by Daisha McBride
A great word!
by Daisha McBride
A great word!
by Daisha McBride
A great word!
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith,one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”[a]
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?[b] He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants,[f] obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,[g] not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Note: The context of this post was written in October 2014. Although, I have moved through the rawness of the feelings shared here, I believe it’s important to share process. Our faith walk is not always pretty. Believers do a great injustice to fellow Believers within their proximity when they make-believe there is no hardship in love.
Your love will be rejected repeatedly. People will hate you through no effort of your own. Love anyway.
One of my first blog posts was titled, “Can I love you?” In it, I described how I was a beggar for love with a deep desire to reach out to everyone within my proximity with openness, joy and acceptance of who they are. That was in 2009. By the end of 2014, I felt completely defeated and infected. Corrupt. Depleted. Jaded and hated. I can’t name one person that I’ve attempted to have a relationship with who is an active part of my life today. Worst still – I no longer care. I view that whole process of reaching out and being rejected, making myself available only to be ignored, offering help only to be passed over, issuing invitations and being cancelled out, opening myself to those who continually shut me out – I view all of this as God ruthlessly pruning my life and fusing His Spirit into me more deeply.
There is now a hardness about me that wasn’t there before I asked to be a lover of people. That’s not to say that I’ve become hard-hearted. Quite the contrary, my heart is extremely tender – it feels and sees more now than ever before. But it’s also well-protected. It’s no longer open to anything-or-everyone who simply crosses my path. I am operating on an invitation-only system. I am free to shake the dust of the inhospitable from my feet and I revel in the release that revelation provides me.
We cannot know how deep or resilient hope is until we experience its revival after a period of devastation. I’ve experienced the revival of my hope, so I no longer think it’s possible for me to be hopeless. However, my hope has become abstract in a murky darkness. There is no longer any detail in my vision and no fire in my passions. This is not a report claiming that love has failed – for that would be an impossible lie. I am reporting that the people I have crossed paths with have not been interested in a love that looks like me, sounds like me, feels like me. I’ve been observing how people are not interested in sharing time or conversation with me. There are certainly those who are content to dump their trash into my ears but those are not the ones who choose to share any measure of joy with me.
What is shared between people molds the relationship they have.
I’ve noticed how people rush pass me or turn about to rush in the opposite direction when I approach. It was a little intriguing at first – much like wondering if there was a mark on my forehead that discouraged attempts to connect. Luckily, I got past the idea that something was wrong with me. Unfortunately, getting past that, led to intense disgust with people. The disgust came from the fact that I have lived my life to be the best person I can be. That doesn’t mean I’m always everybody’s idea of a great person when we share time and space. It means that I constantly work on being present and engaged, available and honest as I move through this world. I don’t speak in niceties, I speak my truth. I have committed myself, for as long as I can remember, to only speaking my truth and presenting my sincerely authentic self to the world in every moment of interaction. My truth and authenticity may not always be pretty or bouncy or joyful or what the world prefers, but it has always been me at my most basic. Me at my most human. What my journey has shown me is that even though I have striven to be open and honest and sincere and accepting of people as they are, those same people were not interested in accepting me as I am. Over and over again that’s what the disregard, neglect, rejection and general hatred amounts to. Whoever I am, whatever I am seen to represent is not wanted. I am not seen as necessary or valuable.
In my disgust, I remembered Jesus on the cross. He too was rejected by the masses. I’ve asked Him numerous times, “Dear Jesus, how did you keep yourself from stepping down off the cross and killing everyone cheering for your death? Certainly you could have done that and then climbed back up onto the cross to give Your Life for the rest of the world?” Just a thought. Ruminating on how Jesus, in all His power and glory, could continue to fully execute God’s plan for His life IN THE FACE of hatred and WITHIN HEARING of shouted blasphemies humbled me in a such a profound way.
Since the beginning of our human story, people have been saying, “hell no; no thanks; that’s ok; uhhh… I’ll pass; maybe next time” to God. God offered paradise. Adam and Eve wanted something else. God gave individuals the right to rule themselves and their territories. People asked for a king to rule them instead. God provided a sacrifice to absolve mankind of all its sins in the person of Jesus Christ. People choose continually not to believe or accept the sacrifice. Jesus lived as an example for all to follow, yet so many give up seeking along the way.
