Claim God's Promises for Your Marriage
- Thursday, May 26, 2005
Claiming God's promises together will unleash His power in your marriage. Here are some ways you can claim God's promises of ...
Answered prayer: Honestly consider what excuses you've been using not to pray. Identify the one that's most obvious in your life, and ask God to help you overcome it. Make a list of people and things for which to pray. Then record answers as they come. Memorize one of the Scripture verses that describes God's promise to answer prayer (such as Matthew 7:7-8). Talk and listen to God throughout your day, even in the car and the shower. Commit to praying with your spouse daily. Set an initial goal of praying together for five minutes each day, then gradually increase that time as appropriate.
Change: Know that God isn't interested in preserving the status quo; He specializes in bringing about transformation. Ask yourself and your spouse: "How has my life changed since accepting Christ?" and "How has my marriage changed since becoming a Christian?". Thank God for those changes. Then ask, "What further changes does God want me to make in my life that will better reflect that I am His child?" Ask God for help to make those changes. Finally, ask your spouse or another trusted person to share any positive changes he or she has observed in your character or conduct recently, and what changes you may still need to make.
Comfort: Rely on God's comfort when you're suffering. Know that He is always available to help you, no matter what your circumstances. Trust that God will also use your pain as tools to bring about positive growth in your life; ask Him to reveal what He wants you to learn from your troubles. Develop a compassionate heart for other people and share the comfort God has given you with them - through encouraging words, acts of kindness, hugs, etc. Don't lecture, sermonize, accuse, or criticize hurting people. Instead, remember when you were hurting yourself and recall how God encouraged you. Keep in mind that hard times can deepen your faith, teach you patience, develop your maturity, build your wisdom, force you to pray, and remind you of what's truly important.
Completion: Trust that God will continue to work in your life until He has completed all the good work He has begun in you. Take heart that God isn't finished with either you or your spouse. View yourselves as works in progress. Pray about your specific needs individually and as a couple. Make every effort to grow continuously in your walk with God, and be confident of His help to do so.
Courage: Know that God will give you the courage you need for whatever battles you face - in your marriage, and elsewhere. Read your Bible daily, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read. Decide to stand up for Christ in public, at work, and at home. Strive to model godly character to one another and others, fulfill your role in your family, guide your family out of worldliness and into holiness, speak up for morality at your children's school(s), and live a consistent life for Christ, regardless of the cost. Discuss your fears with your spouse and support each other in prayer for newfound courage.
Deliverance: Expect temptations as a normal part of life in our fallen world. Know that God promises to help you avoid giving into temptation by providing a way to escape it before it hurts you. Be aware of people or situations that tempt you - a shortcut, an attractive man or woman, a bigger house, etc. Run from your areas of weakness. Pray before you act. Read God's Word. Consider the consequences of giving into specific temptations. Build a support system of other Christians who can encourage you and keep you accountable.
Forgiveness: Know that the forgiveness God gives is complete and permanent. You can't ever use it up. It's meant to be shared (since God has forgiven you, show mercy to your spouse and others). It changes you. Regularly confess your sins to God, accept His forgiveness, embrace His mercy, and trust that He will help you move on with a clean slate and second chances. Make a list of the people you need to forgive, then pray about each one. Make another list of the people you have wronged, beginning with your spouse. Take the first step to make things right between you and each person you've hurt. Let go of bitterness and embrace kindness. Praise God for the gift of forgiveness.
Grace: Trust that God's grace is sufficient for your salvation and to shape you and your spouse into the people He wants you to be. Rely on God's grace to see you through any trial you experience. Thank God that you are under grace and not the law. Extend grace to your spouse and others by sharing the gospel, showing forgiveness, and shouldering their burdens.
Guidance: Depend on God for the knowledge and wisdom to know what to do in all situations. Recognize the limitations of your own wisdom. Always seek God's will, for decisions both great and small. Examine the values and priorities you and your spouse have, and seek to align them with God's. Use your God-given abilities to reason, but never rely solely on your own reason; consult God, one another, and other people. Listen to wise advice and be willing to be corrected. Be patient and wait to act until God's will becomes clear to you.
Hope: You can be confident that God is working out His good plans for your marriage and your entire life. Know that the hope God offers you is real because it's grounded in His power. Realize that He can transform even the most tragic situations to help you grow. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by something in life, remember God's words of hope and encouragement in His Word. Trust in God's faithfulness. Recall how God has come through for you in the past. Rejoice that, no matter how bad things become, God has a plan for good and will be with you in your every hour of need.
Life: Understand that life is offered only in Jesus, is found only in Jesus, and is abundant because of Jesus - right here and now, and also in the life to come after you leave this world. If you haven't already, begin an eternal relationship with Jesus by asking Him to be your Lord and Savior. Live each day with all your heart, recognizing that it is a valuable gift. Be grateful to be alive. Don't worry about losing eternal life once you have it, because nothing can snatch you out of Jesus' hands once you've truly given your life to Him. Share the good news of God's gift of life with other people.
