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How often have you had the intention to do something or change in some way, but in the end, you don’t follow through? Whether it is a promise you have made to another, or even to yourself, words have power. And when we use our words to make commitments, we should take them seriously. Oftentimes we find it easy to make promises with our words but have no intention of following through or find it difficult to keep that promise. Now, our vows may not always take the form of the words “I promise I will…” but instead may sound like “I’ll be there at 10,” or “I’ll pray for you,” Or “I am going to get up at 6 am and read my bible every day.” Many times, this leads to discrepancies between what we say and what we actually do. Scripture informs us to take care with our words and warns against taking oaths.

James 5:12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Matthew 5:37  Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Sometimes we may think our words are strong enough to get ourselves to do something, or we might even have the intention of following through, but our lives have become so chaotic that our capability to follow through is void. Other times, we might desire to look good in that specific moment but have no real intention of following through. It is important that we evaluate ourselves honestly in these instances and consider our intentions and how our words impact others. As Proverbs 18:21 says, Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

When we are careless with our words and make promises and commitments we do not have the capacity to follow through with, we often end up hurting those around us. Rather than attempting to please people in the moment, we should be prepared with practical things to say or do instead. For example, telling someone you cannot give an answer in the moment, that you need time to think about it, or even simply telling that person no is necessary because saying nothing is better than not keeping your word. Consider the instruction given in Ecclesiastes 5:4: When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. And in Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. As followers of Christ, we must value our integrity and carry ourselves differently than the rest of the world. Our words should carry weight and truth, instead of serving to reinforce falsehoods about ourselves, such as the lie that we can’t change.

Ultimately, we may never be completely in control of our tongues, but we serve a God who never goes back on His promises. We can trust in His word, His promises, and what He has said. We can ask him to teach us. We can practice following through, perhaps even having consequences for our failure. We can practice saying “yes” or “no” instead of “maybe” or something else. We can remember although we are not perfect, we follow the one who is, and we can be a light to the world by staying true to our word.

The foundation of a disciplined life is integrity and doing what we say we’re going to do. — Rory Vaden

 

Success comes from what you do, not from what you say you are going to do. — Larry Winget

 

Do what you say you’re going to do! People can do nothing but respect that. — Steve Harvey

 

READ TRANSCRIPT

Aaron:
Welcome back to the Marriage After God podcast. We’re your hosts Aaron and Jennifer Smith. There’s a spiritual truth that goes like this, “What we feed will be nourished. What we sow, we will reap. What we pursue, we will find and what we water will grow.”

Jennifer:
But what happens when we don’t? The opposite is a spiritual truth as well. Stop watering something and it will eventually die. Stop feeding and it will diminish. If we don’t sow, there won’t be anything to reap. If we never seek, we will never find. Our focus today is to examine these truths, hitting home the importance of continual spiritual and relational maintenance.

Aaron:
Today’s episode is brought to you by our faithful patron team who have chosen to help financially support this show monthly. Here’s a shout-out to some of our new, most recent patrons. We have Freddie, S, PRH, Shelly B, and Tracy P. We’re so thankful that you chose to partner with us in blessing tens of thousands of couples with free daily prayer emails, and this weekly podcast. If you’ve been blessed by any of our free Marriage After God content, we’d love to invite you to join our patron team. Also, if you choose to sign up at $20 a month, you can get a $50 gift card to our online store on your first renewal date. Please visit marriageaftergod.com/patron, P-A-T-R-O-N.

Jennifer:
So last Friday, on January 6th, we-

Aaron:
Which is the most special day of the year.

Jennifer:
We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary.

Aaron:
Wow, that’s been a long time. That’s two times eight. That’s a lot of years.

Jennifer:
After we recorded last week, Aaron was like, “Why didn’t we mention that we were going to celebrate our anniversary?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. That was kind of strange.” What, was it not on our minds?

Aaron:
I don’t know.

Jennifer:
Just A few days before.

Aaron:
But we’re like, “We’ll talk about it next episode.”

Jennifer:
Yeah, so here we are talking about it. Actually, it was really sweet. Here I go, on this theme of “Sweet 16”, as one of our friends called it. So I went ahead and stole that and just used it. When I shared about it on Instagram.