I don’t want to say hell no, no thanks to my Lord and Savior. I don’t want to be so beaten down by the world that I give up my anointing due to weariness and disappointment.
It was in asking Jesus how He kept from destroying the people who not only eagerly sought to destroy Him, but actually taunted Him to destroy them, that I better understood the choice to love.
People walked by and insulted Jesus and shook their heads, saying, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross if you are really the Son of God!” ~ Matthew 27:39-40
I thought my faith journey would only produce more love, joy, peace and wisdom. The world teaches that love is a soft thing – warm, cuddly, tender, weak. Perhaps those who bask in the labor of someone else’s love experiences warmth and softness, but those who labor to love… well we weather tempestuous storms, debilitating uncertainty and endure heart-breaking on-the-job training. We don’t immediately see the benefits of the humiliation, shame, loneliness, sadness, abuse or temptations that hammer at us throughout the workday. But when we get to a certain point on our walk, we are able to look back and see where one humiliation prepared us for the next… until humiliation was no longer a concern. We see how shame shrouded us in darkness… until we decided to cast off the weight of shame and expose ourselves to more light. We can look back and see how loneliness felt excruciating for a time… but it was only in our aloneness that we were able to draw closer to God. There is a reason for everything connected to our life. There is a purpose for each season we are presented with on our journey. Keep walking. Keep trusting our Lord and Savior. Choose to love by continually choosing to receive the Love presented to you.
Every year at the time of Passover the governor would free one prisoner whom the people chose. At that time there was a man in prison, named Barabbas, who was known to be very bad. When the people gathered at Pilate’s house, Pilate said, “Whom do you want me to set free: Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” Pilate knew that they turned Jesus in to him because they were jealous.
While Pilate was sitting there on the judge’s seat, his wife sent this message to him: “Don’t do anything to that man, because he is innocent. Today I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.”
But the leading priests and elders convinced the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be freed and for Jesus to be killed.
Pilate said, “I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which do you want me to set free for you?”
The people answered, “Barabbas.”
Pilate asked, “So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?”
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
Pilate asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?”
But they shouted louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he could do nothing about this and that a riot was starting, he took some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. Then he said, “I am not guilty of this man’s death. You are the ones who are causing it!”
All the people answered, “We and our children will be responsible for his death.”
Then he set Barabbas free. But Jesus was beaten with whips and handed over to the soldiers to be crucified. ~ Matthew 26:15-26
I’m always shocked how quickly and completely people pre-judge me simply because I profess my belief and faith in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. After they know that about me, it’s like they deem me unworthy of getting to know. Suddenly, I have no opinions other than what’s popularly known, assumed or guessimated about the Bible. I have no sense of humor. I have no aspirations other than the second coming of the Lord. I’m one-dimensional. I’m unfair. A religious nut. A fanatic. A homophobe. Perhaps a racist or classist. Certainly superior. Irrational. Unintelligent. Unable to think for myself. A know-it-all with a straight line to God. Misguided. Simple-minded. A target. Object of pity. Innocent. Naïve. Someone to take advantage of because forgiveness is a way of life. A non-sinner. Incapable of understanding struggle. Unacquainted with sin or sinful thoughts. A paragon at avoiding temptation. Self-righteous and overly ripe. I’m sure the list of assumptions and judgments continue endlessly, but these are some I’ve been confronted with.
Recently, I had a Facebook exchange with someone who just assumed I was in opposition to something that she supported simply because of my “religion”. This was our first exchange on the topic and her only comment to me about it. The first time I met her is the last time I saw her, about five years ago at an event. In the same comment she mentioned an appreciation of our “friendship”.
That’s the second thing that hit me after being pre-judged based on my faith life: What friendship? Friends communicate with one another. They take the time to get to know each other. Friendships are long-term relationships that grow DESPITE what we learn about the other person. A friend doesn’t learn one thing about their “friend” and stop learning. Stop speaking. Stop sharing. Stop growing and exploring the relationship. In other words, friendships are not based on pre-judgments. Friendships are based on openness and a willingness to get to know another person and accept them as they are. To share that person’s present reality and perhaps aid them in their future dreams. Friendships deepen with each new character aspect we learn about the other person and through each trial and challenge that is overcome together in the relationship.
