Back in the mid 70s when I was a Navy flight instructor, my CO, Cdr. Ted Kopfman, had been a 7-year POW at the Hanoi Hilton. I loved the guy: he was a fine officer, was good to serve under, and was old-school duty, honor, country in an era when society and the military were abandoning the old ways and transitioning to the undisciplined social chaos of today. When Cdr. Kopfman read the patriotic language during a sailor’s re-upping ceremony he invariably cried. When he was promoted to captain in the ready room in front of all of us pilots and with his fine wife at his side, tears streamed down his face when he repeated those patriotic words.
Later as a fighter pilot I went through survival, evasion, resistance, and escape training in the mountains east of San Diego and in the jungles of the Philippines. I endured daytime heat, sub-freezing cold at night, broken-off cactus spines embedded in my flesh, almost nothing to eat and drink, urine splashed all over me, the crap beaten out of me, water-boarding, more mind-games and insults than you can shake a stick at, biting ants swarming from head to toe, and – in freezing temps well after midnight – cold water sprayed over my naked body until I began shaking uncontrollably...and looked down and saw that I’d become a eunuch!
Did any of that make me cry? Negative, comrade! (Well, maybe that last part came pretty close!)
It was obvious the Commie guards’ intention (in their green utilities and red-starred caps) was to break us physically so they could then break us mentally...and they were good at their jobs.
At about zero four hundred all of us “POWs” were assembled in the POW camp compound. We’d been, in just about every way, rode hard and put up wet...and were a pretty rag-tag group. The guards started screaming at us “arrogant Amerikan imperialists” and told us that because we had so far not performed as model prisoners should, they were going to stop pampering us and begin making our lives miserable. And as the threats and vitriol poured forth, the compound loudspeakers began playing music with that tinny, scratchy, echoing hollowness that metal loudspeakers and megaphones tended to have back then. The music was familiar...and the guards all took off their caps, held their hands over their breasts, faced one end of the compound...and began singing The Star-Spangled Banner! We POWs looked and saw the Stars and Stripes majestically ascending a pole, stood a little straighter with hands over hearts, began croaking our national anthem, realized our ordeal was over...and cried.
Tears streaming down our faces, brother. Standing at attention, singing, and just as unable to stop the tears as Capt. Kopfman had been. (That’s a gross exaggeration; what we went through can’t begin to compare with Capt. Kopfman’s POW experiences.)
Some hours later our military bus threaded its way through San Diego en route to North Island. The sun had come up and people were on the streets going about their daily lives. Head leaning against the window, I looked down at them...and almost cried again: they had no idea what was going on in the “real world”, and, strangely enough, I felt both unappreciated and privileged. My service was giving me experiences that combined to produce an understanding that these civilians would probably never know. My devotion to duty had been deepened; my view of serving a cause larger than Self had become more enriched and idealistic.
And nobody can ever tell me that’s just a bunch of syrupy cornball rhetoric.
The Lord has led me through enough that it’s not unusual for some of my reactions to remind me of Capt. Kopfman and us “POWs”. It can happen at the drop of a hat and take me completely by surprise. And that’s neither bad nor embarrassing; there is so much that is selfless, and noble, and good – even righteous – about it that I realize it just comes with the territory. It is the relief that sweeps over a man who has long traveled in a dry thirsty land when he comes upon an oasis. It is the emotion that overwhelms a man when he has had his loins girded for combat for so long that he is completely caught off guard when somebody actually does something nice for him; he has gotten so used to being hardened inside that – when he realizes the flag has gone up and he’s finally among comrades – he cannot handle the onrush of relief, appreciation, thankfulness, and love. In a way it authenticates the Bible when it says it is so good for us to suffer (because of how much we learn) that we should even rejoice when we do so.
Do I actually rejoice? Yes. When I’m in the depths of despair, and loneliness, and hurt, I am acutely aware that a lot of what I’m feeling is my old man, my carnal man. I also know I am permitting him to wallow a little, but my new man is always on alert and in control in my inner sanctum. And while my old man is doing his self-centered thing, my new man tends to the Lord: First, I assure Him I have No regrets, Sir! No regrets!
Second, I apologize to Him, because it was we, His own children, in the garden of Eden who yielded to temptation and carnality and brought all of this pain upon ourselves! Therefore, because of original sin, I’m part of this mess that – thank God – I now see and despise and suffer.
Third, I tell the Lord that, while my old man is doing his selfish thing, my new man is rejoicing with humble thankfulness. Because I’ve been through this before – and have been invariably thankful for the way my Good Shepherd led me – I not only believe all things (even suffering) work together for good, but I’ve witnessed the truth of that Scripture.
And fourth, believing the Lord really is all-present (as in, “Before Abraham was, I am.”), I try to comfort Him during His anguish in Gethsemane and on the cross.
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In telling some of you young comrades this, I hope to encourage and strengthen you by letting you see it’s all worth it. I mean it when I tell the Lord I have no regrets. And I want you to see that all the study, all the doing, all the doubts and boredom, all the hardships, and all the pain you will suffer, is doable; it’s not really that big of a deal – even if/when you die because of it.
Do not be sidetracked by the clueless Christian majority: Most Christians have no way to tap into the riches the Lord has for those selfless warriors who serve Him:
“For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected never know.”
Sign at Khe Sanh, Vietnam 1968
The hardest part is being a doer day in and day out. There are so many little things that make us afraid along the way, so many things that can trip us up, so many things that conspire to tempt us to tell ourselves we don’t really have to do everything in the Bible. Your job, comrade, is to be a doer. That is the test of your Christianity, and it happens every day, even in ways that we might think are mundane and unimportant. You serve the Lord by doing His word...and leave everything else to Him. He will not let you down.
And one day you’ll realize you really can see the joy in suffering for the Lord, you’ll realize why warriors cry, and you’ll pass your thankful joy on to the Lord by ministering to Him from the depths of your joyful suffering – maybe even, by faith, offering Him comfort, support, appreciation, thanks, and love at Gethsemane and at Calvary.
The Old Testament era required marriage and the Old Commission to be fruitful and multiply because God used the three physical patriarchs (Adam, Noah, and Abraham) to populate the church. But by the time the New Testament era arrived, big changes were needed because the leaven of false doctrine and ideology corrupted the generations of those three patriarchs (also called the “measures of meal”, which includes all societies around the world because they are the leavened offspring of Noah that God cast off.) As a result, God replaced physical patriarchs with Himself, replaced the Old Commission with the Great Commission, and replaced the OT with the NT. And in the NT, for the first time in history (and consistent with the Great Commission), God advised us not to marry and have children. It is advisable for us NT saints not to marry because:
· It is always better to take God’s advice than to go against it.
· Because the leaven of philosophy is invisible, and because it seems so good to the Natural old man, and because it is so widely regarded as “Christian”, it is very possible – if not highly likely – that no matter how carefully you choose a spouse you are going to marry an apostate Christian, a Laodicean Christian, or a pagan in sheep’s clothing.
· If you have children the Lord is under no Old Commission obligation to give your children the new birth. It is therefore very possible – if not highly probable – that your kids will be pagans who think they’re Christians just because they said the “sinner’s prayer” and were immersed in water.
· Even if your spouse and children are born-again Christians, the time and effort you have to put into a family home, family members, relatives, and all of the associated social stuff will take away from time spent tending to the Lord and His church – and this at a time when the church is in deep and serious trouble and needs all the dedicated warriors it can get.
1 Cor 7:32-34 He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
If you are married, it is probably because:
· You didn’t have enough self discipline to keep yourself from committing Biblical fornication if you remained unmarried.
· You do have self discipline but you decided to go against God’s advice to remain single.
· You didn’t understand God’s precepts about NT marriage because your church never taught you about them, or you didn’t know the KJV is to be taken literally because it is God’s inspired and infallible word.
· You got married before you became a Christian.
Note: If the Lord gave you the new birth after you were married, it means He has a reason for doing so. He may want to use your marriage so He (as the Potter) can shape you (as the clay) into the kind of vessel He deems fit for His purposes. Being married is not something you should be ashamed of.
No matter why you got married the fact is marriage can be a very rough row to hoe because this dark era of rampant doctrinal apostasy, self-centered willfulness, materialism, egalitarianism, and faithless unbelief and Reason spread by the Enlightened principles of democracy and theology have made us liberated, selfish children of pride. We grew up in an Enlightened culture that has brainwashed us and instilled us with beliefs, instincts, and values that are un- and anti-Scriptural. That cannot be undone overnight; it is a long journey of growth that will be full of missteps and mistakes and regrets. I say again, Bible knowledge and good intentions are necessary prerequisites to becoming a proper Christian warrior, but they will not lead you down a wide path strewn with rose petals. It will be a narrow path with difficulties that will cause most Christians at various points along the way and for various reasons to take an exit and get back on the easier and more comfortable highway to hell.
The “journey” is simply being a doer of the word. Growth = doing + time. It’s a simple formula...but it’s not easy; it is a difficult journey whose trials and tribulations will turn you into a proper servant-bride of Christ. And the journey is made more complex and therefore more difficult by families, friends, neighbors, jobs, living quarters, debt, transportation, clothing, entertainment, hobbies...and the old man. You can’t get rid of the old man and you can’t get rid of your wife and kids, but if you could reduce some of the other stuff you’d have more time and energy to put into the things that are left.
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If you are married your journey will be more difficult than it would have been if you had no wife (and children). With that in mind let’s define and describe the different kinds of love in this trumpet, and then apply them to wives and husbands in the next two trumpets.
Love is the all-important foundation of our Christian service. Knowing about love can help us monitor ourselves to see if our words and deeds are based on the right kind of love or not. There are three main kinds of love that affect marital relationships: principled love, compassionate love, and selfish love.
Principled love is based on the kind of selfless dedication that results from our deepening appreciation for the Lord and the truth of His word.
Appreciation is a fruit of submissive obedience and the resultant increase in our understanding and wisdom over time. This appreciation is not just agreeing with the Lord, it is an admiring and grateful agreement based on understanding the supreme goodness and value of His way and word.
Principled love is neither selfish nor materialistic; it is based on a love and appreciation for the truth of Scripture and the doctrines and principles revealed by them. Principled love can also be called soldierly love because it typifies the kind of disciplined, black-and-white, orders-are-orders mentality of soldiers who have an idealistic and selfless dedication to duty. This kind of love feeds on the nobility of duty and it makes the performance of duty its own reward and satisfaction, and the more the accomplishment of that duty requires selfless dedication and a willingness to suffer the more noble and satisfying it becomes. This is the kind of love that makes submissive obedience to God more important than anything else – including mortal life.
Not surprisingly, therefore, this principled love tends to be found in Christians who are unselfish, disciplined, mentally orderly, and known for integrity, honesty, dependability, and the kind of strictly-virtuous character sometimes associated with martinets. Principled love tends to be found in Bible believers who understand the rightness and necessity of taking the Lord at His word literally. The idealistic dispassionateness of principled love is important to the welfare of the NT church because it is needed to overcome the tendency “compassionate love” has to make Christians not take the Bible literally...and therefore to not obey God’s NT orders to walk away from Christians who are infected with subversive leaven. (Subversive leaven and God’s NT tactics to combat them are discussed in the War College series of trumpets.)
I could call this kind of love idealistic love but I prefer to use the word principled because I want it to serve as a reminder that our “brotherly love” for each other is not based on liking each other (as discussed in Trumpet Alpha 5), it is based on the Christ-and-Bible-centered appreciation defined above.
Two OT examples of how principled love is necessary to do one’s duty in spite of the presence of “compassionate love” include 1) God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and 2) He told Capt. Jehu to perform some wet work. Proper principled love is external (that is, unselfish), it is grounded in faith and belief, and it focuses on submissive obedience to God and His word. Another example of principled love in action is King David’s ordering the execution of the young man for merely believing in the subversive (because it undermines authority) concept of regicide. You and I today, taught by Enlightened Christianity to give too much weight to compassionate love, would have hurt the church and the War effort by sparing the young man’s life (back then) or by not breaking fellowship with him (today). But David’s principled love evaluated the doctrinal situation, recognized the necessity to put aside his compassionate love, and ordered the execution.
As truly necessary to Christianity as principled love is, it would make us all treat the word of God as if it were a must-do laundry list of rules like the Pharisees did...if it weren’t for the presence of the also-necessary compassionate love – which is what made David able to understand the doctrine of expediency when he ate the shewbread.
