by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever heard the expression, pick your battles? Great truth resides within that statement and it is what God is trying to teach us in Ephesians 5:21(NIV) Husbands and wives are instructed: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” I’ve talked about this in the past but feel impressed to do so again today.
People usually misunderstand this word submit perceiving it as if it’s talking about turning yourself over to be dominated by someone. This verse is really teaching us that as husbands and wives, we need to learn to adapt to each other with whole-hearted respect out of love and reverence to each other, and to God.
Let me share some of Renee’s and my adapting. When Renee gets into bed at night, she does not go to sleep until after she has spent a fair amount of reading time. We’ll pray together and then she usually reads until she’s ready to fall asleep. She reads because she loves to read, but also to mentally disconnect from a busy mind. Because I fall asleep quickly and she likes to read, we’ve adapted how we go to bed so that it works perfectly for us. This is the process of respecting and adapting (or submitting) out of love for each other.
Renee wakes groggy up in the morning but the wheels of her mind begin to turn immediately. It actually helps her wake up. She gets up, puts on the coffee, and heads off to pray, and then calls her mother to say good morning. She does this almost daily. She puts the thoughts of the pending day aside and instead focuses on the Word, prayer, and often journaling her thoughts from the Lord.
I wake up fairly alert in the morning. I wake up thanking the Lord for being my Savior and Lord of my life. I then, most often, slip into praying in tongues, or creating a melody and song of worship to the Lord. It was something I purposed to learn to do many years ago that has become instinctive for me today. I then go get my 20-30 minute workout in and get showered and ready for my day. I then head off to my place of prayer and quiet time with the Lord that prepares me to write Fresh Manna. We each love our separate morning routines and have adapted to giving each other space for them. We want each other to get off to a good day and support each other in it. We then sit down for some short face-time talking and praying together, and then it’s off to what’s on our work schedule for the day. When our children were younger, our routine was completely different but helpful and respectful to the needs of each other.
When I come in the front door of our home, Renee likes me to put my shoes in the coat-closet. I used to always leave them out. I’ve adapted. I ask her not to hang her purse on our closet door handle. She’s adapted. She doesn’t want me shaking my hands after I wash them because I splash the mirror. She wants me to use the hand towel. I’ve adapted. I ask her to keep her cell phone on and answer it when I call so I can get a hold of her. She’s adapted! I could go on and on but here’s the point: we try to understand what helps and is important to each other and adapt so that we bless each other—not work against each other. In a young marriage, couple often battle over these things trying to create some sense of dominance. That’s immature and really hurts the relationship. Adapting is better!
https://timburt.org/God tells us to submit or adapt to each other in the context of instructing men and women how to love each other. God does not expect anyone to adapt to rudeness, disrespect, or slothful habits. We all have our little idiosyncrasies or needs that could drive each other crazy. It is often our spouse, through the process of adapting, that helps us overcome those. And we mind less if we help each other with great respect and love for each other, in doing so.
Adapting, loving, and appreciating each other makes life with each other pleasant and defuses many potential battles that Satan would like to seduce you to enter. (He loves strife.) Learning to adapt because you love your spouse and making changes to bless them, is the execution of love. Do it and you will find much more love and joy in your lives and love bank. You will also find that you have rid yourself of a multitude of stupid and insignificant battles forever! Hallelujah! Oh yes, and one more thing: you’ll find that this principle works with everyone—not just your spouse!
1 Corinthians 10:33 (NLT) I, too, try to please (be agreeable and adapt to) everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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