Don’t claim to be my friend if you can’t even accept or respect me as a faith-filled person.
It’s very hard to believe it’s been five years since my brother passed away. Life is just so fleeting… so elusive – especially when you don’t attend to it. It’s interesting to me that I was just summarizing the last five years of my life in terms of my spiritual growth – learning to obey, trust and depend on God. It hasn’t been a time of mourning and reflection on lost. Indeed, I mourned. I was comforted. And I continued to live. When I look back over my life, I do see the impact the death of loved ones has had on me. And I do feel the sadness of broken relationships. But encapsulating all that lost is the work God has done in my life and spirit. By God’s grace and mercy, the pain of lost does fade and the joy of remembering the good in others increases.
Know that the time you have with loved ones is a blessed and limited time indeed.
Scripture that helped me through:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13, NIV
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. ~ Ephesians 1:16-17
This past summer, my thirteen-year-old goddaughter came to visit me in New York City. I’ve kept her for extended periods since she was born, so having her on my own for a four-day weekend was not a concern for me, especially since it was her second time visiting me in New York (the first time she had come with her mother). Over the years, my goddaughter has been one of my road buddies, joining me on a couple of weekend trips to visit family. She has always been a delight and I was truly excited at the thought of her and I exploring the City together.
The person who showed up was not the little girl I knew. She was sullen, silent, monosyllabic when she spoke, passionless, distant and disinterested in her surroundings. Those few days with her were by far the most uncomfortable and painful stretch of time I’ve ever spent with anyone. She was obviously hurting. She was obviously in hiding. But she refused to speak. She refused to act. She wouldn’t tell me what was troubling her, so I could do nothing to assist her. I did express to her that I love her and was willing to help her with whatever was troubling her whenever she was willing to speak and tell me what she needed.
I wrote the below passage for her while still in the airport, just after putting her on the plane back to her mother.
I pray that you learn to receive love and hospitality with grace and gratitude – with an open heart that is willing to give back. We get the most when we give of ourselves.
I pray that you learn to live your life fully – without fear that your personality will outshine all those around you. Use your voice – it’s the only way people will truly get to know you.
I pray you come to realize soon that no one owes you anything (I don’t owe you anything), nor do you owe anyone anything. However, we should do our best to treat people how we want to be treated. In this lies the importance of how we give and receive hospitality.
Life is an experience, not a contest of wills. We need to show up fully to experience all that life has in store for us. Everywhere you go should be better served for having shared your presence. This means that you need to be present wherever you are. You can’t just show up, take what’s on offer and not interact or contribute to the experience. If you do, you are sure to receive far less than what was originally on offer. Ingratitude breeds stinginess.
I pray that you learn to express gratitude, give and receive love, and communicate where you are at any given moment so others can meet you where you are or where you will need them.
I pray you learn to appreciate your life and all the people God placed in your path to help you along. Appreciation breeds gratitude.
You are precious and loved. I hope you come to embrace this knowledge and allow it to build you up.
excerpt from The Worker: A Man of God by LaShawnda Jones
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. ~ Genesis 2:1-7 NLT
It could be argued that Eve had no respect for Adam’s relationship with God. As evidenced by her actions, her lack of respect for that divine relationship altered her marriage – for the worst. Eve was presented to her man in the midst of paradise. There was no shame in her baring or her interactions with her mate. Adam was responsible for teaching her everything he knew. He told her of God’s instructions to him regarding the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (a.k.a. the Tree of Death). Eve acknowledged Adam’s teachings when she told the serpent what God had said regarding the forbidden tree and it’s fruit.