Compassionate love is, like principled love, external. It unselfishly focuses on other living beings rather than on the Pharisaical letter of the law – as in I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Compassionate love is subordinate to principled love, and therefore some doctrinal maturity is required in order to put things into proper perspective in order to know which kind of love should govern different situations. Compassionate love dominates in situations like pulling a sheep out of a pit on the sabbath and when feeding the shewbread to hungry comrades. Principled love dominates in situations like spanking children and walking away from beloved – but subverted – brethren.
Principled love unselfishly focuses on the substance of things hoped for such as God, His word, doctrine, and principles. Compassionate love, on the other hand, is largely about people. We must learn when to apply these two kinds of Christian love. The Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect example of the application of the two loves: Compassionate love made Him die on the cross for us; principled love made Him die on the cross for tactical, legal, and strategic reasons. In other words, He was a perfect example of two (husband and wife) being one flesh; of head and body being in perfect harmony; and He showed principled love and compassionate love to be wrongly divided in our fallen, carnal natures...because in our glorified bodies they won’t be two different loves, they’ll both be perfect parts of God’s love or Christian love or whatever you want to call it.
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The reason doctrinal maturity is so important to our Christian walks is the obvious fact that without a proper understanding of doctrine we won’t know how and when to let principled love overrule compassionate love – and vice versa. And because principled love is superior to compassionate love (in that it must decide and dictate when compassionate love is appropriate and when it isn’t), principled love must always be present. I say again: If the cerebral, Bible-oriented principled love is not present, compassionate love will always be carnal...just as any action is carnal if discernment is not present. And therefore just as discernment must be a Bible-based learned discipline that regulates our behavior, so too must we learn to understand and properly utilize principled love. In fact, it isn’t wrong to say discernment and principled love are in practice the same thing. I am distinguishing between them in order to show that discernment/principled love is a necessary part of true Christian love, because without it’s regulating presence, God Almighty and His word are absent from compassionate love – which makes compassionate love (in that case) a selfish, carnal abomination.
There is nothing wrong with feelings and emotions being part of compassionate love – as long as they are subject to and approved and permitted by the discerning element of principled love. But understand that compassionate love is still true love even if feelings and emotions are absent...because true love is based on actions not feelings (as discussed in Alpha 1).
This is worldly love; the kind of love most people think of as “love”. But Bible believers quickly realize, when reading certain things God says about love (such as some of the verses in Alpha 1), that some Bible study is needed in order to gain a proper doctrinal knowledge of the subject of love. And then over time as we apply the Bible when reflecting on our observations and actions in life, our doctrinal knowledge will blossom into a deeper understanding of love, which will then increase the depth of our above-defined appreciation – which is all part of the never-ending cycle of growth/maturity. That’s how we begin (as young Bible believers) to disdain the kind of compassionate-and-selfish-love-based modern “Christianity” with its shallow and contradictory actions and “beliefs”, and to gravitate more toward the selfless nobility of dispassionate principled love. But then more Bible study and experiences and quiet time spent in our inner sanctums (“study to be quiet”) reveal the Pharisaical nature of principled love when expediency reveals circumstances when compassionate love must be applied – even at the (apparent) expense of principled love. And more growth reveals the head/body relationship of principled/compassionate love and how it is incumbent upon us to learn how the two loves must be joined just as a husband and wife are joined, and to learn how to properly glorify God by becoming one flesh – head and body – by knowing when principled love (head) and when compassionate love (body) are called for.
I won’t dwell on selfish love because we already know it is based on things and on Self (rather than on people or principles) that are worldly, trivial, and shallow such as personal appearance, fashion, wealth, personality, tone of voice, emotions and feelings, or any of the petty, misleading, self-based ingredients assigned to “love” (such as laughter and happiness) by modern society...and I’ll call this worldly foundation “liking”. Yes, I definitely do often have some of those “liking” feelings and emotions as part of my relationship with the Lord, but those feelings and emotions are based upon and a result of the above-defined appreciation that blossomed over time as I dedicated myself to being submissively obedient. I say again: my “lovey-dovey” feelings for the Lord do exist, but they are neither conditional nor are they based upon the shallow worldly “liking” above.
Remembering the definitions of principled love and compassionate love, let’s apply them (and other things) to Christian wives in Trumpet Bravo 2 and to Christian husbands in B3.
When discussing wives in this trumpet and husbands in the next I’m going to make general statements that will not apply in every case or to every individual. So only pay attention when the shoe fits...and discard the rest. I’m trying to be helpful, but my knowledge and understanding are limited and I only see through a glass darkly. But because I’m speaking to fellow Bible believers, I know that your knowledge of Scripture, your ears that hear the still small voice of the Comforter, and your dwelling place in your inner sanctum will keep you from blindly accepting everything I say...and you may be edified in ways I didn’t intend. My hope and prayer is that you’ll treat this as a quiet one-on-one Christ-honoring Bible-oriented discussion between comrades who want to discuss things that are necessary and important...but that are largely ignored or trivialized by the modern church. Mistakes in my life have shown me that I’m no expert on marriage, but I hope this discussion might help you have an easier time – and fewer regrets – than I have had along the way.
As a younger Christian who was learning about a lot of different things, I made a mistake: My limited perspective made me think being a Christian husband is a tougher job than being a Christian wife. My life as a Bible-believing man and husband had had enough difficulties, mistakes, and regrets that I began to think I’d have been a better Bible-believing woman and wife because I thought my characteristics made me better suited to the life of a servant. For example, I am generally neither selfish nor materialistic. Part of that is because of character, and part is because of self discipline. I am idealistic and dedicated, which contributes to my general lack of selfishness. I have a soldier’s mentality and I tend to have a black-and-white view of life. I identify with the concept, the necessity, and the performance of duty. Performing my duty is its own reward and satisfaction, and the more my duty requires selfless dedication and a willingness to suffer the more noble and satisfying it becomes. I think my soldier’s mentality has made it easier for me to love the Lord – even when He is a hard master – because I appreciate (as defined in the previous trumpet) the fact that He is the one and only Head...and I am His body/servant. And I trust Him completely, which is part of true belief.
Thinking the role of a wife to be easier was a good, well-intentioned beginning to my process of learning about marital relationships. But it was wrong: Just because being a man and husband has been difficult for me doesn’t mean I’d be any better as a wife. I learned that tidy little fact when I began examining myself as the Lord’s wife. If the willful disobedience and disrespect with which I have treated the Lord is any indication (and it is the only true and accurate indication), I’d have sorely tried the patience of my earthly husband if I’d been a woman. All things considered, being a Biblical servant-wife is a difficult process, and being a Biblical master-husband is a difficult process – and they are not as easy to live day in and day out as they are to understand when reading the plainly-worded stuff in Eph 5 and other places. Being a Biblical wife and husband is a growth process. That growth process takes time and is built upon mistakes and repentance. With that in mind, my beloved sister and fellow servant, let’s look at love, covetousness, humility, and forgiveness.
In general, women tend to have more compassionate love (Trumpet Bravo 1) than principled love. Compassionate love is good, but because compassionate love is people-oriented it must be regulated/governed and either approved or restricted by principled love, which is more Christ-oriented. People-oriented love, when combined with a woman’s tendency to be more emotional than men, can cause a Christian wife to think she is right to argue with her husband when he is froward. But, as you already know, the Bible not only tells us to respectfully submit to froward authorities, it tells us why we should do so:
1 Pet 2:17-3:6 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not...Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it...be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well...
That’s but another example that the issue is authority, not right and wrong...or personality. I say again, it is never Scriptural to argue with the Lord under any circumstances, and if a Christian wife argues with her earthly husband she is, in practice, indicating that her will in that particular situation is more important to her than the plainly-stated will of God Almighty.
That paragraph will be causing you to have an uncharitable reaction unless you already have taught yourself – through trial and error and fights and tears and bitterness and repentance and time spent with the Lord – to appreciate the Scriptural importance and necessity of principled love, and to have actually made it part of your process of discernment. If so, your principled love has caused you to understand the Biblical truth of what I say.
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That discerning principled love is all well and good, but it isn’t any easier for you to put into practice every time it’s needed with your earthly husband than it is for me with my Heavenly Husband. So let’s mention some things that may help you see the big picture more clearly so you can more quickly recognize what’s going on inside you and therefore get control of yourself before you do something you’ll regret at Judgment.
Covetousness is a foundational sin. It might help to better understand and avoid covetousness if we identify the two things that lead to covetousness.
1. The most basic “sin” is equality. Equality cannot (as in must/should not) exist in God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is based on authority (starting with Him), and equality is anti-authority. But technically equality itself isn’t a sin; it’s an evil concept or ideology. God created it for a reason (as covered in AOR). Equality is the engine that gives us the power or ability to have our own opinions and wants, which makes us heads that compete against the One True Godhead...and against earthly authorities God has put over us such as husbands. Equality is the “prime mover” that gets the ball rolling in the direction of sin.
2. Temptation is what results when equality puts us on the horns of a dilemma: Should we agree with and/or submit to God’s will and way (or that of our earthly husband), or should we live according to our own opinions and wants? All sins begin or end at this fork in the road. It’s always this simple. But temptation itself isn’t a sin, either – it’s a normal choice we all face many times.
3. Covetousness is when we yield to/exalt Self by deciding to put our will/wants into action rather than submit to the will of our authority. All sins have this sin of covetousness at their root. It’s as simple as that.
This choice between doing what God tells us or doing what we want is the fundamental choice that leads to either submission or to sin. And since covetousness is based on Self (not on God), the Bible says covetousness is idolatry – because our god is Self/our belly. And because covetousness causes us to resist God’s will, the Bible says stubbornness, rebellion, and witchcraft are synonyms. And when we consider the fact that clamoring (called murmuring in the OT) is part of stubbornness and rebellion, we begin to see that all sins do indeed trace their origins to covetousness...which is always anti-God/authority and always pro-Self/“liking”.
In sum, all sins come from covetousness. Covetousness exists in direct opposition to God’s authority. Therefore we can easily see that all sins are against some authority, whether it be God’s authority or man’s. For example, when a child backtalks his mother, when a wife backtalks her husband, when a man backtalks his boss, when a person steals a pair of shoes, or commits adultery...all of those originate when a person wants to do something that is against the known will of either some human authority or the written will of God.
Covetousness is very personal and very powerful. It isn’t just wanting to do something; it’s more powerfully attached to Self than that, which is one reason it is idolatry. When your husband is being a jerk, which causes your self-righteous sense of justice to make you angry, pay attention and see if you can tell the instant you yield to your anger (and the yelling really begins). That instant of yielding to sin is the same in everybody – it’s a choice, and we all have to make that choice in order to sin. In modern times democratic egalitarianism has made it so acceptable and common and so easy for wives to give their husbands a tongue lashing that it’s actually widely regarded as humorous. That makes the wifely sin of clamoring so “normal” that many Christians don’t know it’s a sin for a wife to continue to resist the will of her husband once she realizes she is angering him. At that point she needs to do what any good servant of God Almighty would do: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry”:
Ps 2:11,12 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Eph 5:1-33 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children...But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints...For this ye know, that no...covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord...See then that ye walk circumspectly...Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing...For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
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It’s easy to say that, and it’s easy to prove it with Scripture. But because tradition makes the word of God of none effect, and because that sinful behavior is widely regarded as not sinful by modern Enlightened church-going Bible rejecters, and because the individual-exalting principles of the Enlightenment have made what you and I want and feel so important and right and good, actually kissing your husband at that point, or prostrating yourself (1 Sam 25:23,24,41) while apologizing is so hard to do it requires the kind of humility that enables us to actually put “dying to self” into practice (being a doer of the word, not just a hearer only) by doing the exact opposite of the very sin every fiber of our being is clamoring to do. When I use the word clamoring I do so in order to emphasize the fact that our natural, carnal old man is sinning when, instead of submissively obeying the head (our inner-sanctum-dwelling, Scripture-abiding new man), it tries to get us to sin by clamoring against our heavenly and earthly authorities. Neither our modern society nor our churches have taught us not to covet – not to yield – to the sinful clamoring of the old man. We were never taught yielding is the sin/idolatry of covetousness in that situation. And if our parents did not spank us, we probably also lack much of the humility and self discipline necessary to subdue the old man’s clamoring and then actually apologetically kiss our husband/Husband. And the reason we won’t do it isn’t so much because we think it’d be embarrassing and/or demeaning, but because that kind of Biblical humility just isn’t part of our character, it isn’t part of who we are. And all of that makes it very difficult for Christian wives to submit to their earthly husbands – and for all of us Bible believers to submit to our Heavenly Husband: we are not submissive people; we are willful, full of self, and independent...we are idolaters because our true god is, in practice, self.