Aaron:
Someone also said that, now our marriage can drive.

Jennifer:
Yeah, which I explained in my Instagram post if you guys follow along there, that I love that kind of ideal that we can drive now. Like we’re mature and responsible.

Aaron:
Yeah, we’re 16 years old [crosstalk 00:02:16].

Jennifer:
We can go now. We’re figuring it out still.

Aaron:
What was a highlight from our anniversary?

Jennifer:
Well, so we had plans to go to dinner, but we have a best friend, whose birthday land in January. So our friend Cody’s birthday was just a couple days later, but they planned a birthday dinner for him on the night of our anniversary because there was a handful of couples that could do it that night. And so we ditched our reservations and joined them and I actually-

Aaron:
It’s like a tandem anniversary.

Jennifer:
I actually really enjoyed it.

Aaron:
It was awesome.

Jennifer:
It was so cool. We love having a party.

Aaron:
Going to the highlights, we spent pretty much all night enjoying each other’s company and laughing and telling stories and it was really, really refreshing. I had a lot of fun.

Jennifer:
Yeah, also earlier that day. That was a really fun time with you, but earlier that day I really loved it because it was a Friday and we just took the day off. It was really-

Aaron:
It was a special day.

Jennifer:
… easygoing, and we took the kids ice skating, which we haven’t done all winter, and they were caught off guard. So it was just super special.

Aaron:
And I’m really surprised at how good they did. They had these helper things, but they all wanted to push it away and just go.

Jennifer:
Try, yeah.

Aaron:
And they were being so good.

Jennifer:
Yeah, they were being courageous. But what I was going to say is, I was surprised that no one else was there and it was so nice for this family of five who don’t know what they’re doing and little kids, there’s only two of us. We’re fumbling all over the place, but we had the whole rink to ourself for a while.

Aaron:
It was great.

Jennifer:
Yeah, it was good.

Aaron:
And then we went to a bakery and got some pastries and it was just such a sweet day.

Jennifer:
Yeah, hot chocolate. So because we’re still in the intro part of this episode, I’m going to share something that really has nothing to do with anything, but you just mentioned our kids and I had a funny story about Wyatt. He’s our third and he’s six.

Aaron:
He’s probably the most like me.

Jennifer:
He’s the most like Aaron, although I’m starting-

Aaron:
This is not like me.

Jennifer:
I’m starting to find things like me in him and it’s really cute. So they share a bunk bed, him and Truett, and it’s like a platform bunk bed and-

Aaron:
So Truett’s on the left side on his own bed, and then Wyatt has the right side on his own bed.

Jennifer:
It’s something really sweet that Aaron built and they love it. And so I go up there the other night to tuck him in and Wyatt asked me to cuddle him and there’s just this mound of probably eight different blankets, I’m not kidding you. And every once in a while I’ll buy a throw or somebody will give me a throw for the living room and-

Aaron:
He takes all of them like a pack rat.

Jennifer:
I didn’t even realize that they were missing, but every once in a while-

Aaron:
You can’t see up on top of the bunk bed unless you climb up there.

Jennifer:
Yeah. Yeah, it’s like blocked.

Aaron:
You got wall.

Jennifer:
But I didn’t even notice that they were missing out of the living room. Although, every once in a while when I’m chilly, I’m like, “Man, I can never find those blankets.”

Aaron:
[inaudible 00:04:59].

Jennifer:
Yeah, “Where are those blankets?” Well, I found them. And he doesn’t even lay them out. They’re just literally bundled up.

Aaron:
He makes a blanket nest that he gets inside of and that’s how he sleeps at night.

Jennifer:
Does anybody else do this?

Aaron:
Yeah, you.

Jennifer:
No, I do this.

Aaron:
If you could, you would do this, but I don’t let you, but would love to bundle the blankets up and just be in a wad on the bed. That’s not like me. Wyatt, he’s like me in a lot of ways, but he’s like you when it comes to how he wants to sleep.

Jennifer:
When Aaron and I were first married, you used to tuck the sheet in even around the whole bed and I could not.

Aaron:
Always, that’s how my mom taught me-

Jennifer:
No, I couldn’t do it.

Aaron:
… and I just liked feeling secure.

