I don’t know about you, but I’m a workaholic. And that applies to my marriage as well—always finding some way to clean up or spruce up what needs attention. That can be good. But today I want to talk about how doing too much in our own strength can derail us.
After all, spring-cleaning our marriages (my latest series) comes from a very task-oriented place. That’s why it’s important to balance the work we try to do in marriage with “rest.” And the rest I’m talking about doesn’t mean taking it easy and coasting in our marriages.
It’s about finding our way in marriage with Christ at the center.
[bctt tweet=”Only Christ can provide the necessary cleaning and rest that our souls need, which allows us to start over with a clean slate in life and marriage! Yay, God! #messymarriage #startover #cleanslate” username=”BethSteffaniak””]
In order to put Christ at the center, we need to, first of all, receive and rest in His salvation—allowing Him to clean our hearts, then our marriages.
If you’re a believer, please read on! Because this post is for you, especially if you sometimes try to “clean up” your marriage/heart in your own strength. I know this an ongoing challenge for me! Eek!
But this post is also for those of you who’ve never received Christ’s salvation, or aren’t sure if you have.
Before running ahead, I want to clarify what exactly “salvation” means. Especially since, in our culture, it’s easy to assume that you’re a Christian simply because you believe in God.
But let’s look at what James 2:19 says …
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
This means we need more than just belief in God in order to be saved.
People sometimes go on to say, “Well, I’m a Christian because my good works outweigh all the bad stuff I’ve done.” I think we can view it this way because in every realm of life, we are evaluated by our performance. All except for in God’s economy …
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” —Ephesians 2:8-9
There may be those of you who feel as if you are fine without God. If so, then I would ask you, is your marriage fine? You probably wouldn’t be reading here, if you weren’t hitting some messy moments in life and marriage! Right?
Besides, there’s just so much that Christ’s salvation provides for us. And I don’t want you to miss out on a single blessing! So let’s look at …
4 Works that Christ (Alone) Does in the Christ-follower’s Life
1. Christ Provides Cleansing, Rebirth and Renewal
“He [Jesus] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” —Titus 3:5 (clarification mine)
With Jesus as your Savior, you can find the mercy that perhaps your spouse or others are withholding from you—giving you that elusive “clean slate!”
If you’re a believer, lean into that! But if you’re not a believer, lean into that! 😉
The freedom and acceptance I experience in Christ are what encourage me in every confinement and rejection of life and marriage. It will do the same for you!
Salvation also provides the cleansing and renewal that no spring-cleaning self-effort could ever do or provide.
How exactly does Christ’s salvation wash our hearts?
He did this with His perfect, sinless sacrifice on the cross—shedding His blood to purify our sin-stained hearts (hover here: 1 Jn. 1:7, Hebrews 9:14).
- If you’re a believer, thank God for this costly cleansing.
- But if you’re not, consider how easy it is to receive this cleansing! *
2. Jesus Forgives Us of Our Sin
When we place our faith in Christ, He forgives us immediately of every sin we will ever commit.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” —Ephesians 1:7
This is called “positional forgiveness.” Christ-followers truly are rich in spiritual and eternal ways because of this gift and grace from God.
However, every time you and I sin, we also need to seek Christ’s “relational forgiveness.” Even though 1 John 1:9 applies to positional forgiveness, it also represents relational forgiveness …
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We need this forgiveness because our bond and receptivity to God and others like our mates—are hindered by our sins … At least, until we confess these sins and receive God’s forgiveness.
- If you’re a Christ-follower, confess your sins and receive God’s purifying forgiveness. There’s nothing like a “clean slate” to refresh and reposition your attitude toward your mate!
- If you’re not a Christ-follower, Jesus’ forgiveness is just a prayer away! *
3. Jesus’ Sacrifice Paid the Debt and “Death Sentence” of Our Sin
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 6:23
This is yet another example of how trying to work for our salvation will never … “work!” That’s because our debt is too great for one, sinful human to pay. But not too costly for one perfect, sinless God-man to redeem!
- If you’re a believer, thank God for paying and redeeming what you never could afford.
- But if you’re not a believer, place your faith in Christ’s work on the cross, rather than relying on your own measly efforts.
4. Jesus’ Salvation Provides Rest and Guidance
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” —Matthew 11:28-30
When Jesus said this, He had in mind how two oxen pull a plow—illustrating how He comes alongside the redeemed. So when we receive His salvation, we join forces with Him, as well as learning from Him all along the way. And even though we need to be yoked together with Christ, He’s the one doing the heavy lifting and “plowing.” That is, if we will let Him!
Do you really want to deep clean your heart? Christ is the only One who can do that job!
Are you in desperate need of Christ’s healing of your marriage? Then don’t fall for the lie that you can do this on your own!
Want to connect with your mate in a deeper and more satisfying way? Then let Christ do His work in and through you.
If you’re not a believer, I hope you’ll come to Him for His work of salvation!
Then, we all, as believers, can watch and experience Him saving our marriages every single day moving forward!
[bctt tweet=”Find out how to save your marriage this day and every day moving forward! #cleanslate #marriagematters #SpringCleanYourMarriage ” username=”BethSteffaniak””]
Click on the link for a full-size printable of this “Salvation Prayer.” *
Click on the link for a full-size printable of “Prayer for a Clean Slate in Marriage.”
What is one way Christ has helped to give you a “clean slate” in your marriage/life?
How can I pray for you and your marriage today?
If you’ve received Christ because of this post, please let me know about it either in the comments or via my email: email@example.com! I will commit to praying for you and supporting you in any way I can!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series! Click the link to read more posts from a variety of wise and talented bloggers!
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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