Devotion #131

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14 ESV

Holding on to the words in the verse—Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect—should greatly influence how we see our spouse. If we are to shift our perspective of this Christian walk to be one where we are always pressing forward, leaving our mistakes in the past, then we must show the same consideration to them. If we can recognize that we are still a work in progress, that we are not perfect in our walk, that we make mistakes and say or do things that hurt our spouse, then we must color our perspective of them with the same light. We must show the same grace to them because they are on this walk with us—whether they are believers or not. When our spouse hurts us with their words or their actions, we must remember they are the result of the broken world we live in just as we are.

If we remember that this Christian walk is a lifelong battle, we can bear the fact that they are in the battle, too. When they seem to be struggling with the same sins for decades, we can show grace because God continues to chasten and refine our deep sin issues, constantly showing us grace and mercy as He continues to work on our strongholds. We need to be patient with them as He is patient with us. God never looks at us and tells us we’ve been struggling too long with the same sin; He never throws His hands up because we’re struggling with a temptation that He thinks we should just get over; He never says that one sin is too great to forgive. No, He forgives all our sin, over and over again. His love for us is steadfast and long-suffering. He never gives up on us.

We are to press on. We are to keep fighting the fight and pushing forward toward perfection. We may not always see or know the battle that others are working through in their minds, we may not know how God is getting a hold of their heart, or how He is chastening and refining them, but what we are told is that we are to leave what’s in the past behind us. That verse is for our spouses, too. Don’t keep them locked in the box of yesterday. Today is a new day, and a new chance for God to transform their heart.

God is sovereign over your spouse, even when they have hurt you. His plan is to refine them as He has refined us. His desire is that everyone should come to know His love, that every knee shall bow before Him. Your lack of forgiveness or your lack of graciousness and patience may be the very thing standing in the way of your spouse’s ability to get back on the righteous path. Step out of the way, and allow them to receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ by showing them what it looks like.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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