What I’ve said above is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much about being a Scriptural servant-wife that is anathema to modern freedom-and-independence-worshipping society, and is so contrary to our Enlightened characters, that we Bible believers have huge mountains to move during the challenging process of becoming proper servant-wives of Christ...and that process is both slowed down and made all the more difficult by the fights and distractions and emotions and duties we burden ourselves with if we are married. That’s why – for our sakes as individuals and that of the church as a whole – the Lord advised us not to marry. But for a number of reasons – most of which were beyond our control – we did marry. These trumpets on marital relationships are an attempt to help Christians have enough understanding that they might actually use the challenges of being married, the challenges of being Scriptural spouses, as learning aids that can help us become better servant-wives of Christ.
So, dear sister in Christ, no Christian with any maturity can fail to recognize the difficulties you face in trying to transition from your life as a happily-married wife who isn’t really bothered by the “normal” fights you have with your husband into a wife who is increasingly bothered by the fact that all of the above is true. If you discuss all of this with your husband and let him know your love for the Lord Jesus Christ has made you want to serve and honor Him by obediently becoming the kind of earthly wife He describes in His Book, will that humble submission by you tend to make your husband’s already-existing selfish, inconsiderate flaws and annoyances even worse as he becomes an arrogant dictator? Yes, it might...but I’ll speak with him about that in the next trumpet. In this trumpet I’m trying to help you, and your fear shouldn’t be causing you to focus on potential pitfalls you’ll likely encounter during the process of becoming a good and faithful servant of the Lord; your principled love for the Lord should be causing you to gird your loins because nothing will ever cause you to take your eyes off Jesus. Besides, if you are worried that the “suffering” that is your Christian calling (1 Pet 2 & 3) includes properly submitting to the man you love and trust more than any other on earth, that worry should help you realize your problem isn’t really your husband’s frowardness, and it isn’t really the incredible hardships (!) he’ll force upon you – your problem is you! You do not want to be anybody’s servant – not even your loving husband’s servant. You want to keep the Bible and Christ and your husband out of that room you’ve reserved for Self in the “house” that is you. Yes, you’re willing to decorate all the other rooms of yourself (Trumpet A7) with “Christian” furnishings, but you’re Naturally, carnally, and instinctively loathe to surrender that last room of Self, the room from which you rule and reign.
That means the Christian characteristic you must quit rendering lip service to and actually force into your actions until it becomes part of who you are is humility. We all are children of pride, and we therefore all have problems with true Biblical humility. We’ve all learned what little things we can do, and how we can word things in order to make ourselves appear to be humble. But true Christian humility like Moses had actually requires us to combine principled love with self discipline so we can die to self by subduing the oh-so-appealing clamoring of the old man and actually make the inspired and inerrant literal words of the living God our lives.
Humility is not a natural characteristic. It is a learned characteristic; its appeal springs from appreciation-based principled love, and we then use self discipline to force it upon ourselves. Just to be clear: How do we “force” ourselves to be humble? Is humility a state of mind or a certain bodily/facial posture? No. Humility is being a doer of the word. That seems simple at first blush. But when we think about the fact that being a doer includes Eph 5 we begin to appreciate why humility is so hard to attain.
The good news is dying to self and forcing ourselves to be Biblical servant-wives has huge spiritual-growth benefits – even more than doing other Scripture. Why? Because our purpose is to be servants/slaves. And when we obediently submit to God’s plan by becoming self-disciplined, selfless, humble servants who willingly endure wrongful suffering for His name’s sake, He truly becomes our Lord and is exalted and glorified and pleased. And He rewards us with growth. “Growth” may not sound like much, but the satisfaction, contentment, vision, Biblical understanding, and peace that are byproducts of growth passeth all carnal understanding and are ways the Holy Ghost manifests Himself to doers of the word. If we truly want eyes that see and ears that hear we must draw upon principled love and humility to fight the good fight against the Self that is barricaded in that last room, and quietly – without fanfare – be the kind of servants now we hope to be for all of eternity.
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The process of repenting from your worldly relationship with your husband can be made a little less difficult if the two of you deliberately draw upon humility and use it to discuss all of this and all of the bumps and battles you encounter along the narrow-and-difficult way that leadeth unto righteousness. We don’t all grow at the same pace, and that is one of the difficulties we must deal with. Young Christians often think more mature Christians are wrong about certain Scriptures – or at least too zealous or too literal about them. More mature Christians at the same time think the younger Christians are stubbornly and willfully and knowingly refusing to submit to what the Bible plainly says. Eph 5 is a perfect example because it is easy to read and understand, but it cannot be made a part of our lives overnight because becoming a Biblical self-denying servant who walks in the Spirit is not as easy as knowing the right answer on a quiz. And it is not the quickly-attained result of a single battle won against Self. Servanthood is only attained after a long and difficult war during which battles are won and lost and over time we realize Self truly is the problem, and the war with Self is as agonizing as Ro 7 says it is. I say again, dear sister: you are going to sinfully deny the Lord repeatedly (just as I have done) by yielding to the covetous clamoring of your carnal, selfish old man. And if you care (via principled love) as much as Peter did when he heard the cock crow, you’ll realize Paul wept as bitterly over his Rom 7 failures as Peter did over his – and as you will over yours. And after you’ve cried and confessed and apologized and discussed your failures with your Husband and then with your husband so many times that you wonder if you’ll ever conquer the old man, it’ll gradually begin to dawn upon you that your failures are becoming less frequent...and your successes actually make you feel better and more confident and more satisfied. And you’ll take that humble, satisfaction-fueled hope the Holy Spirit has rewarded you with to the Lord, thank Him, and ask Him to please continue teaching you and training you. (Teaching: Imparting knowledge that is fairly easily learned. Training: Imparting knowledge that is more difficult/unnatural to learn and must therefore be preceded/accompanied by suffering – see Heb 5:8 and all the Proverbs that deal with the good byproducts of spanking. Yes, suffering is a necessary part of growth, which is one of the reasons behind our Christian calling in 1 Pet 2:21.) What I’m trying to say is principled love will allow us to gain an appreciation for the suffering we are called to endure. We’ll believe humbly submitting to suffering is a God-ordained and necessary part of becoming one of His servants. And, dear sister, if humbling yourself before, and “suffering” at the hands of the earthly husband who loves you more than any man on earth is part of that servant-in-training process, you should thank God for opening your eyes, and you should (if I may be so bold as to suggest):
1. Kneel down and thank God for His Weapons Manual that tells us exactly what we need to do in order to grow into the kind of strong, confident, humble servants for whom life itself is carrying out His every command (Phil 1:1-2:18 with emphasis on 1:20,21 & 2:7,8,12,14,15).
2. Ask God to help you gird your loins against the selfish and covetous clamorings of your carnal old man, and to give you the love-fueled strength and faith to be humble...and even awkwardly humble if that’s all you can manage at this stage of your growth.
3. Take a deep breath and go have a Christ-exalting discussion with your husband – now – during which you ask him to help you become the Biblical wife Christ has ordered you to be. Honestly tell your husband about your fears and worries and awkwardness – cry if you have to, but have the kind of humbly-honest session with your husband that will allow you, when you speak with the Lord before turning in tonight, to tell Him you think you made a good start...and you intend to fight the good fight against Self daily in order to prove you really do want Him to rule all rooms in your house.
I think you’ll be encouraged by your husband’s reaction. He may even feel as awkward and as uncertain as you are about how to proceed. You both may be afraid of how you’ll handle it when you next get mad at each other. And it’s going to happen. With those future challenges/battles in mind, I think it’ll help if you keep two things in mind:
First, there will never be another fight unless you sinfully yield to your carnal self. Never, ever. Biblically speaking, any and all fights that may occur are your fault. It does not matter how froward or wrong your husband may be about anything...whether it be your hair, your children, the Bible, your attitude, your intentions, your tone and/or volume of voice, your parents, or whether the moon is made of green cheese or not. When you become aware that you’re getting mad at your husband, or if you become aware that he is getting mad at you, subdue your angry reaction, think of the Lord and this moment being replayed at Judgment, and say and do things that will show you and your husband and God that you are deliberately suppressing your anger and are humbling yourself before the authority of your husband and your Husband. You will have to force yourself (and it’s not easy) to make that humble gesture because Self and anger and resentment and pride will, when covetousness puts you on the horns of the dilemma we always face, make you want to fight or stalk away – anything but looking into your jerky husband’s eyes and humbly saying things you’ll be glad you said when you watch them replayed at Judgment. If you win that battle with Self, your earthly husband will probably react the same way you would if you were in his shoes – he’ll be a bit surprised...and then your obvious attempt to humble yourself before him and before God will cause him to be impressed and humbled. How he deals with his own feelings (which may be carnal and disappointing to you) may vary because he’s as new to this as are you. The important thing for you to remember is to stay in control: you’ve made an impressive start on your journey to actually being the Lord’s servant, so don’t ruin it now – no matter how he reacts. And that brings up my second point, forgiveness.
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Your husband has clay feet just like the rest of us do. So he is going to anger and frustrate and disappoint you from time to time. But just as you want Christ to forgive you for treating Him badly, and just as you hope your earthly husband will forgive you for losing some battles with Self and sinning by treating him (and therefore your Heavenly Husband – 1 Cor 11:3-5) with disrespect, so should you forgive your hubby when he rightly or wrongly offends you. Just force yourself to let it go – win another battle against Self, earn another medal at Judgment, shew the Lord you actually do love Him more than Self. And sometime later when you think the time is right and if you think it’d be profitable if you calmly and respectfully and humbly bring some issue up for discussion with your husband, good; in fact, that’s actually part of your “helper” duties – you are trying to help him be a better Christian (if applicable), husband, and man. But remember to follow his lead, and if he wants to shut down the discussion before it even begins, do so instantly and humbly by winning, earning, and shewing.
None of this will be lost on your husband. And as your new, Biblical relationship comes up in various conversations, the two of you will become more comfortable about discussing events and confessing to each other, and you’ll become more confident as you two realize you really are becoming more and more like one flesh – with your husband as the God-ordained head, and you as the God-ordained body. And you’ll realize with relief and thanksgiving that God’s way really is always the best way. And that realization will add to your appreciation, which will strengthen your principled love and deepen your compassionate love...as the process of growth for doers of the word continues as it always has.
I’ll close this section on forgiveness by reminding you of the many verses in the Bible that repeatedly warn us that the Lord will not forgive our sins against Him if we don’t forgive other people who trespass against us. It may help whenever your husband is a jerk to you if you think of the many times you’ve been a jerk to the Lord.
One of the interesting things about Christianity is the fact that it really doesn’t matter if we’re married to each other or not – we should treat all Christians with the same love, humility, forbearance, and forgiveness with which Christian husbands and wives should treat each other. We’re all trying to be the best servants of Christ that we can possibly be. And we have all been unworthy sinners and selfish jerks from time to time. So let’s all be the kind of comrades whose selfless devotion to the cause of Christ (as spelled out in His inerrant Bible) makes us set our affections on things above, not on petty things on the earth.
When a wife properly incorporates Bible-based principled love and appreciation into her character, it’ll make it easier for her inner sanctum to realize that submitting to her froward husband is really submitting to Christ Himself by believing and doing His word. In other words, by submitting to her husband she is – by her works that will be replayed at Judgment – establishing herself as a Bible believer who will tearfully sink to her knees with thankful joy and relief when her true Husband, Lord, Saviour, and God tells her how much she blessed His heart by biting her tongue whenever her old man made her want to rise up and become another husband-head/Husband-Head.
Do not let Enlightened women’s liberation cause you to give lip service to the fact that God has ordered you to be a servant who honors her husband with submissive obedience as if he were God Almighty. That only sounds strange, offensive, demeaning, and wrong to the stiff-necked and hard-hearted people who have been subverted by the very philosophy Christ warned them to avoid. Sadly, that leaven has so thoroughly infected the church over the last hundred years that apostates now vastly outnumber Bible believers. Keep in mind that there are no laws prohibiting women from letting their husbands be their bosses. And always remember the modern difficulties associated with having spouses and children, and the vast amounts of time they will subtract from serving God and the church, and the peer pressure that will tempt us to take the broad, easy path by allowing our families to be modern, liberated, unscriptural abominations...which are exactly why God said we NT saints should neither marry nor have children. But we did; we screwed up (if we were Christians when we married). And that means we Bible believers who are married need to help each other in our struggles with the flesh as we try to glorify God by being Scriptural husbands and wives. And if we are pressured or tempted by apostates to not take seriously what God plainly says, quietly thank God for making our difficult lives a little bit easier by commanding us to politely walk away from bad Christians and have nothing to do with those who are subverted. And keep in mind that the male and female heroes in the Bible would be shocked and outraged at the blatant and fearless disrespect, impertinence, impudence, and insolence with which Christian wives treat their husbands (and therefore the Lord Himself) these days.
