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My husband is training for a new job, and today my heart was full of thanksgiving for the way he works hard in obedience to God, providing for our family through his employment.
Until I remembered something that happened yesterday.
Something that hurt my feelings and injured my pride.
Something he humbly and sincerely apologized for soon after.
Something I forgave him for (almost) immediately.
Why would the memory of that offense plague my love for my husband today?
I’m really not sure.
It could just be my own self-centered flesh rendering its ugly head.
But I also wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with an enemy plot against my marriage. Why else would that thought come out of the blue in a moment when I was reveling in warm and happy thoughts toward my husband?
Not to mention the even more destructive effects caused by giving into these thoughts habitually:
disintegration of our family as we know it and as God intends it to be. Which will have staggering effects on our children and on many others within our realm of influence.
Am I just being melodramatic to make such a big leap from a tiny squabble on a Sunday morning to a divorced marriage and devastated children?
God’s Word has something to say about this:
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
“Keep with all vigilance.” Those are powerful words. Vigilance already bears the meaning of utmost care and watchfulness. How much stronger the admonition becomes when we’re admonished to use all vigilance!
And why am I to keep my heart with all vigilance?
Because it affects everything.
My heart is Satan’s prime target for those teeny entrances the Bible calls “footholds” (Ephesians 4:27). And I think it’s tiny whispers in my ear like the one I heard this morning that give Satan room for his big toe. Which he often takes as an engraved invitation to set up camp for a while.
Someone has said that a key to joy in the Christian life is to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. To stop listening to the inner grumblings and complaints of our flesh, and to start talking to ourselves about the truth — the truth about grace and God and love and forgiveness and abundance and joy.
And so this morning, instead of listening to myself grumble about yesterday’s squabble, I started talking to myself about how my husband asked for forgiveness.
And about how I granted it.
I reminded myself of the many ways I’ve sinned against him.
Of the grace I’ve been given…from God, and from my husband.
I reminded myself of all the wonderful traits my husband has, and all the ways God has blessed my life through him.
I started talking to myself about how entitlement is when I start to get the wrong impression that I deserve more than a cross…when I expect and demand certain treatment, growing stingy instead of generous with the granting of that same grace that’s been lavished so freely on me.
As I stopped listening to myself and started talking to myself, I denied Satan the foothold he was seeking. And you know what happened? He left me in peace to bask once again in thankfulness for my husband.
How do you practice resisting the enemy’s foothold in your marriage? May God grant us grace to keep our hearts with all vigilance!