Imagine Adam escorting Eve proudly through the Garden paradise God had created just for them, eagerly showing her the wonders of God’s expressive love for them. Imagine Adam stopping here and there to introduce her with the pride of belonging – the pride of oneness – as his wife. As his help mate. As his companion in all things. As the woman who would bear his likeness and his children. The woman who would share his authority over all the earth. Imagine Adam proclaiming, “Tree, greet my wife! Honor your mistress with the rustling on your leaves! Sky, salute the helper of my soul! Clear away the clouds so the Sun may meet its rival in the glowing countenance of my wife’s face.” Adam was a man about the Garden with the best part of creation on his arm – he knew it and wanted every other part of creation to know it, too. Imagine the level of intimacy Adam and Eve shared. The amount of joy they must have taken in one another. Exploring, teaching and learning together all day, every day. As Adam shared what he knew, he learned again from her perspective. And as Eve took in what he shared, she also taught him something new. Each new day must have been an enlightening revelation. The oneness of their union is evident in the oneness of their growth… and the oneness of their fall.
God first – always makes your wife a priority
Father God tells us, if we respect Him, we need to get to know Him.
The One who knows our needs better than we do says, if we love Him, simply do as He says.
The Word of God says, respect for God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7, 111:10)
Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. ~ 1 John 5:3-5
You know the story. One day, Eve forgot herself. Or perhaps, Adam didn’t make himself as clear as he should have
On the surface, Eve disobeyed Adam, but looking deeper, we see that Adam allowed Eve to disobey a direct order from God.
God says that the one way you can show that you love Him is by obeying His commandments. That’s it. Do what I say, says the LORD Almighty, and I will know that you’re committed to this relationship with me. I will know that you love me. I will know that you put no other before me.
When Adam stood by and allowed Eve to do what God had explicitly told him not to do, he was essentially putting Eve before God. How? Eve was in a selfish state of mind where she was seeking something she thought was being withheld from her. She wanted something she thought God was being stingy with. The thought of being equal to God appealed to her ego. Adam stood by and participated in their shared disobedience because he essentially chose to please his wife over pleasing God. That is the wrong turn Adam took early in his marriage.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. A man should be intent on pleasing his wife, just as a wife should seek to please her husband. Remember, Eve wasn’t seeking knowledge only for herself; she desired it for both herself and her husband, whom she passed the fruit to. However, our desire to please our spouse should not supersede God’s instructions to us. Essentially, Adam and Eve got in trouble when they put each other before God. Had they both made God’s instructions a priority in their relationship they may have still been in the Garden of God today! Don’t get this twisted – putting God first DOES NOT mean NEGLECT your spouse. God’s primary concern is our relationship with Him and how our love for Him is manifested in our human relationships, in particular, within our marriage relationship. Obeying God will never harm your relationship with your spouse. However, in your obedience, you must include your spouse. If a husband has received instructions from God (which means his life is going to change), it is his responsibility to share those instructions, and his interpretation of them, with his wife. One of three things will happen when a man shares his thoughts and intentions with his wife:
The partnership of marriage
A wife is either for or against her husband. No wife is neutral. But, a wife can become discouraged.
If your wife has no idea where she fits into your life, your work, your assignment, or your purpose, she will not feel useful to your life or valued by you. Within the marriage relationship, a woman’s value is tied to how she aides her husband, and how he values her contributions. This is embedded in woman from the beginning – from the moment of Eve’s installation as Adam’s helper. In contrast, a man’s value within marriage is tied to how he cares for his wife and family – they are the expression of his life and his offering to God. This is also embedded in man from the beginning – from Adam’s first instruction to tend to the garden and to care for it.
Dear Worker, what has God told you to do in your life? How has he told you to honor Him?
Are you doing what He told you to do? Is your wife aware of your assignment?
Your wife is assigned to your life as your assistant. Her primary role and function is to support you in your assignment from God. You honor God by honoring your wife’s role in your life.
