Devotion #10

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 hearts are deceitful. If we are hiding fear, anger, despair, or foolishness in our hearts, we are sinning against Him. When we hide these sins in our hearts, it impacts our marriages because what we’re storing in our hearts is what’s coming out of our mouths.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 ESV

The words we speak in marriage are the overflow of our hearts. So, what’s happening in our hearts is literally coming out of our mouths. The condition of our heart is being poured out onto our marriage, and its destructive nature is wreaking havoc. Scripture calls us to use kind and gentle words, but nagging or harsh words are spoken in arguments. Our speech is supposed to be gracious and soft, but we choose to be critical and condemning. Our talk is to be encouraging and tender-hearted, but it often lacks understanding or patience.

If you want to heal your marriage, pause a minute, and listen to yourself in the middle of a conflict. Step back from the justification, and you’ll be able to hear the sin.

Until we root that sin out of our hearts, we’re not going to be able to move past our struggle. But for that to happen, we need to do more than simply resolve to stop being so angry or critical – you see, that doesn’t work. We can’t just will it to stop – when we try, our efforts are in vain. It won’t be long before we’re caught in the same sin. Many of us end up in this repeating sin cycle because we only confess our surface-level sins. The surface sin is the behavior or the fruit we show others. It’s what we can see or hear – it’s the overflow of our hearts. We use harsh words; we apologize and ask for forgiveness. The problem is we repeat it all over again because we stay on the surface. We do need to confess those harsh words, but if we fail to get at the root of why we say those words, we will never realize a true change in our behavior.

Understanding the root of our behavior is understanding the motives in our hearts. We need to spend time looking beneath that surface sin and pull at the weed under it until we uncover the motive behind it. This is the sin that needs to be confessed if we want to see healing in our marriages. This isn’t an easy or a quick process, but God’s got you in this mess for a reason. He’s trying to use your spouse to help you see that root so you can pull at it.

So, how do you do that? How do you dig deeper? You start asking questions, and you don’t stop until you find the root of the weed that’s causing problems.

Why do we get angry in conflict? We get frustrated when our spouses disagree with us. Why do we get frustrated? Because we feel disrespected. Why does it make us angry when we’re disrespected? Because we don’t feel valued. If these sound like your answers, perhaps the root of your sin is fear of man. When we place our value in what other people think of us, we will end up in despair. Our value should only come from Christ.

Perhaps we get angry because we fear losing control of a situation. Why do we need to remain in control? Because we’ve been in painful situations we haven’t been able to control, and we don’t want to go back there. The root of this sin is lack of trust. We don’t trust in the sovereignty of God, believing instead if we control our situations, we won’t experience strife.

These are the sins we need to be broken over; these are the sins we need to fall to our knees and confess. When these weeds are pulled through confession and repentance, you will see a change in the surface level sins.

It’s hard work rooting out those sins because it takes us to some pretty dark and hidden places in our hearts, but God has specifically chosen your spouse to help you do just that. God, in all His incredible and beautiful sovereignty, has selected the perfect mate to help you see and understand the motives behind your sin issues. Let your guard down and let them in to your dark and hidden places. There is such sweet freedom from those weeds that entangle your heart when you do.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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