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!"