for the conflict and this great and awesome revelation comes forth with unparalleled lucidity. I first discovered it when reading a book entitled: Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The title seems straight forward, but it has so much more hidden within it.

What I discovered was there was something that I had been aware of for years, but I had never truly applied the knowledge to help me understand the enigmatic issues that seem to plague marriages at the very core. It is something that is discussed on a consistent basis, but rarely indulged in a manner that would produce any efficacious results. In his book Dr. Eggerichs uses his own marriage to paint a vivid picture of what happens in the typical marriage simply based on this one principle.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter One:

“I proposed to Sarah when we were both still in college, and she said yes. While still engaged we got a hint of how husbands and wives can get into arguments over practically nothing. That first Christmas Sarah made me a jean jacket. I opened the box, held up the jacket, and thanked her.

“You don’t like it,” she said.

I look at her with great perplexity and answered, “I do too like it.”

Adamant, she said, “No you don’t. You aren’t excited.” Taken back, I sternly repeated, “I do too like it.” She shot back, “No you don’t. If you liked it, you would be excited and thanking me a lot. In my family we say, “Oh my, just what I wanted!’ There is enthusiasm. Christmas is a huge time, and we show it.”

That was our introduction to how Sarah and Emerson respond to gifts. Sarah will thank people a dozen times with something touches her deeply. Because I did not profusely thank her, she assumed I was being polite but could hardly wait to drop off the jacket at the Salvation Army collection center…”

“…One night as we were driving home from a small group Bible Study, Sarah expressed some strong feelings that had been building up in her over several weeks.

‘You were boring in our Bible study tonight,’ she said, almost angrily. ‘You intimidate people with your silence. And when you talk, you sometimes say something insensitive. What you said to the new couple came across poorly…’ I didn’t respond for a few seconds because I was feeling put down, not only by what she said but by her demeanor and her tone. I replied, “Sarah, you can be right but wrong at the top of your voice.”

Sarah recalls that our conversation that night in the car was life-changing for her. She may have been accurate in her assessment of how I was acting around people, but her delivery was overkill. We both dealt with the things in our lives due to that conversation. (We still sometimes remind one another, ‘You know, you can be right but wrong at the top of your voice.’)…”

In sharing these stories, Dr. Eggerichs is revealing the foundation for a great deal of the conflict within a marriage; distinct differences in the make-up of men and woman and how it impacts the marriage. Men and women have distinctively different needs within the marriage. When this fact is ignored, it creates the fertile ground for the seeds of discontent and eventually malevolence to be planted and cultivated. Solomon called the conflicts that stem from this disregard of natural differences “the little foxes that ruin the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). Tension in a marriage has the potential to erode self-image which is the opposite of the ultimate goal in marriage; to edify, that is build up your mate.

The world will teach you that your words have very little impact and that everything should be centered on action. In many ways this is true. Your actions say a great deal, but we should not devalue the power of words, especially when it comes to their ability to either edify or desolate your partner’s self-image.

The Secret Revealed in Ephesians 5:33

 

As a Bible student, teacher, and spiritual leader, I have spent countless hours in the Word of God, and a significant portion of those hours were spent anatomizing Ephesians chapter 5. This is probably the greatest treatise in the Bible on the responsibilities of the husband and wife in the marriage; however, it is often taken out of context. When this passage of scripture is given the proper gravity and the careful attention that it requires, we find substantially more than a syllabus on marital behavior. When we examine it closely we find a powerful revelation that better equips us to meet the needs of our mates.

As lot of focus is always given to verse 22; “22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Eph. 5:22-24 NIV)

The Amplified version brings greater lucidity to this passage: 22Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.

23For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.

24As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

This command calls for the wife to submit herself to her husband as to the Lord. The amplified version emphasizes that fact that this submission is a service to the Lord. This point leads to a powerful truth that must be apprehended in order to truly develop a powerful and efficacious marriage; it is not about you! The wife’s submission to her husband is actually submission to God. Now this is not a treatise on submission; there is actually more instruction given to the husband than the wife. The husband carries a greater responsibility and is actually called to greater sacrifice (even to the point of laying down his life for his wife).

I want to draw your attention to verse 33: 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV)

33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to (BN)love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she[r](BO)respects her husband. (NASB)

33However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[f]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [g]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].(AMP) [c.f. I Pet. 3:2.]

There are two words that stand out here and they are distinctively different and uniquely replied; LOVE and RESPECT. When I say distinctly different and uniquely replied, what I mean is the commands to love and respect are not given to both, the husband and the wife. The husband is called to love his wife as he loves himself. The wife is called to respect her husband. Does this mean that the husband does not have to respect his wife? Of course not, his love for her will generate respect. Does this mean that the wife does not have to love her husband? Not at all; her respect for him is a reflection of her love. What this passage does reveal is the specific needs of each party in the marriage. The woman’s greatest need within the relationship is to be loved. The wife searches every word and evaluates every action of her husband to find the evidence of his love for her. On the other hand, the man’s greatest concern is that he be respected, and he will read into every word and assess every action to determine whether he is respected by his wife.

Of course there is overlapping and there are individual variances; however, the basic premise here is that when you understand what your partner needs you are better equipped to meet their needs. In the earlier excerpts from the book, Love and Respect, the intense exchanges between Emerson and Sarah were coming from two places that create a vicious cycle. Sarah said something that Emerson took as a sign of disrespect and he instinctively responded in a way that made Sarah feel unloved and now the cycle has begun. If not checked Sarah will become more frustrated and her words will seem more and more disrespectful to Emerson and Emerson will become sharp in his responses convincing Sarah that he does not love her.

One of the most common mistakes that tends to conceal this issue is that most people feel that if they are treating a person the very way they want to be treated then everything should be fine. After all, we are taught to do unto others, right? When we are told to do unto others it actually means to treat them with the same regard for their needs and desires as you want others to have for yours. If you have a strong desire to be complimented, but your mate would rather be held, you complimenting them is not meeting their needs and they will see your failure to meet their needs as either a lack of respect (husband) or a failure to love (wife). Dr. Eggerichs says that the manner in which the need for love and the need for respect play off each other will have an immense impact on the type of marriage you will have.

One thing that I must quickly illuminate here is that these commands are not conditional. Meaning a husband is to obey the command to love his wife even if the wife does not obey the command to respect, and the wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love. This is a very difficult concept for most because we have a tendency to base the way we treat others by the way they treat us. This is not the Christian way, however.

There is actually a synergism at work here when both the wife and husband obey their specific commands. Listen to what Dr. Eggerichs says on the matter:

“When a husband feels disrespected, he has natural tendency to react in a way that feels unloving to his wife. (Perhaps the command to love was given to him precisely for this reason!) When a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feels disrespectful to her husband.”

Can you see the vicious cycle developing? Solomon referred to this crazy and destructive cycle as “the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.” (Ecc. 7:25)’

Without love, the wife has a tendency to act without respect and without respect the husband reacts without love. Unchecked, this cycle will wreak immeasurable havoc on the marriage. The key to getting off of this cycle is for the husband and wife to look for ways to meet each other’s needs and to understand that certain behavior is not necessary because one person doesn’t respect the other or that the other person doesn’t love the one.

It is key to note that when Paul gives the command to the husband to love his wife, he does not use the Greek word “eros” which connotes passion and affection that would be normal between a man and his wife. Paul, instead, uses “agape” which connotes unconditional love and its foundation and origin are different from eros.  Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means “love” (unconditional love) in modern day Greek, such as in the term s’agapo (Σ’αγαπώ), which means “I love you”. In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true love” rather than the attraction suggested by “eros“. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. It is also known as the God type of love. “Agape” is objective rather than subjective, meaning that it is based on the one doing the loving rather than the one being loved. It originates internally and is not dependent upon external influence.

Most people postulate that there has to be a certain feeling to execute a certain act. This is not the case when acting from within your own spiritually motivated Character. A wife does not have to feel respect for her husband in order to treat him with respect. Her motivation to honor God should motivate her to do so. Likewise, a husband doesn’t have to feel like being loving towards his wife in order to do it; his desire to please God should lead him to do so.

As we move further in developing this awesome doctrine we will begin to see that the power to transform your house into a home is readily available.

I look forward to revealing the next gem of truth. Until then, be blessed.

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

When Your House Is Not a Home

 

By Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

 

I want to be very lucid in presenting the fact that I do not write, teach, or preach from a platform of perfection.  As a man I have made mistakes, and those mistakes have at times come at the expense of others.  I have tasted the bitter waters of divorce and staggered through the storm of relational dysfunctionality.  I know what it feels like to have children who are trapped between their love for their parents and the fact that mom and dad are no longer seeing things eye to eye.  No, I don’t write to you this day from the lonely island of perfection, but from the transformed heart of a man of God.  This being the most preeminent of truths: That only through complete surrender to God’s “will” for your life can you find true joy, contentment, and stability in marriage.

 

 

 

As we move forward, we will explore God’s will for marriage, marriage’s function as an institution, God’s role in the home, and lastly, what happens when your house is not a home.  A great deal of what will be addressed will be directed toward men because it is my belief that too many men have fallen away from their God ordained duties, creating a void and an imbalance in the function of the home and many other areas of society.  It is now that the clarion is sounding.  God is calling men to resume their positions as leaders, providers, protectors, and enablers.

 

 

 

This does not, by any means, excuse our Christian women from walking into their callings and ambling into their destinies.  I know that you have been hurt; I know that you have been disappointed; I know that you have been left with the burden of being a single parent.  Your trust and faithfulness has been repaid with disloyalty, malevolence, and abandonment; however, there is still reason to press on.  God is still in control, I know its been strenuous and arduous, yet, on behalf of every man that deemed it acceptable to procreate and then abandon his progeny, for every man that assumed it satisfactory behavior to be physically or emotionally abusive, for every man that thought it to be the proper course of action to tread upon your dreams, I personally apologize.  Yes, you have been hurt, but now its time to let go and move forward.  It is time to rise up and be all that you were created to be.

 

 

 

Men of Power I have not forgotten you. Yes, there are some of you out there that stand strong in your filial responsibilities. There are some of you that refuse to leave your family behind. There are some of you that walk in their God ordained destinies. For those of you that fall into this category, we need your example to shine vividly in this world of diminishing Christian influence.

 

 

 

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (Col 1:17)

 

 

 

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  (Joh 17:5)

 

 

 

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These scriptural passages reveal the fact that Christ has existed eternally and that all things consist in Him.  This means that all things are sustained and held together by Christ; this includes the institutions of marriage and family, as well as the home in general.  Knowledge of this truth is of massive importance.  First, it establishes the foundation on which marriages and families are built and sustained; Without Christ in the forefront it is impossible to initiate, cultivate, and sustain any relationship.  Secondly, in time of distance, indifference separation, and even abandonment, the knowledge of Christ’s sustaining power carries you through.  So, again I stress that the points made here must be examined in the light of Christianity (as outlined in the Bible) and the acknowledgement of a sovereign God.  Outside of this prospective, one tends to lean toward human viewpoint and logical resolutions to spiritual issues.  No matter how a problem manifests itself in the physical realm of reality, its source is always of a spiritual nature.

