[Jesus] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.Philippians 2:7-8, NKJV
Sometimes out of fear and pride, I obsess over my reputation as a husband. Do I meet all my wife’s expectations? What if my small group of friends think I am an unfit husband or I am not sensitive to Rita’s every need? Do my children respect me as their mom’s husband or do they quietly wish I would be a better listener, emotionally engaged and not so selfish? I am learning these are not the right questions, because I cannot control my image of being a flawless husband. Only when I am a man who desperately needs my Savior’s love and grace can I become a husband of no reputation. Only as I abide in Christ, am I able to serve my wife as she needs to be served and loved. In time, I can acquire new skills and a mindset that surrenders my reputation.
“Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 30:8).
Inward Trust Not Outward Control
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
I can make the excuse that a volatile, chaotic childhood drove me to obsess over controlling my environment into one of stability and certainty. Fear of being in an unpredictable situation may be a reason for my unhealthy obsession for control, but it is not a pass for my self-reliance. If I seek money for my security, I have replaced my total trust in the Almighty with an idol that requires regular sacrifices at the altar of selfish ambition. I can say the reason I work hard and sacrifice time away from the family is for the family, but I alone play the fool, since my family needs me now, not later when they won’t even know me. Inward trust creates peace and calm.
My Savior’s Approval First, My Sweetie’s Second
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:17-18).
I get this backwards. I strive for Rita’s approval, but when I intuit disapproval, I feel angry and like a failure. Similar to a panting dog, with his purple tongue flapping, I wait for a pat on the head and a treat for bringing the newspaper. But I quickly discover what she really wanted was for me to be still and be with her, so my sense of disapproval grew, because I didn’t pay attention to what she wanted. This is not my wife’s issue—it’s mine. I have to own my approval addiction and grow beyond my prideful attitude for my wife’s unconditional approval. She can’t and she shouldn’t. She can’t because 100% acceptance is reserved for Jesus and she shouldn’t hide her feelings to feed my ego. Only in seeking Christ’s acceptance first will I feel accepted. The beauty of seeking God’s approval first is that her approval will in many cases follow the Lord’s.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the humility and courage to die to my need to manage my image as a husband and to totally trust You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Application: Write a sentence or two of gratitude to God for your sweetie and share it with her.
Related Readings: Judges 18:6; Psalm 101:3; Proverbs 22:1; John 6:27; Revelation 3:1