Devotion #45

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

If we are going to have a marriage full of the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, and peace, then we need to be looking for places where we quiet the Spirit. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, the Spirit dwells inside of you. The problem is we struggle to hear the Spirit in our marriages when we do those things to grieve or quench it. Quenching the Spirit is different than grieving the Spirit—as I mentioned yesterday, grieving is when we commit a sin. It’s when we intentionally do something against God’s Word. Scripture tells us it’s wrong, but we do it anyway. When we deceive our spouse, when we slander our spouse, when we speak to them in anger, when we commit adultery, we must take responsibility for our actions and confess our sin. The only way to strengthen His voice when we have grieved the Spirit is through confession and repentance. 

On the other hand, we quench the spirit when we don’t do something we’re prompted or convicted to do. Quenching the Spirit is a bit more slippery, and a whole lot more tempting. It isn’t necessarily sin to ignore the promptings, but we choose to do it anyway because it’s easier or it’s more comfortable. This is what makes the quenching of the spirit so tempting for many of us—because we know it’s not sin, we can rationalize it away as being acceptable. 

For example, we all know we’re supposed to spend time in the Word everyday, but we have so much on our agenda that we choose to let it slide for today. It’s not necessarily sin to not be in His Word, but we know we should be in Scripture regularly because we know that’s how He instructs us, that’s how He gives us perspective, that’s how we feel His strength and His comfort. We hear the promptings but we ignore them. The same is true with small group or church, or giving our time and resources to serving people in need. We know we should be doing those things, but we choose our agenda over His and take the easiest or most comfortable path. I’ve had such a busy week, I just want to stay home in my pajamas.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg—how many times have we been prompted to do something or say something in our marriages, and we’ve ignored it? We give in to fear of man in the situation and worry about their response or we choose the comfort of laziness because we just don’t feel like doing it. Think about your marriage for a minute. Where do you make decisions without considering your spouse, or worse—where do you choose not to share information because ”you don’t want to upset them.” Is that really the case—that you don’t want to upset them? Or do you keep information from them because you just don’t want to deal with their response? If you are engaging in questionable behavior, and defending your actions because “there’s nothing in scripture that says it’s wrong,” you probably need to bring it before God and ask Him. Or better yet—bring it to your spouse and ask them. We make decisions without considering our spouse, we make decisions that prioritize our needs over theirs, we let go of opportunities to demonstrate condition love and grace, and we rationalize it all away because it’s not necessarily sin. 

When we quench the Spirit in our marriage, He gets quieter and quieter, and we suddenly find ourselves out in the wilderness, wondering how we got there. There are signposts along the way, my friends. Pay attention. When we find ourselves feeling lonely or lost or we’re disconnected in our marriages, when we’re frustrated or we’re angry with our spouse, when we’re overwhelmed or we’re anxious, when we we’re seeking His wisdom in a decision, but we just don’t know what God is telling us to do…those are all signposts. If you choose to walk on past them, you’re going to end up in the wilderness with a marriage struggling to survive. Stop where you are and do an inventory. Where are you quenching the Spirit? Where are you not following through on God’s promptings?  

If you want to feel His love and His joy in your marriage and you’re not, if you want to feel His peace and His unity in a difficult decision and you’re not, you are probably quenching the Spirit somewhere. Find it and change it, and you’ll feel His presence come in like a breath of fresh air. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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