Being a Biblical wife isn’t easy, because in these dark last days Self has been liberated and strengthened. It might help if we put things into perspective: Bible believers often live quiet, separated lives. Therefore, my sister, a large percentage of the tests and hardships in this life that you encounter will involve your husband in your own home. On its face that makes your challenges seem relatively easy, and you should think about that fact in order to encourage yourself by thinking something like, John is my husband, and we love each other: I can do this. And remember, how you treat your husband is how you treat the Lord Jesus Christ (as illustrated by these brief excerpts):
Eph 5:22,24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord...Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
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Mt 25:37-46 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?...And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink...Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst...and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
I hope and pray this might help you better understand this topic...and to have fewer regrets than I’ve had. God bless you, sister.
I’m going to state some truths about marital relationships and then counter them with a big “but”:
The husband is supposed to be the head; wives and children are his members/servants. The wife really is supposed to treat her husband as if he were God. Any and all arguments really are caused by the wife’s equality, covetousness, pride, selfishness, lack of humility, lack of self-discipline, and Christian immaturity. Even if the husband is wrong, is a jerk, and is froward all of the above is true. And that Scriptural fact is plainly evident to all saints whose principled love (Trumpet Bravo 1) gives them a soldier’s ability to overcome the threatening influence and pressure of modern Enlightened Christianity and society. But...we must remember the fact that part of principled love’s job is to take compassionate love into account and decide if and when it should moderate or temporarily displace strict adherence to Scripture (such as Eph 5) – just as David did with the shewbread, as the priests did on the sabbath, and as shepherds did if a sheep fell into a pit on the sabbath. In other words, one of the responsibilities of principled love is to take into consideration both the situation and compassionate love in order to decide if applying the doctrine of expediency is called for in order to have compassionate love displace principled love.
Technically, compassionate love never actually displaces principled love; I word it that way just for teaching purposes. In reality, the two kinds of love are inseparably one, which means:
· When David “ignored” compassionate love and called upon principled love in order to execute the young man who believed in regicide, he really wasn’t ignoring compassionate love: When the big picture of God and the War and the good of the church are taken into consideration, for example, it becomes evident that executing the man in order to cull him and to slow the spread of subversive ideology was the loving thing to do.
· When David “ignored” principled love and called upon compassionate love in order to feed the shewbread to his comrades, he wasn’t ignoring principled love...because, all things considered, what he did was actually in accordance with principled love because part of the governing responsibility of principled love is to know when to apply compassionate love.
That means part of the husband’s responsibility/job description as the head of his family is to draw upon his mature doctrinal understanding of principled love in order to know when compassionate love needs to be applied.
Christian men tend to have more principled love than compassionate love. Christian wives tend to have more compassionate love and less principled love. That is because husbands represent the head (the brain) and women represent the body (the heart). Men are therefore often task oriented...while paying little attention to how they may come across to others. This often causes men, when they are zeroed in on some task, to react swiftly, sharply, and loudly when distractions arise, and it’s not unusual for men, when struggling with a difficult task, to have frustrated anger intensify their efforts. Women often react differently, and it’s not unusual for women, when struggling with similar tasks, to have their efforts weakened by frustrated tears.
The good news about a Christian husband is his principled-love-driven desire to accomplish the task. The bad news is men and women are different, and therefore his drill-sergeant tone of voice, temper, callous disregard for the irrelevant (from the perspective of the task) feelings of others, and his insistence that emotions should not be allowed to cloud the issue are likely to upset his wife. For example, if he corrects his wife for something it wouldn’t be unusual for her to be hurt and/or offended by his tone, attitude, or choice of words – even if he is right to correct her. If she reacts sinfully by starting an angry argument, the husband – if he has an immature understanding of doctrine and principled love – might react by (figuratively) grabbing her by the nape of her neck and shoving her face down into a plateful of Eph 5. If you, my brother in Christ, have a tendency to react in similar fashion, I think it’d be good for your Christian growth and that of your wife if we consider some things.
All of us – no matter how doctrinally mature we are, tend to have bad moments. Those bad moments should serve to remind us that we need to consider compassionate love when others around us have bad moments. Your wife is no more perfect than you are, and she might not be as mature doctrinally as you. Combine that with a woman’s tendency to be more emotional and less letter-of-the-law oriented, and improper outbursts are going to happen. There’s no question about that; it’s a fact. The question is, are you mature enough to handle being improperly yelled at, falsely accused, maligned, and in other ways treated disrespectfully by your wife? Or are you going to lose control and start yelling, too? Or are you going to remain in control and keep arguing with her because you are “right”? Equals tend to yell at and argue with one another. Good leaders remain in complete control of themselves and speak in measured tones; and good wives remain in complete control of themselves and speak in respectful tones. If your wife does not speak that way perhaps it’s because you are more of an undisciplined screamer and less of a wise husband who leads by example and who forms a relationship in which two imperfect Christians work together to help each other grow.
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I submit that your compassionate love should cause you to work on patience when your wife trespasses against you. Patience requires humility and self discipline. That means you will often have to force yourself to bite your tongue – just as you expect her to do when she gets mad at you. Can you lead by example? Wouldn’t it be nice if you controlled your angry reaction, listened to her complaints and accusations, and had a quiet discussion with her in which you agree to try to tone yourself down a bit and she agrees to do the same? You’re two comrades who love the Lord and each other, who live and work side-by-side, and are trying to help and forgive each other as we as a church struggle to serve the Lord better tomorrow than we did today.
If Christ can forgive your transgressions against Him, and if He can forgive your wife’s transgressions against Him whenever she treats you disrespectfully, don’t you think you should be able to forgive her, too? Yes, she is supposed to treat you as if you are the Lord. But remember, you are not the Lord – you are merely a type of the Lord. I say again, comrade: you and I are nobody; we are normal, fallible humans who tend to be carnal, selfish, arrogant, picky, impatient jerks at times. If we keep that in mind when our wives fail to treat us as if we were God Almighty it would help us react more with compassionate love and less with principled love. That reaction would help us, it would help our wives, it would please the Lord, and our resultant growth over time as we achieved better control over Self would help the church.
As mentioned earlier, doctrinal maturity is needed in order for principled love to properly evaluate when compassionate love should be applied. That means continual Bible study is needed so the Lord can broaden our understanding in ways we can’t anticipate. For example, even though at every stage of my Christian growth I knew I didn’t know everything about the Bible and Christianity, I did think my understanding of the things I had learned at that point was sufficient. But I was wrong; I had no idea how many layers or facets there are to Christianity and doctrine – such as the facets of principled love and compassionate love that are part of overall Biblical love and expediency. When I look back at some of the things I said and did and wrote in the margins of my Bible and taught to others when I was a younger Christian I’m...humbled. (I almost said embarrassed, but I realize learning and growth take time and experience, which means the more we learn and grow the less blind we are.)
That means if you are not fully matured as a Christian (and that won’t happen in this lifetime) you cannot be a perfect head of household – you’re going to subject your wife to well-intentioned mistakes that you’ll think, when you commit them, are absolutely Scriptural. With that truth in mind, our relationships with our families and with other Christians can be more edifying if you and I would climb down off our high horses and walk with more humility, compassion, patience, self discipline, and forgiveness. That’s no more easy for us to do than it is for our wives. In fact, I have scared myself sometimes when I’ve realized I was on the horns of the covetousness-fueled dilemma of choosing between the control-myself proper course of Christ-honoring action...and the yield-to-Self sinful course of action. I am my own worst enemy and my biggest challenge. I say again: With Judgment in mind during which my choices/actions/words are going to be replayed, I have frightened myself. (Which has given me a much better understanding of the fearful agony behind Rom 7:13-25 and the necessity to force myself to submit to all of the above.) As I’ve grown my thankfulness to the Lord for saving me has shifted its emphasis: As a young Christian I was thankful that He saved me from my sins; as an adolescent Christian I was thankful that He was teaching me His Book and doctrine; and as I mature I am more and more aware of how selfish and flawed I am as a person and as a servant, and I realize the Lord is forgiving, teaching, and changing me as a Christian man and comrade, as a husband, and as a servant...and I am so humbly thankful for those changes made (and being made) to me that – knowing with increasing certainty that I am my biggest problem and impediment – I pray that He’ll continue to forgive me and mold me and make me into a vessel meet for Him, for my wife, and for my brothers and sisters. I hope you are beginning to understand how much accumulated regret over the years has gone into my titling this section IGNORANCE AND HUMILITY.
Had I not forced myself to adhere to my routine of daily Bible study sessions (many of which seemed boring and fruitless at the time), I now realize I would not have grown as much as I have...which means I’d still be back at one of those confidence-filled-but-ignorant points that now make me cringe when I look back at them. And that includes my performance as a husband. Yes, I’ve always tried to be fair and right and a good teacher and a humble Christian...but I had no idea what I didn’t know! Yes, when I compared myself with other Christians, I knew more than many of them and therefore thought I was doing pretty well. But I now realize I could have done much better and wish I could go back and be more compassionate, humble, disciplined, forgiving, and a better example for my wife. So please take it from me, brother, the humble road of suffering should be just as real for you now as it is for your wife...because we are all selfish and ignorant and have a long way to go if we want to ever be good and faithful servants of Christ.
If you and/or your wife have problems staying in control when disagreements and offences occur, you may find it helpful to have a timely reminder that we’re all allies who are trying to help each other grow. As head of the household you may wish to have a short phrase with which you and your wife can remind yourselves that our duty to submit to and glorify God is bigger and more important than our emotions and our being “right.” For example, if you said something that offended and angered your wife, and neither your brilliant reason nor your God-given authority are simmering her down so she can properly say something like, “I’m sorry, sir; I was out of line, I should never argue with you”, and instead her emotions continue fueling her anger as she heads toward a loss of control and a real screaming match, you – as soon as you recognize that situation – may want to say something like, “I am thankful that you and I are Bible-believing comrades trying to help each other grow and glorify God by properly submitting to His word.” If she had temporarily “forgotten” her Biblical duty to submit to you and to God, and if she is mature enough that the phrase helps her calm down, regain control, and say something like, “Thanks, that reminder was just what I needed. I was letting self get the upper hand when I should have been thankful that this latest test in my Christian walk is but another good opportunity to demonstrate my love for the Lord and to please you with my humility, my control, and my respectful attitude.” If she responds that way it may help you put things into better perspective and reply with something like, “Thank you for that. And actually I think I’m ready to do a little more forgiving and forgetting and a little less unnecessary lecturing. I love you. Give me a hug.”
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And if your wife thinks you may be getting a bit too carried away she may want to utter the same phrase in the hope that you’ll simmer down...but also to remind herself of her duty to never argue even if you don’t simmer down.
I say again, the little phrase is to remind her to subdue her emotions, stop arguing, and start mending fences. And it is to remind you, when her emotions threaten to get the better of her, to subdue your righteous indignation, bear her burden, forgive her, and begin mending fences. If the two of you will help each other in that and in similar ways, your chaste conversation coupled with fear of God will cause you to grow closer and stronger as you become a rare Christian couple in this age of apostasy that actually glorifies God by subduing self and submitting to His word.
One of the difficulties Christian husbands must face is fear. When we are born again it is not easy dealing with the fact that a doctrinally-proper Christian walk is making us weirdoes to both Enlightened Christians and to secular society. And then we are shocked to find out how few Christians (“Where are the nine?”) really care about doctrine and Bible versions and what the Bible says. And during this time we have to deal with letting other people know we are going to change the way we do certain things because we want to make our lives Scripturally pleasing to God. At the same time we have to figure out how to get our wives and kids under control...which may be a large and difficult transition in this Enlightened age of egalitarianism. We are going to feel increasingly alone.
And we are going to continue to feel alone as we deal with neighbors, friends, co-workers, relatives, preachers, pewsters, wives, kids...and perhaps some of the ways we handle certain business and financial matters.
At some point we are going realize fear has reared its ugly head. So we’re going to have to deal with our fear, with being alone, and with the doubts and insecurities that will accompany the realization that all of these Scripture-based decisions and actions and upheavals in our life are caused by us. We are, after all, the head of household. But what if we’re wrong, or too zealous, or moving too fast? How can we deal with the accusations, the looks, the protests, the recriminations, etc. as seemingly everybody (including us sometimes) thinks we’ve gone off the deep end?
Change. Fear. Insecurity. Worry. Doubt. And all alone.