 

 

 

For as Paul injects this truth, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).” In 2 Cor. 10:3, he iterates, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”  The enemy has wreaked immeasurable havoc on the Christian name simply because we did not sense his presence.

 

 

 

God’s Way or Yours

 

 

 

Contrary to secular paradigms, there are only two ways of approaching life; God’s way or mans way.  There are no middle grounds, no place of compromise, or situational exceptions. When I say this, I am not speaking of religious of legalistic rigidity, but a yield to the will of God through love, honor, and reverence.

 

 

 

God establishes through the prophet Isaiah that his ways and thoughts are above ours.

 

 

 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isa 55:8,9)

 

 

 

This does not mean that we are to continue to live in the darkness of our finite perspicacity, but we are to draw closer to God and His way as each day passes.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).”  I have been and I will continue to emphasize the profound gravity your thinking has on the success of your Christian journey. The first dictum here is to draw near to God.  This calls for a form of self-abnegation of one’s personal views and values in exchange for the perfect and sovereign will of God.  We are also exhorted to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We do this by forsaking sin, confession of those sins we do commit, and a purification of our thoughts.  In addition, for the second time in his letter, James addresses the state of being double-minded.  Being double-minded is attempting to think and live in two separate ways.  Double-minded is literally translated “two souls”.  If one part of your being is set on the way of God and the other is set on the way of the world, there will be a constant conflict from within with an outward manifestation of perpetual disarray.  This is what Paul says, “16But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

 

17For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

 

When a person is perpetually functioning between the two states I call this state of mind spiritual schizophrenia (a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements).  A spiritual schizophrenic is capricious in his thoughts and vacillating in his actions and beliefs, in fact, the Word tells us that he is unstable in all his ways.

 

 

 

Every relationship, including marriage, must be entered with the understanding of God’s will.  One of the greatest destructive forces known to marriage or any other relationship, for that matter, is self-determination.  So many of us have entered into relationships that God has not ordained, but we are determined to have nonetheless.  All the signs are there, but we choose to ignore the obvious.  If he or she is married, it is probably a good sign that he or she is not the one God has for you.  If he or she is involved in illicit behavior, there’s probably a good chance that they are not the one.  The list of tells is extensive, but the result is the same — Operating outside of the will of God means operating outside the blessings of God.  Allow me to make myself painfully clear, you cannot operate outside God’s will and have the audacity to expect God to bless and prosper your willful disobedience.  You can’t take something that does not belong to you and ask God to bless it. If fact, you can expect to incur a curse for your disobedience (This is addressed in my treatise Covered by Covenant).

 

 

 

With that being said, I must for the sake of doctrinal accuracy, point to the fact that there is no sin that Christ’s magnanimous work on Calvary did not expiate. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. What this means is that when we repent of our sins and confess them before God, He will forgive and cleanse us of the guilt and stain of that sin. There are those that will ask why mention this provision. They will postulate that it promotes sin. I would answer, “Doctrine must be taught in accuracy and balance. We weight our teachings in correspondence to our personal views on certain issues, leaving those we teach with distorted views and inadequately equipped to live the Christian life. This is a disservice to those we teach and a dereliction of duty on our part. Every provision of God’s plan of grace has a purpose and should not be overlooked or denied. So even when one enters into a relationship that has not been ordained by God, God himself, when sincerely approached through repentance and confession, will sanctify that relationship.

 

 

 

The Proper Connection

 

 

 

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)

 

 

 

 

 

Though this exhortation extends beyond the institution of marriage, it most definitely applies.  We are not to enter into binding or covenant relationships with those who perpetuate ungodly behavior.  We are the dwelling place of our most holy God and must live a life that honors and glorifies Him.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he advises that a saved spouse can sanctify an unsaved spouse;  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are (L)holy (1 Cor. 7:14 NASB).

 

 

 

 

 

However, here he is speaking of a spouse who became saved during the marriage, not before. Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not the place for a fixer up mentality. What I mean by this is we have a proclivity to think that we can reach out and bring someone into our lives and fix their fallibilities in a manner that suits our desires and needs. Listen very closely to what I am about to tell you. We can only enhance the potential of someone else; we can never create it. Transformation is a human prerogative; it takes the exercise of one’s volition to exact change. Too often we enter into relationships thinking that we can impose our will on our mates and recreate who they are. We see those attributes we are looking for in a mate and totally ignore those characteristics that autonomously express doom.

 

 

 

The point I am making here is that it is of immense importance the manner in which one enters marriage and with whom.  This is not to limit God’s ability to sanctify, but to bring to light the fact that God will not abandon His will to appease yours.  So in this instance, if your house is not a home, it was not meant to be.  Remember, God’s will is sovereign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Laws of Divine Establishment

 

 

 

To truly comprehend the institution of marriage as well as other divine institutions ordained by God, one must first grasp the necessity for each.  We must first understand that God’s plan is eternal.  Because God is omniscient, He is never taken by surprise as it pertains to our actions; He is never surprised by our transgressions.  God, in eternity past, designed a plan by which he would reconcile fallen man to Himself.

 

 

 

Matthew 25:34 says, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

 

 

 

For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,

 

(C)AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”

 

although His works were finished(D)from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:3 NASB)

 

 

 

 

 

We are told that certain things were kept secret from the foundation of the world.  The notion is that because of His omniscience, coupled with His omnipotence, God does not have to wait for us to slip into the pit of despair in order to plan our escape. He has always known that we would fall and has already prepared a way of escape. This, of course should provide a sense of solace, it should establish a foundation of hope.  It should also alert your senses to the truth that there is nothing inconsequential when it comes to a purpose in mind, as we will see.  God is neither frivolous nor capricious in his actions; there is always a purpose —no wasted motions.

 

 

 

Understanding the purpose will assist you in functioning optimally within this system designed by God.

 

 

 

The laws of Divine Establishment are ensconced within the comprehensive expression of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law is found specifically in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Law is divided into three major division called codices:

 

 

 

Codex 1 is the moral code known as the commandments. This set of rules consists of more than 120 commandments including the Decalogue (also known as the Ten Commandments Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). Codex 1 establishes and clarifies the moral codes that ultimately proved man is a sinner in need of salvation.

 

 

 

18 For (AD)if the inheritance is[aa]based on law, it is no longer[ab]based on a promise; but (AE)God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

 

19 (AF)Why the Law then? It was added [ac]because of transgressions, having been(AG)ordained through angels (AH)by the [ad]agency of a mediator, until(AI)the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now (AJ)a mediator is not [ae]for oneparty only; whereas God is onlyone. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? (AK)May it never be! For (AL)if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness [af]would indeed have been [ag]based on law. 22 But the Scripture has (AM)shut up[ah]everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

 

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law,(AN)being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our(AO)tutor to lead us to Christ, so that (AP)we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a[ai](AQ)tutor. (Galatians 3:18-25 NASB)

 

 

 

 

 

Codex 1 Also provides the foundation for the laws of divine establishment.

 

 

 

Codex 2 establishes the spiritual ordinances which are shadows and types of Christ as the savior of the world. The ordinances produce the shadows of Christology and soteriology.

 

 

 

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. (Heb. 10:1 NASB)

 

 

 

Codex 2 is inclusive of the Levitical Offerings, Holy Days, Tabernacle and its functions, dress and modus operandi of the Levitical Priesthood, and liturgy of worship of Israel.

 

 

 

Codex 3 establishes the social code and reveals and presents the laws of divine establishment which are designed to protect freedom and privacy for the entire whole of mankind, believers and non-believers alike. This section of the law delineates the perfect standard for the function of the national entity as well as dietary laws, laws of sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, military service, marriage, divorce and more. We find that to insure the proper execution of the laws of divine establishment, God designed four institutions through which the laws of divine establishment would be perpetuated: the individual, the marriage, the family, and the nation.

 

 

 

How do the laws of divine establishment affect and apply to the divine institutions?  “God, in His omniscience has always known that man would choose to sin and consequently acquire a sin nature, giving him the unlimited potential to destroy himself and negatively impact those around him.  In order to conserve, protect, and perpetuate the existence of the human race throughout the history of this spiritual warfare some have dubbed the angelic conflict, God instituted the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment are principles and precepts that apply to both believers and nonbelievers alike.  The laws of this nation are based upon the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment protect life, stability, freedom, possessions, and provide blessings.  The laws give greater weight to certain human possessions, such as, life and freedom.  An adherence to these laws ensures prosperity in so many aspects of our lives.” (R.B. Thieme Jr. Freedom Through Military Victory)

 

 

 

This system of control functions under the umbrella of legitimate authority.  Legitimate authority is authority ordained and delegated by God in which certain people have responsibility and a particular scope or range of jurisdiction over other members of society.  Authority exists both, in the temporal and spiritual realms, but the laws of divine establishment only apply to the temporal realm.  The Laws of divine establishment can be reviewed in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy.

 

 

 

The Divine Institutions

 

 

 

 

 

In His infinite wisdom God ordained four divine institutions through which the laws of divine establishment function:  the individual, the marriage, the family, and the national entity.  The ordination, existence, and perpetuation of these institutions are lucidly delineated and symmetrically confirmed by scripture.  God has delegated a primary authority to function within each institution to insure its optimal function: volition for the individual, the husband for marriage, parents for the family, and government for the national entity.  Each of these institutions were a part of God’s plan before the beginning of time, but were revealed at different points in History.  The individual was ordained with the creation of Adam in Geneses 1:26; marriage with the creation of the woman in Genesis 2:23; family with the birth of the first child in Genesis 4:1; the national entity with the formations of nations in Genesis 10:5.  These four institutions encompass the entire human race irrespective to race, religion, gender, social statutes, and all other considerable factors.

 

 

 

The Individual

 

 

 

Though we, at some point, will discuss each of the divine institutions, our primary focus here, is marriage.  However, before we can apprehensively navigate through the many corridors of marriage, we must first gain an understanding of the function and responsibility of the institution of the individual; the reason being that a functional marriage is the production of two whole individuals uniting and becoming one.  One of the multitudinous quandaries of marriage is the individual who attempts to enter marriage as a means of becoming whole, as a solution to their brokenness, and as a substitute for the emptiness within.  Before entering into the institution of marriage, one must be confident in their identity in Christ.  They must be functional, efficient, and effective in their responsibility as an individual before stepping into the massive responsibility and commitment of marriage.  Marriage is not a cure all for those problematic issues in your life, it is not the place to flee to in search of healing for past hurts, it is a graduation of sorts for the person who has come to a knowledge of self and can enter the bond of matrimony as an asset, not a liability.  Remember, we enter into marriage as a contributor.

 

 

 

So, let us take a look at the function and responsibility of the individual.  The individual is the initiator, the foundation on which the other institutions are built. So, it can be said that the strength of any institution can only be as strong as the individual functioning parts.  You can’t take a dysfunctional individual and plug him into a marriage and presume that he will become functional even if the other partner is highly functional.  The marriage, for all it’s worth, may seem to be highly productive; the problem is one person is shouldering the burden.  At some point, the lack of balance and symmetry will cause a breakdown or collapse in some area.  This is not to say that in marriage, one partner at some point or another will not carry a disproportionate share of the burden, however, this should not be characteristic of the relationship.

