As mentioned in a previous blog, I have been reading the book, “Boundaries in Marriage,” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. The first part of the book was informative and good. However, the second part of the book is really challenging me. As I read the stories of these two Christian psychologists, it is becoming so very clear to me that I am not the husband I want to be. This is one of the major roles I fulfill in my life. I am God’s son, a husband, a dad, a pastor, an instructor, a friend, a citizen, and the member of a local church. All of these roles make up a significant piece of who I am as a Christian. There are not categories, no compartments, no isolated areas in a person’s life. My life is one big spiritual house before the Lord. Here is the basic struggle within me in every area of my life: whose needs will I put first? Mine or God’s? Mine or my wife’s? Mine or yours? If I am honest, there is a deep ache (i.e. longing, yearning, prayer, deep cry) in my heart to be more like Jesus today. I love Him, and that love is unsettling me this morning. I do not want to be a selfish person. I need God’s help. I need mercy. So many people spend their lives telling others about God’s mercy without ever coming to grips with their desperate need for it. Mercy is easy to preach and difficult to simply receive. Yet, it is our only hope.
Psalms 106 speaks of two things: (1) the failure of God’s people, and (2) the faithfulness of God.
The failure of God’s people exemplified in the following verses:
(6) “We have sinned.” (7) “They did not remember.” (7) “But rebelled.” (13) “They quickly forgot His works.” (13) “They did not wait for His counsel.” (14) “tempted God.” (19) “worshipped a molten image.” (21) “They forgot God their Savior.” (24) “They did not believe in HIs word.” (25) “grumbled in their tents.” (25) “They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.” (29) “They provoked Him to anger.” (33) “were rebellious against His Spirit.” (39) “they became unclean.” And the list goes on and on.
After reading the above list all mentioned in this single chapter, how did God respond?
(8) “Nevertheless, He saved them for the sake of His Name.” (9) “He led them.” (10) “And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.” (44) “Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress.” (44) “He heard their cry.” (45) “He remembered His covenant.” (45) “And relented.” (46) “He also made them objects of compassion.”
No wonder the psalmist ended this chapter with, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, ‘Amen’. Praise the Lord.”
There is hope because God is merciful, kind, and faithful, and will stay the course as we stumble through the process. I want to become like Christ. I want to help others become like Christ. I want my wife to experience Christ everyday when I go home.
Christians, the above should result in the following:
- Hope in our heart that God is going to cultivate His Son Christ in our lives; we will mature!
- A tender, loving patience toward people around us.
- Worship due to how good God really is toward us.
- A radical desire for intimacy. How can you not want to get closer to a Being that treats us like this?
Happy Easter! Oh the cross of Jesus that made all of the above possible!