None of that is fun, brother. But it’s all normal, and it’s all part of becoming a Christian warrior. And it helps our relationship with the Lord because it makes us review what we’re doing in the Bible to see if we’ve screwed something up. And it makes us take it to the Lord in prayer and to have the kind of humble, honest, childlike, soul-baring, emotionally gut-wrenching sessions with Him that we men often cannot have with other people...even our own wives.
In truth, we’re never alone; we always have the Comforter and His inerrant Instruction Manual.
You will often stumble over the difficulties and trials you encounter during your journey to becoming a submissively-obedient wife of Christ. Apply the struggles you have with Self to your wife: She has to go through many of the same things you do. And she will treat you with disrespect almost as many times as you sin against God. So as a man, as a type of Christ, have broad shoulders and bear her burdens and help her by forgiving her as Christ does you. That will not be easy to do: When your wife starts yelling at you, you’ll want to release your pent-up worries and fears by yelling back. What a great opportunity to see if you are a good-enough soldier to earn a medal by biting your tongue and forcing yourself to be nine parts professor and only one part disciplinarian. Let your rebukes be more lessons than lectures, more reminders than recriminations. All the while remembering Christ will not forgive you if you don’t forgive her. Therefore, if you’ve stumbled along and let the Lord down like I have, brother, I suggest you humble Self and forgive her a lot.
When your wife mouths off at you, you are correct in thinking that if she were properly submitting to the word of God she’d submit to your authority by biting her tongue. But if you angrily yell at her for her transgression let’s look at your reaction from the Lord’s perspective: When you start screaming at her instead of bearing the burden she is apparently too weak to bear (the “burden” of putting up with your frowardness), the Lord sees you as no different from her; you – like her – have failed to submit to the word of God where it tells you to bear her burden and forgive her transgression. Why can’t you bite your tongue when she yells at you? When you were a child and your parents yelled at you, and if you were in the military and an authority stuck his nose in your face and screamed all kinds of ugly insults at you, you could properly handle it then by biting your tongue. Of course, you might reply, you bit your tongue then because you had no choice. But the error of your Christian walk is made more apparent when we apply that underlined correct reply to your reaction to your wife’s transgression: Even though the Lord gave you no choice when He told you to bear her burdens and forgive her, you seem to have had more respect for your earthly authorities than for the Lord God Himself. I say again, comrade: you and I have just as much trouble putting the Bible into practice as our wives do. So let’s honor the Lord, humble self, and serve our wives by being more understanding, compassionate, and helpful...and less angry, condemning, and unforgiving. If we all submit to the Bible because we have to we’ll see – again – that doing things the Lord’s way is always the best way.
Mt 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
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Mt 18:21-35 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
I am not saying your wife should be allowed to treat you with disrespect all the time. You are supposed to rule well your household – and it’s up to you to decide when to be a professor and when to be a disciplinarian. That means you’ll need to become an expert on the Bible so your doctrinal understanding can help your principled love incorporate compassionate love so you can treat your wife – and all Christians – with discerning Christian love. And keep the big picture in mind: Whenever you subdue Self and react with Christian charity to your wife’s transgressions, you’re not being a poor leader as a husband; you’re shewing that you’re a good, faithful, submissive wife of the Lord Jesus Christ – how you react to your wife is a reflection on your relationship with Him.
Faith may be the stumblingstone more Christians trip over than any other. I say that based on my own experience, my own failures. The kind of faith I’m talking about isn’t the fundamental kind such as accepting that God has preserved His inerrant word for us so we can have a sure doctrinal foundation. Neither am I talking about having problems with obvious black-and-white sins like adultery and stealing, because my desire to do right, to serve the Lord in spirit and in truth, makes big, obvious sins like those not a problem for me. My biggest struggles have been “little” things in my relationship with the Lord that require faith (in its trusting and following meaning) in the face of failure and walking alone.
I usually don’t want anyone, Christian or pagan, to think I’m a failure. And I usually don’t want to be considered as “one of those deluded losers who’s way out in left field.” (The first one probably has to do with pride, and the second with peer pressure.) But the more black-and-white something is, no matter what it is or how big and scary it is, the less of a problem it is for me because my honest desire to do right doesn’t have any wiggle room with issues that are black-and-white. But, if trusting the Lord to take care of me in little, non-doctrinally-obvious ways might make me look like a failure, I sometimes struggle. And if I have to be the only one who thinks a certain course of action is the proper one, especially if it could lead to failure, I sometimes struggle.
Properly dealing with big, scary things requires strength, and I think I have plenty of that. But properly dealing with things that might make me look like a loser out in left field requires humility, and, sadly, I think I have more pride than humility. It is humility that will allow me to exalt God by following Him along a path that may lead to (what others think is) failure. I need more humility. And since everything in our relationship with the Lord is based on love for Him, I obviously need more love for Him in order to have more humility. I’ve got work to do.
I’m not going to go into specifics here because I don’t think I should, and I don’t think I need to. Going into specifics might give you wiggle room by allowing you to congratulate yourself that you don’t have that specific problem. By not being specific I’m allowing the Holy Spirit to make you think of whatever He knows is appropriate. In other words, by not being specific I’m actually emphasizing faith. I’m emphasizing the fact that the problem areas I’m referring to are often things that have more to do with our relationship with the Lord than they do with “thou shalt nots” in the Bible. It is important that each of us develops (defined as: to work on so it can grow) his relationship with the Lord. Our individual abilities to be intimate with Him, to communicate with Him for all of eternity starts now. That word communicate includes the ability to hear and heed His still small voice so He can gently let us know what we should do to please Him.
Being able to hear His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12,13) requires faith because there is no sound or voice in our heads...it’s more of an inclination or feeling that emanates from our Scripture-based relationship with Him. It also requires maturity (knowing the word, plus doing the word, plus time) so our hearts can be more properly receptive to some of the subtleties involved in having an active, growing relationship with Him. Relationships are highly personal because we are all different members. Your relationship with the Lord won’t be the same as mine. Right now we may not know Him very well, but because we want to know Him intimately and understand Him throughout eternity, we need to develop and build our relationships with Him now by developing ears that can hear by faith, and by being humble enough to glorify Him even if it makes us look like lunatics and losers to others.
Look at the dates on two of my quotes from the Wallpapers motivational Quotations page:
In the absence of fear, there can be no courage.
Len Smith 1985
Present fear is never as bad as later regret.
Len Smith 1999
The first quote is inspirational and forward-looking; it is based on hope. The second quote is introspective and backward-looking; it is based on experience.
I have always regretted the times I was conquered by my fear. I say again with love and with tears, comrade: Whenever you feel fear, train yourself to rejoice, because you are on the threshold of a faith- and courage-based accomplishment. Fear is a signpost pointing out glorious opportunities to serve with courage and humility...opportunities to grow. Regret is a reminder of those times when we let fear make us turn our backs on the Lord – just like Peter did before the cock crowed.
I have never regretted anything I’ve done or suffered for the Lord. Many of those things scared the daylights out of me because my fear made me think they’d be a lot worse than they turned out to be. I am glad and thankful I didn’t let my fear stop me.
If – in spite of our fear – we walk by faith, our relationship with the Lord will deepen and we’ll no longer feel so alone. And one day when we truly know the Lord we’ll look back at fear and realize that, as bad as it seemed, it was actually empty...which makes regret that much worse.
We all have a tendency to be sheep – that is, wimps with a herd mentality. As a result we’ve become followers of men, and have therefore ended up as cookie-cutter members of religions. But if we’re going to be Biblical warrior-sheep following the Good Shepherd, we must each go wherever He leads us. And if we’re going to be clay in the hands of the Potter, we must allow Him to mold us and make us into whatever kind of vessel He wants.
To illustrate my point a different way: If you walk into a modern church and look at the congregation you’ll see a body made up of 100 left arms. But according to the Bible the body of Christ is supposed to be made up of different members – each having a different purpose. And the hand is not supposed to despise the foot.
1 Corinthians 12:14-21 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
According to the above we shouldn’t all try to be the same; we should try to be whatever Christ wants us to be. That would cause our churches and members to be stronger: If I thought you weren’t a proper member, I could approach you and say, “You shouldn’t be doing so-in-so; it’s a sin.” But, of course, I would only do that if I weren’t a wimpy sheep who could only bad-mouth you behind your back. If I loved you like I’m supposed to I’d try to help you not sin. That would give you an opportunity to find out something about me: I incorrectly think it’s a sin to do so-in-so. And – if you loved me – you could open your Bible and help me by having a doctrinal discussion about that issue. In other words, our inbreeding/close Bible-based fellowship would help us grow stronger and eliminate false doctrines.
If we were all proper Christians (different members of the same body) we’d be helping each other grow in word and doctrine. But think about it: how many doctrinal discussions have you had with members of your church in the last month? I say again: Two reasons we do not discuss doctrine with each other are:
1) We’re all identical, cookie-cutter, religious members. And because we’re all alike we have no real reason to discuss doctrine.
2) We don’t know the Bible! And why should we, we’re all alike!
I know whereof I speak. As I studied the Bible, the Potter gave me a different shape from all of the left arms I saw around me. As a wimpy sheep I was not only afraid to be different, I thought being different might be its own proof that I was a weirdo deluded nutcase. That made me go back to the Bible/Potter in order to see if I’d somehow done a lousy job reading plain sixth-grade-level English. Reassured, I then timidly ventured into some conversations with other Christians whom I thought to be warriors. I was shocked by what I learned about the kind of Christians they were and how little Bible they knew and how uncomfortable and reluctant they were to discuss doctrine. I began to grow rapidly. And I stopped looking to other Christians to see how to become another left arm; I looked only to the Potter and humbly accepted whatever kind of vessel He made me.
In conclusion, let me just say iron sharpeneth iron...but there isn’t much swordplay among church members! Therefore, instead of being sharpened swords prepared for war, most Christians are nothing but dull tools.
Yesterday was one of those days. It happens every now and then, and it just sneaks up on me. I get a glimpse of the big picture...and, boy, is it ugly: Christianity – the church – is in deep and serious trouble.
I thought about various doctrines and issues. I thought about what Christians are most interested in on this web site. And I thought about how Pharisaical we have been taught to be. I think the best way to describe the mood that “glimpse” put me into for the rest of the day is to quote something from my book’s Introduction:
You will begin to feel overwhelmed, insignificant, and helpless as the massive, all-encompassing spread of leaven becomes more apparent. You will also see how frustrating it is trying to converse with other Christians about any of these topics. That is why I wrote this book; I had to go back to the beginning and walk you through this stuff step by step so you could see that each step is sound. If you take the time to search the Scriptures and verify that each step is sound, you will find at the end of the journey that you have reached a conclusion that is horrifying, inescapable, exhilarating, and challenging. Horrifying because the gates of hell have done much to make evil good and good evil. Inescapable because the Scriptures actually say it and you believe them. Exhilarating because you are beginning to see the truth that has been buried for so long by tradition, and because you are delighted that the Lord has brought you to the point where you are a rarity because you can by faith accept completely what He says – you really are His follower, His disciple, His friend. And challenging because there is much to be done in your life and in the church. There really is a war going on over doctrine and you must gird up your loins and give your life to the church as Christ did for you.
Which doctrinal chapter are Christians most interested in on my web site? Cussing. (!) That chapter gets more than twice as many views as the three next-most-popular chapters – the ones having to do with sex. (!) I am horrified by the popularity of those relatively-petty topics. I’m not saying Christians don’t need to learn about those topics, but I am alarmed that Satan has “Christianized” fig-leaf morality and then built it up into such false importance that Christian men and women, tormented by guilt over nothing, are putting these into their search engines:
if i say oh shit in my head is that a sin
is it a sin if i sometimes think about women while i’m having sex with my husband
I see stuff like that every day. And when I consider the things that bother Christians, what is important to them, and what they spend their time doing...it saddens me. We have used pagan morality to invent doctrines that are false, that are tormenting Christians, and that are wasting their time! By the way, I’m just using morality as an example; it is but one of the many wrongs in Christianity that are taking up our valuable time...time that could be profitably spent on other things that are important.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
William Shakespeare 1595
“But at my back I always hear, time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”
Andrew Marvell 1650
Are our churches full of warriors? No. The basic things (like cussing and sex) we have to spend our time on (because the modern church doesn’t teach them) are horribly trivial when viewed from the big picture of this deadly war – a war we are losing! Yes, it is important to teach babies how to tie their shoelaces and how to brush their teeth because we need to learn to walk before we can run. But because we don’t even correctly understand basic doctrines in our Combat Manual there is no way we can develop into warriors. A quote from the Is AOR for You? web page:
While you are going through this Bible study you’ll realize you really are being fed. And you’ll see why I say it’s for mature Christians. But later, after years have combined with knowledge and experience to produce wisdom, you’ll understand with a touch of sadness that AOR actually covers basic fundamentals of Christianity…that AOR only seemed to cover advanced material because you were viewing it from the type of blindness, immaturity, and apostasy that afflicts the modern church. If you’re an older Christian you’ll feel a sense of helpless sorrow as you realize you should have been taught the fundamentals in AOR when you were young so you could have the time to think, do, and learn…so you could grow into the kind of mature wisdom that is the gradual result of building on a proper foundation. If you are a younger Christian the Lord, by the time your righteousness is crowned with a hoary head (Proverbs 16:31), may have given you the kind of knowledge and wisdom that can be used to truly feed His sheep and turn them into spiritual warriors.