 

 

 

The first individual, Adam, was created by God, perfect, a trichotomous being, existing of body, soul, and spirit.  When he chose, through his own volition, to disobey God and sin, he became dichotomous —existing of only body and soul, having become spiritually dead.  Adam became spiritually dead, his spirit being replaced with a sin nature, the genetic predisposition to sin. As we are his progeny, seminally present at the fall, the sin nature has been genetically passed on to each of us through male procreation, meaning we are all born spiritually dead.

 

 

 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (through Adam). (Rom. 5:12 emphasis added)

 

 

 

Only through regeneration, which comes through faith in Christ, can man be rendered trichotomous, spiritually alive.  Notice, regeneration comes through a volitional act of faith.  The primary authority for the individual is volition.  Volition provides the capacity for man to choose, and is a function of the human will, which is controlled by the human soul.  When the human volition is functioning optimally, it functions under the rationale of the soul, not instinct or emotion.

 

 

 

Understanding the Power of Volition

 

 

 

God’s Biblical mandates are always directed toward volition, making volition a significant and influential force in this spiritual warfare.  The power of choice can never be over estimated or overvalued.  The proper regulation of volition is paramount in the perpetuation of the Christian lifestyle.  We are commanded over and over to choose.  Choose to believe in Christ, choose life or death, and choose to walk in the Spirit.  Make no mistake, the choices you make carry consequence.

 

 

 

So, what, ultimately is the function and responsibility of the individual?  The individual is to display self-discipline, in consistently choosing to do what is required of him by God.  He is to live his life in the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.  He is to walk in the confidence of his identity in Christ.  The individual carries the greatest impact on society, for he is not only the foundation for the other institutions, he is also the only institution that directly impacts all others.

 

 

 

Confederate General, John Brown Gordon once said, “I am reminded of the commonplace but important truth that the aggregate character of a people of any country depends upon the personal character of its individual citizens; and the individual, personal character of it’s people, than it does upon any constitution that could be adopted or statutes that could be enacted.  What would safe guards be worth if the character of the people did not sustain and enforce them?”

 

 

 

So, it’s safe to say that what any individual takes into the bond of matrimony in the form of character, integrity, fortitude, and potential has a monumental and enduring impression upon that marriage. Being somewhat nebulous, a marriage is only capable of producing to the limits and boundaries of its potential; that potential is determined by the individual potential of those that enter this bond of marriage.

 

 

 

The Marriage

 

 

 

As stated earlier, marriage is not a hiding place for a troubled soul.  It is not an arrangement of convenience through which economic struggles may be confronted.  It is not an expedient arrangement by which the human race is propagated.  No, marriage is a divine institution ordained by God.  It is meant to represent Christ’s love for the church.  When people look into the Christian marriage they should see the reflection of God’s love —no relationship bears more importance to social culture and the church than marriage.

 

 

 

Listen to what Biblical scholar R.B. Thieme Jr. has to say about the institution of marriage: “Marriage provides the structure for stability in society, the foundation of civilization.  God’s plan for husband and wife prohibits fornication, adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, communal living, polygamy, and frivolous divorce.  When the divine design for marriage is spurned by enough people, degeneracy permeates society and the nation declines.” (Freedom Through Military Victory, R.B. Thieme Jr. 2003)

 

 

 

Lucidly speaking, as the respect for the sanctity of God ordained marriage wanes, the moral fiber of our social culture begins to unravel.  This explains why things considered unacceptable by the masses a mere twenty years ago are now commonplace.

 

 

 

As volition is the delegated authority in the individual, the husband is the authority delegated by God in the marriage.  Now, this fact has become quite controversial in today’s social environment.  This Biblical truth has been misconstrued to indicate or express the superiority of the man over the women.  Some have taken it as an attempt by man to oppress and dominate women.  There are those that will insist that the principle of male authority in the home is archaic and no longer functions in contemporary culture; however, scripture does not support this point of view.  The truth is that all of these misconceptions do not align with Biblical mandate.

 

 

 

God, in His infinite wisdom, understands the vast importance of maintaining order, and subsequently designed a system through which order may be sustained, as long as man is obedient to the mandates of the plan.

 

 

 

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body.”(Eph 5:22)

 

 

 

“IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,” (1 Peter 3:1 AMP)

 

 

 

These are two very expressive and revealing scriptural passages. One has to have at least a minimal understanding of categorical bible study. Ephesians 5.22 is Paul’s command to wives to submit and in itself bears clarity to a much misunderstood piece of scripture. In Genesis 3:16, God addresses Eve after the fall. He tells her that her pain in childbirth will be multiplied, but he does not stop there. He concludes with the following statement:

 

 

 

“…Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And (R)he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

 

 

 

There are several popular interpretations for the part of the passage, but the proper one is establish and supported by Paul’s exhortation to wives in Ephesians 5:22.

 

 

 

This is what Dr. Thomas Constable has to say about this passage of scripture:

 

 

 

“The ‘curse’ here describes the beginning of the battle of the sexes. After the Fall, the husband no longer rules easily; he must fight for his headship. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship), and he must master her, if he can. Sin had corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. And so the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny, domination, and manipulation.” (Thomas Constable, Commentary of the Bible)

 

 

 

If you want to obtain a more detailed explanation of this passage I would suggest you read the article “What is the Women’s Desire” by Susan T. Foh. She gives a very disciplined description in this article. If you would wish, you may email me at rpw@rickwallaceministries.com and I will provide an in-depth anatomization of this scriptural text.

 

 

 

Basically, this conflict in the home is what prompted Paul to address both, husband and wife in Ephesians Chapter five.

 

 

 

Marriage is a relationship that involves mutual submission, and though all Christians are called and exhorted to live in submission to one another, submission is applied in a unique manner to the marriage relationship.  The wife is commanded not simply to submit, but to submit to her husband as to the Lord.  The Greek word used here is (“Hypotasso”) — to put in subjection, subject, subordinate; in the passive, to submit, be subject to.  According to the terminology in scripture, she is to hold him in the highest esteem and regard.

 

 

 

Every well-ordered society rests upon the pillars of authority and submission.  Where there is no submission to authority, anarchy and chaos run rampant.  Submission never implies inferiority; authority doesn’t establish superiority.  Christ was submissive to God the Father, but at no time was he ever inferior, they are both equally God.  Neither is the woman inferior to man or the wife inferior to the husband.  In fact, there are many areas in which the wife may transcend her husband.

 

 

 

I am perfectly cognizant of the fact that the Biblical view is not a popular one, nevertheless, we are not to be conformed to the world but we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  We should not allow the world to influence the stances we take and the way we live our lives.  We are to be the light, the focal point, and the influence that induces a sort of transculturation.

 

 

 

Now if the wife is to submit to the husband, what is the husband required to do?  Luke 12:48 tells us that he who has been entrusted with much, of him much will be required.  Before we progress, allow me to bring elucidation to the principle of partial submission.  When a wife submits to her husband, she is not submitting to the man; she is submitting to the God ordained authority given to the man by the creator.  This delegated authority is revocable and is only active when the husband is operating under the will of God.  Whenever a husband chooses to move opposite the will of God, his wife is not obligated to follow his lead, she is to remain in line with the Word.  This insures the authority of headship delegated by God is not abused or used to Lord over the wife.  The wife is not a slave, but a partner.  I digress.  Shall we continue?

 

 

 

The husband, in a manner of reciprocation or even excessiveness, is called to love his wife, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.  He is to put aside his own interest in order to enhance hers.  Beyond God, she is to be placed first; her life above his; her needs before his.  His role is to nourish (Greek ekotrphō —to support her growth toward her personal maturity), and to cherish (Greek thalpō —to warmly care for and attend to).  When in the perfect harmony God intended, each partner in marriage proactively and interactively brings the other to his or her full potential in life.

 

 

 

When a marriage is lived out in a mutually loving, supportive, and loyal environment, it mirrors the love of Christ for the church and the love the church is called to have toward Him.

 

 

 

Again, at the risk of being redundant, I reiterate, the submissive woman of the Bible is far from weak.  She is the epitome of strength and spiritual fortitude.  She is the heart line of the home.  She is the source of favor and blessing for her husband.  Proverbs 18:22 says, “he that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  A Godly wife is the greatest gift a man may obtain from the Lord beyond salvation.

 

 

 

Thus far, we have ingested quite a bit of information, let’s take a moment to allow our souls to digest it.  What can we ascertain from what has been taken in thus far?  First and foremost, marriage is a vehicle through which God reveals his love to a world in desperate need of a Savior.  It is not a place for one to fulfill their selfish desires.  It is a place of giving, caring, loving and so much more.  It is the opportunity to wake up each day and glance over into the eyes of God’s most vivid portrait of His love for you.  It is the opportunity to experience God’s divine favor as it is showered upon your home via deitious promise and divine providence.

 

 

 

The question then arises: If God has established such a lofty status for marriage, why are there so many houses and so few homes?  Why is the divorce rate in excess of 50% of all marriage in the U.S.?  The answer in its simplest form is we are not living our lives in the power of the spirit.  We have not allowed the power of the blood to permeate through every fissure and orifice of our marriage.  We have chosen to position ourselves in the philosophical pool of popularity.  We have engaged ourselves with cosmic philosophies that promote and entice narcissistic behavior.

 

 

 

Please believe me when I tell you that there is no greater, no more of a powerful magnet of God’s blessings and favor than the union of marriage, yet if you are in a marriage functioning outside of the will of God, it can be the most miserable of places.

 

 

 

Though women are not beyond reproach, it is my position that a vast majority of the social and spiritual issues we are confronted with today are due to a falling away of the Christian man.  Don’t get me wrong, I could probably write volumes as to the state of the Christian woman in today’s society, but honestly if it were not for a nucleus of Christian women who have stood firm in the faith despite the antinomianistic environments in which they reside, I’m afraid to think of where we would be in this country.

 

 

 

I want to take time to say that when I speak of Christian living, it is not of lethargic, luke warm Christianity.  I speak of spirit filled men and women who desire nothing more than to please the Father, to walk into their purpose, and fulfill their destinies, I do not speak of fence straddlers, those who live their lives as they please and yet arrogantly expect God to service their needs and desires, with no consequence to their mutinous behavior.  No, I speak of the believer who understands that he/she is the salt of the earth and that low living is not their calling.

 

 

 

Are You The Man You Think You Are?

 

 

 

We, as a nation, as a Christian people, have found ourselves in a very precarious position.  Single parent households are at an all time high.  To exacerbate matters, the men that have fled these homes have defaulted on their promissory oaths and paternal obligations.  Men have, in some way, found it both, easy and acceptable to procreate and then abandon their progeny.  The very foundation of our moral integrity and manly honor has been shaken to the very core.  It would be a foolish assessment to attribute every social issue and all of the enigmatic predicaments that confront us to men, yet, as men; we must face the fact that our leadership is in many ways, faulty.  We have fallen short in the function of our God ordained duties as the head.  We adamantly declare our kingship, but fail to sustain its requisites.  We have too easily become transculturated by the precepts, philosophies and principles of the world around us.  The standard by which we are to be measured and appraised should always be the Word of God.

