This is a message especially for wives. Next week we’ll look at the other side – a message especially for husbands.
Should you always say Yes when your husband wants sex? How long do you pursue your husband if he does not pursue you? Is it OK to “just say NO” because you’re “not in the mood”? What’s the big deal about pursuing intimacy with your husband anyway?
There’s been controversy – and sometimes violence, guilt, and shame – arising from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians:
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
First, some perspective please. This Scripture does not condone marital rape or God-talk domination and condemnation. Its purpose is not to load you with more oppression. We’re talking woman-to-woman here, and let’s be honest that the enemy has twisted this Scripture and incited some to use it to bring enormous destruction and pain.
Let’s also be honest that some of us women have twisted it too. Some have used the “devote yourselves to prayer” as an excuse to refuse sex with their husband. Ok ladies; are you praying for nine months? Or five years? If you’re working a job or cleaning your house or joining girlfriends for coffee, you’re not so “devoted to prayer” that you can’t connect with your husband.
But this Scripture IS in the Bible. What does it mean? Everything God says has a reason, and is for our good. So what is it here?
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You know the Bible says you should not be anxious or afraid. But sometimes those thoughts and feelings seem to overtake your heart and mind even when you don’t want them to.
Cooperating with God to overcome your fear and anxiety will involve many things; caring for your physical health, optimizing your lifestyle, learning to take charge of your thoughts, and practicing standing firmly on God’s side in the controversy between good and evil. Of course one of the most powerful tools you can use in this journey is God’s Word.
Here are 10 Scriptures for overcoming fear and anxiety to put in your mind and heart, with some brief commentary. Meditate on these Scriptures, and your mind and emotions will become freer and more positive.
1. Fear is NOT from God.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV
Fear is a natural human response to many things, but it does not come from God. When you feel fear, you can know that it is not God speaking. The mind God has promised you is clear, strong, and more than able to deal with whatever He allows into your life. You can claim that sound mind today.
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What are you so worried about? What are you so afraid of?
The Bible says we should not be anxious or afraid. There are approximately 100 times where God says in some way “Fear not.” Followers of Jesus are not to be carrying worry. Here are just a few such Scriptures:
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 MEV
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.” Philippians 4:6 MEV
- “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mattthew 6:34, NIV
Can you imagine Peter, John, or Paul stressing over where their next meal would come from? Or worrying about what other people thought of the life they were living for Jesus? Or wringing their hands over what the devil might be up to? Or lying awake at night, fearful they would mess up the mission Jesus had entrusted to them?
Of course not!
Fear and anxiety can be expensive, debilitating, and keep you from the Fully Alive life that Jesus came to give each one of us. If fear and anxiety has been your way of life, you know how hard it can be to break free. Your thoughts and feelings can seem out of your control. Doesn’t God know that?
Thank God there is a way out! “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (1 Timothy 1:7)
But how do you get there?
The Path to Fearlessness
The men and women who knew Jesus best didn’t start out confident and unafraid. The disciples nearly lost it in fear when the storm engulfed their small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. “Don’t you care that we’re all going to die?!” they shouted at Jesus.
In the midst of storm Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves. And then He rebuked His disciples. “Why were you afraid? Why were you afraid when I was with you?” (See Mark 4:36-41)
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You’re afraid. You’re anxious and upset. So you pray. And pray some more. But what about when your fear and anxiety are still there? Does being afraid mean your spiritual life is somehow weak? What are you doing wrong?
The connection between spirituality and fear (or no fear) is not always a simple one. As a believer you know God has an answer to your problems, so when you feel anxious or afraid you go to Him for a solution. There may be times when you feel as though He is really helping you. Your prayers seem to calm your mind or help you rest better. You’re grateful. God has come through.
At other times you may feel even worse when you pray. You start grasping at anything you can think of to try and get relief from God for how you feel. You read your Bible more, go to church more, or practice some spiritual warfare technique you’re read about. You try to get help from other believers or at a special Christian event. But it feels like a vicious cycle; the more you struggle to find God’s answer, the more upset and anxious you become.
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You do not want to be married to someone who never becomes angry. There is no more boring or superficial relationship than when anger is eliminated at all costs. Please save me from an anger-less marriage!
Do I have your attention?
Anger scares many of us, for good reason. Many have been harmed by someone in authority or by a spouse during a period of rage, and have determined never to go there again. And the enemy has used anger to bring destruction in many ways.
But you wouldn’t want a God who cannot become angry, and you don’t want a spouse who cannot become angry either.
Anger is evidence that one cares about someone or something. I would go so far as to say that nothing wrong has ever been made right in the world without someone becoming angry – angry enough to fight against evil, persevere in spite of enormous opposition, and break down barriers. If you shut down all anger you eliminate passion, intimacy, and love.
Here’s a news flash; anger is not abuse! If you or your spouse physically harms or attempts to harm people or things when angry, that’s abuse. If you or your spouse verbally attack each other with untrue or demeaning words meant only to cause pain, that’s abuse. But the emotion of anger is, in itself, normal, healthy, human, and can even be godly. Like with sexual desire, grief, or excitement, it’s what one does with that emotion that makes it good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.
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