I was trying to say AOR was written for these reasons:
· Identify the problem: Because of false doctrines, well-intentioned Christians are running around like Don Quixote fighting windmills – nothing! And because the church is fighting the wrong things the gates of hell are prevailing...and today’s “Christianity” has become a hypocritical, contradictory joke.
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· The solution: Use the Bible to examine world history and Christian history to prove to Christians not only that #1 really is the problem, but that Reason is how we’ve gotten into this mess.
· The result: Knowing correct doctrine and knowing how to avoid Reason, Christians can begin fighting real problems in the church, begin building their relationships with Christ on a Scriptural foundation, and become the kind of seasoned warriors who ignore windmills and help the church resist the gates of hell.
The AOR is supposed to help you straighten out your doctrine so you can mature more quickly, view Christianity and life from God’s perspective, and in so doing begin to see the big picture. As you mature you’ll understand that Christianity isn’t very complicated, it’s fairly straightforward. There are three main components to our Christian walks when we reach maturity: The Lord, the church, and the War.
1. The Lord. As a mature Christian you’ll understand that all of our Bible study over the decades and all of our being an obedient doer of the word was designed by God to deepen, purify, and simplify our wifely relationship with Him. Proper servanthood, defined as knowing and pleasing Him as His loyal and dependable servant-wife, is our duty and our goal. (My wife expressed it well recently when she said: “How truly beautiful and wonderful it would be to only want the Lord’s will.”) Achieving that proper relationship requires a foundation of Scripturally-correct doctrine because doctrine is the structural framework that guides, assists, and directs the maturation of our soul/intellect as we go through our Pilgrim’s Progress journey developing and perfecting our outlook, our view of life. Developing that wifely relationship of always walking with the Lord via an intimate, humble, trusting appreciation and awareness is and has always been the goal of Christianity, the desired destination of our Pilgrim’s Progress journey. I say again, being always with the Lord is maturity and perfection. The fact that Christian maturity is that simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to attain; it takes much work and many years and many good and bad experiences that combine to convince us that Self is the main impediment to developing Christian maturity. In order to succeed we need to work on things like love for the Lord, self discipline, and humility. The good news is, because Christianity consists mostly of one boring day after another, we’ve got lots of time to spend with the Lord as we pass the time of our sojourning studying to be quiet by thinking within the proper doctrinal framework the Holy Spirit uses to shepherd/husband our thoughts. Sadly, most preachers and pewsters never properly mature because they spend their lives trying to build upon an inconsistent, contradictory, shifting-sand framework of incorrect doctrine.
2. The church. As a mature Christian your deepening relationship with the Lord will increase your desire to help the church. The most important ways you’ll do that:
a) Teach young Christians (no matter how long they’ve been saved) correct doctrine so they, too, will have a proper Scriptural framework upon which to build their relationship with Christ during their lives.
b) Teach young Christians about the dangers of Self, and about how necessary love, humility, self discipline, confession, and forgiveness are to proper Christian growth. Make it clear that running around putting on the pious act may look impressive to immature Christians, but the lowly “trench work” of developing the above characteristics of humble love is really the meat and potatoes of our struggles with our main enemy of Self. Let young Christians know that if they’ve conscientiously worked their way through “boot camp” (Trumpet W5) they’ve essentially learned the Bible. The reason they should continue their daily routine of Bible reading and study is not because one day some magic verse will pop out of the Bible. Their Daily Bread is daily nourishment, battery recharging, spending time with the Lord via His word, and enjoying the edifying appreciations and minor revelations that all of us Bible believers experience when fellowshipping with and around His word. That daily nourishment will help and strengthen us in our ongoing efforts to die to self, strengthen faith, and continue to grow in the necessary Christian characteristics listed at the top of this paragraph. I say again, comrades, let young Christians know that finding “nuggets” during our Bible studies as we age is neither an objective or a necessary byproduct of Christian maturity. Christian maturity is points 1, 2, and 3, and is attainable only if the above Christian characteristics become part of who we are (which, again, are not easy characteristics to attain and maintain). Much of maturity is built upon “trench work”.
c) Teach young Christians about the biggest weapons in the Devil’s arsenal (covered in point 3 below) in order to help them preserve the essential essence of Christianity – their faith and belief in God and His word – from the subversive subtleties of the various ideologies, practices, and beliefs that are the offspring of Reason.
3. The War. Even though Satan’s biggest, most frightening weapon is our fear of mortal death (as covered in the Sickness and Health chapter), and as much as modern Christians rely on modern science to save them from mortal-life-threatening afflictions, life-saving medicine is not this era’s most subversive weapon in Satan’s arsenal. By that I mean getting a heart transplant is not nearly as wicked, subtle, and subversive as Reason itself. But Reason has been covered in AOR. And Reason utilizes different methods in different eras. For example, if we lived in OT days I’d want you to warn young Christians about the whoredom of Peor or about some of the other things we looked at in the historical section of AOR. Today, however, we should all be warning each other to beware of the leaven of theology. Years from now you young soldiers who properly mature may realize that theology has been widely exposed and discredited and is therefore shunned by all Bible believers. And your maturity may allow you to see that some new Reasonable form of science or technology (or whatever may exist) is doing more to undermine faith and belief than the old has-been theology. But right now the church is being gutted by the horrifying widespread acceptance of theology:
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a) Christians who hope to appear intellectually sophisticated try to mimic the idiotic fascination scholars have with the dead-language ERROR manuscripts. For example, a Baptist preacher who loved scrounging around in “the Greek” and “the Hebrew” told me during a phone conversation that he’d just uncovered another “nugget” he was going to share with his congregation: he’d discovered that one of the sins included in the many definitions of fornication is child molesting. When he told me that I replied: “That nugget doesn’t add to my understanding or help my Christian walk in any way. But I have to assume you know your congregation well enough to know you’ve got a bunch of perverts who need to hear that message from the pulpit.”
b) Christians who hope to take a shortcut to scholarly piety do so by hoping their use of layman’s aids will make them look like the “intellectual elites” in paragraph a) above. It does make them look like the above...but not in the way they hope it does.
c) Christians (even many who “use” the King James Bible) who don’t know any better and who may not be filled with the insecurity and guile of the two types above (in other words, they may be sincere), often have the uninformed opinion that today’s plethora of error-filled modern Bible versions is some kind of ipso facto proof that the inspired, inerrant word of God no longer exists. These Christians may be more likely to have the kind of normal Christian reaction to hearing about the singular inerrancy of the KJV that you and I had: If so, they’ll want to hear more and to look into the issue.
In closing this War paragraph: In my lifetime I have seen theology and modern Bible versions do more to overthrow faith and belief than any other tools of the Devil. Because of theology and its corrupt Bible versions Christians are no longer guiltily ignoring certain Bible verses they fear and dislike; they simply do not believe them! Therefore the commanding authority of Thus saith the Lord is largely absent among modern Christians. My sounding the alarm of war about the wicked subversion of theology and modern Bible versions is not because I harbor some petty, nit-picking bias for or against this or that group or ideology. And it’s not because I’ve been emotionally or intellectually scarred. And my mother didn’t drop me on my head when I was a baby. I sound the trumpet alerting Bible believers to the dangers of theology and modern Bible versions because as I’ve matured my time in the word of God and my experiences have sharpened my vision, broadened my understanding, and deepened my horror and sadness at how those “Christian” things have eviscerated the body of Christ. I use eviscerate deliberately.
Eviscerate: to disembowel; to deprive of vital or essential parts (such as faith and belief in our living God and His living word.)
Jer 4:19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
To those of you who may be too young and inexperienced to realize the truth of what I say: Stay close to the Lord and keep your eyes and ears open as you try to answer the question, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? And when you find out how few there are who believe in and submit to Thus saith the Lord (not man), pay attention to what apostates use to “justify” their unbelief...and to subvert your belief in the promises of God.
Yesterday in thinking about all of this I felt numb, overwhelmed, horrified...and alone. The church is very immature. It is so immature that it hasn’t the love or the strength – the salt – to appreciably slow the spread of leaven. That horrifying and sobering glimpse made me cancel my plans for the day – I just wasn’t up for anything. I spent the day puttering. I sat at the window. I went and got the mail. I watched the moon come up. And I spent all that time, the whole day, with the Lord...mostly talking about my “glimpse” and talking about matters Christian and asking Him to help me and to help His church. But it wasn’t until I knelt beside by bed just before turning in that I realized something: As I reviewed the day with the Lord I realized it had been a good day. Why? Because I stayed close to Him all day. I spent the day talking with Him about the church, I poured out my heart, I fellowshipped.
And that’s why yesterday was a good day: It was pleasing to God, it was good for me, and ultimately it was good for the church. I say that because we have a tendency to do too much in the flesh, but the key to winning the war is to realize the Lord is our strength. Our primary concern should be pleasing and serving Him via submissive obedience to His written word. If we please Him, He’ll take care of us. Yesterday was a good day because my love for the Lord and for His church made me forget about being “a good soldier”...and I became a better wife. And in so doing I realized being a better wife had made me a better soldier...and, I hope and pray, a better brother to you. So no matter how much I may appeal to your macho instincts with inspirational rhetoric about trumpets of war, swords, and soldiers fighting the good fight, always remember our primary job is being His wives and servants every single day. The key to victory is humility and caring, not macho pride.
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That kind of spending time with the Lord is what made David such a spiritual warrior. Yes, he was a sinner. But David’s sins drove Him into the arms of the Lord for confession, forgiveness, and fellowship. If King Saul had fellowshipped with the Lord like David did, he would have had more understanding and wisdom about some of the important things in this war...and the Lord wouldn’t have had to dump him as a subversive. Saul didn’t have salt; he didn’t have the Lord as his strength. All he had was his Pharisaical Christianity. But with David the Lord had a close companion, a bosom buddy, somebody who actually wanted to hang around with Him. And the Lord responded by forgiving David and by strengthening him. That’s what the church needs. We need warriors/wives who love the Lord enough to always hang out with Him in their inner sanctums – no matter what they’re doing in their physical bodies.
I think I usually spend a lot of time with the Lord. But on my knees last night I was actually surprised by the fact that it had been a good day. I can interpret that surprise to either mean most days I don’t spend enough/all of my time with the Lord, or I can interpret it to mean the heaviness in my heart for the church wasn’t nearly as important as the time I spent with the Lord as a result of that heaviness. And I think that’s it: the church needs to spend more time with the Lord. Bible study is quality time with the Lord. Being a doer is quality time. Helping the church is quality time. And humble, honest, heartfelt fellowship with Him is quality time.
The absence of that kind of intimate fellowship with the Lord is a big reason the gates of hell are prevailing over the church. We are the salt of the earth...but only if we have the kind of quality relationship with the Lord that David had.
We cannot win the war by not sinning. No, I need to shorten that sentence: We cannot win the war! The Lord is our arm of strength; only He can win the war. So let’s apply the stuff in AOR and in these trumpets so we can dump Reason and tradition, master and live the Bible, help the church, and above all actively and humbly and earnestly work on our relationships with the Lord.
At the end of the day when we’re on our knees before our King, let’s be sure that no matter how busy or idle we were, or how happy or sad we were, that we can quietly say in Jesus’ name: “It was a good day, Lord. Thank you for the good fellowship. I love you, Sir. Good night.”
There are two main reasons most Christians are not combat-ready soldiers. First, they don’t want to be. This “effeminate” group (as I’ll call them) would deny that, of course, but the fact is most of us are what we are because that’s what we want. These effeminate Christians never loved the Lord enough, therefore they never had the kind of inner motivation to go through the training necessary to become one of the Lord’s elite troops. They won’t even sign up; they’ll either use excuses (many of them true about Christian hypocrites) to avoid churches and Bible studies, or they’ll enthusiastically join a mega church or another of today’s “Praise-Jesus-I-feel-good-but-don’t-know-the-Bible” denominations.