Jennifer:
So I go around and rip it up or actually I’d asked you to do it. I said, “I can’t breathe.”

Aaron:
All I know is, in 16 years our sheets haven’t been tucked in. So who won that one?

Jennifer:
Hey, I still make the bed.

Aaron:
No, I actually got used to it, but it was really hard. Do you remember? I just remember this. In the first few months of being married, we had different sheets and different blankets because-

Jennifer:
Oh, there were times, yes.

Aaron:
We had such a hard time because I was like,-

Jennifer:
I do remember that.

Aaron:
… “I want it tucked in.” And you’re like, “Well, I don’t want them tucked.” Anyways, that’s-

Jennifer:
Newlywed problems.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
We’ve figured it out since then. Not sure why I shared that. There’s not real relevance, but just fun. Aaron and Wyatt story or Jennifer and Wyatt story.

Aaron:
But to slip into the context or the content, you noticed something. You shared this thing that you always notice it. You’ve never said anything to me until recently. But just to start off this idea, and I’ll let you share it in a second, but since Covid over those two years, we saw a lot of businesses go out of business. And so we had a lot of-

Jennifer:
Super unfortunate.

Aaron:
… more than usual empty buildings that are no longer being taken care of. But it’s not just during Covid that you noticed this, you’ve noticed since you’re a little girl.

Jennifer:
Yeah. I didn’t even really know how to explain it to you, but it was like when you see a building and it’s recently not occupied anymore, all of a sudden you notice the gutters falling off or the signs-

Aaron:
The signs [crosstalk 00:07:00].

Jennifer:
… missing a letter or there’s a bunch of chipped paint. And I just-

Aaron:
Window broken.

Jennifer:
But I start thinking, would those things have been doing that even if the building was occupied? Why am I noticing it now, and so there’s all these questions that storm my brain while I’m driving noticing these buildings.

Aaron:
Well, there’s some sadness to it because you see the building and you’re like, “Man, that used to be someone’s business. That used to be someone’s livelihood. They used to do something.” And now it’s doing nothing and not just doing nothing, it’s actually-

Jennifer:
And the question is, “How is it falling apart so quickly?”

Aaron:
Yeah, seemingly-

Jennifer:
Seemingly, yeah.

Aaron:
… so quickly. Yeah. But it’s always so encouraging when finally someone takes over that building and starts making it beautiful and purposeful again. And we’re actually starting to see that a lot more in our town. Old buildings that are just being renovated and renewed and starting to be useful again. It’s so much more exciting to see.

Jennifer:
Yeah. So when I was explaining this to you and trying to wrap up, this could be a concept for-

Aaron:
An episode.

Jennifer:
… an episode, what came to your mind?

Aaron:
I immediately thought of dystopian movies, where it’s post the end of the world and there’s this one guy walking around and it zooms out and you see all these buildings tipped over and leaning on each other and there’s vines and trees growing out and animals climbing on things. And it’s full and overgrown and broken down. Makes it seem like it’s taken generations, and this has been a long time coming with nothing going on. But is it something that happens without our help, you just stop it and then it just happens? Or is it something that we’ve encouraged and made happen? Or is it something that takes a long time or is it quick? Those are things I thought about to discuss this idea.

Jennifer:
I don’t think we’re going to be able to answer any of these questions today.

Aaron:
All right, podcast over. Just kidding.

Jennifer:
We don’t know.

Aaron:
Something interesting, not just in these dystopian movies, but even in our new home, we’ve only been in it seven-ish months already, this brand-new house and we’re already seeing things that need fixing. Not that things were done wrong, it’s just when you’re in a brand-new house, the walls are shifting-

Jennifer:
Don’t you mean when you’re in a brand-new house with five kids?

Aaron:
Yeah, I wasn’t going to go there, but you’re right. It’s used. We’re in it.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
There’s cracks in the corners. The cabinets are separating from the roof because the trusses flex from the weather changing and the temperatures and just from being in the house, it needs work. So imagine if we never did anything to it, what would happen? This new house would eventually not look brand new.

Jennifer:
So we’re setting this up because we want to paint the picture or illustrate for you so that we can actually look beyond the physical. Okay. What we’re talking about, this picture of a building with its gutter hanging down-

Aaron:
Or Decay.

