Today, I’m continuing to unpack my series on spiritual warfare in marriage—focusing today on how Satan loves to divide us as couples when we pursue good and godly things. Whenever the Enemy can’t divide us from God, he goes the roundabout way by dividing us as couples, which often divides us from the Lord when all is said and done.
As a pastor’s wife and former pastor’s child, I’ve seen this in my own marriage and my parent’s marriage more times than I can tell you. I think Satan takes a heightened interest in attacking and defeating ministers and their families because they stand as examples to the rest of the church.
[bctt tweet=”It’s like aiming for the jugular and watching the church bleed out. #Satanattackspastors” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
How does the Enemy divide us in pursuits that are good and godly things?
1. One spouse wants to do God’s will, while the other wants to do something that “makes more sense.”
One very clear example of this was in the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. They started out wanting to do something good by conceiving the son that God had promised them.
[bctt tweet=”Wouldn’t that be a fun way to participate in God’s will and work? #sexinmarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
At first, they both believed God would give them this long-awaited son. But at some point Sarah grew impatient—feeling as if what made more sense was for them to “help God out.” So she told Abraham to sleep with her servant, Hagar, in order to secure the son they both wanted.
A good question to ask here is . . .
What am I tempted to do that makes more sense to me than trusting what God wants us to do in our marriage?
2. We spur one another on to good deeds, but with our preferences as paramount.
This means we want to read our Bibles, pray, minister, as well as tell our spouse’s where and when we should go to church, etc. But then we judge each other’s efforts or preferences as not enough or not as godly as our own.
The best picture of this in Scripture comes from the Pharisees who Jesus condemned for their self-righteous attitudes (see Matthew 23:4-12).
In the early days of my marriage, I also became like the Pharisees. Due to all the spiritual practices I had been doing, I came to believe that my husband just wasn’t as spiritual as I was. What an ugly picture, and one that I’m not proud of at all now!
The question here is . . .
In what ways am I giving in to the thought that I’m more spiritual or better than my mate?
3. We pursue “rightness” rather than righteousness.
Satan loves to use half-truths to twist and pervert what matters most—God’s truth. And I’ve caved to this temptation and followed the evil one’s example more times than not, especially in times of conflict. I might be right in my opinions, but when I condescendingly try to put my husband in his place, I’m DEAD wrong in my approach!
That’s when . . .
[bctt tweet=”I swallow Satan’s lie that my opinion matters more than how I’m treating my husband.” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
God says this . . . “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” ~Jeremiah 31:3b
If God draws our hearts to His truth with kindness, shouldn’t we do the same?
The question here is . . .
Do I try to convince my mate of how right I am, especially in times of conflict?
4. Start out doing something good together, but it becomes all-consuming.
Satan tempts couples to do good things for our own sake—sowing division through our selfish ambition.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” —James 3:16
A pressurized and all-consuming focus distracts both of us from each other, as well as from God.
I notice Satan tempts couples in three common ways in this regard . . .
- Build our lives around our children—making sure to get them involved in every sport or activity that they desire. Then we end up running ourselves so ragged that we have little time for our marriages or important spiritual pursuits.
- Become too heavily involved in serving at our churches or other charitable organizations.
- Become too focused on our jobs and finding fulfillment there.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t serve in these good ways, but when our involvement distracts us from pouring into our marriages and, foundationally making God our highest priority, then we’ve allowed Satan to divide and conquer us in marriage.
The question to ask here is . . .
What “good pursuits” are distracting me from my marriage and/or pursuit of God?
Click on the link for more posts in this “Spiritual Warfare Series.”
[bctt tweet=”Christian bloggers, come join the From Messes to Messages linkup! #GodRedeems” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
As you might already know, today is Messy Marriage’s 7-year blog-aversery! Woot! Woot! Because of that, I’m offering a HUGE giveaway! I’ve got seven books to giveaway (one each) to seven randomly chosen commenters who live in the continental U.S. The deadline for entering is Sat. Oct. 14th at 4 p.m. (CST). I’ve listed the books below. You can request which one you would like in the comments and I’ll try to pair you up with your choice when I can.
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What is another way you’ve seen Satan divide married couples in the pursuit of good?
Which of the four ways I listed have you struggled with the most in your marriage or life?
One more thing, Sheila Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum is featuring a post I wrote, “How an Argument Revealed More About Me than My Husband” today. I hope you’ll stop by to check it out as well!
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