Day Twelve: Sober-Minded
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. –1 Peter 5:8
A healthy marriage will include a battle for our minds. We are bombarded by false information every day that tells us what a marriage should be. Men are told lies about who they are, and women must endure a barrage of identity shaping commercials and such. Most of the voices we hear on a given day come with forked-tongue. What’s worse is that sometimes we can speak serpentine language to our spouses. We must have a sober-mind so that we can build one another up and walk humbly in God’s truth. Even our prayers may be hindered without a sober-mind (1 Peter 4:7). Pray today that the fog of lies and conflict would lift and that we would both hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Lord, if you did not speak to us we could only hear the voice of deceit. But you have chosen to speak to us through Your Word. Your voice is powerful. You are able to cut through the fog of deceit and speak clearly to our hearts. We pray that you would help us to be sober-minded in our marriage. Protecting us from believing lies. Help us to build one another up and speak truth to each other. Give us ears to hear your voice. Amen.
Day Eleven: A Vibrant Marriage
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, –Proverbs 5:18
Notice that this text does not say rejoice in your young wife. Instead the biblical writer is calling the wise to consistently look at their spouse with youthful eyes. This is not a call to find the fountain of youth but to pursue a vibrant marriage. When we choose to look at our spouses with the eyes of young love it changes things. I appreciate Ray Ortlund’s reflection on this passage:
Remember how you used to laugh and have fun, because you so liked each other? You can have that again. Go back there. Yes, so much in life has changed. You both have seen trouble and sorrow, maybe more than you ever dreamed you would. But you still have her, and she counts for more than all the troubles in the world. Look at her. Look closely. Notice how much about her has not changed. Dwell on that. Think about her faithfulness to you through the years, despite your weaknesses and failings, through the many hardships, all by the grace of God. Meditate on the divine mercy she represents to you. Let your heart melt again, and rejoice in God and in her.
This particular text and Ortlund’s reflections are centered on the husband. But the verse extends to wives as well. Let us continually work to keep our marriages vibrant and young—even into old age.
Father, we thank you for our marriage. Help our marriage to stay young even as it deepens with old age. You have given us one another as a precious gift. We are satisfied in one another. Give us the grace to see things as they rightly are. Help us to enjoy the spouse of our youth.
Day Ten: God’s Keeping Power
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— Jude 24
Sometimes it is good for us in prayer to simply meditate on a great truth from Scripture and thank God. Marriage has many terrific seasons. Sometimes those terrific seasons are borne out of seasons of trial and difficulty. It is encouraging to know that God is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us before himself without fault and with great joy. This is where God is taking you. Your marriage is a means that God is using to make you more like His Son and He will accomplish His purposes. So, let us take heart and have confidence in God’s keeping power. Today, no matter if you are on the mountain or in a valley God is at work. Let today be simply a day of adoration. Thank God for his keeping power.
Lord, if it were not for your keeping power we could not stand. Our marriage would only be a means to further our joy in ourselves. Even good gifts, like marriage, would be used to rob you of glory and ultimately to destroy us. But you have purposed something greater. You have purposed to make our marriages further our joy in Christ. We know that as we grow in Christ our joy in one another will also deepen. So we thank you today for your keeping power. Thank you for holding us up and keeping us from stumbling headlong into hell. We look to our ultimate rescue in Jesus. Amen.
Because of my role in helping select preachers for the Pastor’s Conference I’ve listened to quite a few sermons (or at least parts of quite a few sermons) this past year. Honestly, I was blown away by all of the sound preaching that we have in the SBC. We could easily have filled up the next five years worth of solid preachers.
There was actually something I expected to hear quite a bit of but I only heard it a handful of times. But when I did…oh, boy. It might be accidental, but I’m almost certain it is not. What I’m talking about are preachers who must listen to their favorite celebrity preacher so much that they start to sound like them. I heard a few David Platt’s and even a couple Adrian Rogers’. I know I’ve done it too. Who hasn’t listened to a Paul Washer sermon and then the very next time you preach have a tendency to get a bit more fired up and dramatic in your pauses?
But like I said, for the most part what I heard where several unique preachers. That was refreshing. It tells me that college and seminary professors telling us to be ourselves is being heeded. It looks like this was even a topic in the late 1700’s. Speaking to the Eclectic Society, Josiah Pratt said this:
Every man is unique, both in mind and experience. Every man, therefore, has his own way: and is natural and graceful only in that way. But it is a great error to think there is no danger peculiar to him. Every man has his peculiar danger, as well as his peculiar forte. A wise man will remember this, and guard. –Josiah Pratt
Pratt makes an interesting point here, though. Being ourselves isn’t only a positive thing—there are also peculiar dangers which accompany our unique preaching styles and personalities. We would do well to consider these potential dangers.
Those with a great sense of humor can be engaging in the pulpit, but they can also distract from God’s Word by their wit. Those who are very learned can make stellar arguments but might struggle with losing their audience.
So what are your strengths of personality and style and what peculiar dangers might accompany these?
Be yourself, but be aware.
Photo source: here