 

 

 

“But if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”(1 Tim 5:8)

 

 

 

These are strong words by the Apostle Paul.  He says failure to take care of your paternal or filial obligations equates to a denial of the faith.  He goes one step further by declaring failure in this area places the believer in a position worse than that of an unbeliever.  This is for the simple reason that there are unbelievers that grasp and embrace the concept of relational responsibilities.  It is easy to see that the Christian man who fails in his responsibilities to his family, not only places his family in a position of suffering; it brings reproach to the faith.

 

 

 

When Things Go Wrong

 

 

 

Please understand that though I cannot condone frivolous divorce, there are times when divorce is the best and maybe even the only option.  I’m sure that there are those that will be critical of the aforementioned statement, however, the fact remains that there are times when we place ourselves in situations that are outside the scope of God’s will for our lives.  But Bishop, Christ emphatically, unequivocally, and explicitly says that divorce is not allowed except for infidelity.  Well, first of all, He did not say infidelity; He said sexual immorality, which extends far beyond infidelity.  Yet, this is not the issue.  If we desire to use the Word to set up loop holes in which we can operate within our own will, we are out of line, but just as dangerous is the one who attempts to use the letter of the law to establish, contrive, or even rebut the righteousness of himself or others.  To do so is to discount God’s grace.  The issue here is the depth of God’s Word and the ability through the Holy Spirit to grasp or apprehend its meaning.

 

 

 

Make no mistake about it; divorce was in no way God’s intention for marriage.  It is and has always been God’s ideal that one man and one woman remain married until the matrimonial bond is broken by death (Rom. 7:2,3).

 

 

 

We find in Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce.

 

 

 

So then, why did God allow for divorce?  Christ tells us that God, through Moses, gave an allowance for divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart.  Moses‘ law of divorce is in essence, a concession to man’s weaknesses, and was not given to make the act of divorce easier, on the contrary, it was given to constrain the ease in which a divorce is obtained, in actuality, giving the wife a protection she had not enjoyed to that point.  Before the law was constituted, the wife had very few rights of protection; the husband could simply decide he no longer wanted his wife, with little or no provocation and then force her out of the home.

 

 

 

Earlier, I made the statement that there are times divorce becomes necessary.  We know by literal translation that sexual immorality may be used as scriptural grounds for divorce, yet, scripture does not “mandate” divorce in the instance of sexual immortality.  Even in the area of infidelity, if it is possible to save the marriage, it is your responsibility to do so.  The question then arises: are there any other legitimate reasons for divorcing a life partner?  Depending on what Bible scholar you confer with, the answer may vary.  Even when it comes to the stated exception for divorce (sexual immorality), scholars are not in absolute agreement.  Some believe this exception applies to premarital sexual immorality, some postnuptial transgressions.  Most scholars, based on 1 Cor. 7:12-16, believe that divorce is acceptable when a believing spouse is deserted by an unbelieving spouse.  This writer concurs; in fact, I would like to take this particular passage of scripture to make an important and extremely essential point as it pertains to the study of scripture.

 

 

 

In several passages of scripture, however, Paul explicitly says that a believer can be released from the bond of marriage if their unbelieving spouse chooses to leave.

 

 

 

Does this mean that either passage (Christ’s or Paul’s directive’s for divorce. Christ said only sexual immorality and Paul said dessertion) is fallacious or that scripture is contradicting scripture? Certainly not.  It simply points to the truth that the Bible is not comprehensive in scenerio; it does not address every possible scenario on every possible issue, it addresses life in principle.  The Bible points us toward the heart of God, it reveals God and His plan for our lives and addresses issues in principle (e.g. Matt 18:21-22).  In this example, Peter approaches Christ concerning the act of forgiveness; should a man forgive his brother as many as seven times for personal transgressions?  Jesus‘ answer was succinct, yet immensely profound:  “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”(v.22) Was Christ setting the bar at 490? Of course not, He was establishing the perpetual necessity of forgiveness. Jesus is not applying a mathematical formula; he is implying limitless forgiveness.

 

 

 

It becomes obvious through scriptural comparison that divorce is allowed in other situations other than sexual immorality.  So then, why does Jesus only mention one?  Since God is not the author of confusion, we may safely postulate that Christ is not attempting to use omission in an attempt to leave you in a comatic state of ambivalence.  Christ is, in essence, uses sexual immorality, due to its devastating force on all of those it touches, and its significance in biblical times to establish a level of inclemency, volatility, and ephemerality at which the institution of marriage becomes soluble or irreconcilable.

 

 

 

So, what are the other instances in which divorce may be acceptable to God?  There is no way to present an exhaustive list in this matter, but some of the obvious cases would be situations in which there is physical or emotional abuse, where the long term effect could be spiritual deficiency, emotional instability, physical injury or even death.  Any situation in which one partner is being manipulated, dominated or oppressed in a manner that impedes their growth, spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.  Abandonment, in the sense of emotional or physical separation may be another situation in which divorce is warranted. A situation in which it is determined that a spouse may be dangerous toward the children in the home is an instance that requisites divorce.  Because of God’s matchless and enduring love for His chosen, it is never His will that we languish in any situation that is destructive toward our spiritual growth and continuous progression toward Him and eternity.

 

 

 

Because we once walked in complete carnality and even now stumble into its arena, it is possible to enter into unions that are not conducive to Christian growth nor do they meet God’s approval.  Are we to remain in these non-efficacious alliances?  That is the question.  Keep in mind that when Jesus addresses the Pharisees concerning divorce, He is as in other instances, such as adherence to the Sabbath, addressing the rigidity in which they interpret the law.

 

 

 

Please do not take away from this that I uphold spontaneous or capricious actions that lead to avoidable and unnecessary divorce.  Nevertheless, it is my stand that there are times in which divorce is the proper course of action.  At the end of the day, one must search within and be able to reconcile their actions with God’s will for their life.

 

 

 

This intermittent treatise on divorce and Christianity is not and was not meant to be discursive, but is meant to bring illumination to some very real situations that many are facing today.  What I can say as we prepare to press on is, “God’s grace is sufficient.”  God’s grace is powerful enough to lift the burden of guilt brought on by stumbling or falling in His will so that you may continue in this ethereal journey called Christianity.  Grace is not to be perceived as a crutch that supports unbridled sin, but the force that rescues us from the grave of inevitable failure.  It is grace that reveals the affinity or propinquity of God‘s love for his chosen.

 

 

 

Turning Your House Into A Home

 

 

 

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.”(Taken from: Beautiful Christian Sister By Maya Angelou)

 

 

 

The preceding statement points to what I believe to be the most influential force in determining the outcome of any marriage, the nature of its conception.  I believe the principle injected in this quote applies to men as well as women.  Let’s think about it for a moment: A person’s heart should be so enamored and occupied with Christ that any potential mate must first seek Him to find them.  Abiding in Christ, or as Maya so powerfully stated, being hidden in Him, protects us not only from others, but also from ourselves.  When we walk outside of Christ our judgment, cogitative instincts, and overall rationale becomes nebulous.  We simply function below par.  When it comes to making the most important decision of your life outside of where you will spend eternity; whom you will spend the rest of your life with here on earth, you must be in a state of lucidity.  You must be in a place of clarity that can only be found in Christ.  Furthermore, your options should be reduced to those as occupied with Christ as you.

 

 

 

What is a home and how is one built?  A home is that place in which you find solace from the struggles of the day.  A home is that place where you are able to be you and yet remain secure in your identity.  A home is a place that covers and protects you from the many forces that tend to drain you of your energy and strength.  It is the one place that should always be a safe refuge.  So, how do we build this place of refuge?  Let’s start by inviting Christ to perpetually reside in this place of dwelling.  His presence is paramount.

 

 

 

The Word of God clearly declares that we are to edify one another.

 

 

 

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:11)

 

 

 

It is interestingly ironic that the word translated “edify” is made up of two Greek words: “oikos” translated “a home” and “dimeo”, which means, “to build”.  Literally speaking, edify means to “build a home”.  So, one of the most potent forces in building and maintaining a home is mutual edification, the positive development of your mate’s self-esteem.

 

 

 

Whether its self-esteem, self-image, or self-concept, either term is used to describe how a person sees himself, how he feels about himself and the worth or value he places on himself.  To comprehensively address the issue of self-image or self-esteem would require volumes, but I would like to introduce you to its importance in turning a house into a home.

 

 

 

Earlier on, I made the point that marriage is not a cure all for the emotional deficiencies and painful voids one has incurred.  It is still my belief that one should be as complete as possible before entering into marriage.  The responsibilities that accompany marriage are so massive that one must be at full strength to engage them.  With that being said, no matter how well someone seems to be put together, there are kinks in the armor, areas in which they struggle.

 

 

 

 

Where does a person’s self-image come from? It comes from a combination of a cluster of numerous memories, the perception or interpretation of those memories, and the weight and value given to those memories.  How was this person treated by their parents and primary label givers, especially during those impressionable years from self-awareness to adolescence?  A label giver is any person in a position to have a powerful enough impact to influence how you perceive yourself.  In the light of this definition, parents are the most powerful label givers.  Maybe your father was absent, planting a seed that you were not worthy enough in some way, to require his presence.  There are many other ways parents influence the self-image of their children, both, positively and negatively.

 

 

 

How well did this person navigate through the middle school and high school years?  This is a time when one’s peers possess an immensely powerful influence on their lives.  Were you liked or ostracized by your peers?  How are you perceived in the work place and how do you perceive the way you are perceived?  All these situations and more influence a person’s self-esteem.

 

 

 

From a very early age we begin to develop portraits, concepts, and attitudes about ourselves as well as others.  These attitudes form the lens through which we see ourselves.  This is the process in which we are either positively or negatively influenced.  Thus, we are able to see the need for spousal edification.

 

 

 

Founder of “Focus on The Family, Dr. James Dobson emphasizes the importance of building the self esteem of your spouse.  Listen to what he says:

 

 

 

“The most successful marriages are those where both husband and wife seek to build the self-esteem of the other.  Ego needs can be met within the bonds of marriage, and nothing contributes more to closeness and stability than to convey for the personhood of the spouse.” (Focus On The Family, 1985)

 

 

 

Why is it so important to build your mates self-esteem?  One very important reason is the home is the place that the majority of us are most vulnerable. The things like work, sports, and other activities we use to mask our deficiencies are not present in the home.  In the home, one’s ability to perform in the work place, or on the field or court does not come into play.  It is in the home that we are forced to face our feelings of inadequacy and areas of self-doubt.

 

 

 

One of the most powerful gifts we have is our ability to encourage and empower others.  Every person needs at least one person to stand alongside them to build them up. You are that person for your spouse.

