I once thought greatness was measured in a husband by his ability to provide and willingness to please his wife. By the fruit of that notion I moved my family four times in four years – bigger and better at the speed of home equity. But the fruit of any vain labor will eventually ferment and intoxicate the one sustained by it.
My efforts continued blindly until the day the phone rang “we no longer have the budget for your services” one call after another, fifty in a row. I’d been sucker-punched by the truth, just in time to watch the enemy run off with my income, and the value of our home. The emperor who had no clothes was now out of “hush” money.
The bank sold our home for half the amount we paid. My wife, already humbled by the experience, had her sights on a particular rental. But God stepped in and offered more than just a refuge for my large family. We settled instead into a tiny rental with a moldy campground bathroom and perpetually broken air unit.
It was perfect for us and we hated it. She referred to it as an “ugly plaid shirt, two sizes two small,” that God insisted she wear. I call it throwing a fit, but I didn’t blame her – it was my fault. He made it clear that we were to move in for a time to adjust our thinking and renew our minds. We stayed. She made it a home.
Strongholds are deeply rooted in misunderstanding
Several months later in the deep summer, about midday, I fell asleep on the couch. It was a long morning of old coffee and reheated resumes – one after another – ninety degrees outside and ninety five in the house. Caffeine is no match for the snake-charm of monotony but I didn’t care. Falling asleep was my way of feeding the pigeons from the park bench instead of working.
Or maybe God had His hand on my forehead, waiting for me to stop punching the air and collapse from exhaustion. When I awoke, the words “Remember Adam” had been impressed upon my heart. The treasure of Godly impression is that He says what He means. Each word is a map telling us where to dig. So I spent the afternoon dusting off “Adam” and uncovered a seated portrait of myself.
In that portrait I saw a man like Adam, who sat down when he needed to stand – who gave up his authority to avoid conflict. I remembered that Eve was tempted with knowledge but had forgotten that Adam was tempted by Eve’s good appraisal. He should’ve said “No” but after fifteen years of marriage I can see why he didn’t.
Nothing on earth moves me like the encouragement of my wife. And nothing can injure me like her shame. By design, she has great influence in my life. If she is close to God that influence becomes an extension of His hand. But if she is operating from pain or some other contingency, that influence can become a weapon of the enemy.
In that same portrait I saw a saved man assigning himself god-like value for his ability to provide. But it was actually a curse worn in the flesh like a badge. When it was ripped away he suffered because he had forgotten the truth. A man’s value is according to the price that was paid for him, not the sweat of his brow or career status.
Love your spouse as act of worship (for God)
The old adage “If mama’s not happy…” is the echo of Eve and a poison fix that keeps women miserable and men numb to confrontation. Likewise, saved men should not see themselves as “the provider” but rather as the conduit through which God provides. One glorifies man, the other glorifies God. Let’s adapt a new catchphrase: “if Abba’s not happy… nobody’s happy!” As a result our marriage will become a Christ centered, priceless original, instead of a Christian centered knock off.
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Kevin Adams: Author, popular blogger, and former successful businessman, who, after losing everything he worked years to achieve, made a radical choice to let go of conventional thinking, and live literally by faith in God, to see where it would lead him. Kevin shares his experience with a transparent, elevated writing style that has challenged and encouraged thousands, earning him a trusted reputation in the Christian community.
His new release from Zondervan, available May 6, 2014 is on sale now. The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends