Today’s reading: I Peter 1, 2, 3, Proverbs 7
I Peter 3:7-9 (NKJV)
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
The first part of this chapter is all about the essential keys to creating unity and harmony in the marriage relationship. Wives are instructed to follow their husbands while keeping respect toward them. They are also told to use their influence in the relationship through a Christlike, gentle, and loving spirit rather than through nagging and adversarial words filled with accusation.
Husbands are instructed to be considerate and sensitive toward their wives. They are told to take the time to find out what ministers to their wives’ emotional, spiritual, and physical needs and give themselves to that end instead of being selfish and demanding their needs be met. The bottom line is a successful marriage requires each spouse focusing on meeting the needs of the other, not themselves.
The goal is becoming heirs together of the grace of life. If we fail to walk in this unity in our marriage relationship, we also fail to receive our full inheritance that God’s grace has provided us in this life. This passage also tells us our prayers will be hindered if we focus on our rights in the relationship instead of making love and unity our primary aim. That is not a consequence I like – my prayers being hindered.
This is an amazing passage of Scripture. If my focus is on being right and on my rights in the marriage relationship, this verse (v. 7) tells me instead of receiving my rights my prayers will be hindered. NOT GOOD! V. 8 reiterates we are to be of one mind, compassionate, and tenderhearted toward one another. The context here is still the marriage relationship.
We are called to inherit blessing – v. 9. Yet if we are vindictive, adversarial, demanding, and just plain selfish toward our spouse, we will not receive the blessing God’s grace has provided for us to inherit. These are definitely sobering words and certainly motivating to me to lay down my life for my wife and give myself to walk in love and live in genuine unity and harmony in our relationship.
This is, in part, the motivation for Janice and me taking some extended time off. We are taking a six-week sabbatical to spend quality time with the Lord and one another. We are not experiencing problems in our relationship, but just need to unhook from ministry responsibilities so we can focus on one another. We are being proactive instead of being reactive.
Beginning next week I have delegated my daily blog to several leaders in our church family. They will keep the posts on my blog going each day, Monday through Friday, for the next six weeks. I encourage you to continue to read it each day and make comments. They will respond to your comments. Thanks for being a part of this blog family and for praying for Janice and me during our sabbatical.