This post is the launch of a new feature on Chapter 3 Ministries! I’m calling it “Do You Take This Verse?”. The name is a play-on-words that brings together what has been traditionally asked during a marriage ceremony (Do you take this woman/man?) with the idea of living out Bible verses in our marriages.
This feature stems from my long held belief that being a good, Christian wife is directly related to how deeply one lives in obedience to God and his word. How many verses do we take to heart and apply to our marriages? I think it’s worth looking at this closely. Intentionally considering a verse and examining how well we live it in our roles as wives is an important and God honoring exercise and can have a profound impact on our relationships.
I have been thinking about this feature for quite a while. I’m very excited to get started. It is my hope to publish a number of these essays in a book by the same name in the future. There are plenty of great verses to consider. Each post will highlight a different verse. Some will relate directly and only to marriage, but many will not. There are a lot of verses that instruct us on how to walk in a manner worthy of our calling that do not mention marriage yet can be applied to our role as wives. Of course, by doing so, I do not mean to minimize their relevance to other areas of our lives. Some of the verses that we look at may surprise you. There might be verses you never thought of applying to your marriage. Some are likely to be challenging, but I think that’s good. Adapting them or following them better will help us to grow in sanctification and bring more grace to our husbands and homes. I pray this series serves as a good encouragement to love our husbands more. (Titus 2:4)
Do You Take This Verse? #1
I thought and prayed about what verse to start with and ended up with the first verse that came to mind when I originally had the idea for this feature. The verse is:
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
This verse has long had significance in my life. The idea of glorifying God has been the first and last answer to many questions I have sought to work out as a Christian. Because it is dear to me, I have placed it on every page of this website as a constant reminder.
Beyond my own personal attachment to this verse, choosing it as the first verse to apply to marriage seems very appropriate because it speaks to our highest purpose and goal. We are called to magnify the Lord in all we do in all areas of our life. We live to bring him glory, not that we can add anything to his intrinsic glory. He is the God of glory. (Acts 7:2) No, we do not add to his glory; but we ascribe glory to him when we see and proclaim his awesomeness. (1 Chronicles 16:28-29) We can do this by worshiping and praising him as the one true God and Creator, confessing his dominion over all of life, lifting his name above all others, holding him as our greatest treasure, obeying his word, honoring and glorifying his son Jesus as God and Lord and Savior, and making him known in the world.
Glorifying God in Our Marriages
While the context of 1 Corinthians 10:31 relates to eating meat sacrificed to idols and how to handle that situation, Paul takes his argument beyond those topics to all areas of our lives when he says “do all for the glory of God”. Surely “all’ can include how we fulfill our roles as wives. There is much we can do to seek to glorify God in our marriages. I couldn’t possibly cover everything, so here is a short list to help jumpstart your own reflection about this.
Recognizing and Honoring God’s Choice for Us
One thing we can do is treat our marriages with the respect and care they deserve in light of God’s role in joining us together with our husbands. Jesus instructed us as to the genesis of our unions:
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:6 (see also Mark 10:9)
Notice that it says God is the one who joins a husband and wife together. He ordains our marital bonds. Recognizing this glorifies him. Treating our relationships with the respect and care they deserve in light of it, glorifies him. Taken to heart, this can help build a whole new attitude about how we act as wives. It might help to ask these questions. Do you work hard to nourish your God ordained marriage? How well do you respect the man that God choose for you? How graciously do you live as the woman God choose for your husband? How do you handle disappointment in your marriage or respond to perceived shortcomings in your husband? May we remember that God is the first cause of our marriages and act accordingly in both our good and bad circumstances to his glory.
Being Faithful in the Face of Adversity
Another way we can glorify God in our role as wives is to be faithful to him and his word no matter what pressures to deny him come up. There are plenty of pressures both culturally and even from within our own homes to not be faithful. One cultural pressure is the negative view of biblical submission. Today, the role of the submissive Christian wife is often criticized and viewed negatively. Sometimes people openly show their disapproval. When this happens, we have a choice to make. We can react like some in biblical times who sought the approval of others over God (John 12:42-43) and not fully follow him in this, or we can stand firm and glorify him by obeying him in spite of the pressure. This is no small thing. The challenge is real. I know. I also know that God can strengthen our resolve and give us courage. I have grown in this area over the years. I’m not really bothered anymore by the naysayers. I love my Lord and his ways. This doesn’t mean that submission is always easy for me. Hardly. But it does mean that I am not swayed to deny God’s design by the arguments or opinions of society.
We can also face pressure from within our own families. For example, some of you may have husbands who don’t understand why you bother with all that “religious bunk” or go to church or read your Bible. They may be mean spirited and demeaning. This type of pressure can be a lot harder to deal with than that which comes from society. If you are in this situation, you may find comfort in these verses:
“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” (1 Peter 4:14-16)
If you act graciously towards your husband and continue to be faithful to the Lord in spite of suffering as a Christian, you will be glorifying the Lord. You are demonstrating that you are not ashamed of your faith or of God. He is precious and worthy to be obeyed regardless of any difficulty that creates in our lives.
Whatever pressures you may face to do what is right in your marriage whether they come from outside of or inside of your marriage, I encourage you to pray for the courage and strength to do what is right for God’s glory. It really is for him. I can assure you that it finds favor with him. (1 Peter 2:20)
Obeying God’s Word and Doing Good Works
Two other ways that we can glorify God in our roles as wives are obeying his word and doing good works (which can be the same thing).
Doing what is commanded in God’s word is definitely something we can do to his glory. Doing so testifies that his will is best and right and that his authority in our lives is real. As we go through this series we will look at many ways to live this out. Here is a small sampling. We can settle disagreements with our husbands to God’s glory by being slow to anger (James 1:19) and refraining from unwholesome words. (Ephesians 4:29) We can serve in love. (Galatians 5:13) We can submit to and respect our husbands. (Ephesians 5:22,33) I could mention a lot more, but I will save them for future posts so we can look at them a lot more closely.
Obeying God’s word often means we produce good works, and Jesus told us clearly that they glorify God.
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
People notice what we do. Our husbands definitely notice. Our actions speak volumes. When we confess to be a Christian and shine our light through good works, in some wonderful way, it glorifies God. It is a testimony that reflects on him. The truth is, he is wonderful no matter what we do; but those on the earth around us connect our actions with his worth. Let us always strive to give a good testimony.
Within the marriage relationship, this biblical principle between our good works and God’s glory has great significance. The effect that our good works have on our husbands is very powerful. It must be because Peter wrote that the behavior of wives could play a significant part in the salvation of husbands. Let’s take another look at two of the founding verses of Chapter 3 Ministries.
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” (1 Peter 3:1-2)
How important are our good works in our marriages! Not only do they glorify God in the moment, but they have the potential to win husbands to the Lord! In that, God gets all the glory!
As one last encouragement for doing all to the glory of God, I share some familiar verses about wives from Titus.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3-5)
These verses give us much instruction and end with a great and solemn truth in verse 5: if we do not live according to these commands, the word of God will be dishonored. What a dreadful consequence! It may be hard to think about this, but we should. We need to know how serious a matter it is. The good news is, we can find verse 5 as positive as it is frightening. It is a great encouragement to work to the glory of God in these things. I see it that way because I believe that if we live in such a way that God’s word is not dishonored then we must be honoring it. And if we are honoring it, then I believe that we are glorifying him! How awesome! What encouragement and what motivation.
I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of “Do You Take This Verse?”. I plan on adding more posts to this series every few weeks or so in between other posts. I pray they will be encouraging to you and glorifying to God. If you would like to receive notifications by e-mail of new posts, please subscribe if you haven’t already.