Jennifer:
Yeah. So that we can examine the spiritual side of what we’re talking about and how this spiritual truth affects our faith and our marriage and other relationships.

Aaron:
In general, the things that are not regularly cared for or maintained begin to crumble.

Jennifer:
Yeah, that’s just reality. It’s going to happen. Now the duration of time it takes varies because there’s variables, right?

Aaron:
Right. Varies because there’s variables.

Jennifer:
But really everything is on its way to breaking down.

Aaron:
It’s this idea of we’re just constantly on the road to death almost.

Jennifer:
I mean-

Aaron:
As we go, that’s the destination, but-

Jennifer:
Well, whatever the thing is, if it is being cared for, it’s almost like its life is being preserved, right?

Aaron:
Correct. Yeah. So it’s this idea of when the thing is not tended to, when the gutter isn’t fixed, the chipping paint isn’t repainted, or the relationship isn’t reconciled or pursued. When the parts and pieces fall and no one picks it up or sees its value to preserve it, the thing diminishes until it’s almost completely torn down, sometimes completely thrown out or left abandoned.

Jennifer:
Okay, so in light of marriage, it’s obvious that marriages don’t just fall apart all in one moment.

Aaron:
Not usually.

Jennifer:
Right? I mean, it usually takes time to get to that point. Although like I mentioned earlier, there’s variables. So there have been-

Aaron:
Lots of variables.

Jennifer:
There have been situations where things fall apart quicker for some and that’s heartbreaking and that’s difficult. But there’s no real way to gauge today how much time I have.

Aaron:
Well if I don’t tend in this way, it’s only going to last this long. We can’t calculate things that way.

Jennifer:
No, and that’s a weird way of looking at it. The important thing that we want to draw out here is, that when we do tend to what we have, when we maintain it and care for it and pursue it, we do preserve it.

Aaron:
Yeah, and that reminds me of a quote. Often we hear this version of “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” And it’s almost like, you’re not content. There’s something better over there. But Neil Barringham says, “The grass is always greener where you water it.” Which by the way, we should do an episode on that guy. I was reading a little bit about him and he’s pretty interesting. But that aside.

Jennifer:
Another time.

Aaron:
Yeah. “The grass is always greener where you water it.” So, what you water, what you tend, that’s what’s going to get nourished and flourish.

Jennifer:
So I just think our marriages, they’re going to get beat by the weather. There’s going to be circumstances, there’s going to be reasons why those parts and pieces that we were talking about earlier. There’s going to be times when the gutter is starting to fall off, but because we’re here and we want to preserve it, we’re doing the maintenance of picking it up and-

Aaron:
Like our house, we enjoy the house, we see the value of the house, we live in the house. And so those wear and tear across the way, we take care of them when we have the time to. In parody with our marriage and relationships, our faith can fall apart over time as well if we’re not careful. And I just wanted to read a scripture. Paul Warns Timothy, in first Timothy chapter one, starting in verse 18. He says, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith…” He makes a point of saying, when people let go of that faith and the good conscience about it’s like they’re rejecting it and they’re making a shipwreck of their faith.
And in Hebrews 3, 12 through 14 says, “Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God, but exhort one another every day as long as it is called, ‘Today’, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” That idea of hold, that’s a consistency. Like I’m going to hold this, it’s mine. I’m going to love it. This original confidence that we have, hold it firm, take care of it.
So when we do not maintain or hold onto these things, they will slowly but surely decay and eventually fall apart. We’ve all felt this. I feel weak, I haven’t been in the word, I haven’t been praying, I’m not pursuing God, I don’t feel close to him. He hasn’t moved. Often we’re the ones that have moved. So it’s not that he’s not actually close. We can feel that deceit coming in of like, “Well, I must not be loved.” I must not, you know, you name it. But if we’re not careful to abiding Christ, we will be weakened. We will be susceptible to deception.

Jennifer:
We’re just about to get into some things that we can do to maintain our marriage and our faith. But before we head into that, I just wanted to invite you guys to take a few minutes to leave a review on the Marriage After God podcast. And even specifically on this episode, it’s just a way to get the word out and let others find out more about our podcast and we’d really appreciate it. Thank you guys.

