Monday, November 12, 2007

A Song in her Heart...

I've long loved this passage: "Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:18b-20.

Isn't that beautiful? I had always thought of it in terms of worshiping God and of God's designs for relationships in the church. Of course, that is the primary meaning of these verses.

However, in a marriage class I attended the other night, the speaker applied this to the "Spirit-filled wife." That added a new dimension to these verses for me.

The speaker proposed that the wife who is filled with the Spirit will "have a song in her heart". That doesn't mean that she won't have struggles or problems or that she won't have to have some "Gethsemane" prayers. However, the tenor of her life will be joy.

The speaker asked, "Does your husband hear you sing as you attend to the duties of your life? Or, does he hear you complain?"

She also asked, "Are you thankful for everything, because of your faith in Jesus?

The speaker shared from her own life rocky times in her marriage, when she did complain. She described the negative effects that her unhappiness had on her husband. She also shared how she's learned to be more joyful, and she described the positive effects that had on her marriage and family.

She also shared about difficult times she's been through in her life, and she looks back now with gratitude, because she sees how God has used those trails for good. She challenged us to see Jesus in the midst of our trials and to be thankful, because of our relationship with Him.

This is probably a "Duh" moment for someone who's been married --as I have -- for 27 years. But, I hadn't really thought about living out this particular verse in terms of my marriage. Oh, I knew from other verses that I, as a wife, should be joyful and thankful, as well as being filled with the fruits of God's Spirit. Examining this verse from that point of view, however, made all of that seem fresh for me.

If you think about it, it's clear that this command to be filled with the Spirit is in the context of "Don't get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit."

In other words, God is telling us that we better pay attention to Who or what controls us. The person who is drunk is controlled by wine, rather than by God's Spirit. Have you ever tried to reason with a person who was drunk? It's difficult, because you aren't talking to that person, but to the alcohol. An inebriated person cannot make sound decisions, because the excessive alcohol dominates her thinking.

Now, for me, alcohol is not the problem. The things that threaten to control me are selfishness or worry. To give in to those things would dominate my thinking just as surely as drinking too much wine would. God, through the apostle Peter, tells us that a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. Under the influence of worry or selfishness or some other besetting sin, it's hard to think spiritually or even rationally. It's easy to lose the "song in our hearts" and to complain, rather than to be thankful. We all know what is our own particular temptation in this area.

The wife who is filled with the Spirit, however, will find that the Spirit bears within her the fruits of peace, joy, self-control, faith, etc. The Spirit-filled wife will, in faith, obey the Lord's commands, rather than insist on her own will. And, just as you sense the alcohol that control's an inebriated person's words and actions, you sense the Spirit's guidance in the words and actions of a person who is surrendered to the Spirit. As Romans tells us, the mind that is controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. As the wife is peaceful in her mind and heart, she has a peaceful influence on her home.

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, to which I referred in an earlier post: "Every woman should have an apron in her kitchen and a song in her heart."

So, I have committed to praying often this month: "Lord, be the song in my heart!"



Frieda said...

Such a good post! Thanks! I've discovered in my 40 years of marriage that a cheerful, pleasant attitude not only helps me to have a grateful heart attitude toward God, but also is better than just about anything else for showing love to my husband and children (now, grandchildren.) I try to remember to smile at them every single time I pass them in the hall or meet them in the parking lot. Over the years, a cheerful attitude helps create the nicer kinds of wrinkles, too!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Frieda,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I imagine that after 40 years of marriage that you have a lot to teach us about having a cheerful, pleasant attitude. You're right that that goes such a log way to ward making people feel loved. And, the "cheerful" wrinkles are so much prettier than the "frowning" ones!

Farrah Ginter said...

Having a positive attitude and a cheerful heart can help you in all situations and encounters (especially your family's). Thank you for reminding me because sometimes in life you don't think about being cheerful. One gets busy with their everyday duties. This is a reminder that is often needed!
In Christ,

Sandra said...

Thanks for this post, it's a good reminder to have the right attitude. When our hearts and minds get sidetracked away from God that's when "stuff" (like worry which is a biggie for me) gets in the way.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Farrah and Sandra,

This was a good reminder for myself. :)

Brenda said...

This was a great post! I know I need to think more about how my attitude affects my family. I realize I complain a lot about having to clean the house, and sometimes just about being the mom in general. What a great reminder about having a cheerful heart, because I really do love being the wife and mom.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Brenda, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Country Girl At Heart said...


I really enjoy reading your blog, especially the "finishing school". I enjoy the adventure of reviving traditional foundations of homemaking. This was a excellent post.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my post "Beauty 101"

Andrea said...

Hi Elizabeth-

I found your blog through Michelle Smiles. What a wonderful post to come across! This week has been a struggle for me-lack of sleep does terrible things to one's joy. Thank you for the great reminder! I will keep returning to this even at 4am when my 13 month old decides it's time to party...for the 4th day in a row :) God Bless!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Country Girl and Andrea:

Thanks for your kind comments and for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This post has been a blessing to me as I have struggled with the heat this week and not been at my best.


Elizabeth said...

Hi Our Red House:

I love your blog name.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post.