 

 

 

We have all heard the saying: Behind every great man is a great woman.”  It may be his mother, or a schoolteacher, but most likely, his wife.  Why is he great?  He is great because she is great.  Why is she great?  She is great because she knows his weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, she strives to help him strengthen them.  She lifts him up with encouraging words and emphasizes his strengths and capabilities.  She assures him that he is necessary and that he has a place.  He functions with confidence because he no longer feels threatened.  She assures him that she loves him for who he is and accepts him along with his imperfections.  He, in turn, can function in the productive arena of confidence.  I can personally attest to the negative impact of having had a mate that did not believe in me.

 

 

 

Just as a woman plays a major role in the over all success of her husband, the same applies in the reverse.  A woman reaches her full potential in whatever capacity she functions when her husband fulfills his responsibility to support, protect, and empower her. He provides the secure environment she yearns in the deepest recesses of her being. He provides the covering of protection, enhancement, and empowerment necessary for her to function optimally. He provides her with the confidence she needs to fulfill her full potential and reach her destiny.

 

 

 

The awesome rewards of building your mates self-esteem extend beyond the confines of the marriage.  A couple with positive self-images is better equipped to rear children and contribute to society in general.

 

 

 

So, I invite you to endeavor to edify your spouse.  As you, each day build layer upon layer of your mate’s confidence, you are also building the foundation to transform your house into a home, and as you march forward, always remember that it begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

May you be richly blessed?

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

Founder and President

 

Rick Wallace Ministries

 

100 Men of Purpose

 

Life Solutions 21

 

The Invisible Father

 

Christian Impact

 

 

 

When Your House Is Not a Home

By Bishop Rick Wallace

 

I want to be very lucid in presenting the fact that I do not write, teach, or preach from a platform of perfection.  As a man I have made mistakes, and those mistakes have at times come at the expense of others.  I have tasted the bitter waters of divorce and staggered through the storm of relational dysfunctionality.  I know what it feels like to have children who are trapped between their love for their parents and the fact that mom and dad are no longer seeing things eye to eye.  No, I don’t write to you this day from the lonely island of perfection, but from the transformed heart of a man of God.  This being the most preeminent of truths: That only through complete surrender to God’s “will” for your life can you find true joy, contentment, and stability in marriage.

 

As we move forward, we will explore God’s will for marriage, marriage’s function as an institution, God’s role in the home, and lastly, what happens when your house is not a home.  A great deal of what will be addressed will be directed toward men because it is my belief that too many men have fallen away from their God ordained duties, creating a void and an imbalance in the function of the home and many other areas of society.  It is now that the clarion is sounding.  God is calling men to resume their positions as leaders, providers, protectors, and enablers.

 

This does not, by any means, excuse our Christian women from walking into their callings and ambling into their destinies.  I know that you have been hurt; I know that you have been disappointed; I know that you have been left with the burden of being a single parent.  Your trust and faithfulness has been repaid with disloyalty, malevolence, and abandonment; however, there is still reason to press on.  God is still in control, I know its been strenuous and arduous, yet, on behalf of every man that deemed it acceptable to procreate and then abandon his progeny, for every man that assumed it satisfactory behavior to be physically or emotionally abusive, for every man that thought it to be the proper course of action to tread upon your dreams, I personally apologize.  Yes, you have been hurt, but now its time to let go and move forward.  It is time to rise up and be all that you were created to be.

 

Men of Power I have not forgotten you. Yes, there are some of you out there that stand strong in your filial responsibilities. There are some of you that refuse to leave your family behind. There are some of you that walk in their God ordained destinies. For those of you that fall into this category, we need your example to shine vividly in this world of diminishing Christian influence.

 

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (Col 1:17)

 

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  (Joh 17:5)

 

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3)

 

 

 

These scriptural passages reveal the fact that Christ has existed eternally and that all things consist in Him.  This means that all things are sustained and held together by Christ; this includes the institutions of marriage and family, as well as the home in general.  Knowledge of this truth is of massive importance.  First, it establishes the foundation on which marriages and families are built and sustained; Without Christ in the forefront it is impossible to initiate, cultivate, and sustain any relationship.  Secondly, in time of distance, indifference separation, and even abandonment, the knowledge of Christ’s sustaining power carries you through.  So, again I stress that the points made here must be examined in the light of Christianity (as outlined in the Bible) and the acknowledgement of a sovereign God.  Outside of this prospective, one tends to lean toward human viewpoint and logical resolutions to spiritual issues.  No matter how a problem manifests itself in the physical realm of reality, its source is always of a spiritual nature.

 

For as Paul injects this truth, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).” In 2 Cor. 10:3, he iterates, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”  The enemy has wreaked immeasurable havoc on the Christian name simply because we did not sense his presence.

 

God’s Way or Yours

 

Contrary to secular paradigms, there are only two ways of approaching life; God’s way or mans way.  There are no middle grounds, no place of compromise, or situational exceptions. When I say this, I am not speaking of religious of legalistic rigidity, but a yield to the will of God through love, honor, and reverence.

 

God establishes through the prophet Isaiah that his ways and thoughts are above ours.

 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isa 55:8,9)

 

This does not mean that we are to continue to live in the darkness of our finite perspicacity, but we are to draw closer to God and His way as each day passes.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).”  I have been and I will continue to emphasize the profound gravity your thinking has on the success of your Christian journey. The first dictum here is to draw near to God.  This calls for a form of self-abnegation of one’s personal views and values in exchange for the perfect and sovereign will of God.  We are also exhorted to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We do this by forsaking sin, confession of those sins we do commit, and a purification of our thoughts.  In addition, for the second time in his letter, James addresses the state of being double-minded.  Being double-minded is attempting to think and live in two separate ways.  Double-minded is literally translated “two souls”.  If one part of your being is set on the way of God and the other is set on the way of the world, there will be a constant conflict from within with an outward manifestation of perpetual disarray.  This is what Paul says, “16But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

17For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

When a person is perpetually functioning between the two states I call this state of mind spiritual schizophrenia (a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements).  A spiritual schizophrenic is capricious in his thoughts and vacillating in his actions and beliefs, in fact, the Word tells us that he is unstable in all his ways.

 

Every relationship, including marriage, must be entered with the understanding of God’s will.  One of the greatest destructive forces known to marriage or any other relationship, for that matter, is self-determination.  So many of us have entered into relationships that God has not ordained, but we are determined to have nonetheless.  All the signs are there, but we choose to ignore the obvious.  If he or she is married, it is probably a good sign that he or she is not the one God has for you.  If he or she is involved in illicit behavior, there’s probably a good chance that they are not the one.  The list of tells is extensive, but the result is the same — Operating outside of the will of God means operating outside the blessings of God.  Allow me to make myself painfully clear, you cannot operate outside God’s will and have the audacity to expect God to bless and prosper your willful disobedience.  You can’t take something that does not belong to you and ask God to bless it. If fact, you can expect to incur a curse for your disobedience (This is addressed in my treatise Covered by Covenant).

 

With that being said, I must for the sake of doctrinal accuracy, point to the fact that there is no sin that Christ’s magnanimous work on Calvary did not expiate. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. What this means is that when we repent of our sins and confess them before God, He will forgive and cleanse us of the guilt and stain of that sin. There are those that will ask why mention this provision. They will postulate that it promotes sin. I would answer, “Doctrine must be taught in accuracy and balance. We weight our teachings in correspondence to our personal views on certain issues, leaving those we teach with distorted views and inadequately equipped to live the Christian life. This is a disservice to those we teach and a dereliction of duty on our part. Every provision of God’s plan of grace has a purpose and should not be overlooked or denied. So even when one enters into a relationship that has not been ordained by God, God himself, when sincerely approached through repentance and confession, will sanctify that relationship.

 

The Proper Connection

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)

 

 

Though this exhortation extends beyond the institution of marriage, it most definitely applies.  We are not to enter into binding or covenant relationships with those who perpetuate ungodly behavior.  We are the dwelling place of our most holy God and must live a life that honors and glorifies Him.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he advises that a saved spouse can sanctify an unsaved spouse;  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are (L)holy (1 Cor. 7:14 NASB).

 

 

However, here he is speaking of a spouse who became saved during the marriage, not before. Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not the place for a fixer up mentality. What I mean by this is we have a proclivity to think that we can reach out and bring someone into our lives and fix their fallibilities in a manner that suits our desires and needs. Listen very closely to what I am about to tell you. We can only enhance the potential of someone else; we can never create it. Transformation is a human prerogative; it takes the exercise of one’s volition to exact change. Too often we enter into relationships thinking that we can impose our will on our mates and recreate who they are. We see those attributes we are looking for in a mate and totally ignore those characteristics that autonomously express doom.

 

The point I am making here is that it is of immense importance the manner in which one enters marriage and with whom.  This is not to limit God’s ability to sanctify, but to bring to light the fact that God will not abandon His will to appease yours.  So in this instance, if your house is not a home, it was not meant to be.  Remember, God’s will is sovereign.

 

 

 

The Laws of Divine Establishment

 

To truly comprehend the institution of marriage as well as other divine institutions ordained by God, one must first grasp the necessity for each.  We must first understand that God’s plan is eternal.  Because God is omniscient, He is never taken by surprise as it pertains to our actions; He is never surprised by our transgressions.  God, in eternity past, designed a plan by which he would reconcile fallen man to Himself.

 

Matthew 25:34 says, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

 

For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,

(C)AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”

although His works were finished(D)from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:3 NASB)

 

 

We are told that certain things were kept secret from the foundation of the world.  The notion is that because of His omniscience, coupled with His omnipotence, God does not have to wait for us to slip into the pit of despair in order to plan our escape. He has always known that we would fall and has already prepared a way of escape. This, of course should provide a sense of solace, it should establish a foundation of hope.  It should also alert your senses to the truth that there is nothing inconsequential when it comes to a purpose in mind, as we will see.  God is neither frivolous nor capricious in his actions; there is always a purpose —no wasted motions.

 

Understanding the purpose will assist you in functioning optimally within this system designed by God.

 

The laws of Divine Establishment are ensconced within the comprehensive expression of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law is found specifically in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Law is divided into three major division called codices:

 

Codex 1 is the moral code known as the commandments. This set of rules consists of more than 120 commandments including the Decalogue (also known as the Ten Commandments Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). Codex 1 establishes and clarifies the moral codes that ultimately proved man is a sinner in need of salvation.

 

18 For (AD)if the inheritance is[aa]based on law, it is no longer[ab]based on a promise; but (AE)God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

19 (AF)Why the Law then? It was added [ac]because of transgressions, having been(AG)ordained through angels (AH)by the [ad]agency of a mediator, until(AI)the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now (AJ)a mediator is not [ae]for oneparty only; whereas God is onlyone. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? (AK)May it never be! For (AL)if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness [af]would indeed have been [ag]based on law. 22 But the Scripture has (AM)shut up[ah]everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law,(AN)being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our(AO)tutor to lead us to Christ, so that (AP)we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a[ai](AQ)tutor. (Galatians 3:18-25 NASB)

 

 

Codex 1 Also provides the foundation for the laws of divine establishment.

 

Codex 2 establishes the spiritual ordinances which are shadows and types of Christ as the savior of the world. The ordinances produce the shadows of Christology and soteriology.