Love and respect – different sides of the same coin
Don’t mistake your wife for a cost-free laborer, unworthy of your consideration. The woman who believes on Christ has already been redeemed by His blood. She is precious, indeed. Treat her as such. When you marry, whatever your Kingdom work is, you are automatically registered as a partnership. You have an ally like no other – one made to fit you and your needs specifically. You are two individuals, but one entity. You have different points of view, but one vision. When it comes to the direction of your enterprise – your marriage – you, the husband, are responsible for communicating the destination; however, your wife may be the logistical genius who plots out the route step by step. But you are both responsible for keeping your marriage enterprise on course.
respect noun 1. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability 2. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment 3. the condition of being esteemed or honored verb 1. to hold in esteem or honor 2. to show regard or consideration for 3. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with (www.dictionary.com)
The fear of the Lord – Reverence for God; respect for his law, his will, his government, himself; the fear of offending him, which will lead us to do right. This fear is not that of a slave; it is not mere dread; it is not terror. It is consistent with love, and springs from it. It is consistent with calmness of mind, and promotes it. It does not produce terror, but rather delivers from it, and preserves the mind from alarms. The word here rendered “fear” is a noun of the same origin as the word rendered “reverend” in the previous verse. The suggestion to the mind of the psalmist that the “name of the Lord” was “reverend,” or was to be venerated, introduced this thought that such reverence is the very foundation of wisdom.
Is the beginning of wisdom – The foundation, the origin, the commencement of being truly wise. It is so. There is no true wisdom which does not recognize the being, the perfections, and the claims of God. The highest wisdom – the most lofty endowment of man – is that he “may” know and honor God. This, in capability, makes him wise above the brute creation; this, in exercise, makes one man more wise than another; this, when it springs up in the soul, makes a man more wise than he was before – or, is the “beginning” of true wisdom in the soul. (Barnes, 1834)
Compare Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Deuteronomy 4:6; Job 28:28; Ecclesiastes 12:13.
The difference your heart makes
Dear Worker, you earn your wife’s respect by what you share with her and how you treat her. Let me assure you, your sharing has nothing to do with money or material goods. Your sharing has everything to do with your heart and your spirit.
Many women believe the falsehood that a good relationship and a happy marriage is predicated on their husband’s income, bank account, worldly possessions, social connections and all the luxury he can afford to lavish on them. Many men believe the lies. I stand as a witness that has seen similar-thinking men and women co-exist in some of the unhappiest and unhealthiest marriages because they believed that marital bliss could be found in an elite job and a secluded neighborhood; a luxury car and an exclusive country club. They believe marital bliss is one materialistic goal away.
To the contrary, no matter how hard the husband’s work to give these wives what they said they wanted – all the trappings of wealth and worldly success they could afford – they end up empty. Deep into the years of their marriages, each husband will come to the conclusion that they can’t buy their wives enough to satisfy them, because there is always something newer, something bigger, something better, something more. There will always be something that another woman has that will make this wife feel her lifestyle is inferior – that her she is not as well-provided for as she should be by her husband. But in a quiet corner of her empty home, speaking softly to a friend on a dark, starless night, or sitting at a dining table set for the family, with a seat waiting to be filled by the head of household who was too busy working in an effort to maintain his wife’s declared need for the next best thing, the woman who constantly looks outward for satisfaction will break within. As she crumbles, she quietly weeps and prays for her husband to come home and hold her. Come home and share a meal and conversation with her. She sobs to her friend that all she wants is for her man to be with her sharing his presence and his thoughts, giving her his attention and his time. Depositing his knowledge into her. Right below the shallow surface, this woman (like every other woman) wants her husband to be content to hold her and love her.
“Seriously,” she tosses at her friend, “what do I need with another piece of jewelry? What good is a larger house when it will only increase the echo of my loneliness? What value does an exclusive education have when my children don’t even know their father? And what child can respect a father they don’t know? What authority does a man have in his own home when respect is absent? Truly, what good is it for a woman to be given all the trappings of wealth and good living, if she has lost the heart and soul of her husband?”
This woman may fail to explore another reason her children have no respect for their father. Respect is something that is observed and taught. Children learn from watching those around them. They will first learn how to respect their father by their mother’s treatment of him. If a woman has no respect for her husband, her children will most likely follow suit. But this all comes down to the diminished presence of many men in their homes. If a man is not present, how can he lead his wife and correct his children? If he is not present, when does he speak words of life into his household? A man needs to be present in order to rebuke the outside influences on the minds, hearts and spirits of his wife and children.
If a man only provides the bare necessities, but fails to nourish his family with God’s word which also grows into a hedge of protection around his household, then what has he truly done with his life? What is his presentation to God for the use of his body and his life when his family perishes from lack of true spiritual care?
