Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
Sometime ago I had written on a slip of paper “Philippians 1:3-6 & 8-18”. Just below that I wrote, “blog, share about husband.” I had written on that slip long before this devotion was even thought of. Actually, I found it in my Bible as I was getting ready to do this devotion. It had been written and forgotten. I honestly can’t even tell you what my initial reason was for writing the verse down, but I knew it would be important.
Read Philippians 1:3-6
When I read these opening lines that Paul wrote to the people of Philippi I pause at verse 5. Here Paul is acknowledging their financial support. At this time, he only alluded to receiving the gift; later he would thank them specifically (Phill4:10-19). Paul was in prison when this letter was written and what little goodness he as experiencing he was certainly thankful for.
Let’s read verse 6 again.
What is Paul confident about?
Do you believe that God has created a good work in you? Do you believe that He is doing a good work in your marriage? Do you believe that He will see it to a flourishing end?
Paul also outlines many things we should be doing and considering as we work on our marriage.
Goodness is the result of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness at work. (Gal 5:22,23) It is the outward expression of the inner change of our believers hearts.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12
God counts our marriage worthy of its very calling, to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is nothing sweeter to me than hearing a child talk to Jesus like He is a friend. I know my favorite is listening to my babies pray. They love Jesus. At the dinner table they tell him so and at night they lay in bed and have conversations with Him. Wouldn’t it be nice to be more like little children? They are so humble and pure. I love to hear them thank God out loud for whatever they can immediately think of or what has been on their hearts and sometimes just whatever is in sight distance. They are comfortable in the role of the one giving thanks to God for all His goodness.
A friend and I were talking about our husbands and how they were not comfortable praying out loud in front of people. They are intimidated by others who are good at speaking “Christianese” when praying in front of others. You know the ones, their voice rises and falls to stress the importance of the important words. Some people just have that dialect and tone that makes their prayers seem…professional. I have prayed for my husband on this matter for years and to be honest, myself as well. I want us to be comfortable praying in public, in front of strangers, and even in front of our own family and not feel we have to pray any certain way. We don’t have to speak “Christianese”, while it’s awesome to hear, God just wants to hear that our hearts are thankful for His goodness.
I was raised in church and went overtime the doors opened. My husband, when we met in middle school, did not know if he even believed in God. While we were dating in high school, he was saved. He fell in love with Jesus too. Over the years I have watched his faith grow to become so enormous no one could ever deny it. This past spring I had a sweet lady speak to me on my husband, she had never met him. She touched my wedding ring, thanked God for my husband and proclaimed that he was a great man of God. The touching of my ring, the prayer, the woman whom I'd never met before, none of that took made me pause. However, saying "he is a great man of God" made me take a deep breath and become very still. I soaked in the words. Her words forever changed how I viewed my husband.
I have been praying for my husband for years to desire to read his Bible more, to pray more confidently at the dinner table, to minister to our children, to find joy and purpose in tithing, to become the spiritual head of our home. All the while God was hearing my prayers, He was building my husband and I never saw it for it's worth until the words of a stranger peeled the scales off my eyes. I drove home with those words ringing in my ears that day. She proclaimed that my husband was the man I had prayed for. God is so good. He is waiting to do the same for you, sister. Whatever flaw you see in your husbands, God acknowledges. He may not agree but if you pray for your husband to become a great man of God, do you think our loving Father will deny the request? He most certainly will not.
One of my favorite memories of my husband and children will always be watching him kneel beside my boys bed and read them their Bible story and devotion. He was like a child himself; never having heard most of the stories in their little books. He read them in awe and grew in knowledge of God's Word along with our boys. It was quite something to witness. It takes time ladies. My husband is still growing into the man our Father intended him to become just as I continue to grow as well. His goodness is what nurtures that growth.
Take a moment to think about recent conversations you have had with others around you. Have you felt nourished by encouraging words? How did those words lift you up? How did you respond?
Think about a time when someone’s language wounded your spirit. Maybe you were shocked by a thoughtless comment from a neighbor or struck down by a destructive argument with a family member or friend.
Words are powerful when we speak them to each other. How can we show others God’s goodness with our words? Where do we draw that goodness from? Can we extend that goodness to our husbands?
We all know what foolish talk and cruel words can do and how they wither our very spirit. Just as even foolish words can bring death, words have the power to bring life. Truth, when spoken with love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness can lift up a discouraged soul, restore dignity to the oppressed and heal broken hearts. God places great importance on our words. Paul also said Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
Your words have the power to breathe life into your marriage or put a nail in its coffin. You can wound your husband’s spirit or protect your husband’s dignity. Choose your words wisely.
Let’s do something to help inspire us. Let’s make a list. Grab your journal, a sheet of paper, the back of a napkin or right here in your book and write some words that you like to hear, words that encourage you, words that are full of goodness. Let’s challenge ourselves to use the words like these today to lift up our husbands. Speak the words into your husband. Pray these words over your husband. Let's God's truth and plan for your marriage begin to take root and flourish.
Picture this with me, pages and pages of print outs of the study I posted online years ago, a plan or outline on a white board drawn out for this book, me sitting at a desk scribbling notes about which studies to move around and use where and notes to double check to make sure the decisions I made were correct. Now, picture me writing the word “goodness” at the top of a note card for day 8. I stared at that card and the constant thought was “What is goodness exactly?” So, I started studying from lots of sources, reading old devotions, scriptures, and references. The verse that I wrote first on my note card was Philippians 1:6 and I went on writing more.
You know how I know this study is being written for you with the help of God? He does these little things for me like putting all my mess together so neatly. I pull out my file folder were I have the old study that has been edited once and still has lots of scribbles and post it notes attached to it. I find the one originally titled Thanksgiving and Prayer; only I couldn’t read the title as it didn’t print in color but I saw the word “goodness” at the top. When I was initially shuffling through all my papers I had scribbled “goodness” at the top because upon glancing I thought it might fit that topic. I finally sat down to read it to see if it was going to fit what I had researched. I still like what God had to share the day it was written originally. Then I see it…the verse. The very first verse I had typed in that study was Philippians 1:6. Tears welled up! He cares so much about us, do you know that? How in the world can He take this mess and make it so beautiful? When I’m feeling lost, He always lights the way and He will do the same for you.
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.