The effeminates are the kind of Christians you typically run into. They’re nice, family-oriented people who may or may not be socially active. It doesn’t take long for you to identify each other, and you quickly know you do not want to be around each other. And it will always be the Bible that separates you: They’ll offend you (and expose themselves) by saying some of the typical air-headed lightweight unscriptural crap around which and upon which most modern Christians congregate and feed. And you’ll offend them by saying something that makes them realize you’re not a patty-cake-playing lightweight. When you quote specific doctrine-defining Scripture to them (rather than John 3:16 or Romans 8:28 or some of the other verses that feel good in general but don’t really say anything) you are proving yourself to be the type of Christian they knew from the start they did not want to be.
There are actually many ways effeminate Christians and combat soldiers recognize each other. From the soldier’s perspective, effeminates are too smiley and too likely to flit from one lightweight topic to another as if nervously trying to avoid any and all serious and meaningful discussions. Effeminates don’t have an air of gravitas; they resemble butterflies more than boulders. They come across as reeds shaken by the wind, as men clothed in soft raiment.
From the effeminate’s perspective, combat soldiers are too serious and too likely to zero in on the Biblical side of topics as if they live for swordplay and won’t hesitate to discuss the Bible in depth. Soldiers have an air of confidence, as if they know they’re combat ready: they resemble boulders more than butterflies. Soldiers impress the effeminates as hard, immoveable, and ready, willing, and able to defend Scripture anytime, anywhere, and any eternity against the ill-thought-out and contradictory opinions of the ignorant majority. Effeminates have never been able to seriously face themselves and consciously admit they are terrified by the very thought of being a real Christian soldier, so there is simply no way they’ll be comfortable around true Bible believers. This is not to suggest that soldiers of Christ are arrogant or lack sensitivity and compassion. Proper Christian warriors have the understanding to be sensitive, the experience to be compassionate, and the strength and confidence to be humble.
The second reason most Christians are not combat-ready soldiers is not that they never wanted to be; they just never wanted it enough. I’ll call this group wannabes. They love the Lord more than effeminates, but they don’t love Him more than self. They start out well, and sometimes they last for decades, but invariably the thorns and cares of this world choke them and they retreat to someplace they (as in self) feel comfortable, safe, and “happy.” These are the compromisers.
These are the Christians I ache over. Unlike the effeminates, I got to know these wannabes: I liked them, loved them, fought beside them, cried with them, laughed with them, and grew with them. And when they began to lag behind, I didn’t realize it was happening. (Oh, how I wish I had so I might have been more helpful.) I was perplexed because something didn’t fit, something wasn’t right...but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was also frustrated because nothing I tried seemed to help. (In some cases, though, I had no chance to even try to help: they slammed the door and locked it and were suddenly and completely...gone.) These are the people that bring home the tragedy of this spiritual warfare. I have experienced a wide range of emotions because of them; some petty and selfish and perhaps wrong, and some based properly on love for them and for the Lord. I believe I love the brethren for the simple reason that I am a doer of the word; the Bible makes that quite clear. But it has been experiences with wannabes that showed me – by the depth of my hurt and sorrow and how long it has lasted – that my love really is genuine. And my hurt has also given me more empathy for the Lord, because His pure love makes Him hurt more than I ever will.
The good kind of Christians are those whose – I’m going to say idealistic – love for the Lord makes everything we have to suffer along the way worth it. I’m going to call this group idealists, because the word I want isn’t pure because we certainly aren’t that. But we do share an idealistic desire to become pure and strong and righteous in order to please the Lord. That desire has eternity in mind, which acknowledges the fact that between now and eternity we will have many trials and tribulations. Somehow our idealistic love for the Lord enables us to gird our loins in order to endure even that which we most greatly fear – whatever that may be. And our idealistic love for the Lord helps us become ready, willing, and able soldiers. Those three words actually share many attributes, but for purposes of illustration I’m going to treat them as if they don’t.
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Ready means unencumbered: That means we have ordered and controlled lives so we can respond to whatever needs to be done as soon as we become aware of that need. This means anything; from helping a fellow Christian with a relatively minor problem, to facing a deadly Goliath. It means not being encumbered with debt, social obligations, guilt, fear, or any of the other tangled worldly webs that commonly ensnare modern Christians. Ready means going through life aware that the call of duty may happen at any time, so we ensure that nothing will slow us down or stop us when the call comes.
Willing means nothing will stop us – not even the possibility of death (a fearsome Goliath). This word ultimately gets down to whether or not we love the Lord more than self. It means we have cultivated the soil of our hearts because as idealists and Bible literalists we actually believe it is right to heed some of those ignored-by-modern-churchianity verses in the Bible. (Some of the verses are at the end of the first full paragraph on AOR page H10-8. Read the whole paragraph in your Swordbearer Bible study and click all of the QuikLinks.) Willing is closely related to being a doer of the word, which is itself based upon true love for the Lord.
Able is a product of experience and time. Over time (growth requires time) the experiences in our lives that were the result of obediently doing the word increase our understanding – we understand why obeying the literal word of God is good. At this point we have become able, because we can earnestly contend for, teach, and edify with the holy words in our Lord’s Book. As more time and experiences roll by, our understanding blossoms into wisdom. Wisdom is when the understanding that God has given us along the way combines so that, more and more, we “get it” in such a way that the fishes and loaves of the Bible (and how life relates to the Bible) just keep multiplying.
The Lord wants us all to be ready, willing, and able. And He will help us become so...if we love and want Him enough to endure all things – starting now.
I had a conversation one time with a U.S. Army gunnery sergeant who’d been in Korea in 1976 during the infamous tree-trimming killings. He said the army had been accumulating some interesting data about male soldiers ever since women had been allowed in the army. When unexpected skirmishes broke out in non-combat areas containing women soldiers, exemplary male soldiers (never got into incidents out on liberty, never late, good with paperwork, excellent appearance in uniform, didn’t make sexist remarks around female soldiers, etc.) tended to abandon their posts because a fatherly/brotherly concern made them want to go make sure the women soldiers were OK. But the troublesome male soldiers (drunk and disorderly on liberty, sometimes late, unreliable with paperwork, disheveled appearance, tried to seduce female soldiers, etc.) remained at their posts and kept shooting at the enemy.
The gunny told me the army was wrestling with the apparent fact that the kind of soldiers you want in peacetime and for public relations reasons was the kind you did not want in battle. And the troublesome soldiers were the kind you wanted in your foxhole in combat. The army’s dilemma was how it could recruit and retain the kind of men who’ll win our wars...even as the military (and society) was transitioning into the kind of politically-correct unisex environment that women would be comfortable in. A possible solution: Let the regular military units be full of non-discriminating, women-accommodating, politically-correct metrosexuals; and make the special-forces units all male (as much as possible) environments by making the training so physically rigorous that almost no women could qualify. An example of the former: In order to accommodate women back in the 1970s, West Point eliminated its old physical requirement that cadets be able to perform at least 3 pull-ups – now all a girl had to do was hang on the bar and “unlock” her elbows...it was called a “flexed-arm hang.” She was now a combat leader of “men.” The military decided it could get away with these changes without sacrificing national security because the nature of warfare was changing: no longer were nations fighting each other with huge armies in “world wars”; fighting was increasingly being done by small groups of guerrilla units. As a result the government considered reducing the number of military bases and regular troops, while beefing up special-forces units. At the same time the government wisely rejected the draft because a “fair” draft would recruit 50% women.
One of the hurdles I had to get over as a young Christian soldier was the issue of “personality.” Part of it had to do with the fact that men were being asked to stop being themselves and start acting like politically-correct metrosexuals. The more I became a doer of the word the more I found myself at odds with other Christians, some of whom needed to be rebuked – and it wasn’t unusual for them to tell me I wasn’t demonstrating “Christian love.” Well, I already knew I loved both God and my fellow Christians because the Bible is very clear about that: those who are doers of the word love God and His church. And those Christians who are not doers of the word – either because they never bothered to learn the Bible or because they are pussies – do not love Him...no matter what they say with their lips:
1 John 3:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
OK, I loved God and His church. But what about “demonstrating Christian love”...i.e. my personality? I had people beginning to tell me I was too hard, too aggressive, and they said I needed to let my Christian love “radiate” so others could see in me “Jesus’ love for all men.” Maybe they had a good point. Maybe they were right when they said my personality sucked (my word, not theirs) and I shouldn’t call people pussies just because they were demonstrating “Christian cowardliness” by letting the normal fears we all have cause them to inexcusably recoil from being doers of the word. Maybe they were right that the kind of soldiers God favors in this war are men like them with sweet personalities who shirk their duty.
One day a Christian from another church (who knew somebody I knew) came over to my house to try to convince me to be a kinder, gentler Christian. I don’t remember what I’d done to cause him to drive over to my house and introduce himself, but I do remember that at one point during our conversation he got out of his chair and sat on the rug at my feet with his legs tucked under him sideways and his hands on the arm of my chair as he sweetly pleaded with me with a cherubic face to be more “loving.” Well, (I thought) maybe this guy is right and I do need to reform my personality...because here I am thinking he acts like a pansy, even though I don’t think he is. Is it a sin to think that? Where does the Bible define Christian manliness and personality as clearly as it does loving God and His church? Or do I just not really understand love itself? Does Christian love mean acting and speaking in such a way that those you rebuke will still like you and won’t think you’re a jerk?
My problem was I had learned what Christian love is, but I had not learned how to have a “Christian personality.” The solution – as always – was to consult the Lord via His Instruction Manual.
I studied some of the men in the Bible. These men were perfect examples because they were heroes who had God’s approval. Take Moses, for example. At first blush we might think he had a sweet personality like many Christians today think we should have:
Num 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
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But then we keep reading...and find that we must question the Lord’s taste in people:
Ex 2:11,12 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
Moses’ murderous rage doesn’t make him seem “meek” to us modern Christian pussies. In the next verses he broke the tablets of stone and then tried to make his brethren choke on the golden calf:
Ex 32:19,20 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
God said Moses had “Christian meekness” – and modern “Christianity” in practice says God was wrong. Could it be that, since the Bible says “Christian love” for God and for the brethren is being a doer of the word (with nothing being said about “personality”), that God defines “Christian meekness” as “submissive obedience” to Him (with nothing being said or cared about “personality”) because we really are at war?
Now let’s look at one of my favorites, Phinehas:
Num 25:6-13 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God,
John the Baptist was a pretty tough character who didn’t mince words. In fact, his uncompromising tongue got him beheaded. But our Lord not only selected John from the womb (knowing what kind of man he’d be), He said this about him:
Mat 11:7-11 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:
Other examples include:
· Captain Jehu (famous because he “driveth furiously” his chariots) was selected by God to do some “wet work” in 2 Kings 9. It looks like God’s selection of Jehu had everything to do with the fact that his Christian meekness/submissive obedience meant God could rely on him to do his duty – and it had nothing to do with Captain Jehu’s sweet personality.
· One of the Lord’s beloved prophets was Elijah. But Elijah (shockingly enough to sweet-personalitied metrosexual pussies) actually “mocked” other people’s religion (1 Kings 18:27) and then killed 450 of their prophets (1 Ki 18:22,40). Could it be that God favored Elijah because He needs warriors who can be counted on to do their duty in this war in spite of their normal fears?
Could it be that God forgot to say anything about “personality” in the Bible? I submit that being a submissive doer of the word is the only “personality” God cares about – which is why He doesn’t just talk about it, He commands it! Let me reword that: If you aren’t the kind of Christian who overcomes your normal fears and is a doer of the word: you are not a soldier of the cross; you will not be comfortable standing around conversing with the Lord and His favored men above; and your personality sucks because God defines Christian personality as “being a meekly-submissive doer of wet work or Bible study or anything else He wants you to do.” Our AOR example of the young man who lovingly and maturely exercised the doctrine of expediency by taking “sin” upon himself by picking up sticks on the sabbath for the sick old lady is the kind of soldier I’m talking about: Christians whose love for the Lord and genuine seriousness about the war give them the strength to rebuke brothers and sisters who stubbornly resist the word of God...and the humility to truly be a servant to the church.
Could the difference between what the Bible teaches about Christian men and what modern “Christianity” teaches about men be but another indication that the Bible is not – and has not been for a long time – our “sole authority in all matters of faith and practice”? Could this be but another modern indication that we love God with our lips – but not in spirit and in truth?