Aaron:
So what are some ways, we’re talking about houses and we’re using it in buildings and we’re using it as an example, but really what we’re talking about is our faith and our marriage. So what are some of those ways, and we’re going to get into some of this, but I wanted to make it very clear because I’m sure there’s people listening and saying, “Well, what are you saying about this?” Right? I am not saying that we are to maintain our salvation. Our salvation is in Jesus and his work alone, not ours. We do not work to be saved, but we can and should work to maintain the faith we have to grow in it and to mature in it to keep us from being ineffective. Second Peter 1, 3 through 10 says this, why don’t you read that.

Jennifer:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises. So that through them, you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness and godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election for if you practice these qualities, you will never fail.” Fall, sorry, you’ll never fall.

Aaron:
That whole thing was based off of the truth that were saved. It says supplement your faith, meaning “Hey, yeah, you have faith in Christ and he saves alone.” But add to that, these things, not for your salvation, but to keep you from being ineffective, to keep you from falling, to keep you from being nearsighted and forgetting what you’ve been cleansed from. So that’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about salvation, we’re talking about walking out our faith, that calling in our life. So that leads us to our seven things to maintain in order to keep our faith and marriage strong and thriving and effective.

Jennifer:
These are things that when planted, grow. The things that add nutrients back into the soil. Things that turn a mediocre or even decaying marriage and faith into a thriving one. So, do you want to do the first one or you want me to do-

Aaron:
How about you do the first one?

Jennifer:
Okay. The first one is virtue or purity. Having a high moral standard in your way of living, and obviously knowing scripture and living a life according to what God’s word says. And also just being, what’s that word you used with me earlier? Vigilant?

Aaron:
Vigilant.

Jennifer:
To make sure that you’re not letting things in that are not pure.

Aaron:
Yeah, and the other word for virtue is purity. And God desires us to have purity in our marriage bed, purity in our hearts and minds, beauty in our eyes. And so having that high moral standard of saying, you know what, we’re going to keep an eye out and be vigilant to make sure that we’re not letting those kinds of things in. We’re not saying, “Oh, it’s not that big of…” They’re getting lax on certain kinds of shows maybe, certain kinds of music, certain kinds of ways of communicating even.

Jennifer:
Yeah, I was going to bring up for us, this has looked like over the years, is God refining us in even the smallest of ways where he would put a conviction in one of our hearts for like you said, a show that we had been watching where it’s like, we can’t watch that anymore. We can’t listen to that type of music. And sometimes it is this clear-cut, “You can’t do this.”

Aaron:
No, this is for each individual to be asking the Lord, “Lord, where do you want more purity? What things are in my life that are impure, are not virtuous?”

Jennifer:
“What’s leading me away from you?”

Aaron:
Second one, and so if you haven’t noticed already, we’re going off that list from second Peter. So the second one is knowledge. And so knowledge when we’re growing in our knowledge, not specifically just knowledge of anything, ’cause we could fill our minds with so much knowledge, so many books, so many classes we can take.

Jennifer:
Although, that makes you really interesting.

Aaron:
It does make you much more interesting, but what keeps us maintained in our faith is knowledge of God. Growing in his word. Are we reading it? Are we in his word? This is something that even you and I, we were like, “ugh”, we had a hard week and weren’t in the word. We need to get back into it. And it does affect us. When we’re not in the word, that we could tell. We think differently, we act differently.

Jennifer:
I’ll also say this, when you’re in the word, you realize there’s a lot to be said about how to operate as a spouse. So just growing-

Aaron:
It tells us what do.

Jennifer:
Exactly. So growing in your knowledge of the word and spending that time with God, overflows into your marriage relationship. And it helps you with things like communication or being a good listener or having understanding and walking with each other with humility.

Aaron:
And another thing again, we talked about the spiritual truths of the opposites are true. What happens going into third one, which is self-control. Having self-control brings a certain kind of fruit, not having self-control brings a certain kind of fruit. There’s a verse in Proverbs that says, “A man without self-control is like a broken down city” or “a city with broken down walls”, like no protection. And so you don’t have self-control and boom, anything can come in and just wreck your life. So this is something that each one of us can immediately know like, “Man, I know the areas of my life that I am lacking in self-control.” Maybe it’s in the way we communicate. This is something that we’ve talked about a lot. It’s something that God’s growing us in. Am I self controlled in how I respond to you when you’re responding to me or you’re self controlled when you think or feel a certain way in how you communicate to me, not always, but it’s something that God absolutely wants us to grow in, which is a great way to maintain our faith in our marriages. We’re going to walk in self-control.

