1 John 2:5 tells us that:
“Whoever keeps his word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in him.”
God’s promise here is that whoever desires to do the will of God, God will transform him or her into the image of Himself. It’s a promise! IF we desire to do His will. The word “perfected” used in this verse means to make complete a process of transformation. God uses the differences between husbands and wives, the mistakes that we make, even the stubbornness between us as some of His tools to transform each of us.
Many Christians reject this truth because of their ignorance of God’s plan and His sovereignty. So, when they are acting in a sinful way – in a way that Jesus would never act – they tend to blame their husband or wife!
Ask yourself, “Who have I blamed for the mistakes I’ve made in my past trials? “
Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking, “I wouldn’t have said that… I wouldn’t have done that… I wouldn’t have behaved that way if YOU would have _______!”
This mentality, and even behavior pattern, is rooted in not understanding how God works and how He uses us as tools to transform one another, even to reveal things in us that God says He hates. He puts us in these trials that heats us up and brings to the surface the things we wish we weren’t aware of in ourselves.
And, if you don’t understand that God has a plan and purpose for even those seasons of our lives, and that He can orchestrate even these types of circumstances to reveal these terrible things in us – NOT for you to blame your husband or wife, but for you to cry out to Him. We need to realize that these tendencies, behaviors and thoughts were in us, even when God chose us to be His sons and daughters.
And until we take ownership of this and ask for God’s forgiveness, ask for our spouse’s forgiveness and ask God to remove this out of us… until we learn to respond in this way, we will never experience growth.
Yet, if we go about life either filled with our own selfish tendencies or God’s ways for three, four, five years in a row (because we are habitual beings by nature) we can either see incredible growth or incredibly toxic communication.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4 )
Remember that the Lord accepted us the way we are, but God also says that He will bring trials into our lives to prove or transform us into His image!
What has God been revealing within you? What anger, bitterness, harshness, resentment, unforgiveness, or other sinful things have been coming up to the surface and affecting how you think about and behave toward your husband or wife? To make matters worse, have you been convincing yourself that it is his or her fault that you think and behave like that?
God’s there, saying, “No… it’s not them. It wasn’t them… It was Me. I made them this way.”
Sometimes, God even uses things that we would deem as unjust to do His work.
Have you ever read the story of Joseph? Talk about a young man in need of therapy! He was despised by his brothers, beat by them, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown in prison for years…yet he still put his faith and trust in the Lord, knowing that God brought even those terrible things about. Joseph had plenty opportunities to lash out at God and tell Him just how unjust life was and go his own way. But he didn’t.
That same faith, trust and steadfastness is what God wants in us, especially when our spouses aren’t living up to our expectations.
God can use their stubbornness and all the baggage that they brought into your marriage from their past. They are all part of His tools to bring about our transformation so that He would be glorified in us.
But, this transformation isn’t always comfortable. As God wraps His loving hands around us and begins to mold us, His molding may seem to us like a suffocation. The Bible tells us that He is the Potter and we are just the clay. And, believe it or not, your sinful husband or wife is actually part of God’s fingers, bending, contorting and molding you into the man or woman God wants you to be.
Like clay in a potter’s hands, we don’t know what the finished product is supposed to look like, and it is often very different than what we originally envision or are comfortable with. Yet, He will continue to press upon us until we surrender. If we don’t surrender, we will become miserable.
And there are many married people who are very miserable – not experiencing what God wants. This is often due to their ignorance of God’s purposes for the things and people in their lives, including their spouse.
We need to see and trust that God has a purpose for us, even while we are going through tough times. Our differences, our personalities, our selfishness, and even our raising of children are all part of His tools to bring about His desired changes in us.