Love: Since God chooses to love you no matter what, choose to love your spouse and other people no matter what. Decide to serve God and others. Look for opportunities to do so. Stay close to God through prayer and a pure life of obedience so His love will flow freely through your heart to others. Make love your highest goal. Enjoy acting in love often!
Peace: Know that peace comes through trusting God and living in obedience to Him. Take whatever issues are troubling you individually and as a couple to God in prayer, turning them over to Him. Confess sins that may be blocking your intimacy with God and the peace that results. Whenever you're tempted to worry about anything, pray about it instead. Rely on God's guidance and strength to work through your problems together.
Power: Understand that Jesus doesn't promise you worldly positions of power and authority. He promises you something greater - spiritual power. Realize the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit and relying on the Spirit's constant counsel in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to guard against sin in your marriage and other parts of your life. Witness to others by letting them see God's powerful work in your life. Follow God's call into service opportunities with the confidence that He will empower you to fulfill them well.
Presence: Trust that God will always be present with you, no matter what. Don't worry about your spouse when you're apart, and don't lean too much on each other when you're together. Remember that God is looking out for both of you. Be aware of God's constant presence with you, and communicate with Him throughout each day in prayer.
Provision: Thank God for the ways He has provided for you, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc. Take heart that He has promised to give you everything you truly need. Remember that you and your spouse have the responsibility to be good stewards of all God has entrusted to you; strive to do a good job. Be content with what God has given you. Give back to God a portion of what He has provided to you. Develop and stick to a budget. Discuss how you can cut expenses. Wait on major purchases until you pray about them.
Purpose: Know that God's purpose gives meaning and significance to your marriage and entire life. Recognize that His plans are unique for you. Patiently wait for God to fully reveal His purpose for your life. Be faithful where you are in life right now as you await His guidance for your next steps. Understand that it's part of each person's purpose to come to repentance for sins, live a pure life, act as His witnesses to other people, and be transformed more and more into Jesus' image. Know that part of each spouse's purpose is to love and respect his or her partner. Realize that part of each parent's purpose is to care for and spiritually train his or her children.
Rest: Recognize that rest is a gift from God that is important for a balanced life. As a couple, evaluate your schedules to determine whether or not you're each getting adequate rest. Cut back on anything that's preventing you from getting the sleep and recreation you need. Take regular vacations and cultivate a hobby that has nothing to do with your regular job. Through prayer, give your burdens to Jesus - the only One who is strong enough to carry them.
Self-Discipline: Rely on God's promised help to control your attitudes and actions so you can be faithful in your marriage and entire life. Actively seek to develop godly discipline. Deal promptly with sin such as anger and laziness. Memorize Scripture and meditate on it to renew your mind. Monitor what you see and dwell on, since your eyes are the gateway to your mind. Avoid media that corrupts your thinking. Keep your body fit. Ask God to help you achieve a healthy balance between your work and home lives. Develop and stick to a budget.
Strength. Understand that Jesus is the source of your strength; He is the reason you can do all things in the spiritual realm. Stay closely connected to Him through prayer and living an obedient life. Surround yourself with people you trust who will help hold you accountable in your walk of faith. Exercise your faith by trusting God for your needs, praying and anticipating God's answers, relying on God's strength in your weakness, believing God's promises in the midst of trials, being a consistent witness to your beliefs, and standing up for your faith in all situations.
Success: Celebrate the fact that you can be successful in your marriage and every other aspect of your life, by God's measurements, if you: study the Bible consistently, ponder what it says, and apply it completely. Survey your heart and honestly assess the standards by which you may be judging your own level of success. Then allow God to align your values with His. Evaluate your level of obedience to God's Word. Surrender your practices that don't reflect the faithfulness God desires of you.
Victory: Rejoice that God has given you and your spouse certain victory over sin and death if you each have a saving relationship with Jesus. Acknowledge that your current spiritual setbacks are only skirmishes in the larger spiritual war of resisting evil and growing closer to Jesus. Recognize that sin in your life is an affront to a holy God, and deal with sin seriously. Acknowledge the strong hold evil can have over you and others, and don't be caught off-guard. Pray often for God's strength to do the right thing. Know God's Word and recall verses that apply to situations in which you find yourself. Flee temptation. Be accountable to your spouse and others you trust and respect. Ask them to pray for you to be faithful in your attitudes and actions. Remember that you and your spouse are a team, and if God is your coach, you'll win in life.
Wisdom: Know that God is the ultimate source of wisdom. Desire the wisdom He gives, and pray for it. Continue to seek it every day, since your marriage and other parts of your life are constantly changing.
Worth: Realize that you are of great worth because you're one of God's beloved children. Base your worth on your identity in Christ. Thank God that, even though the physical materials of your body aren't worth much, He has given you a priceless soul. Understand that your limitations are actually gifts because they force you to trust God. Accept your limitations and use them as reasons to rely more on God's strength. Know that God never makes a mistake, so you can trust His work in your life and that of your spouse. Understand that your marriage is worthwhile because it helps you both learn to love more deeply.
Adapted from Powerful Promises for Every Couple, copyright 2004 by Jim and Elizabeth George.