In Proverbs 24:27, God elaborates, “Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” There is no instruction after “build your house.” Preparation comes before the household arrives. The worker may have to work continuously, but he needs to know that once his house is built, once his wife is claimed and mated and their family had been started, the household takes precedence over the outside work.
The look and feel of respect
Dear Worker, you may wonder if your wife respects you. Or you may not wonder at all and just wish that she did. I’m going to put this on scripture: Man, if you do for your wife as Jesus did for His Bride – he gave His life as a complete sacrifice in order to wash and cleanse her, to prepare her for holy presentation to God – then your wife will respond by falling to your feet and washing your work-wearied, sun-dried toes with her tears. She will dry your aching arches with her hair. She will anoint your life with everything that is in her. That’s respect. That’s honor. That’s favor and blessing. That is an expression of gratitude for the man God joined her to. That is, indeed, love.
In the second chapter of Proverbs, the Father warns His Son to beware of the immoral woman calling out to him form the side of the road. That woman is promises only fleshly pleasure and if he heeds her call, she will lead him to his death. After Eve had listened to the serpent, she turned to her husband to beacon with the promise of fleshly pleasures – worldly wisdom. Adam heeded her call because he chose to follow his wife into the realm of lustful deceit – a realm where the desire to get outweighs the desire to give. As a result, Adam and Eve and all the children seeded within them entered into a cycle of death.
Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman. She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God. ~ Proverbs 2:16-17
If God is not a priority for your wife, chances are He is not a priority for you. What is important to a man becomes important to his wife. Her faithfulness increases the more you share with her. This way, husband and wife have a shared focus, a shared purpose, and a shared commitment to their assignment.
Adam failed to impress upon Eve the absoluteness of God’s instructions regarding the trees of life and death. He had to have failed in expressing that in honoring the word God had given him for his life, and his family, she would also be honoring her husband. Likewise, in honoring her husband, she was also giving honor and glory to God.
Adam was not clear enough on that point. He was not adamant enough about the absoluteness of God’s command. He was not insistent on Eve’s need for obedience. How can I possibly say that with any conviction? Because I believe the Word of God and throughout God’s Word he talks about the passion of the lover and the heart of the receptive bride. A heart that is turned towards its’ mate. Eager to please its’ partner.
Confront the darkness in your wife
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. ~ Ephesians 5:10-14
Eve is the prototype and archetype of woman. She is no different than any of her daughters through the millennia. Created in a sinless state, in a paradise set apart from the world, she was still susceptible to the wafting whisper of corruption. In all her perfection, and even in a perfect environment, Eve was still vulnerable to the evil that is disobedience to God’s Word. Adam did not cleanse his wife when she exposed her shifting heart to him. Adam did not rebuke the spirit of deceit that gained a foothold in Eve’s mind. Adam did not speak against the evil influence taking precedence over God’s Word in spirit.
Though we were all created in a sinless environment, we have all been born into a sinful nature. Yet and still, that is only the middle of the story. We have all been offered redemption through Jesus Christ – the first Worker, the first Son, the first Husband, the first Vessel of God’s love. Jesus is man’s first and best example for all aspects of human life. Study Jesus to learn about true manhood. Follow Jesus to experience a close brotherhood. Keep your eyes on Jesus to be the best husband you can be – by emulating Jesus, he will shine through you. It is through the provision of Jesus Christ that mankind can return to God – again and again. God provided Jesus to us as redemption for every aspect of our lives. Jesus is not only the conqueror of death, He is our chief life warrior as well. Equally as important as dying to our nature, is living in His Spirit.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved usand offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~ Ephesians 5:1-2
In marriage, this means that through the Christ that has already been provided as a sacrifice and deposit for the hearts of Believers, a man and wife can turn to each other to offer redemption and to be redeemed from each and every fall – each and every stumble, every instance of poor judgment and all their wrongful acts caused by their insecurities. Mercy, grace and forgiveness are all rolled into redemption. Redemption is the active process of reclaiming something of value to the owner – the person the redeemed belongs to.
Dear Worker, do you value your wife?
