Loving Your Spouse to Hell
|Photo by Mari Lezhava|
AHAB IS MOODY AGAIN. Naboth won’t sell the King his vineyard―a vineyard the King wants so he can have a bigger garden. Naboth is a righteous man and he won’t trade his father’s inheritance for money. What does Ahab do? He goes home and sucks his thumb. He didn’t get the vineyard, but he still knows how to whine as much as any crushed grape. Life doesn’t give him what he wants, so he indulges in the sin of pouting―a sin adults, as well as children, can be guilty of.
He tells his wife all about it. She will give him what he wants. She comforts his pouting and leaves his character in poverty. She is from Tyre where Kings are above the law―her daddy always got what he wanted. Now she will get her husband what he wants. All she has to do is throw a righteous man under the bus and her husband will get what he wants. Hey, anything for the marriage.
There have been many innocents down through the ages that have been sacrificed on the altar of love. When this love―marital or otherwise―becomes a god, it will then inevitably become a devil.
Men, don’t marry a woman who cares more about your comfort than your character. If you choose to marry, then marry a woman who kicks your butt if you insist on unrighteous attitudes and actions. Ahab should’ve had a wife that challenged him to be righteous in his dealings with Naboth and not simply help feed his own immaturities. Search for a gal who will help you live godly―not one who will merely help you feel good. (This could be said of close friendships as well as marriage.) Sadly, our King didn’t marry such a woman. He married one who excused his moodiness instead of confronting it.
Julie Andrews or Al Pacino?
But there is more instruction here than just who we marry or befriend. We are tempted to let ourselves go and anticipate comfort whenever Jezebel whispers in our ear that she will take care of us. But ultimately, she doesn’t take care of us. At least not in the Julie Andrews sense of the phrase. If anything, she means it in more of an Al Pacino fashion. The bread and stolen waters she feeds us initially taste sweet, but they are poison. The whispers of the witch may warm our wounded ego, but it is only to bring about our own demise. She sings a lullaby to us while she prepares her cursed knife.
Always look out for self-pity. It makes us particularly susceptible to the manipulation of sin. It speaks to our ego: ‘You deserve better than this’, ‘God wouldn’t allow you to go through this pain’, ‘You deserve better than how your spouse treats you’, ‘You should be getting more recognition for your hard work and giftedness’. Self-pity whispers to us about how unfair our life circumstances are until we repeat these phrases in agreement. Once it convinces us that we are not getting what we deserve―once we have fully adopted the victim mentality that it lulls us into―then it presents a way of escape. Temptation is most effective when it presents itself as a form of relief.
In contrast to self-pity, God calls his men to a life of thanksgiving and repentance. Men who live this way are constantly amazed at how much better God is being to them then they deserve. They are aware of their daily shortcomings and sins. They confess them to God and thank Him for the gift of forgiveness. They thank God for their daily food and mean it.
They do not complain about not having the trendiest of shoes. They are too busy thanking God for the gift of two feet. Jezebel wants them to believe they deserve far better. But they refuse this attitude. Instead, they realise that God treats them with far more kindness than they have ever come close to meriting on their own. Every day is a gift. Even in life’s hard season―and we all have valleys of pain―they can give thanks, for they do not walk those valleys alone.
We all need comfort at times. But true disciples go to God for their rest and refuse the fake medications of sinful comforts. These disciples attune their ears to God’s healing voice and shut out worldly whispers by refusing self-pity. Their aim is not to nurture wounded pride. It’s to kill it.
This has been an extract from our book Elijah Men Eat Meat: Readings to slaughter your inner Ahab and pursue Revival and Reform