 

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. (Heb. 10:1 NASB)

 

Codex 2 is inclusive of the Levitical Offerings, Holy Days, Tabernacle and its functions, dress and modus operandi of the Levitical Priesthood, and liturgy of worship of Israel.

 

Codex 3 establishes the social code and reveals and presents the laws of divine establishment which are designed to protect freedom and privacy for the entire whole of mankind, believers and non-believers alike. This section of the law delineates the perfect standard for the function of the national entity as well as dietary laws, laws of sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, military service, marriage, divorce and more. We find that to insure the proper execution of the laws of divine establishment, God designed four institutions through which the laws of divine establishment would be perpetuated: the individual, the marriage, the family, and the nation.

 

How do the laws of divine establishment affect and apply to the divine institutions?  “God, in His omniscience has always known that man would choose to sin and consequently acquire a sin nature, giving him the unlimited potential to destroy himself and negatively impact those around him.  In order to conserve, protect, and perpetuate the existence of the human race throughout the history of this spiritual warfare some have dubbed the angelic conflict, God instituted the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment are principles and precepts that apply to both believers and nonbelievers alike.  The laws of this nation are based upon the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment protect life, stability, freedom, possessions, and provide blessings.  The laws give greater weight to certain human possessions, such as, life and freedom.  An adherence to these laws ensures prosperity in so many aspects of our lives.” (R.B. Thieme Jr. Freedom Through Military Victory)

 

This system of control functions under the umbrella of legitimate authority.  Legitimate authority is authority ordained and delegated by God in which certain people have responsibility and a particular scope or range of jurisdiction over other members of society.  Authority exists both, in the temporal and spiritual realms, but the laws of divine establishment only apply to the temporal realm.  The Laws of divine establishment can be reviewed in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy.

 

The Divine Institutions

 

 

In His infinite wisdom God ordained four divine institutions through which the laws of divine establishment function:  the individual, the marriage, the family, and the national entity.  The ordination, existence, and perpetuation of these institutions are lucidly delineated and symmetrically confirmed by scripture.  God has delegated a primary authority to function within each institution to insure its optimal function: volition for the individual, the husband for marriage, parents for the family, and government for the national entity.  Each of these institutions were a part of God’s plan before the beginning of time, but were revealed at different points in History.  The individual was ordained with the creation of Adam in Geneses 1:26; marriage with the creation of the woman in Genesis 2:23; family with the birth of the first child in Genesis 4:1; the national entity with the formations of nations in Genesis 10:5.  These four institutions encompass the entire human race irrespective to race, religion, gender, social statutes, and all other considerable factors.

 

The Individual

 

Though we, at some point, will discuss each of the divine institutions, our primary focus here, is marriage.  However, before we can apprehensively navigate through the many corridors of marriage, we must first gain an understanding of the function and responsibility of the institution of the individual; the reason being that a functional marriage is the production of two whole individuals uniting and becoming one.  One of the multitudinous quandaries of marriage is the individual who attempts to enter marriage as a means of becoming whole, as a solution to their brokenness, and as a substitute for the emptiness within.  Before entering into the institution of marriage, one must be confident in their identity in Christ.  They must be functional, efficient, and effective in their responsibility as an individual before stepping into the massive responsibility and commitment of marriage.  Marriage is not a cure all for those problematic issues in your life, it is not the place to flee to in search of healing for past hurts, it is a graduation of sorts for the person who has come to a knowledge of self and can enter the bond of matrimony as an asset, not a liability.  Remember, we enter into marriage as a contributor.

 

So, let us take a look at the function and responsibility of the individual.  The individual is the initiator, the foundation on which the other institutions are built. So, it can be said that the strength of any institution can only be as strong as the individual functioning parts.  You can’t take a dysfunctional individual and plug him into a marriage and presume that he will become functional even if the other partner is highly functional.  The marriage, for all it’s worth, may seem to be highly productive; the problem is one person is shouldering the burden.  At some point, the lack of balance and symmetry will cause a breakdown or collapse in some area.  This is not to say that in marriage, one partner at some point or another will not carry a disproportionate share of the burden, however, this should not be characteristic of the relationship.

 

The first individual, Adam, was created by God, perfect, a trichotomous being, existing of body, soul, and spirit.  When he chose, through his own volition, to disobey God and sin, he became dichotomous —existing of only body and soul, having become spiritually dead.  Adam became spiritually dead, his spirit being replaced with a sin nature, the genetic predisposition to sin. As we are his progeny, seminally present at the fall, the sin nature has been genetically passed on to each of us through male procreation, meaning we are all born spiritually dead.

 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (through Adam). (Rom. 5:12 emphasis added)

 

Only through regeneration, which comes through faith in Christ, can man be rendered trichotomous, spiritually alive.  Notice, regeneration comes through a volitional act of faith.  The primary authority for the individual is volition.  Volition provides the capacity for man to choose, and is a function of the human will, which is controlled by the human soul.  When the human volition is functioning optimally, it functions under the rationale of the soul, not instinct or emotion.

 

Understanding the Power of Volition

 

God’s Biblical mandates are always directed toward volition, making volition a significant and influential force in this spiritual warfare.  The power of choice can never be over estimated or overvalued.  The proper regulation of volition is paramount in the perpetuation of the Christian lifestyle.  We are commanded over and over to choose.  Choose to believe in Christ, choose life or death, and choose to walk in the Spirit.  Make no mistake, the choices you make carry consequence.

 

So, what, ultimately is the function and responsibility of the individual?  The individual is to display self-discipline, in consistently choosing to do what is required of him by God.  He is to live his life in the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.  He is to walk in the confidence of his identity in Christ.  The individual carries the greatest impact on society, for he is not only the foundation for the other institutions, he is also the only institution that directly impacts all others.

 

Confederate General, John Brown Gordon once said, “I am reminded of the commonplace but important truth that the aggregate character of a people of any country depends upon the personal character of its individual citizens; and the individual, personal character of it’s people, than it does upon any constitution that could be adopted or statutes that could be enacted.  What would safe guards be worth if the character of the people did not sustain and enforce them?”

 

So, it’s safe to say that what any individual takes into the bond of matrimony in the form of character, integrity, fortitude, and potential has a monumental and enduring impression upon that marriage. Being somewhat nebulous, a marriage is only capable of producing to the limits and boundaries of its potential; that potential is determined by the individual potential of those that enter this bond of marriage.

 

The Marriage

 

As stated earlier, marriage is not a hiding place for a troubled soul.  It is not an arrangement of convenience through which economic struggles may be confronted.  It is not an expedient arrangement by which the human race is propagated.  No, marriage is a divine institution ordained by God.  It is meant to represent Christ’s love for the church.  When people look into the Christian marriage they should see the reflection of God’s love —no relationship bears more importance to social culture and the church than marriage.

 

Listen to what Biblical scholar R.B. Thieme Jr. has to say about the institution of marriage: “Marriage provides the structure for stability in society, the foundation of civilization.  God’s plan for husband and wife prohibits fornication, adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, communal living, polygamy, and frivolous divorce.  When the divine design for marriage is spurned by enough people, degeneracy permeates society and the nation declines.” (Freedom Through Military Victory, R.B. Thieme Jr. 2003)

 

Lucidly speaking, as the respect for the sanctity of God ordained marriage wanes, the moral fiber of our social culture begins to unravel.  This explains why things considered unacceptable by the masses a mere twenty years ago are now commonplace.

 

As volition is the delegated authority in the individual, the husband is the authority delegated by God in the marriage.  Now, this fact has become quite controversial in today’s social environment.  This Biblical truth has been misconstrued to indicate or express the superiority of the man over the women.  Some have taken it as an attempt by man to oppress and dominate women.  There are those that will insist that the principle of male authority in the home is archaic and no longer functions in contemporary culture; however, scripture does not support this point of view.  The truth is that all of these misconceptions do not align with Biblical mandate.

 

God, in His infinite wisdom, understands the vast importance of maintaining order, and subsequently designed a system through which order may be sustained, as long as man is obedient to the mandates of the plan.

 

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body.”(Eph 5:22)

 

“IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,” (1 Peter 3:1 AMP)

 

These are two very expressive and revealing scriptural passages. One has to have at least a minimal understanding of categorical bible study. Ephesians 5.22 is Paul’s command to wives to submit and in itself bears clarity to a much misunderstood piece of scripture. In Genesis 3:16, God addresses Eve after the fall. He tells her that her pain in childbirth will be multiplied, but he does not stop there. He concludes with the following statement:

 

“…Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And (R)he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

 

There are several popular interpretations for the part of the passage, but the proper one is establish and supported by Paul’s exhortation to wives in Ephesians 5:22.

 

This is what Dr. Thomas Constable has to say about this passage of scripture:

 

“The ‘curse’ here describes the beginning of the battle of the sexes. After the Fall, the husband no longer rules easily; he must fight for his headship. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship), and he must master her, if he can. Sin had corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. And so the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny, domination, and manipulation.” (Thomas Constable, Commentary of the Bible)

 

If you want to obtain a more detailed explanation of this passage I would suggest you read the article “What is the Women’s Desire” by Susan T. Foh. She gives a very disciplined description in this article. If you would wish, you may email me at rpw@rickwallaceministries.com and I will provide an in-depth anatomization of this scriptural text.

 

Basically, this conflict in the home is what prompted Paul to address both, husband and wife in Ephesians Chapter five.

 

Marriage is a relationship that involves mutual submission, and though all Christians are called and exhorted to live in submission to one another, submission is applied in a unique manner to the marriage relationship.  The wife is commanded not simply to submit, but to submit to her husband as to the Lord.  The Greek word used here is (“Hypotasso”) — to put in subjection, subject, subordinate; in the passive, to submit, be subject to.  According to the terminology in scripture, she is to hold him in the highest esteem and regard.

 

Every well-ordered society rests upon the pillars of authority and submission.  Where there is no submission to authority, anarchy and chaos run rampant.  Submission never implies inferiority; authority doesn’t establish superiority.  Christ was submissive to God the Father, but at no time was he ever inferior, they are both equally God.  Neither is the woman inferior to man or the wife inferior to the husband.  In fact, there are many areas in which the wife may transcend her husband.

 

I am perfectly cognizant of the fact that the Biblical view is not a popular one, nevertheless, we are not to be conformed to the world but we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  We should not allow the world to influence the stances we take and the way we live our lives.  We are to be the light, the focal point, and the influence that induces a sort of transculturation.

 

Now if the wife is to submit to the husband, what is the husband required to do?  Luke 12:48 tells us that he who has been entrusted with much, of him much will be required.  Before we progress, allow me to bring elucidation to the principle of partial submission.  When a wife submits to her husband, she is not submitting to the man; she is submitting to the God ordained authority given to the man by the creator.  This delegated authority is revocable and is only active when the husband is operating under the will of God.  Whenever a husband chooses to move opposite the will of God, his wife is not obligated to follow his lead, she is to remain in line with the Word.  This insures the authority of headship delegated by God is not abused or used to Lord over the wife.  The wife is not a slave, but a partner.  I digress.  Shall we continue?