How can Eve, or any woman for that matter, respect a man who doesn’t speak life into her? To do so would be against God’s layout for marital relationship. God’s Word does not say, “Wife, respect your husband simply because he is a man. Or simply because he is your husband. Or because he is the father of your children. Or because he bought you something. No. God’s Word in Ephesians chapter five compares the husband to Christ. As Christ is submitted to God. As Christ is the head of the church. In this way, wives should submit (defer) to a husband who is submitted to God. In this way, a husband who loves his wife as he loves himself is worthy of his wife’s respect. This isn’t just flowery speech, it’s a law of the Spirit of God. Any woman living in the Spirit would respond to her husband’s words of life and acts of love.
Think about it, what did Christ do for the church?
He died to Himself, so that His Bride, the Church would have a more abundant life. Through His one-time sacrifice, He is still building His Church. His Bride is still seeking Him. She is still growing and changing. She is looking forward to the day she can see her Husband face to face because she remembers what He did for her – how He gave His all for her. (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33)
Perhaps the question of Christ’s action should precede the question of Wife…do you respect me? What a man values, he honors by investing himself, his time, and his presence into. What a man values will carry his mark. What a man values will be revealed by him in every area and aspect of his life. There will be no corner of his life that will be unacquainted with what a man holds above all else. For the sake of God’s praise and the sake of your family, let what you value most be your God and you wife – in that order.
Speak firmly from a faithful heart
Adam had a responsibility to His God and his wife to speak up for both. To honor both by defending both. It is possible to do. If he had spoken words of life into Eve in her moment of weakness, he would have maintained his authority, strengthened Eve spiritually, and saved both of their lives. If Adam had chosen to speak words of life into Eve at the moment he saw the serpent sway her conviction, he would have defeated the serpent with the simple act of obeying God, which doubled as a wife-builder. That simple act would have had eternal reverberations – just as the act Adam actually chose does. But the most profoundly important effect, had he chosen to obey God and speak against the evil in the Garden infecting his wife, is that Adam would have glorified God with his faithfulness.
All that, by simply telling his wife, “No, we are not going to do this thing. We are not going to be disobedient or irreverent or disrespectful to God’s spoken will. We are not going to respond to His love with a hateful act. In this house (Garden of God) we will obey and serve our creator, God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth – and the Maker of you and me. Woman, you will stand with me and agree with me against this threat and we will honor our God together.” Or some such variation….
FYI – that’s hot!
A man who speaks with conviction about his God, and he and his wife’s roles in executing God’s plan for their relationship, is beyond attractive. His words become a life-long memory in the heart of his wife. A caveat: it’s only hot, however, when the wife believes with her husband. If her husband had already deposited God’s word for his life and assignment within her, the Holy Spirit will activate a believing wife’s heart to hear you.
I’m telling you, Eve (and any other wife) would have obeyed that “this-house-is-united-not-divided” command from Adam (and any other husband). Obedience would be given not because a growling man spoke from his ego while thumping his chest, but because a faithful man, fearful of displeasing his Lord and destroying his family knows that he needs unity with his wife to defeat everything that comes against them. No matter what the state of your relationship, a woman will willingly stand next to a husband who wants her by his side. No matter how strong or outspoken your wife may appear, she wants to listen to and depend on the leader in her husband.
Faith, Respect, and Unity add priceless value to your marriage
A disrespectful wife breeds separation of purpose in a marriage.
A husband who doesn’t value his wife breeds her disrespect.
What comes first? Does it really matter? No. Not if you have the power and authority to change it.
The man has the power and authority to change the nature and temperament of his marriage relationship and his family environment. The man, the husband, the head of the household, God’s worker, has only to do what the Word of God tells him to do. Pursue your wife. Lead your wife. Disciple your wife. Share your life with your wife. Infuse her with your fragrance – a fragrance that only envelopes her through your broken and contrite heart. Your pride may attract her attention, but it’s your humbleness that will keep her heart turned towards you.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit…. ~ Psalm 51:17-19
Dear Worker, when you do all you are instructed to do for the woman God has blessed you with to be your crown and your joy, then you will know your wife respects you by the way she honors you, blesses you, watches you, waits for you, prays for you, longs for you, and yearns for your presence. Your wife will respect you for correcting her. She will appreciate that you value her so much that you risk her displeasure so that you may rejoice in her life.