Jennifer:
Some other practical ones that people probably are already thinking about when they hear the word self-control, but in what we consume-

Aaron:
Yep, that’s a good one.

Jennifer:
… and what we’re being entertained by, which we already brought that up. But having boundaries with our cravings, with our hobbies, with the things in our life that we desire.

Aaron:
At the base level of what self-control is about, so self, flesh. So my body, the way my mind works, the way my eyes work, the way my nose works, my mouth, my ears, what we want to touch and taste and see and feel. There’s lots of things that are flesh desires. Self-control is the spiritual practice of training your flesh to be submitted to the spirit. So that’s the third one.

Jennifer:
Number four is steadfastness, the quality of being resolutely or dutifully, firm And unwavering.

Aaron:
Yeah, unwavering.

Jennifer:
I kind of just was reading that and I was like [crosstalk 00:22:00]

Aaron:
That’s the definition I got for steadfastness because I was like, “I could have easily said it’s faithfulness”, but it’s more than that. It’s a quality of being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. You’re not moved in certain truths in your life. So unwavering in our unity and oneness, that’s a big one because that’s one that the enemy and our flesh-

Jennifer:
Attacks.

Aaron:
… absolutely wants to make us wavering in, is our unity. So another thing that we should be unwavering or firm or resolute in, is our belief in Christ and his finished work. Going back to what I was just talking about before, is we have to be solid in that. We believe God has saved us by his son Jesus and his death and resurrection. That makes a whole world of difference. We have an episode coming up in the future talking about how the gospel is for Christians and it’s so important just to be firm and strong on that rock, the foundation of Jesus Christ.
And then again, resolute in our love for God’s word and for our spouse, resolute in our roles. I wanted to add this one because sometimes we want to not like our roles, whatever that is in life, our positions at our jobs, our positions in our homes, husband, wife, father, mother. Those are hard. But if we’re resolute, I am in this, in Christ, it makes you unwavering. It makes you less susceptibles to certain things. And before we move on to the next one, I just want to read a verse, Hebrews 12, 3, “Consider him, who endeared from sinners such hostility against himself…”, talking about Christ, “… so that you listener, Christian, Jesus follower, may not grow weary or fainthearted.” So steadfast, don’t grow weary or fainthearted because Christ dealt with such hostility for us, so that we can not grow weary. I just think that’s awesome.

Jennifer:
I love that. In thinking about steadfastness but also self-control and probably all of these, I just think it goes so well with the theme for this month of January for our podcast, which is essentially just having integrity, doing what we say, which builds trust in our relationship, in marriage. And I just like that you’re saying words like unwavering, and standing firm. That goes even for your words, for the commitments that we make and for the things that we choose to say to our spouse and how we’re going to walk those things out.

Aaron:
That’s good. So what’s number five?

Jennifer:
Number five is godliness. So just having that devotion to God and desiring to do what Jesus says.

Aaron:
It is really that simple. You love God, I am devoted to God. It doesn’t mean that you are a God or perfect like God, but it’s godliness, meaning we’re trying to be like God-

Jennifer:
Like God, yep.

Aaron:
Like his son Jesus. John 14, 23, “Jesus answered him, if anyone loves me…”, remember that devotion, “… he will keep my word.” Keep means to store up, it’s in my heart. And-

Jennifer:
But that it means something too.

Aaron:
Yeah, it’s just mine.

Jennifer:
It’s not just there.