 

The husband, in a manner of reciprocation or even excessiveness, is called to love his wife, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.  He is to put aside his own interest in order to enhance hers.  Beyond God, she is to be placed first; her life above his; her needs before his.  His role is to nourish (Greek ekotrphō —to support her growth toward her personal maturity), and to cherish (Greek thalpō —to warmly care for and attend to).  When in the perfect harmony God intended, each partner in marriage proactively and interactively brings the other to his or her full potential in life.

 

When a marriage is lived out in a mutually loving, supportive, and loyal environment, it mirrors the love of Christ for the church and the love the church is called to have toward Him.

 

Again, at the risk of being redundant, I reiterate, the submissive woman of the Bible is far from weak.  She is the epitome of strength and spiritual fortitude.  She is the heart line of the home.  She is the source of favor and blessing for her husband.  Proverbs 18:22 says, “he that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  A Godly wife is the greatest gift a man may obtain from the Lord beyond salvation.

 

Thus far, we have ingested quite a bit of information, let’s take a moment to allow our souls to digest it.  What can we ascertain from what has been taken in thus far?  First and foremost, marriage is a vehicle through which God reveals his love to a world in desperate need of a Savior.  It is not a place for one to fulfill their selfish desires.  It is a place of giving, caring, loving and so much more.  It is the opportunity to wake up each day and glance over into the eyes of God’s most vivid portrait of His love for you.  It is the opportunity to experience God’s divine favor as it is showered upon your home via deitious promise and divine providence.

 

The question then arises: If God has established such a lofty status for marriage, why are there so many houses and so few homes?  Why is the divorce rate in excess of 50% of all marriage in the U.S.?  The answer in its simplest form is we are not living our lives in the power of the spirit.  We have not allowed the power of the blood to permeate through every fissure and orifice of our marriage.  We have chosen to position ourselves in the philosophical pool of popularity.  We have engaged ourselves with cosmic philosophies that promote and entice narcissistic behavior.

 

Please believe me when I tell you that there is no greater, no more of a powerful magnet of God’s blessings and favor than the union of marriage, yet if you are in a marriage functioning outside of the will of God, it can be the most miserable of places.

 

Though women are not beyond reproach, it is my position that a vast majority of the social and spiritual issues we are confronted with today are due to a falling away of the Christian man.  Don’t get me wrong, I could probably write volumes as to the state of the Christian woman in today’s society, but honestly if it were not for a nucleus of Christian women who have stood firm in the faith despite the antinomianistic environments in which they reside, I’m afraid to think of where we would be in this country.

 

I want to take time to say that when I speak of Christian living, it is not of lethargic, luke warm Christianity.  I speak of spirit filled men and women who desire nothing more than to please the Father, to walk into their purpose, and fulfill their destinies, I do not speak of fence straddlers, those who live their lives as they please and yet arrogantly expect God to service their needs and desires, with no consequence to their mutinous behavior.  No, I speak of the believer who understands that he/she is the salt of the earth and that low living is not their calling.

 

Are You The Man You Think You Are?

 

We, as a nation, as a Christian people, have found ourselves in a very precarious position.  Single parent households are at an all time high.  To exacerbate matters, the men that have fled these homes have defaulted on their promissory oaths and paternal obligations.  Men have, in some way, found it both, easy and acceptable to procreate and then abandon their progeny.  The very foundation of our moral integrity and manly honor has been shaken to the very core.  It would be a foolish assessment to attribute every social issue and all of the enigmatic predicaments that confront us to men, yet, as men; we must face the fact that our leadership is in many ways, faulty.  We have fallen short in the function of our God ordained duties as the head.  We adamantly declare our kingship, but fail to sustain its requisites.  We have too easily become transculturated by the precepts, philosophies and principles of the world around us.  The standard by which we are to be measured and appraised should always be the Word of God.

 

“But if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”(1 Tim 5:8)

 

These are strong words by the Apostle Paul.  He says failure to take care of your paternal or filial obligations equates to a denial of the faith.  He goes one step further by declaring failure in this area places the believer in a position worse than that of an unbeliever.  This is for the simple reason that there are unbelievers that grasp and embrace the concept of relational responsibilities.  It is easy to see that the Christian man who fails in his responsibilities to his family, not only places his family in a position of suffering; it brings reproach to the faith.

 

When Things Go Wrong

 

Please understand that though I cannot condone frivolous divorce, there are times when divorce is the best and maybe even the only option.  I’m sure that there are those that will be critical of the aforementioned statement, however, the fact remains that there are times when we place ourselves in situations that are outside the scope of God’s will for our lives.  But Bishop, Christ emphatically, unequivocally, and explicitly says that divorce is not allowed except for infidelity.  Well, first of all, He did not say infidelity; He said sexual immorality, which extends far beyond infidelity.  Yet, this is not the issue.  If we desire to use the Word to set up loop holes in which we can operate within our own will, we are out of line, but just as dangerous is the one who attempts to use the letter of the law to establish, contrive, or even rebut the righteousness of himself or others.  To do so is to discount God’s grace.  The issue here is the depth of God’s Word and the ability through the Holy Spirit to grasp or apprehend its meaning.

 

Make no mistake about it; divorce was in no way God’s intention for marriage.  It is and has always been God’s ideal that one man and one woman remain married until the matrimonial bond is broken by death (Rom. 7:2,3).

 

We find in Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce.

 

So then, why did God allow for divorce?  Christ tells us that God, through Moses, gave an allowance for divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart.  Moses‘ law of divorce is in essence, a concession to man’s weaknesses, and was not given to make the act of divorce easier, on the contrary, it was given to constrain the ease in which a divorce is obtained, in actuality, giving the wife a protection she had not enjoyed to that point.  Before the law was constituted, the wife had very few rights of protection; the husband could simply decide he no longer wanted his wife, with little or no provocation and then force her out of the home.

 

Earlier, I made the statement that there are times divorce becomes necessary.  We know by literal translation that sexual immorality may be used as scriptural grounds for divorce, yet, scripture does not “mandate” divorce in the instance of sexual immortality.  Even in the area of infidelity, if it is possible to save the marriage, it is your responsibility to do so.  The question then arises: are there any other legitimate reasons for divorcing a life partner?  Depending on what Bible scholar you confer with, the answer may vary.  Even when it comes to the stated exception for divorce (sexual immorality), scholars are not in absolute agreement.  Some believe this exception applies to premarital sexual immorality, some postnuptial transgressions.  Most scholars, based on 1 Cor. 7:12-16, believe that divorce is acceptable when a believing spouse is deserted by an unbelieving spouse.  This writer concurs; in fact, I would like to take this particular passage of scripture to make an important and extremely essential point as it pertains to the study of scripture.

 

In several passages of scripture, however, Paul explicitly says that a believer can be released from the bond of marriage if their unbelieving spouse chooses to leave.

 

Does this mean that either passage (Christ’s or Paul’s directive’s for divorce. Christ said only sexual immorality and Paul said dessertion) is fallacious or that scripture is contradicting scripture? Certainly not.  It simply points to the truth that the Bible is not comprehensive in scenerio; it does not address every possible scenario on every possible issue, it addresses life in principle.  The Bible points us toward the heart of God, it reveals God and His plan for our lives and addresses issues in principle (e.g. Matt 18:21-22).  In this example, Peter approaches Christ concerning the act of forgiveness; should a man forgive his brother as many as seven times for personal transgressions?  Jesus‘ answer was succinct, yet immensely profound:  “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”(v.22) Was Christ setting the bar at 490? Of course not, He was establishing the perpetual necessity of forgiveness. Jesus is not applying a mathematical formula; he is implying limitless forgiveness.

 

It becomes obvious through scriptural comparison that divorce is allowed in other situations other than sexual immorality.  So then, why does Jesus only mention one?  Since God is not the author of confusion, we may safely postulate that Christ is not attempting to use omission in an attempt to leave you in a comatic state of ambivalence.  Christ is, in essence, uses sexual immorality, due to its devastating force on all of those it touches, and its significance in biblical times to establish a level of inclemency, volatility, and ephemerality at which the institution of marriage becomes soluble or irreconcilable.

 

So, what are the other instances in which divorce may be acceptable to God?  There is no way to present an exhaustive list in this matter, but some of the obvious cases would be situations in which there is physical or emotional abuse, where the long term effect could be spiritual deficiency, emotional instability, physical injury or even death.  Any situation in which one partner is being manipulated, dominated or oppressed in a manner that impedes their growth, spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.  Abandonment, in the sense of emotional or physical separation may be another situation in which divorce is warranted. A situation in which it is determined that a spouse may be dangerous toward the children in the home is an instance that requisites divorce.  Because of God’s matchless and enduring love for His chosen, it is never His will that we languish in any situation that is destructive toward our spiritual growth and continuous progression toward Him and eternity.

 

Because we once walked in complete carnality and even now stumble into its arena, it is possible to enter into unions that are not conducive to Christian growth nor do they meet God’s approval.  Are we to remain in these non-efficacious alliances?  That is the question.  Keep in mind that when Jesus addresses the Pharisees concerning divorce, He is as in other instances, such as adherence to the Sabbath, addressing the rigidity in which they interpret the law.

 

Please do not take away from this that I uphold spontaneous or capricious actions that lead to avoidable and unnecessary divorce.  Nevertheless, it is my stand that there are times in which divorce is the proper course of action.  At the end of the day, one must search within and be able to reconcile their actions with God’s will for their life.

 

This intermittent treatise on divorce and Christianity is not and was not meant to be discursive, but is meant to bring illumination to some very real situations that many are facing today.  What I can say as we prepare to press on is, “God’s grace is sufficient.”  God’s grace is powerful enough to lift the burden of guilt brought on by stumbling or falling in His will so that you may continue in this ethereal journey called Christianity.  Grace is not to be perceived as a crutch that supports unbridled sin, but the force that rescues us from the grave of inevitable failure.  It is grace that reveals the affinity or propinquity of God‘s love for his chosen.

 

Turning Your House Into A Home

 

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.”(Taken from: Beautiful Christian Sister By Maya Angelou)

 

The preceding statement points to what I believe to be the most influential force in determining the outcome of any marriage, the nature of its conception.  I believe the principle injected in this quote applies to men as well as women.  Let’s think about it for a moment: A person’s heart should be so enamored and occupied with Christ that any potential mate must first seek Him to find them.  Abiding in Christ, or as Maya so powerfully stated, being hidden in Him, protects us not only from others, but also from ourselves.  When we walk outside of Christ our judgment, cogitative instincts, and overall rationale becomes nebulous.  We simply function below par.  When it comes to making the most important decision of your life outside of where you will spend eternity; whom you will spend the rest of your life with here on earth, you must be in a state of lucidity.  You must be in a place of clarity that can only be found in Christ.  Furthermore, your options should be reduced to those as occupied with Christ as you.

 

What is a home and how is one built?  A home is that place in which you find solace from the struggles of the day.  A home is that place where you are able to be you and yet remain secure in your identity.  A home is a place that covers and protects you from the many forces that tend to drain you of your energy and strength.  It is the one place that should always be a safe refuge.  So, how do we build this place of refuge?  Let’s start by inviting Christ to perpetually reside in this place of dwelling.  His presence is paramount.