Wife… do you respect me? is not a question a man who models himself after God’s heart will have to ask often or at all.
Related posts by LaShawnda Jones:
A Foolish Woman vs. A Wise Woman
Do you know the day and time you first believed? Perhaps you know people who claim they’ve been walking with Christ for eight years, nine months and ten days or some detailed variation? I am not one of those people. I cannot pinpoint the moment I first believed. Nor do I recall a time of non-belief. However, most of my life, I resisted practicing my beliefs. I resisted obeying God. I resisted His call. Though I have always felt God’s presence in my life, I used to hope He would let me roam wild and carefree before taming me with His Word. I never quite got wild, nor was I ever free of cares, but I did get a lot of bumps on my head and many bruises to my ego. All have been lessons to grow on.
Prior to my move to New York City in the fall of 2005, God was someone I had great ideals about but not someone I knew personally. I had heard of His wonderful works and had actually experienced His works in my own life but I didn’t think He was really paying attention to me. There were so many other people for Him to be concerned with. During those years, God was like a wardrobe accessory I put on most days then promptly forgot I was wearing.
Ecclesiastes tells us repeatedly there is nothing new under the sun. As I have studied the Bible, grown more confident in God’s Word and more knowledgeable of his methods, I’ve come to see that even the way He deals with His people today is similar to the model of Biblical relationships we have been given. I’ve been able to identify parallels between my life and Biblical stories. The parallel that most influences My God and Me is God’s instruction to Abram to leave his country and his kindred. Abram did as instructed and had terrible difficulties from the outset. However, those difficulties did not deter him in his faith or his belief that God would do as He said He would do.
Meditation Verse: Genesis 12:1-3
Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I believe I have been called away from my family and the community of my youth in order for God to better prepare me for His work. I have gone through many difficulties that have strengthened my faith and deepened my fellowship with my God. I know I will have many more tests and trials before my journey is complete, but I am so much better prepared now than I was a few years ago.
I used to tell people I grew up in the church; I knew about God and Jesus. My declaration has changed. Now, I know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit! I live in them as they live in me. Awesome! What wondrous power the Trinity gives me from day to day! Yes, I am in love; a deep abiding love that has nothing to do with this world. I am awed and humbled by the way my God takes care of me, I am amazed by the examples my savior provided me and I am continually enlightened by the awareness and revelations the Holy Spirit allows me. I desire nothing more than to be obedient to the instructions God speaks to me. I sincerely seek to be in His presence and to please Him. I didn’t experience any of this until my isolation triggered my personal evolution. Or rather, my isolation allowed me time and space to focus on my evolution, as well as my relationship with God.
This collection of previously posted blogs is a record of the transformation my spirituality and life focus has undergone over the last four years. In the beginning, I railed against being set apart from everyone and everything familiar to me; I didn’t like being by myself. However, I am grateful for the process He put me through for I have learned to depend on and commune with my Father God. The time I’ve spent talking to Him exclusively has taught me to hear Him better. Even as I weaned myself off the false dependency of family and friends, I had to also wean myself off of my “self” dependency. I learned quickly that nothing outside the will of God is going to take place in my life. He is my protector, guide and provider. When I began to recognize, accept and trust His care and provisions, I was able to let go of my issues bit by bit and rely more and more on Him.
When I began blogging, my only intent was to entertain and promote. However, as I have reread and edited this collection, I am truly humbled by the message God is giving you through me. I am blessed by the amount of cleansing and lifting He has done within me. This book is a synopsis of my life. Some stories may seem very un-Christian, in fact maybe the whole collection may cause you to question my “Christianity”. That’s fine – I’m not concerned with being judged by anyone. This is a record of my honest thoughts, opinions and experiences at the time I chronicled them. I don’t want anyone to think for a moment that aspiring to a Christ-like character and existence is easy or without lapses and outward desires. Some words are mine, but most, I believe are simply delivered through me. I pray you find some words within these pages to help you and contribute to your continued growth.
May God continue to bless and keep you.