Aaron:
His word is mine, I want it. “And my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Godliness, having God making his home inside of us because we love him. We’re not afraid to be numbered among other believers and Christ’s followers. I’ve seen this, actually. There’s people that are like, “Oh, I love God, but I don’t want anything to do with the church.” Well the Bible’s pretty clear about that, that you can’t love God and hate your brother. You’re a liar if you do that. So godliness is, I want God’s kingdom. I want God’s ways. I want God’s word. I want God’s people. They’re my people.
And then this last part of this is this sow to the spirit idea. This godliness, what are we sowing in? What are we trying to reap in our lives? Galatians 6, 7 through 10, “Do not be deceived…” Again there’s that word deceived again, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh, will from the flesh reap corruption.” So this goes back to what we were talking about earlier. If we’re feeding that flesh, if that spiritual truth, what we feed is going to grow, what water is going to grow. If we feed our flesh, we’re going to reap corruption.

Jennifer:
And I’m sure all of us can think of a moment or moments in marriage when we’ve fed that flesh and-

Aaron:
Everyday.

Jennifer:
… what is the result? But what’s the result?

Aaron:
It’s death, in some form or fashion.

Jennifer:
Contention. There’s frustration.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
There’s miscommunication. There’s problems.

Aaron:
Definitely not the fruit of the spirit.

Jennifer:
No.

Aaron:
It’s the fruit of the flesh that shows up and it says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” So you almost have all this godliness idea wrapped up in this verse, the household of faith, loving God, not sowing to the flesh. It’s really cool. Why don’t you read the last… Or not the last, that one was number six.

Jennifer:
The next one is brotherly affection. We love our spouse as a brother and sister in Christ. I actually was just with a friend the other day and we were just catching each other up on life and family and marriage. And I encouraged her, with something that someone encouraged me and that was just a reminder, “Hey, you have to see your husband through the eyes of Jesus.”

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
And it’s something I needed to say to remind myself in the moment, for you Aaron, for me to remind myself to look at you like Jesus would look at you.

Aaron:
Hopefully not only a brother, ’cause I love you. The point though-

Jennifer:
You know what I’m saying?

Aaron:
Yeah, no, the point is often, especially with our spouses, we have such a hard time seeing them as a fellow Christian. We go out of home and we go to our Christian community and we treat those people super well.

Jennifer:
Yeah. They’re going through a hard time. There’s compassion. They’re struggling-

Aaron:
When you’re home-

Jennifer:
… with something, there’s grace.

Aaron:
Nope.

Jennifer:
Yeah. Well-

Aaron:
Sometimes.

Jennifer:
Our expectations are-

Aaron:
Infinitely higher. But if we can have this perspective of this is, yes, my husband or my wife, but they’re also my brother and sister in Christ.

Jennifer:
And like-

Aaron:
That’s actually more eternal than our marriage even if you think about it.

Jennifer:
Okay but, this too, I want to encourage you to find your identity in Christ.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
Right? But if I let my lofty expectations overhanging over you, then really all I’m doing is forcing you to-

Aaron:
Live up to your-

Jennifer:
Live up to my identity.

Aaron:
Yeah, exactly.

Jennifer:
Be like I want you to be.

Aaron:
And to be honest, if you want to fix a lot of things in your marriage, if you can take a step back and say, “Oh, this person…” Now, I also know that there are people that are married to unbelievers, but you can still treat someone the way Christ would treat them and love them that way and see them that way. The point is, we’re on the same team. We want to win and succeed and grow together. And so that brotherly, that familial love is, you are a part of me. That’s what that means. So Abraham saw a lot as a part of him. It was his nephew and he went to rescue him several times, actually. So we need to have that for each other that we’re going to go to that. So last one-

Jennifer:
Which, really quick. Hold on. So, just wrapping up what you just said, that’s where the fight comes in. When we want to fight for our marriages and we want to-

Aaron:
[crosstalk 00:29:37].

Jennifer:
Really, I’m being serious.

Aaron:
I do.

Jennifer:
You should have seen what he just did just now, that was funny.

Aaron:
I was doing little boxing fists.

Jennifer:
This is where the fight comes in for your marriage because you understand the value and the purpose and where you’re headed. And you want to protect it and you want to help it get to where it needs to go.

Aaron:
Yep. That’s good. Together. All right. Number seven, last one, but not least of them. It’s probably actually the greatest of them, is love.

Jennifer:
What is love? Sorry.

Aaron:
Baby don’t hurt me. So, love. The greatest of all the gifts is love. And it’s probably spoken about more than anything.

Jennifer:
I think fear is also mentioned.

