The fifth session at the Ironwood couples’ retreat this year dealt with spiritual battles we all face in marriage. Our speakers were Dennis and Marilyn St. Lawrence. Dennis is the pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Chariton, Iowa. Ironwood provides access to the messages as well. Go to ironwoodaudio.org User name: CRC2017 and the PW: Transformed.
1. Recognize the enemy: Satan (John 10.10).
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
-Steal your joy, kill your relationship, destroy your home.
-As God’s children, we understand that this isn’t just between us.
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
2. Cry out to God (Psalm 127.1; Ephesians 6.12).
Psalm 127:1 (NKJV)
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
-Prayer is our most vital and most neglected tool that we have.
-With all prayer.
-The prayer of the upright is the LORD’s delight (Proverbs 15).
-I may not know what to ask, but the Holy Spirit will pray for me (Romans 8).
-If you can’t go to God together, go as an individual.
3. Give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5.18; Ephesians 5.20).
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 …in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV)
20 …giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Giving thanks is an act of the will and in spite of my emotions.
4. Realize the cause.
-Identify the problem. Attack it and not the person.
5. Take personal responsibility.
-Be willing to bear more than you should. We tend to overlook our part and magnify the part of our spouse.
-Move toward reconciliation. Seek forgiveness.
-You cannot take the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit away from Him.
6. See this as a chance to die to self.
-An opportunity for humility.
-God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
7. Commit yourself to love (1 Corinthians 13).
1 Corinthians 13:4–8 (NKJV)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
Romans 12:21 (NKJV)
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
8. Guard your thoughts (Philippians 4.8).
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
-Mentally going through this list removes all your excuses.
-Arrest negative thoughts about your wife.
-Ignore the flaws; admire the strengths.
9. Speak words that build up.
-Hostile comments behave as cancerous cells which multiply and destroy the relationship.
10. Rest in the sovereignty of God.
Romans 8:28–29 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NKJV)
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
-Every burden is met with the grace of God.
-We must appropriate the grace of God. Make sure it’s not given in vain.
-God gives you everything you need. Believe it.
-Conquer your fear with faith by resting in the promises of God.
-You can be a marriage missionary.
-Don’t be weary in well-doing. Fight the good fight of faith. Have determination.