 

The Word of God clearly declares that we are to edify one another.

 

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:11)

 

It is interestingly ironic that the word translated “edify” is made up of two Greek words: “oikos” translated “a home” and “dimeo”, which means, “to build”.  Literally speaking, edify means to “build a home”.  So, one of the most potent forces in building and maintaining a home is mutual edification, the positive development of your mate’s self-esteem.

 

Whether its self-esteem, self-image, or self-concept, either term is used to describe how a person sees himself, how he feels about himself and the worth or value he places on himself.  To comprehensively address the issue of self-image or self-esteem would require volumes, but I would like to introduce you to its importance in turning a house into a home.

 

Earlier on, I made the point that marriage is not a cure all for the emotional deficiencies and painful voids one has incurred.  It is still my belief that one should be as complete as possible before entering into marriage.  The responsibilities that accompany marriage are so massive that one must be at full strength to engage them.  With that being said, no matter how well someone seems to be put together, there are kinks in the armor, areas in which they struggle.

 

Where does a person’s self-image come from? It comes from a combination of a cluster of numerous memories, the perception or interpretation of those memories, and the weight and value given to those memories.  How was this person treated by their parents and primary label givers, especially during those impressionable years from self-awareness to adolescence?  A label giver is any person in a position to have a powerful enough impact to influence how you perceive yourself.  In the light of this definition, parents are the most powerful label givers.  Maybe your father was absent, planting a seed that you were not worthy enough in some way, to require his presence.  There are many other ways parents influence the self-image of their children, both, positively and negatively.

 

How well did this person navigate through the middle school and high school years?  This is a time when one’s peers possess an immensely powerful influence on their lives.  Were you liked or ostracized by your peers?  How are you perceived in the work place and how do you perceive the way you are perceived?  All these situations and more influence a person’s self-esteem.

 

From a very early age we begin to develop portraits, concepts, and attitudes about ourselves as well as others.  These attitudes form the lens through which we see ourselves.  This is the process in which we are either positively or negatively influenced.  Thus, we are able to see the need for spousal edification.

 

Founder of “Focus on The Family, Dr. James Dobson emphasizes the importance of building the self esteem of your spouse.  Listen to what he says:

 

“The most successful marriages are those where both husband and wife seek to build the self-esteem of the other.  Ego needs can be met within the bonds of marriage, and nothing contributes more to closeness and stability than to convey for the personhood of the spouse.” (Focus On The Family, 1985)

 

Why is it so important to build your mates self-esteem?  One very important reason is the home is the place that the majority of us are most vulnerable. The things like work, sports, and other activities we use to mask our deficiencies are not present in the home.  In the home, one’s ability to perform in the work place, or on the field or court does not come into play.  It is in the home that we are forced to face our feelings of inadequacy and areas of self-doubt.

 

One of the most powerful gifts we have is our ability to encourage and empower others.  Every person needs at least one person to stand alongside them to build them up. You are that person for your spouse.

 

We have all heard the saying: Behind every great man is a great woman.”  It may be his mother, or a schoolteacher, but most likely, his wife.  Why is he great?  He is great because she is great.  Why is she great?  She is great because she knows his weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, she strives to help him strengthen them.  She lifts him up with encouraging words and emphasizes his strengths and capabilities.  She assures him that he is necessary and that he has a place.  He functions with confidence because he no longer feels threatened.  She assures him that she loves him for who he is and accepts him along with his imperfections.  He, in turn, can function in the productive arena of confidence.  I can personally attest to the negative impact of having had a mate that did not believe in me.

 

Just as a woman plays a major role in the over all success of her husband, the same applies in the reverse.  A woman reaches her full potential in whatever capacity she functions when her husband fulfills his responsibility to support, protect, and empower her. He provides the secure environment she yearns in the deepest recesses of her being. He provides the covering of protection, enhancement, and empowerment necessary for her to function optimally. He provides her with the confidence she needs to fulfill her full potential and reach her destiny.

 

The awesome rewards of building your mates self-esteem extend beyond the confines of the marriage.  A couple with positive self-images is better equipped to rear children and contribute to society in general.

 

So, I invite you to endeavor to edify your spouse.  As you, each day build layer upon layer of your mate’s confidence, you are also building the foundation to transform your house into a home, and as you march forward, always remember that it begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

 

May you be richly blessed?

 

Sincerely,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Founder and President

Rick Wallace Ministries

100 Men of Purpose

Life Solutions 21

The Invisible Father

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 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; (rom. 8:26 NASB)

Paul says that the Spirit helps our weakness. The word translated “helps” is the Greek word:

G4878

συναντιλαμβάνομαι

sunantilambanomai

soon-an-tee-lam-ban’-om-ahee

From G4862 and G482; to take hold of opposite together, that is, co-operate (assist): – help.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

I know it’s a huge word and it carries an equally huge meaning. This word paints the image of someone who comes alongside another to assist them in bearing out a particular task. In essence, the Holy Spirit comes alongside you and yokes up with you to assist in completing the task at hand. In this instance, Paul is speaking of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of intercession. This is where is becomes a part of your prayer life in order insure its efficacy.

It is important to understand that the help that the Holy Spirit provides is not limited to prayer. He is your power source. That’s right I said He. So often we neglect the personage of the Holy Spirit. We often refer to Him as it. We don’t recognize Him as part of the Trinitarian existence of God. Here lies a great deal of the problem of living in weakness and defeat. We have invested too much energy into sacramental rituals and too little into understanding the rite we practice. We will go around putting “anointing oil” on everyone and everything, but we seem to have very little understanding of what it represents. Oil, like water, wind, etc. is a semantic symbol of the Holy Spirit. Oil, represents the Holy Spirit’s anointing power. To anoint means to give power for the fulfillment of a particular task.

Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit reveals an immensity of information about the Third Person of the Trinity. In fact this one chapter (Romans 8) reveals quite a bit about the Holy Spirit. Let take a look at a few:

  1. Verse 2 – The Holy Spirit sets us free from Sin (It was Christ’s death at Calvary that provided the atonement, but it was the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through Him that made it possible). It is the Holy Spirit that works through the redemption of Christ to make you free from and cancel the penalty of sin, which is death.
  2. Verse 4-5 – The Holy Spirit fulfills righteousness.
  3. Verse 9-11 – The Holy Spirit indwells believers.
  4. Verse 10 – The Holy Spirit gives life. (Spiritual life is in view here. We are born spiritually dead; dichotomous beings, only having a body and soul, but at the moment of faith in Christ the Holy Spirit quickens or brings to life our spirit within us).
  5. Verse 11 – The Holy Spirit also quickens our mortal bodies which are dead because of sin. “The Spirit is both the instrumental cause of the resurrection-act and the permanent substratum of the resurrection-life.” Gerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, p. 169.
  6. Verse 13 – The Holy Spirit mortifies sinful members.
  7. Verse 14 – The Holy Spirit leads the children of God.
  8. Verse 15 – The Holy Spirit adopts into the family of God. It is through the Holy Spirit that you are adopted and grafted into the Royal Family of God.
  9. Verse 16 – The Holy Spirit bears witness to the fact that we are children of God and if we are children of God then we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
  10. Verse 26 – The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
  11. Verse 26 – The Holy Spirit makes intercession to God the Father on our behalf.

It, by no means, ends here. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the Holy Spirit produces positive life bearing fruit in the life of the believer. Let’s take a look at one more powerful scriptural passage before we move forward.

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Eph. 3:20 AMP)

God is able to do things that are impossible for the mind to fathom by the power that works within us. This power is the Holy Spirit. You have not been left alone. In fact, you have been left with an inexhaustible power source. Was it not Christ that promised that he would not leave us as orphans, but would send a comforter?

16And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–

17The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.

18I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.

26But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (John 14:16-18, 26 AMP)

But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me. (John 15:26 AMP)

7However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. (John 16:7 AMP)

How amazing, Jesus, the great and powerful savior of the world indicates, with perfect lucidity, that He must leave to make way for the coming of the Holy Spirit who will produce powerful results in the lives of believers.

Here’s and interesting point: Theology reveals to us the existence of the Hypostatic Union (Jesus Christ being 100% man and 100% God joined together without mergence). It is important that we understand that it was Jesus the man that paid the price for us on Calvary. Only the death of a perfect man could atone for the sins of fallen man. This is what Paul meant when he called Jesus the new Adam. It would do us well to take notice that Jesus, the man, did not perform one miracle until the Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism. It was the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through Christ that gave him the power to raise the dead, heal the sick, and calm raging seas. If fact, Christ actually means the anointed one; remember the anointing comes through the Holy Spirit.

So Jesus was basically saying that the very power that I used to sustain me in my earthly walk has been made available to you. You are not alone; you are filled with the Spirit of God.

When the resurrected Savior appeared to the disciples, he told them that not many days afterward something awesome would take place in their lives.

1 The first account I [a]composed,(A)Theophilus, about all that Jesus(B)began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He (C)was taken up to heaven, after He (D)had [b]by the Holy Spirit given orders to (E)the apostles whom He had (F)chosen. 3To [c]these (G)He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of (H)the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4[d]Gathering them together, He commanded them (I)not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for [e](J)what the Father had promised, “Which,”He said, “you heard of from Me; 5for (K)John baptized with water, but you will be baptized [f]with the Holy Spirit [g](L)not many days from now.”

6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, (M)is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which (N)the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power (O)when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be (P)My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and(Q)Samaria, and even to (R)the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-8 NASB)

Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit gave the disciples His parting orders. So, even then he was being led by the Spirit. He told them that you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Fifty days later on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples, who out of fear had been hiding in the upper room with the door locked. Once the Holy Spirit fell upon them they were transformed into spiritual powerhouses. Those once cowardice men that denied Christ spoke boldly of Him openly. They would go on to accomplish marvelous feats.

I am here to tell you that the same Spirit that filled Peter is in you. The same Spirit that filled Paul is in you. The same Spirit that filled John is in you. Yes, the same Spirit that filled our Lord Jesus is in you. You are not alone. You are filled with power from on high. You have God resident in you. You have His power at your disposal. God has not left you alone. You may not see anyone standing in your corner, but God is with you. You may have spent 2011 in a place of perceived loneliness, but God is with you. The enemy may be whispering the sweet nothings of negativity in your ear, but God is with you.

You are not alone. The Holy Spirit has come alongside you and He is saying to you: “You don’t have to bear this burden on your own. I have yoked up with you and I will help you bear the burden. I will not take it completely away from you, but if you will simply believe it, will it, and walk in it, I will bring you through.

This is a time of power and elevation for you. You simply have to receive it. Stop listening to the naysayers that think they have your destiny figured out. You are a born again child of the King. Walk in your destiny of power and greatness. Walk in your designed purpose. Live in the massive blessings that God has for you. Shake of those feelings of despair. Break free of those shackles of addiction. Power out of the shadows of dwarfed goals and colorless dreams. God is calling you to rise up and live the life of a true believer. No, you are not alone.

May you be richly blessed,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Life Solutions 21

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