4. Concentrate on your conduct. A terrible mistake that many Christians make is to focus on what they say rather than their conduct. Are you the example God has called you to be: of how a believer loves, how a believer speaks to others, how a believer walks in faith and lives in purity (1 Tim. 4:12)?
You need to be salt and light in your home (Matt. 5:13-16). Your behavior will affect your entire family. You may not see an instant change, but I guarantee you that you will be sanctifying them by your life. Remember, your family is watching to see how you will handle the triumphs and trials in your life.
Therefore, be a good witness. Sanctify those around you first by your behavior. Peter specifically warned believing wives to take this action: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct” (1 Peter 3:1-2).
In addition, Paul reminded the Corinthian church that they were a living epistle “known and read by all men” (2 Cor. 3:2). Your life may be the only Bible your spouse or children will ever read. Therefore, concentrate on having a conduct that is worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27).
5. Share your faith. There does come a time when you must share your faith. There are two very appropriate situations when you should verbally witness to your unsaved mate:
(1) Your spouse may observe some attitude or behavior that exemplifies God’s work in your life, and he or she will express appreciation for you. At this moment, remind your spouse that this was not the way you were before coming to Christ. Explain how much better it would be if you could share these changes together in your marriage.
(2) Wait until your spouse is struggling with the emptiness in his or her own life or is experiencing relational difficulty with another person. Remind him or her that you once felt the same way, and this is why you surrendered your life to Christ.
As you share with your mate, don’t lecture or preach a long sermon. Work at being as brief as possible so you won’t begin to pressure or annoy your mate. Only continue sharing your faith if he or she continues the dialogue. Always endeavor to keep a two-way conversation. Otherwise, keep your statements to two or three sentences so you won’t begin to lecture.
In addition, always look for ways to respond to your mate’s pre-conceived ideas about why he or she can’t become a Christian, or why becoming a believer is undesirable. You must do your homework so that you will be able to speak concisely and effectively to these issues.
Why? Because “A word spoken in due season, how good it is” (Prov. 15:23)! Isaiah also described this ability: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Is. 50:4).
6. Don’t hate them. If your mate continues to resist your words and rejects Christ, you must be very careful not to become resentful or angry toward him or her. Why? The rejection of Christ is not a personal rejection of you.
God comforted the Prophet Samuel clearing up his potential misunderstanding: “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). Jesus told His disciples the same thing. “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:16).
Therefore, understand that your mate’s rejection is specifically a refusal to allow the Lord to have authority over his or her life.
In addition, you must realize that your mate is simply blinded to who God is and what He’s done. Paul said, “the god of this age has blinded” the minds of those who don’t believe” (2 Cor. 4:4). This means that your spouse really doesn’t understand what he or she is doing. Jesus similarly acknowledged this blindness when He cried out from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
To better understand your mate’s blindness and to help you with your resentment let me illustrate it this way.
Place yourself for a moment in a very crowded line at the store, waiting to purchase some items. Everyone is pressed up against one another in a small space. The man in front of you suddenly backs up into you and steps on your toe. You quickly nudge him forward off of your toe.
In a few moments he does the same thing, but steps on your other foot and crushes a few more toes. Your anger builds at this point, and you abruptly tell this man to be more careful. Not 30 seconds go by before he loses his balance and drives his elbow into your stomach. You instantly explode, grab the man, and swing him around, ready to yell at him.
As you angrily turn the man around, you suddenly realize that he is blind. Now how do you feel? You understand that the man didn’t purposely step on your toes to intentionally hurt you, but was hindered by his blindness. The most important thing to realize is that you are the one with the problem.
Therefore, give your unsaved mate a little consideration based on your knowledge of his or her condition. Give him or her some space and patience, and pray that God will open their eyes.
7. Pray. Prayer is your greatest and most powerful weapon in the struggle to maintain your marriage. James teaches us that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The word avails means to have force and extraordinary power. Do you want to exert extraordinary force and power upon your mate’s heart and mind?
If you do, then pray! Ask God continually to speak and to touch your mate’s heart, to soften the hardness, and to bind Satan’s blinding power in his or her life.
When Jesus healed a demon possessed man He explained His method of setting people free from Satan’s power: “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Matthew 12:29).
If your loved one is to be plundered from the kingdom of darkness you must continually fight this battle in prayer. Jesus has given you authority over all the supernatural power of the enemy.
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
Your authority is not based on your power or ability, but on the powerful name of Jesus. Hold your loved one up before the throne of God and ask the Father to convict as well as to remove the blindness from your spouse. Pray, and pray again. Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Never give up!
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Remember, your mate must respond to God’s conviction and revelation of his or her own free will. You must simply do your part and leave the rest to Him. Remember to pray for yourself, that you may find the strength and courage for the path you are on today.
David’s counsel is absolutely essential for your endurance: “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD” (Ps. 27:14)!
COVENANT KEEPERS © 2013
Discover more of Pastor Steve Carr’s wisdom in this series, Living with Your Non-Christian Spouse – Part I
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit us on the Internet here
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