One of the reasons our Lord liked these men is He is Himself not only a man, but a warrior:
Ex 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
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And the Lord teaches war:
Ps 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
The Lord is looking for men who will fight for Him in this war. Sadly, modern “Christianity” isn’t producing men, let alone warriors. Christian men today are too timid to go against the grain of tradition and morality. Why are they timid? Because 1) they don’t know the Bible like they should; 2) they aren’t doers of the word and therefore haven’t been growing into manhood – they’re still running around in spiritual short pants; and 3) they act like they’re in the world’s politically-correct regular army rather than in God’s mission-oriented special forces.
Read the bold print above in Num 25:11,13. The Lord was extremely pleased that Phinehas wasn’t the type of man who, when he saw sin in the camp, grabbed a breath mint so he could go radiate the love of Jesus; Phinehas was the kind of warrior whose love for the Lord and for His church made him grab a spear. I guarantee you, brother, when Phinehas went storming into that tent neither of the two people who had but seconds to live saw anything resembling “Christian charity” on his face...they saw nothing but murderous rage. But when the Lord looked at Phinehas He ignored the outward appearance and saw in his heart the kind of love that actually put God ahead of people – as if Phinehas really did care about and for the Lord like a devoted wife should. Can the Lord find such men today? You, brother, need to be the kind of man whose love for the Lord makes you zealously and jealously contend for Him – even if it means having to go to the fearful and awful extreme of offending pussies with your tone of voice and emphatic mannerisms. Look around, brother: Nobody else cares! That’s why the Lord needs you. That’s why the Lord favors men with “warrior personalities” – fear doesn’t prevent them from doing their duty and cutting a wide swath.
The Lord doesn’t need just men; He needs men who’ll fight. My gunny friend said politically-correct metrosexuals don’t make good combat soldiers. And I am of the opinion that most Christian males today don’t really believe we’re at war. If they do, they have no idea what it takes to successfully wage war. And therefore, if today’s metrosexuals find themselves sitting at a table in a chow hall during the Millennial Reign they are going to feel like homos in a Hell’s Angels biker bar: At their table they’re eating with Moses the mad murderer; Elijah the mass murderer; Captain Jehu the wet-work specialist; Phinehas the disemboweller; Joshua, the most successful combat leader in history who is known for exterminating entire populations, including men, women, children, and animals (Joshua 6:21); and David, the man who (among other deeds more often spoken about) decided cutting off the foreskins of 200 soldiers he’d killed was better than doing it to a mere 100! The men at that table are going to be the kind of rough-edged, straight-talking, been-there-done-that veterans of real-world, real-life combat who will have neither respect nor patience for modern Christian males who act more like women.
We need to be men for the Lord. That doesn’t mean we should act like cocky adolescents full of hormones and no social graces. It just means we should – via mastering and doing the word – grow close enough and confident enough in our unselfish wifely walk with the Lord that we aren’t afraid to be real, to be ourselves, and to be zealous for the Lord’s sake. If we are good wives, the Lord will make us good men by teaching our fingers to fight, and our hands to make war, and our experiences along the way will make it so we’ll be comfortable carrying our trays over to our brothers’ table in the Millennial chow hall and saying, “Hey, comrades. OK if I join you?”
I often use the term “love for the Lord” because it is and must be the foundation and motivation for everything we do. But in spite of the fact that it is one of the most commonly used terms in Christianity, many people misunderstand what loving the Lord is, and therefore many people use it in shallow ways and don’t love Him.
First, proper love for the Lord is not the same type of love you have for your grandmother or when you had your first tongue-tying crush in grade school. Love for the Lord may at different times inspire those feelings – and more – but true and proper love for the Lord can be more definitely identified.
True and proper love for the Lord is knowing the Bible and being a doer of the word. I tend to focus on the second part – being a doer – because that’s the true test in our Christian walk, and it is the litmus test of our love. Another reason I stress being a doer is because being a doer obviously involves/requires knowing the Bible. There’s more to knowing and being a doer than might at first meet the eye, but I want to zero in on something interesting in the Bible:
1 John 2:3-5 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
First point: Keeping God’s commandments (being a doer of the word) is loving Him. I say again, all those people who run around talking about how much they love God, but they neither know the Bible nor are doers of the Bible, are – according to holy Scripture, liars! The fact that being a doer of the word is loving God is an important point, especially in today’s Biblically-illiterate Christianity, and I often do make that point. But I’m not going to dwell on it here because, while the point may be novel for many, it’s pretty straightforward and easy to grasp. The deeper part of it is that these verses show that true love for God is actually a two-way street, because it must include God’s love for us, which is why the Scripture says “love of God” rather than “love for God.” And when we put that two-way street together with the above Scripture that says love and doing and knowing are synonyms, it helps explain the following:
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will [which paves that two-way street of “knowing”] of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
He means: “you never did My word, because you never loved Me, so you never knew Me.” And the two-way street makes Him correct to also say, “I never knew you.” In other words, our getting to know God and His knowing us are parts of our mutual relationship, and all real-life relationships are better or worse depending on how “two-way” the street/relationship is.
Second point (one we’ve actually covered but I think it’s interesting and important): We noticed that comparing the wording in 1 John 3:3-5 shows that God uses knowing Him and doing His word as synonyms. What that says is if someone is an “expert” on the Bible but isn’t a doer of the word, he doesn’t even know God! We’d think (incorrectly) that learning the Bible is getting to know God. And we’d further think doing the Bible is moving beyond knowing God into serving Him. But that’s not correct.
Apparently, learning the Bible – as important as that is and as necessary as it is to being a doer of the word – is so shallow it qualifies as not even knowing God. (That illustrates the above first point’s importance about being a doer.) The fact that someone who learns the Bible doesn’t even know God if he isn’t also a doer of the word is supported by the following:
Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
It uses worship and serve as synonyms. If we understand that serving God is being a doer of the word, we can then understand that a person who isn’t a doer (server) of the word, also isn’t worshipping God – no matter how many times he goes to church. Probably the best definition of worship is to honor, to exalt: we honor God (as our Lord/Boss) not just when we serve Him, but when we serve Him in accordance with and in obedience to His word. That’s why “serving” God if you don’t know the Bible isn’t really serving Him – it’s not even knowing Him or worshipping Him. The issue in the Bible is authority: Jesus is Lord, and He must be treated, known, obeyed, respected, served, loved, and worshipped as such.
My next point is about why we neither know nor love God if we aren’t proper worshippers/servers by being doers of His word. I think it has much to do with
Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine,
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We know from the OT’s teachings about unclean things, sin, and the Holy of Holies that God is very careful to isolate Himself from things and people that are not pure. Not casting pearls before swine is but one facet of that subject...and it is involved in the why behind God’s designing life so people who aren’t doers of His word don’t know Him – no matter how well they know the Bible: The word of God reveals who God is, what He likes and dislikes, His character, etc. In a way the stuff the Bible reveals about God is deeply personal, and it’s almost an intrusion into the Holy of Holies because God is a very private person. It probably has a lot to do with how deeply hurt He was when He so openly and completely loved His son, Lucifer...and was then rejected and betrayed. That hurt caused God to create hell and to isolate Himself in varying degrees from His own children, us, in order to protect Himself from more hurt, insult, and rejection caused by rebellious Christians. Therefore, if we are proper doers of His word, He manifests Himself to us; but if we’re not, He doesn’t:
John 14:21-24 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings:
In this trumpet and in some War College trumpets I’ve dealt with the supreme importance of the literal words of God in every context imaginable that has to do with our relationship with the Lord: faith, belief, hearing, seeing, doing, knowing, Judgment, and consummation. The topic is made simple by its consistency, and yet it’s so broad it’s difficult to enunciate in a concise way. A few examples:
· God’s words are the sower’s seeds. Note the synonyms in Lk 8:10-18. Verse 18 opens with “therefore (reference to seeing the candle’s light) how (reference to having a good heart) ye hear (the candle’s light)”, and then ends with a summation that draws upon the earlier info in vv.10-15.
· In Gen 22:12 when God said about Abe’s actions, “now I know” He was referring to the above two-way street we discussed above in the context of Mt 7...which also involves Judgment and consummation, which were damning in Matt Seven’s case because he didn’t realize the very “street” he bragged about was road-blocked by his improper relationship with the word of God. A man’s relationship with the word of God is an exact picture of his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ: those whose lack of faith in Him renders them too carnal to know His word by its miraculous and unique inerrancy are in danger of being shocked when He says, “I never knew you / you never knew me.”
· Abe’s obedience to God’s literal words in Gen 22, and Adam’s disobedience to God’s literal words in Gen 2 help reveal “our lane” in the two-way street of our relationship with God: At God’s end of the street He already knew what was in each man’s heart – but they didn’t. So Abe’s obedience in doing the word was an actual, undeniable action that showed him (and all of us) that he was a believer; and Adam’s disobedience of the word by eating the fruit was an actual, undeniable proof that he was an unbeliever.
· “Hearing” the candlelight/seed/word (above), hearing by the word of God (Ro 10:17), the word of God’s ability to discern what’s in our hearts (He 4:12), and the Lord manifesting Himself only to proper doers (Jn 14) are but a few examples of the fact that the Lord saves, sanctifies, and cleanses us by the word (Eph 5:26).
Those who aren’t doers of the word do not have their carnal blindness taken away; therefore their eyes don’t see and their ears don’t hear...and they don’t really know the Lord. That’s the way He designed it. He is special, and only His special people will ever really know Him. Our main reward throughout eternity is being allowed to know Him.
One more thing before I move on to my next topic: If you properly instruct Christians today and if you correct their misconceptions about God, the Bible, doctrine, and Christianity, they’ll often think you’re not exhibiting “Christian love”, and they’ll say all manner of things including, “If you don’t love your fellow Christians here on earth, what makes you think you’ll love them and enjoy being with them in heaven?” This unscriptural nonsense is widespread and popular, and it might plague you as you grow. You’ll wonder if you are actually contending for the faith and doctrines revealed in the Bible because you are being hateful rather than loving. How can we know if we really love the brethren or not? The answer, as always, is in Scripture:
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
That’s why King David, who was hated by most of his kingdom, poured his heart out to God and wrote, under His inspiration for our edification:
Psalm 119:74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
The bottom line is, if we love God by learning His Book and doing it, everything else will fall into place. If you do not really love God, there is simply no way you are going to be a doer of the word.
In 2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 39 the Lord was apparently upset with King Hezekiah for showing pagans all the wealth and treasures within his kingdom. Why was the Lord upset, and what should we learn from the incident?
When I was a boy my parents taught us four children that we were never to let people outside of the family know certain things about our family. For example, if we ever overheard Mom and Dad discussing family financial matters, and if Mom and Dad got mad and started shouting at each other, we were never to let outsiders know about those things because certain family matters were privileged, and we were never to “cheapen” or “make common” our family by publically “airing dirty laundry on the clothesline”.
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A similar example would be the sexual preferences of a husband and wife. Even though all sexual things are lawful because the marital bed is undefiled, it would cheapen the private nature of a marital relationship if those private preferences and practices were revealed to swine/outsiders. And even though nudity is not a sin, it wouldn’t be fitting for a wife to spread her legs and let everyone who visited her home view her treasures – because some things belong only in the privileged privacy of the marital relationship.
The Lord is so great and so holy none of us deserves to know Him or even to see Him (as discussed above). That’s one of the reasons He keeps Gentiles out of the temple, and why He keeps Bible believers out of the Holy of Holies, and why He uses Christ as a go-between.
Hezekiah was apparently too open with pagans when God thought he should have been more reserved. Instead of keeping certain things about “family finances” private/exclusive by classifying them as “Christian eyes only”, Hezekiah spread his legs to pagan visitors and treated God’s pearls as if they weren’t special by casting them before swine.
What specific lesson do we learn from that? None. But we do learn, in general, to keep in mind that “preach the gospel to every creature” needs to be tempered with things like Paul’s walking away from the men on Mars hill, and verses like:
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
2 Cor 6:17,18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 John 7-11 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
We need to be aware of the fact that our heavenly Husband is holy and precious above all things. He is so precious that as we grow in our wifely relationship with Him we should realize how privileged it is for us to have an intimate understanding and knowledge of Him. And we must be careful not to profane certain treasured things about Him by sharing them with carnal people who simply cannot appreciate them.
Jer 9:23,24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD...
|DON’T CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE
|Marital Relationships Part 1: LOVE
|Marital Relationships Part 2: CHRISTIAN WIVES
|Marital Relationships Part 3: CHRISTIAN HUSBANDS
|FAITH, FAILING, AND BEING ALONE
|BE A CLAY POT...AND A SHARP SWORD
|YESTERDAY WAS A GOOD DAY
|WHAT MAKES WARRIORS CRY
|Iron sharpeneth iron;
|so a man sharpeneth the
|countenance of his friend.
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