Order In The Court

Stephen Arterburn

St. Augustine defined peace as ‘the tranquility of order.’ That’s true on many levels, isn’t it? At the grandest of levels, Jesus Christ’s return will bring peace through the restoration of order lost in Eden. And on a far more mundane level, a disorganized life is synonymous with a hectic life. Whatever the context, the axiom holds: peace cannot coexist with chaos.

 

Men, how much order do you have in your lives? However much, my hunch is that it’s directly proportionate to the levels of tranquility and peace in your life as well. Is your desk and garage kept in such a way that you’re able to find what you need when you need it? How about those drawers and closets?

 

Guys, if you never can find what you thought you filed or can’t find the file, you’re much less efficient. If you can’t find a tool when you need it and have to buy another, you’re much less profitable. If you have to spend time hunting for your keys, your wallet, or your mail you’re much more frustrated. And if you can’t find the things you need when you need them, you’re much less prepared and confident.

 

In Ezekiel 38:7 we find the Lord telling His people just this: ‘Get ready; be prepared!’ These words are also on the lips of military leaders, coaches, athletes, musicians, and others whose lives demand excellence. Order puts us at peace, brings tranquility, and readies us for service.

 

 

 

 

Where Your Commitment Shows

Stephen Arterburn

If Christians were on fire for God, it would show in our marriages. Don’t you think the fact that rates of adultery and marital dissatisfaction in the Christian church are no different than the rates outside the church reveals something about our hearts that needs to be addressed?

 

Very few of us are consumed by our marriages, and fewer still are consumed by purity. Yet both are God’s desire for us. God’s purpose for your marriage is that it parallels Christ’s relationship to His church’that is, to be consumed with self-sacrificing love for our wives, and lay down our lives to make marital oneness a reality.

 

But when this doesn’t happen as we’d like, we get frustrated. ‘Well, if this is how she’s going to be,’ we think to ourselves, ‘why should I go through all the effort of serving her, and of being pure? She doesn’t deserve it.’ We’re tempted to retaliate and withdraw from our responsibilities.

 

Men, we all need reminding that our marriages are unconditional covenants, not conditional contracts. That means that amidst ever changing conditions and emotions, our commitment must never waiver.

 

Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to cherish your wife’to treat her with tenderness and hold her dear. Warm, romantic feelings are great, but fleeting. What if you don’t have them at the moment you need them? Lean upon your commitment to God. Be faithful to your commitment made before God and witnesses and don’t let your marriage covenant be dictated by feelings alone.

Your Wife’s Weaknesses

Stephen Arterburn

Men, your wife’s weaknesses can create impasses that threaten oneness in your marriage, can’t they? Okay. So the next question should be: what can you do to address these impasses and facilitate unity? Surely, as her leader, you could demand that she straighten up and fly right? But it won’t help. In fact, it will probably make matters much worse. Surely you can find a more effective way to help her when she needs your support. Why not lay down your rights as the leader and graciously love her through these impasses?

 

Your wife’s weaknesses are as much a part of her as her gifts are, so you must not trample upon either of them. You love yourself and handle your own weaknesses with mercy and grace, don’t you? You hope others will make allowances and work patiently with them as you do, right? So allow your wife’s weaknesses to be expressed as freely as yours are. Then, in grace, work together in kindness and diligence at the impasse.

 

Guys, if your approach has been to crow like a rooster over every one of your wife’s imperfections, the time has come for you to eat some crow. Confess your unloving attitude to God and to her, and watch what happens. If she’s like 98 percent of all women, she’ll draw closer to you, and your relationship will continue to grow for as long as you appreciate and accept her’imperfections, weaknesses, and all.