By: Allie Joy Hudson
3 min. read
Closing the Gap
The other day, I was home alone, and I felt the Lord lead me to look for a sermon on marriage to watch online.
“Okay,” I thought. “That’s a bit random, but alright.”
I went to YouTube and typed in “marriage sermon.” I came across a sermon from a marriage conference that Craig Groeschel, Life Church pastor, preached. I’m so glad the Lord led me to watch it. I’ve been mulling over and have been convicted and challenged by Pastor Craig’s words for the past couple of weeks. When my husband got home, we even watched it together.
The practical wisdom that he shares really stuck me. He talks about how it’s so easy to have good intentions to pursue, love, and care for your spouse. But, it’s also easy to allow laziness to set in. Craig Groeschel gives us three practical ways to “close the gap between intention and action.”
Here’s the link to the sermon if you’d like to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plJdnx7zFFs
I highly recommend it! For now, I’ll expand a bit on the three points that he shares. I hope you’re challenged by these reminders as I was, and that you can carry this wisdom into your marriage and, truly, any relationship you have.
“If you think something good, say it.”
This is point number one. Man, what a small thing to do that makes such a big difference. And yet, we find ourselves struggling to carry it out. So many times, I have a positive thought about my husband: who he is, one of his strengths, something he does that I appreciate, how he looks, etc., etc. Words are such a blessing to him and really build him up. So, why do I keep these things to myself?
Craig Groeschel challenges us to not withhold the blessing of our words from our spouses. He cites Hebrews 3:13 which says, “But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Every good thing in us is from the Lord. So, if you have a positive thought about your spouse, this is the leading of the Holy Spirit. Share this with your spouse! If you think something good, say it.
“If you think something special, do it.”
In this second piece of practical advice, Craig Groeschel challenges us to pursue our spouse with special acts of kindness, be it something elaborate or small, a getaway or a thoughtful text. These actions communicate to our spouse that we treasure them, care for them, and that we are intentionally thinking about them even when they aren’t around.
Just like our words, the Holy Spirit inspires these special actions. So even when we’re tired or unmotivated or even upset with our spouse, let’s follow the Spirit’s leading and do something to bless them. This is selfless, self-sacrificial love.
Groeschel brings up James 4:17, which says, “So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.” Man, that’s convicting! It’s so easy for us to brush off kind things we can do for each other, but when we do that, we are held responsible. Let this motivate you to give even when it’s hard to and to love like Jesus does. If you think something special, do it.
“If you want something different, be it.”
How often do we long for what we don’t have? Maybe we want our spouse to behave a certain way or we want our marriage to be a certain way. Though these longings aren’t inherently bad, when we get into a headspace like this, it’s easy to shift the blame.
Yes, we can call each other up and hold each other accountable.
Yes, we should be honest about words or actions that hurt our feelings.
And yes, we should communicate hopes and ideas that we have.
But let’s not do these things without forgetting to examine our own hearts first. Think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7.
If there’s something you want your marriage to be, pray about the ways that you can work towards that. Bring your own motives before the Lord and ask for His help to be an awesome spouse that honors Him. If you want something different, be it.
I hope these practical and powerful points from Craig Groeschel challenge and encourage you like they did for me. When we love our spouse intentionally, this honors God because it is a picture of His intentional love for us. People notice a love like this.
Let’s bring our marriages – and our thoughts, actions, and motives – before Jesus. May we love Him and love each other well.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven for three and a half years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.