This may come as a shock to you, but, ahem, I am no perfect wife. Far from, as a matter of fact. It's that danged ‘ol sinful nature of mine – sometimes, it gets the better of me.
While I have been called to love and serve my husband faithfully, “we” can easily be manipulated into “me”. Instead of seeking what is best for my husband and child, I can easily fall into the trap of what I feel is best for me. Me, me, me.
There also may (or may not) have been instances (or not) where I did not show my husband the respect he deserved as head of our home (perhaps). Ahem.
As a Christian wife, the Lord has also called me to take care of this home. “…To love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” Titus 2:3-5. As Douglas Wilson points out in Reforming Marriage, “It is possible to disobey God through neglect of the dishes.”
Thankfully, I have been given the wonderful gift of sanctification.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states the following regarding sanctification:
“1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. 2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. 3. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness is the fear of God.”
Can I be lazy? Selfish? Do I covet? Nag? Disrespect? Complain? Envy? Make idols? You bet, I do. And as long as I walk this earth, I will forever battle with my sinful nature.
But there is good news.
As a believer in Christ, I have been given a new life – a new spirit. This spirit continually grows in me and separates me from this ever-present sinful nature. As I grow in the Lord, the strength of the spirit inside me grows too. Slowly, and painfully, I am being pulled from my sin and drawn towards holiness.
I am being sanctified, that is, I am being made holy. I am being purified. I am being set apart for God's use.
The unfortunate part of sanctification is that is can be very slooooow. It can be a result of tough lessons learned or of things I shouldn't have done or said. Sanctification can be painful, man.
Our marriages have placed us in situations where sin can be very prolific. Just the nature of living in such community with another human being naturally exposes the sin we are so keen to hide from others. When two sinful human beings begin living as one (still sinful) human being, well…I think we're all pretty aware of some of the results.
But that is not where the story ends.
Even though (due to our inherent nature) we will always continue to sin against our spouse, we won't always do it to the same degree. As we grow in faithfulness and love of Christ, our actions will undoubtedly reflect the goodness this causes in our hearts. And as this fruit of the spirit spills over into our marriage, sanctification is in action, baby!
I am so grateful today for the gift of sanctification. I am grateful that I can continue to grow myself up in the Lord to a place where sin will continually loose it's power over me. And while on this earth I will continue have a battle inside me between the flesh and the spirit, there's great news…
We know how the battle ends.
And that for His glory!