What do you have that you did not receive?

From where does your success and security come?  It is often said that women want security.  They want a man who will take care of them emotionally and physically and plan well for their future and their family.  Men, on the other hand, often have the drive to care for and provide for their families.  Their role most often is provider, leader and “man of the house”.

God gave us these roles to mirror the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church (Eph 5.22-30).  But just because we have been given these roles and our natural desires are intended to portray the beauty of Christ in our lives, we cannot rely on our spouses to fulfill us.  We must see the bigger picture.  Women want to feel secure and cared for.  A man will always fail; there is no perfect man.  He will respond emotionally poorly, refuse love or fail to financially provide at least once in his role as husband and father.  A woman will despise her role, disrespect her husband or neglect her children at least once in her time as wife and mother.

It will happen.

It is not all right and excusable that we sin.  But sometimes God allows us to sin to remind us that we are not yet perfected, that we still need to rely on Him and His strength.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

– 1 John 2.1-2

We have an advocate who stands before God, declaring our sin as punished in Himself.  We are guilty, but our punishment has been paid.

Sometimes our spouses will fulfill well their roles.  Some men might provide beyond all that his wife and family could ask or need.  He might be emotionally available and strong to love and lead his family.  And a wife might be a tender, nurturing mother and encouraging and supportive wife.  She might work a part time (or full time) job and keep the home running without complaint.  Yet even in our successes, we must remember that our satisfaction and fulfillment does not come from our spouse.

If the physical and emotional home stands forever or if it struggles to survive, we must always remember that:

“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”

– John 3:27

Nothing.  We cannot be successful, we cannot be the under dog.  We cannot have children nor can we maintain a life of abstinence or even be barren.  We cannot impact or serve the world, and we cannot be worldly and frivolous.  Nothing happens except by the permission and grace of God.

“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

– 1 Cor 4.7

If you have monetary success, a strong and healthy marriage, a happy family, your dream job and great community, remember that it is all a gift from God.  You have received it.  If you are financially strapped, if your marriage is difficult, your children rebellious, a terrible job and no friends, remember that God has promised to supply all of your needs and is working your circumstances out for His glory and your good.  Do not revel in your trials and draw others into your pity party, but praise God for the blessings of life and salvation and pursue Him to His glory through it.  Because it is all from Him.

You have nothing that you did not receive.  Good or bad.  Whatever you have is entrusted to you for stewardship and whatever you lack has been withheld for your good and His glory.  Trust Him.  Do not find security in your spouse, your belongings or your job.  Find your security in the author of the universe.

hug

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