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Recently, I shared Ephesians 6:10-17, the passage about the armor of God, with some wonderful women. I was able to read through the passage, share a few thoughts and provide encouragement on the subject of spiritual warfare. The passage lingered with me, though, and I returned to reading it myself, wondering what I was searching for. As I read the words carefully, one small phrase jumped out at me. I’ve considered the phrase before, but it came to me as encouragement for those of you who wonder if you’ll have regrets in standing for your marriage.
In this type of situation, it can be hard to know what the future holds. We wonder what our lives will look like in five years, next year, even tomorrow. The “what ifs” are loud, undermining our resolve to stand firm.
How to Overcome Regrets When Standing for Your Marriage
You’re probably pretty familiar with this passage in Ephesians 6. If you would like to read the passage, here’s a link to it. We’re looking specifically at verses 10-17.
The verse I want to really focus on is Ephesians 6:13.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
This is the verse that jumped out at me as I continued to look at this passage. I think it really holds the answer for those who are waiting on God to redeem their marriage. The particular phrase that I latched on to was, “…and after you have done everything, to stand.”
While we have no guarantees on how our marriage will turn out, we can have no regrets in our stand!
Look at these words and phrases from this passage:
- …be strong…
- …put on…
- …can take your stand…
- …put on…
- …may be able to stand…
- …have done everything…
- …Stand firm…
- …feet fitted…
- …take up…
- …you can extinguish…
What do you see?
Faith In God
This passage starts with a reminder to be strong in the Lord, and to put on the full armor of God. Paul doesn’t just say, “Go fight, and good luck!” Rather, he starts this section with a reminder of where our strength lies. In fact, if you count, you see that he reminds us twice, in eighteen words, in whom we have our faith.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Holding to our faith in God is not always easy, but our faith in an omnipotent God gives us boldness to face the right battle. So often, in messy marriages, we treat our spouse as the enemy. While we can justify feelings, we need to remember that our spouse is not actually our enemy.
Preparation for the Right Battle
Circumstances in a struggling marriage can make us feel hurt, even angry. When you want to lash out at your spouse, though, remember that the armor of God is to be used for a spiritual battle.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
We can fight our spouse all we want, but the real battle is one we can’t see with our physical eyes. The pieces of armor are protective. Most of the armor that is listed is to protect your body from top to bottom. Why? Because a spiritual battle can cause a lot of damage. The enemy isn’t just going to attack your mind, or your heart. He’s going to make a full attack in an attempt to derail you.
For those in struggling marriages, consider how hurt you feel when your spouse says they’re leaving. How hard it can be to hear that a spouse has cheated on you. Those really break our hearts. But the devil doesn’t just leave it there, does he? No, he sends doubts (our minds), sometimes we can experience physical or mental distress, we might struggle financially – the possibilities are endless. That’s how he attacks – all out, no holds barred.
That’s why we need the full armor of God, as defense for ourselves. Along with that, we’re told to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Why do we needs God’s Word? We need it to be able to combat the enemy. We need to be in the Word, to know and understand what God says.
Have you ever bundled up to go outside in winter? If you’re just running to grab something out of the car, you may not worry about too many layers. But if you plan to be shoveling or playing with the kids, you layer up because you know you’ll be outside a while. There are no shortcuts! You put on multiple layers, you get a hat, a scarf, gloves and boots. You don’t want to be cold.
There’s the same level of commitment in suiting up with the armor of God. You may not choose the full armor if you’re just praying for your spouse to have a good day. But when push comes to shove, when marriage is on the line, it is best to put on each piece of armor. To me, this says a couple of things.
First, it tells God that we recognize the seriousness of this battle. Second, we tell our heart and mind that we are going into this battle prepared. Third, when we show up against the enemy, he sees that we do not come in our own power.How to Overcome Regrets When Standing for Your Marriage Click To Tweet
…and after you have done everything, to stand.
Preparing for battle, with faith in the Lord and a commitment to His calling allows us to journey through this time of standing for our marriage. God doesn’t just send us in to the battle empty-handed, though. We have hope in Him, we have the knowledge from His Word, and we have the testimonies and examples from those who have gone before us.
I believe God often puts people in our paths who ahead of us in our journey. They cheer us on, sharing some of the “how to” from their journey. We are wise to listen to them, to seek them out for counsel and mentoring, to learn from their battles.
If your marriage ends in restoration, then praise God! We can thank Him for His redemptive work in your marriage.
If your marriage does not end in restoration, though, you can move forward in peace. You can overcome the regrets you may feel because you know that you have done everything. Everything! You’ve put on the full armor, you’ve taken up the sword of the Spirit and have spent time in God’s Word. You put your faith in God, you prepared for the right battle and you kept your commitment. You sought wise counsel and followed advice of trusted mentors.
The flip side of this, though, is that you don’t want to be wondering “what if” in five years, if your marriage has not ended in restoration. You don’t want to be questioning whether your quick devotional in the morning was enough. Maybe you’ll wish you would have taken your mentor’s advice. Perhaps you didn’t put on the helmet to protect your mind. There are many “what ifs” and you don’t want to be wondering about any of them.
Combat them right here, right now, by living out this passage today!
If you’re looking for a more detailed study of the Armor of God, check out Priscilla Shirer’s Bible Study, The Armor of God.
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Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Crystal at Fresh Market Friday, Susan at DanceWithJesus, Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Suzie Eller at #livefreeThursday