Devotion #7

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

Our God is consistently searching and testing our hearts and our minds. He can see past the strongholds that cause our responses and into our true motives, but we are often blind to those motives. We think we know what causes us to respond in a certain way when we’ve been injured, but we are often genuinely blind to the sin that lies deep below the action in our hearts. He wants us to see that sin, and He wants us to be rid of it, so He gives to every man according to His ways, according to the fruit of His deeds. In other words, He’s allowing into our lives the difficulties we need to root out the sin by revealing to us the darkness that lies buried with our hearts.

If you are struggling in your marriage, perhaps it’s because God has allowed the conflict to reveal your sin. Know this – God chose your spouse specifically for you. He allowed this marriage because He has a plan in it for you.

Some people struggle with this truth. They think surrendering their lives to God means they are going to receive the blessing of happiness. In other words, if I believe in God, then He’s going to protect me from the bad stuff, and my life is going to go smoothly. But that’s not what God promises. He promises to chasten us and grow us to be more like Him. By His grace, we will grow less self-focused, less blame-shifting, less demanding, less controlling, less fearful, and more trusting, more peaceful, more generous, more compassionate, more forgiving, more loving.

The struggles in our lives reveal where we fall short of His glory, where we fail to demonstrate His characteristics in our lives, and it is only by His grace that He allows us to see our sin. Our struggles come from the fact that we esteem comfort more than we esteem redemption. We fight, and we squirm under the pressure of conflict because our comfort and security have been impacted. Things aren’t going the way we want them to, so we fight and we quarrel, or we jump ourselves into the pit of despair.

Our greatest problem is that we think we have the right to demand things go a certain way. We think we can say “no one should treat us this way” or “no one should have to endure this.” We get up on our high horse of righteousness, and suddenly we think we have a right to our responses, our anger, our fears – all because our comfort or security has been somehow negatively impacted.

We don’t have a right to anything, my friends. We are all so broken that we don’t have the right to take another breath. But the God of the universe has chosen to save your life today and give you another chance to see His glory. We are so focused on ourselves and what we deserve, but that’s not how God wants us to live. He calls us to live focused on Him and on others – not ourselves and what we deserve, but on loving Him and loving the other people in our lives.

Outside of our relationship with God, our marriages are the single most important relationships we have. Marriage was created by a God who wants us to know how to truly love others, but we are broken, and our desire is to please ourselves first, so He put us in a relationship that causes us to rub up against someone else’s desires every day. And its uncomfortable and challenging, but He did that for you. Marriage wasn’t created for your comfort; it was created for your redemption.

The beautiful part of His story is that we don’t have to remain chained to our sinful hearts. We can find our way out of the darkness through His grace. But we need His grace even to be able to receive His grace. If you ask Him to reveal to you why you are struggling, what sin you need to see in your heart and get the focus off of the other person, I know you will find His grace for your trial.

God is for your marriage. He created it specifically for you. And the best news is the battle for your marriage has already been won. Lean into the fight, and you will see His glory.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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