In the early months of my marriage to James, I finally and completely surrendered to God right where I was. The Lord by His grace turned my heart to Him, and I began to learn how to have a relationship with Jesus. Not religion. Not to-do lists. Not performance or works. Not rules and regulations. A relationship. I am so thankful that the Lord turned James’ heart to Him at the same time. We had a lot to learn, but as God showed us the reality of His perfect design, as we yielded to Him in obedience to His word in how we treated each other, He healed the things that were tearing us apart. We learned to put each other’s needs first, even when our needs weren’t being me. Even when the other person didn’t deserve special treatment. We didn’t do it for each other. We did it as an act of worship to our Lord (meaning the one who had the right to demand from us that which we didn’t see as fair). As we did, He changed our hearts toward each other. And He performed His promises in our lives.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves,
but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
I’d love to say the transformation was immediate and overnight. That the angels sang and all was suddenly perfect. It was not. The first three years of our marriage was extremely difficult, even as we took baby steps toward better. God mercifully kept our toes pointed toward the cross. We joined a church and got involved in a home group. We surrounded ourselves with people who had relationships with Jesus and marriages like we wanted. We were completely broken, unable to maintain a façade. Desperate, we let others see the reality of our private life. We found love. Acceptance. Help. They listened, spoke the truth of God’s word, and remained by our sides as we learned new ways of living every aspect of our lives – from relating to each other, to parenting, to our finances, our friendships, our jobs. At some point, we started believing what God said. If the Bible said to do something, we had the faith to do it. We stopped doing things our way and did things His way.
“Let us draw near in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evilconscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).
Together, in spite of hick ups, setbacks, explosive arguments, hurtful words, deep disappointments, and hard times, we plowed forward in Christ, and the Lord did a mighty work in us, in our marriage, and in our family. We are living proof of God’s word. No matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done, you can be too.
“For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
“Jesus said to him, ’I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
You, too, can taste and see that the Lord is good.
“Repenttherefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart
that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
As He promises in Philippians 1:6, He who began a good work in us is completing it. I could never do God justice in attempting to recount every way He has shown Himself mighty in our lives. There are, however, a few monumental, life-changing experiences the Lord has used sanctify me, satisfy my deepest desires, strengthen my faith, and demonstrate the certainty of His principles and promises.
God is faithful. He is no respecter of persons. In the next few weeks, as you read a few specific accounts of God’s amazing goodness and power in our life, I pray He uses what He’s done to speak directly to your heart and your circumstances. Or maybe the message is for someone you know. Either way, don’t miss next Thursday’s post.
Revelation 12:11 tells us the devil and his angels are overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” I pray we overcome the same way – by the blood of the Lamb and the testimonies we share with each other of the greatness of God in our lives – as we become more wholly His.