Friday, February 10, 2006
Keys To The Kingdom- Part I
Valentine’s is just around the corner, so I’d like to turn our minds to our husbands. Last week as I was sorting through an old file, I came across a devotional I shared at the shower of a friend over 10 years ago. It was written after about 1 year of marriage (lots of experience to draw from) so bear that in mind. However, I found a lot of good reminders in it. Some of it is a little "young", but I’m gonna post it for you anyway. If there’s anything good, keep it… anything less than good, ignore that.
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM- Part I
Shannon, these last few months have probably been some of the most wonderful days of your life… and yet at the same time, perhaps they’ve also been the most stressful. But I think for me… the best part of being engaged – next to finally being able to get Dan to hold my hand in public – was that I was treated like a princess… as you are. Engagement is wonderful – you get to try on beautiful dresses that make you look like a queen, you are an instant "star" as people rush to congratulate you, hug you, and marvel at your ring. And best of all, you get to have wonderful parties – like this one – thrown in your honour!
As most brides look at their wedding day, I think they often have the same feeling Cinderella did at the ball – they’re excited, but also kind of hoping all these wonderful things will never end. Well, Shan, I believe they never have to, since you will always have a kingdom – that kingdom can be your home… where Todd is the king and you are the queen.
Now this kingdom will face many difficulties and battles… like any kingdom does, but I believe it can be a wonderful place… something like God’s kingdom. So today I’m gonna draw some analogies between the kingdom of God and the kingdom you and Todd will share when you are united. I’ve made some little keys as reminders for you in the future – because if you’re anything like I was, you’ll probably not retain all that’s said tonight. I suggest you pin these on the inside of your kitchen cupboards – or somewhere that you look every day so you can be reminded of some of these "keys of the kingdom".
First, deny yourself. In Mark 4:34 we read, "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Now although this is speaking of our commitment to God, I believe it is also applicable to marriage. Dennis Rainey, in his book Lonely Husbands, Lonely Wives, looks a great deal at the deteriorating effect self-centeredness has on marriages. He writes, "selfishness is possibly the most dangerous threat to oneness that any marriage can face. One woman shared how selfishness had invaded her marriage by saying, ‘My husband and I have been married for 20 years. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him – and that’s exactly what we do for each other, NOTHING!’"
As spouses, we need to deny ourselves at times. Sometimes we need to deny our feelings – like if we’re wallowing in self-pity, moping around, grumpy. I’ve discovered that leaving these feelings unchecked simply gives Satan a playground to work in to develop dissatisfaction in me.
Other times we need to deny the expression of our opinions – one of the areas of marriage that I struggle with most, is knowing when to give my opinion and when to shut up. I believe this is something that God can help us with, if we ask him for wisdom in using our tongues.
Another area of denying ourselves is in the aspect of our wants. When we want a new pair of pink suede shoes… or a fabulous Louis Vuitton purse, we need to consider our husbands and their wants, and sometimes sacrifice ours for theirs. It was neat to see this in practice for me when we were in Hawaii recently. I really wanted to get these 2 cool tops I had seen on sale for $10 when I was shopping, but as Dan & I were strolling through a golf pro shop he saw a golfing glove he absolutely loved. Well, the end is that he got his glove and I didn’t get my shirts, but the joy I gain from seeing him wear his new glove is definitely worth the 2 shirts I gave up.
And that’s how denying ourselves works. Although it’s tough to do at the time, the results of putting our husbands ahead of ourselves are amazing.