Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Lil’ Somethin’-Somethin’ for the Ladies (one in particular)

Dear Readers,

I have to venture out on a slightly different path with this post. Please allow me a little unburdening time as I deal with the 800-pound gorilla in my living room. Maybe those of you who have had their daily dose of theology and doctrine will be interested in a little “nuts-n-bolts,” “rubber-meets-the-road” Christianity.

I confess to you that there is currently trouble in my home. That’s right, Mr. “In Submission to Sovereignty” and his spare rib are at odds. Of course, I won’t go into detail (c’mon, I hardly even know you!), but I just want to comment on some analysis I received from a mutual friend of ours.

Among many other valuable insights our friend said to me, “Well, y’know Keith, Lisa has been through a lot with you . . .” That little chestnut sent me into a firestorm of self examination. I hope some of what I have gleaned will give some of my female readers (if I have any) some food for thought when dealing with the strange creature that God has made called, “husband.”

"Y'know, Keith, Lisa has been through a lot with you . . ." Well, yeah! I make no claim as to being the easiest guy to live with. I’m argumentative, I’m opinionated and I’m rarely wrong. Gimme a break I’m a Marine, I’m Reformed and I am Blanton W. Tolbert’s son fer cryin' out loud! I also have a very clear sense of right and wrong. It seems to me that the “wrong” way always seems to lead to regret and pain in the end. So I figure, “hey, just for spits and giggles, let’s just try it the ‘right’ way, God’s way.” Yes, He’s a little slow sometimes for our taste, but I say what the heck, let’s give Him a crack at it.

One thing that I have pretty much settled in my mind is that the Bible is true. I know that “truth” is a very fluid concept in our postmodern times; however, for my purposes “truth” is objective, it is absolute and it is epitomized in God’s Word, the Bible. Now, call me “foolish,” but I hold all professing Christians to the same standard. I can hear you all saying in unison, “O.K., you’re ‘foolish’.” A guy can dream, can’t he? Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume (yikes) for a moment that my wife, our friend and I are absolutely convinced of the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. To say that my wife has “been through a lot” with me brings loads of what the Bible teaches to mind for me.

Immediately my mind flies to I Corinthians 10:6, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” I also flash back to Malachi 3:6 in which Yahweh declares, “For I am the LORD, I do not change.” With these passages in mind, I am led to believe that for a wife to “go through a lot” with her husband is the Biblical norm, rather than the exception.

I think of Noah’s wife. Picture Noah coming home one evening and saying this, “Honey, pack up the kids and get all of your stuff together; we’re going for a ride on the ark that I’m about to build. It’s gonna rain. A lot!” Can you imagine the conversations she had with her girlfriends the next day?

I think of Sarah, wife of the father of the faithful. Abe comes in one day and says, “Sarai, pack up all your stuff, kiss momma and all your family good-bye cause we’re leaving Ur.” Sarah says, “Abe, sweetheart, where are we going?” Abe responds, “I have no idea.” I can imagine Abe’s mother-in-law had her ear bent that night!

Then a few months later, Abe approaches Sarah with this bombshell: “Sarah, sweetie, while we’re here in Egypt, would you mind saying that you’re my 'sister'? Oh, and would you mind being in Pharaoh’s harem . . . just for a little while? So he won’t kill me.”

Lot’s wife also had to go through a lot. One night, Lot walks into their bedroom and says, “Saltina, there are two strangers in the living room and they say we have to leave Sodom, NOW.”
She didn’t even have time to take the rollers out of her hair!

These men received directives from God and responded in faith. If they are our example, should we not be doing so as well and with even greater confidence. For we have the completed text of the “truth” in God’s inerrant and infallible Word. Now, I’m not ringing my own chimes here, but I have trusted Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross for my sin. Because of that, God now calls me a “righteous” man. God has promised me in Psalm 37:23 that the steps of a “righteous” man are ordered by the LORD. Therefore, knowing that He ordered the steps of Noah, Abraham, and Lot (righteous men), I’ve gotta believe He’s ordering mine too.

What of the wives? Knowing that their husbands were “righteous” men, they trusted them and were spared even while having no direct word from God. Noah’s wife trusted him and was spared having to tread water for 150 days. Lot’s wife was spared from real acid rain, but got homesick and was turned into a table seasoning. Sarah trusted Abraham and became the mother of all the faithful. In fact, she even made the “Faith Hall of Fame” (Hebrews 11:8-39). Sarah, as it turns out is the standard to which the Apostle Peter holds all godly wives in I Peter 3:5-6.

