Today I’m excited to share a guest post from my blogging friend, Jana Carlson, who will be guiding us on how to use God’s Word in the difficult moments of marriage. And who hasn’t hit one of those?! Be sure to welcome her with lots of engagement and encouragement!
The day after the dreaded “D word” was first mentioned between my husband and me, I found myself aimlessly driving around town. Tears streamed so thick, I had to pull off the road. “God, I don’t want a divorce. There has to be another option. Help us!”
I was surprised when God actually answered my desperate cry, since I had almost given up. But He ministered to me through His Word. He gave me just what I needed—reminders of Truth, hidden deep in my heart from childhood Scripture memory games.
Immediately after my prayer, Ephesians 6 came to mind—the passage about the armor of God. It seemed irrelevant in the moment. But God showed me the bigger picture.
The real fight wasn’t about marriage or divorce. My husband is not my enemy. The issue was not me being right and him being wrong (or vice versa).
It’s a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).
The enemy of our souls works tirelessly to destroy us (John 10:10). Satan’s ultimate goal is to handicap us spiritually, render us ineffective, and bring division into the Body of Christ. And he often uses our marriages to do that.
I pulled out my Bible and prayerfully read through Ephesians 6:11-17.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:11-17 ESV)
Those miserable moments in my car completely transformed my perspective of the difficulties in marriage. My husband and I are on the same team, even though it doesn’t always feel like it. 😉 I must do my part to fight the spiritual battle against our real enemy.
Knowing that God’s armor is the only way I can get through spiritual battles victoriously, I take the time to “put it on” every day.
Belt of Truth
A belt holds everything in place. It secures the rest of the armor so it doesn’t fall off and leave us exposed. The truth is God’s Word.
I put on the belt of truth by seeking to grow in my knowledge of the Bible—reading it, listening to it, and studying it. Then, as I go about my day, I guard my eyes and ears from things that do not align with God’s Word. During the hardest times of tension in my marriage, I choose to stop listening to certain types of music, watching certain shows, or reading certain books. I immerse myself in as much Scripture as possible.
Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate protects your heart.
Especially in a difficult marriage, it’s so easy to allow our hearts to become hard, bitter, resentful, angry. When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we actively guard our hearts, staying soft to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
I continuously pray for the Lord to reveal to me my own sin. When He does, I repent of it and commit to responding in obedience to Him.
This is no small task. When our husbands are hurtful or behaving in sinful ways, it’s tempting to point our fingers and expect God to deal with them first. But we’re not responsible for our husbands’ hearts. We’re only responsible for our own.
We must keep our hearts right before God to walk in victory in this spiritual battle.
Gospel of Peace
The gospel gives us peace with God through forgiveness of sin. It is grace—God’s riches at Christ’s expense—and is something we could never earn, nor will ever deserve. But He gives it to us anyway.
Walking in peace means forgiving my husband. I don’t ignore the hurt in my heart or his sinful behavior. I don’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. Instead, I work hard to root out bitterness and resentment, as well as never taking revenge or wishing harm on my husband.
I choose forgiveness.
When I receive God’s grace, I can extend it to my husband. I give him grace, not because he deserves it, but because it’s what Jesus did for me.
Shield of Faith
The shield is a piece of armor that must be actively held. It’s not just strapped on and expected to stay there, but instead must be physically grasped. Shielding oneself requires intentional action. If it’s not held up, it’s useless against the arrows of the enemy.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (ESV).”
When our marriage seems hopeless, I look for what is true. Jesus Christ is the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). He will not fail. I put my faith in Him instead of my circumstances. Instead of trusting in myself or my husband to change or fix our marriage, I choose to believe that the Holy Spirit is at work behind the scenes.
Helmet of Salvation
A helmet protects the head. The head is home to the brain which is “command central” to the body.
As a child of God, all my thoughts and actions should stem from the truth of the Gospel—salvation through Jesus Christ.
It’s so easy to lose the wonder of what Jesus has done for us. The longer we live the Christian life, the more tempting it is to forget the cost of our redemption or what it actually means for us.
For me, putting on the helmet of salvation each day is reminding myself of who Jesus is, what He has done, and who I am in Him.
When I have a fight with my husband, my tendency is to allow shame to take over, to feel defeated. But because of Jesus, I can confess, repent, and receive forgiveness. By His grace, I can start fresh at any moment, walk in obedience, and enjoy the resulting peace, freedom and strength.
Sword of the Spirit
The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God and is meant to be wielded.
To effectively wield God’s Word, we must first know what it says, then we must live it out. We must become “doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22, ESV).”
Victory comes through obedience. So, as I read my Bible, I intend to do what it says. For example, when I read, “Do everything without grumbling or disputing (Philippians 2:14, ESV),” I focus on serving my husband with gladness and keeping my complaints to myself.
My goal is to saturate my heart and mind with the living and active Word of God. The more I’m immersed in it, the more it spills out of me. I want God’s Word to be what comes out of my mouth, what informs my thoughts, what captures my heart and motivates my actions.
[bctt tweet=”The more I immerse myself in God’s word, the more it spills out of me. I want it to come out of my mouth, inform my thoughts, capture my heart and motivate my actions. #Bible @JanaCWrites” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
This year, my husband and I will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. The day I blindly drove around town hoping for the solution to a seemingly impossible situation was almost 2 decades ago. We’ve both learned a lot since then, and have been through extremely dark valleys, continuing to fight battles—spiritual and otherwise. Now, we’re stronger and, by God’s grace, still love each other.
I’m still so far from being a perfect wife or a master at spiritual warfare. Many days I forget to put on God’s armor. I frequently miss the mark.
But God . . .
He’s always there to pick me up when I fall and get me back on track. His Word has never steered me wrong. He meant it when He said that wearing the whole armor of God would enable us to stand.
Through the fiercest storms of my marriage, God’s Word protects me, corrects me, directs me, and sustains me. May He continue to teach you and me to wield it well.
Jana Carlson has an insatiable love for the Word of God. She blogs at Wield The Word where her desire is to inspire women to know God’s Word and live it out.
Jana lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and their 3 grown children. She works as a content creator and enjoys reading, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and spending time with family and friends.
[bctt tweet=”Discover how to use the armor of God to battle for your marriage, rather than battling your mate! #marriage #conflict #insight #2020 #Bible @JanaCWrites” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Which of the pieces of armor do you feel like you need the most right now in your life or marriage?
What has Jana shared today that encourages you the most, and why?
Be sure to join me next week, when I’ll be returning to my Insight for 2020 Series. But between now and then, check out my latest at awifelikeme.com where I’m sharing, “The Often Overlooked Solution to Your Difficult Marriage.”
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements Linkup, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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