If you have not read Part 1 of this blog yet, I would highly recommend going back and reading that blog before you read this blog. This blog will make very little sense if you have not read Part 1 first. You can read Part 1 of this blog series here.
Here are the action steps we have discussed so far:
Action 1: Discover Their Little Joys. Read Part 2 here.
Action 2: Kiss Unselfishly. Read Part 3 here.
Action 3:”Just Because” Gifts. Read Part 4 here.
Action 4: Ask, “Is This Okay?” Read Part 5 here.
Action 5: Say, “I’m Sorry” Read Part 6 here.
Action 6: Date Night. Read Part 7 here.
In today’s blog, we will be discussing the 7th action step that I have come up with that I can work on doing that will help sustain my present relationship and future marriage with Steph. Remember, these are all action steps you can use and work on with me to improve your present relationships or marriages as well.
Action 7: Live Your Faith
Of all the action steps I have talked about so far, this is by far the most important one. I have tried to make everything applicable to both men and women with these action steps, but being a man, I am focusing on this action step from a man’s point of view. The man is the head of the household and he needs to set the example for his wife and his children.
Your partner needs you to be the best Christian you can be. Let your partner and children see that effort. Then after demonstrating it to them, you can help them do the same.
It is hard to sum up in a short blog about what it means to be the best Christian you can be. I think that above all, it means that you have faith in God and thus have an active, growing relationship with Him. God needs to be the #1 most important thing in your life. Period, no exceptions. The next most important thing in your life needs to be your spouse. Next comes your children. After that comes the rest of your family. After that comes all the other things in your life like friends, work, activities, and hobbies. This is how the order needs to go. If your order is different from this order, you need to rearrange your priorities so it matches this.
So that sounds great. It is easy to say you believe in God and He is #1 in your life, but how do we live out our faith? By having an active, loving relationship with God means that you are trying to live a life that God would want us to live. We model our lives and actions after the life Jesus lived while He was here on earth. Jesus was perfect and we are not so we will never achieve this goal, but the pursuit of this goal is what is important. You should spend your life continually growing closer and closer to God.
That still seems like a pretty abstract thought so I want to give you a list of practical things you can do in your daily lives that will show that you are living out your faith.
- Pray. Let your partner and kids see you praying.
- Seek forgiveness. First from God and then to the person you might have wronged. Let your family see and hear you seek forgiveness when you mess up.
- Tithe. Give a sacrificial chunk of your income to the church and other Christ-honoring causes.
- Read the Bible.
- Go to church regularly.
- Don’t curse.
- Tell the truth.
- Meet regularly in a small-group for Bible study.
- Seek wise counsel when you face tough challenges in life.
- Keep your pride in check.
- Flee sexual immorality.
- Tell others about Jesus.
We need to do these things and let our families see us doing these things. If we use the age-old, proven method for leadership; do, model, teach, we have the ability to become great leaders in our households.
To be brutally honest, I try to do the things I have listed, but I often times find that I come up horribly short. I am going to try with renewed vigor in my own life to do a better job of doing and modeling these things for Jesus. Through seeing my walk with God, I hope to help Steph’s walk with God improve along with mine. It is truly the most important thing we will ever do together. After we are married and someday, hopefully have children, I want to be a great role model for them. This is the most important of the actions I need to work to improve.
In the book of Matthew, you will find one of my very favorite passages that talks about what it means to have a servant heart.
Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV)
25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
John Piper, pastor and writer, says “If you want to be a Christian husband, you become a servant, not a boss.” We need to be leaders in the home who serve first. We are servants of Jesus. If we serve in the way Jesus served, then wives should have no worries submitting themselves to us. That is how marriage was designed: to mimic the relationship we have with Jesus.
Paul was one of the greatest Christians who ever lived on this planet. He did not start out this way, but he sure did end strong. He serves as a great example for us to follow. He sums up the entire idea of living you faith in this one easy verse to memorize. Let’s make this verse our mantra.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
11 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
If a husband seeks to be like Christ in the home, his love for his wife and children will be expressed through both service and sacrifice.
There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect family. Everyone has their struggles. There are high points and low points, but the idea of marriage (family) and what it represents makes it all worth it. God spells out exactly what a marriage (family) should be in the following passage:
Ephesians 5:21-32 (NIV)
Instructions for Christian Households
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Well, we did it. We got through all 7 action steps. Here they all are:
Action 1: Discover Their Little Joys.
Action 2: Kiss Unselfishly.
Action 3:”Just Because” Gifts.
Action 4: Ask, “Is This Okay?”
Action 5: Say, “I’m Sorry”
Action 6: Date Night.
Action 7: Live Your Faith.
There is a lot of stuff involved in these 7 actions. They are not easy to do. They will take a lot of thought and effort on our parts to work on them. The results can absolutely change the relationships we are in. They can make the love we currently have, which might be great, even better. Isn’t a better kind of love what we really want? Isn’t that what we really should strive every day of our lives for?
I know that this is what I want. Stephanie deserves this from me. I deserve this for myself. I pledge to Steph that I will work on these 7 actions with a focus that will bring our relationship to heights we have never experienced before. It is going to be amazing! I want that for you and your relationships as well. Let’s make this a priority. Let’s do this together. Let’s take the challenge and create our own better kind of love. Let’s make a love that makes the rest of the world go “Wow! How do you have a love like that?” We can just smile and say under our breath, “Because God shows me a love like that!”
I would love for you to share how it is going with you if you take the challenge and work on these action steps to improve your relationship. My plan is to give an update blog towards the end of the year, after I am married, and discuss how I am doing with this. Please share your journey as well. We can gain strength and momentum from each other.