So ladies, having these examples and having been forewarned of having to “go through a lot” (Phil 1:29), what then should be your response when these “truths” show up at your door? Should you let what you see and feel dictate your response? Should you pull away from your spouse and regard him as your enemy? It’s my guess that the devil is planning on just that reaction. It would provide just the foothold that he needs to wreak havoc on your family, your marriage and your life.

Shouldn’t you rather turn back to the inerrant and infallible Word of God and heed His charge to walk by faith and not by sight? Is it not wiser that when these “truths” show up at your door we should cling even more tenaciously to each other? Shouldn’t we hold at the very front of our minds the vows we pledged to each other that rainy Saturday, September 5, 1992 afternoon? When we looked deeply into each others’ eyes and promised before God and man that for better or worse, through sickness and in health . . . to love, honor and cherish each other until death do us part. Shouldn’t our words be as inerrant and infallible as our heavenly Father’s words?

Ladies, the Scriptures tell us that we are wise to the devil’s schemes. We know that he comes to you today, just the way he came to Eve in the garden. He slithers up to you and he whispers seductively into your ear: “Adam doesn’t love you. Adam is only thinking of himself. Adam doesn’t care about how you feeelll.” But you are wise to his schemes. When he speaks, he speaks in his native tongue: “lie-lie.” He is the one who doesn’t love you. He is the one who is only thinking of himself (he knows his time is short). He not only doesn’t care about how you feel, he wants to destroy your life and that of your entire family.

God, in His Word, has told us how to respond. He said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). God, the Omniscient, has declared that you and your husband are “one flesh.” Do not allow the one who was a murderer and a deceiver, from the beginning, to rob, steal and kill yet again. What God hath joined together let no man or demon put asunder. Your war is not against the flesh and blood of your husband. It is against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Yeah, I’m not the easiest guy to live with. Yeah, I have taken her through a lot. But never, no never have I taken a major step without first bathing it in prayer and getting God’s answer. Never, no never have I wanted anything less than the absolute best for my best friend, my helpmate, my wife. Never, no never have I done anything to betray my love’s trust. Never, no never have I tried to crush the gifts that God has blessed her with. Never, no never has my love for her waned or wandered. And with the Holy Spirit to strengthen me, I never, no never will.

Lisa, I don’t know if only two or two million eyes will ever read this post. But I unabashedly declare to you my undying, unyielding and irrepressible love to you. If ever this should change then may my tongue be cleaved to the roof of my mouth and my left hand lose its cunning for naught but Almighty God, Himself, shall ever be able to cleave me from you.

To you other ladies out there . . . remember if your husband is saved, God calls him a “righteous” man. The sovereign God of the universe says that He is ordering your husband’s footsteps. So if bruh’man comes home one day and says: “Babe, we’re moving to New Zealand” or “I think we should get the 72-inch plasma HDTV” and you know that he’s a man of prayer, try giving him the benefit of the doubt. After all, Sarah didn’t make it to the “Faith Hall of Fame” by rolling her neck and watching “Oprah.” As long as he is not asking you to sell your body, knock over a liquor store or cheer for the Boston Red Sox, he ‘s not leading you into sin. Just think about this, do you want to be the one who got in the way of the steps of a righteous man whose steps were being ordered by the LORD?

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!

P.S. To the end that we professing Christians may walk our talk, I leave you with some poetry. I have held this poem near and dear to my heart ever since that dark and crisp night of March 5, 1983 when I crossed the burning sands of
Omega Psi Phi. Enjoy!

Live Your Creed

I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one any day.

I'd rather one walk with me than just to show the way.

The eye is a better pupil and more willing than the ear.

Advice may be misleading but examples are always clear.

And the very best of teachers are the ones who live their creed,

For to see good put into action is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn to do it if you let me see it done.

I can watch your hand in motion but your tongue too fast may run

And the lectures you deliver may be very fine and true

But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.

For I may misunderstand you and the fine advice you give

But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.


dvmproduction said...

go article: i will be sharing this with my wife

Lilburn, ga

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Thanks dm! When all the dust settles, they will thank us!