Aaron:
Fear is mentioned. I’m saying in the New Testament, the way that God’s calling is to the thing that makes the church remarkable to not just the world, but to the spiritual realm, is our love for one another. That’s power.

Jennifer:
Powerful.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
It’s not simple though-

Aaron:
No.

Jennifer:
… just maintaining love. But we should seek it out earnestly and diligently as first Corinthians 14, 1 says.

Aaron:
Yeah, and when we seek it earnestly and diligently, those are strong words. I want it and I’m going to pursue it with everything in me. Then we’re going to find our marriages, our faith, our other relationships, flourishing like never before because we’re going to Christ the one who gives us that love and saying, I want that love, for this person. I want that love for you, God. I often find myself praying, “God, help me love you more.” That one person that prayed, “Lord help my unbelief.”

Jennifer:
I was just going to say, mine’s always, “Lord, help me believe.”

Aaron:
Yeah, but that’s what God wants. He wants to help us. So if we can go to him and admit I want more of it and I don’t know how to get it, I need more wisdom. He’s faithful in just to give us the wisdom that we asked for. He does that. So, those are our seven things that we’ve wanted to bring up for maintaining our faith in our marriages. They’re very important things.

Jennifer:
And just to wrap up our whole imagery from the beginning, if we do these things, it’s not just going to give you a shiny exterior that’s real pretty to look at. It’s actually going to transform you from the inside out.

Aaron:
Yeah. Remember we talked about in the beginning how awesome it is and beautiful it is when empty building that’s so did decrepit and falling apart. Finally-

Jennifer:
Gets occupied.

Aaron:
… gets an occupant.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
A new owner, someone who loves that building, someone who loves what it’s going to do and the purpose behind it. It’s like letting Jesus come in and take ownership of our own life and our own marriage. And watching him renovate our hearts and our minds.

Jennifer:
That’s good.

Aaron:
And our faith and our marriage in general will grow, because we’re like, “Lord, we want that. Help us.” So let’s feed our faith and marriage with God’s word and spirit.

Jennifer:
Let’s sow into our spouse with love and intentionality and into our faith with passion.

Aaron:
And lastly, let’s pursue God and our spouse with our whole hearts. Because what better thing is there to do with our lives than pursue God and our spouse. I think there’s probably other things, but those are really good things.

Jennifer:
Okay. This month’s we called it a “Growth spurt”, because we want to encourage you guys to grow.

Aaron:
Jennifer did air quotes. You didn’t see.

Jennifer:
I do that a lot. I just realized I don’t know when I’m talking why I do that to you guys. Sorry.

Aaron:
Well, in the notes it says, “Growth Spurt”, with quotes. So you did the quotes.

Jennifer:
I’m embarrassed.

Aaron:
Don’t be embarrassed.

Jennifer:
We desire to encourage you guys to be a catalyst for you guys to encourage personal growth and marital growth. And one way we wanted to do that by having these little challenges at the end of each episode. And so for the month of January, it’s going to stay the same, but it’s to recognize that you’re building trust when you do what you say you’re going to do.

Aaron:
Yep.

Jennifer:
It’s as simple as that, and so just choose one thing that you are going to commit to.

Aaron:
I’m going to get up early.

Jennifer:
If you say it, you got to do it.

Aaron:
Yeah, and then you said write the commitment on a postcard, or a post-it, something you can see-

Jennifer:
Something that you can see and be reminded of daily.

Aaron:
Well, there’s something powerful about actually writing out.

Jennifer:
Yeah, or saying it out loud.

Aaron:
‘Cause it becomes a real thing.

Jennifer:
Yeah.

Aaron:
Yeah.

Jennifer:
Accountability.

Aaron:
Next week’s episode actually is going to dig into a lot more about this idea of doing what we say. Our words and how they matter. So why don’t you end with prayer?

Jennifer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the simple reminder today to maintain our faith and our marriage. Please help us to passionately pursue time with you, reading and praying every day. May your word be written on our hearts and guide us. We pray we’d be intentional to sow goodness and grace into our marriage. Please help us to pay attention to the needs we have in marriage and do everything we can to tend to those needs. We pray we would not be burdened by the work of maintaining what we have, but we hope we would see it as a gift and an opportunity to glorify you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

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