Jesus’ bride will be a spotless and victorious bride!
I want to start by saying that I don’t hate men. Men are not the problem. The problem is society. The problem is Christian culture. The problem, ultimately, is the fallen state of this world. So the fact that the defeated enemy uses husbands to stop their wives from fulfilling their destiny is not the only way he works against the marital relationship. I’m sure that he also uses wives to stop husbands from fulfilling their destiny, too. I just don’t know this scenario from the man’s point of view. That is a post for a man to write. But I have both seen and personally experienced wives being literally robbed of their ministry and destiny by husbands who refuse to allow them to obey what God has told them to do—even Christian husbands—and it doesn’t always end well for the marriage. And I wish I had the solution, but I don’t.
Ann has a powerful prophetic gift and a calling for evangelism. Her husband, Bob, is a hard-working Christian man. He can’t always make it to church because of his busy work schedule, but he is not anti-church or anti-God in any way. Honestly, he’s just tired. Ann works, too. But Ann manages to make it to church on Sunday and Wednesday night. Bob doesn’t spend time reading the Bible or in prayer like he knows he should. He’s too busy. Those times when his work schedule would allow him to go to church, he often chooses to stay home and watch sports on TV.
Recently Ann was invited to speak at a church four hours away from home. In the past, Bob has expressed his desire for Ann not to go. This time he forbid her to go. She went anyway, making the long round-trip in a single day. The church that had invited her had offered her a place to stay, but Ann felt like it was more important to get back home to Bob as quickly as possible. Of course, Bob was asleep when she got back home long after midnight. Things have been very tense between them ever since, but Ann knew that she had to obey God and go. Ann feels torn because she loves Bob. What can she do, but obey God and pray that He will make things better between them?
Zoe also has a powerful prophetic gift, and she has a calling for intercession. Her husband, Walter, is also a Christian, both of them have been out of work for several years now. At first Walter was very diligent about looking for a job, but the economy where they live is so depressed that there is literally nothing at all for either of them. And the situation is even worse because Walter and Zoe are foreigners, so it is doubly hard to find work, even when it does become available. Zoe knows that they were called to their host country. Zoe lives by faith, looking to God as their Source. She never knows where the money for rent or groceries will come from, but God is faithful.
Being out of work for such a long time has sunk Walter into such a deep depression that he has retreated into the internet. He spends entire days watching End Times prophecy and Christian conspiracy videos on YouTube and playing video war games. These things have taken Walter to a very dark place, indeed. Now he interacts with the real world with deep suspicion and mistrust. Walter leads daily family prayer time, but only because Zoe insists.
Recently Zoe felt called to go on a prayer trip that would take her away from home for a week. Walter was enraged. He accused Zoe of everything from running away to having an affair. In his rage, Walter smashed Zoe’s family heirloom vase. The sound of Walter’s shouts and the broken ceramics brought their children rushing into the room, in fear for their mother’s safety. Zoe went on the prayer trip, but of course she returned to a sullen and suspicious husband.
Mary also has a powerful prophetic gift and a calling to encourage the saints. Her husband, Luke, was a Christian when they married. After their Sunday school teacher cheated him out of $300, Luke left the church, saying that he would rather hang out with sinners because at least they were honest. Luke tolerated Mary’s Christianity but certainly did not encourage it. Not long after all this, Mary began finding pornographic websites on the computer. When she confronted Luke about it, he apologized, saying that he was just curious. But rather than stopping, Luke just got better about hiding it, erasing the browser history when he finished using the computer. But pornography kept turning up in their shared email. Finally Luke accused Mary of being cold, saying that he needed to find release somewhere, and at least he wasn’t going to prostitutes.
Mary’s church was preparing for a short-term missions trip, and seeing her interest, someone anonymously offered to pay Mary’s way. Mary was thrilled, but at the same time she worried, knowing that if she left Luke alone at home, he would spend his time looking at porn. She felt such deep shame about the issue that Mary didn’t ask for prayer, as she would for anything else going on in her life. When she returned from the mission trip, Luke told her that she should go stay with her mom for a while. So without unpacking, Mary left their house and went to stay with her mom. They have remained separated now for several months.
These are certainly not the only circumstances that the defeated enemy can use against women to derail their calling. I am sure that there are probably many other stories in which the wives have chosen to obey their husband instead of God, in the hopes of keeping the peace. As I observed in my last post: The Defeated Enemy Fights Dirty. He uses the people closest to us, people we trust, to poke our wounds or to stop our ministries. In each of these cases, the husband had abdicated his position as the spiritual head of the household.
Unfortunately, this is a problem of epidemic proportions that has necessitated women becoming strong. And lest you think that this is just a result of feminism, there is actually a Biblical example of a godly woman who obeyed God despite her husband’s wishes: Abigail (1 Samuel 25). Her husband, Nabal, was a Jew. But he certainly wasn’t listening to God about David, as Abigail was. The story of Abigail and Nabal comes to a swift conclusion, with a happy ending for Abigail, but who know how many years leading up to this that Abigail had had to go against Nabal. Perhaps at every Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles for years Abigail may have gone alone to Jerusalem as Moses commanded, while Nabal stayed home sulking and working his fields.
This abdication is probably a factor in many Christian divorces. It certainly is in mine. Some people tell divorced women (and men) that they are not suited for ministry because of divorce (citing 1 Timothy 3:2). If that’s the case, then explain the Samaritan woman—one of the very first evangelists—who was divorced five times and living with a man (John 4). God is not rigid and legalistic, as many of His people tend to be. As I’ve observed many times: it takes two to make a marriage work, but only one to wreck it. And although God hates divorce, He loves divorced people and Jesus died for them. Divorce doesn’t have to mean the end of ministry. In the case of 1 Timothy, Paul was talking about overseers (or bishops), men who lead more than one church. Their lives need to be beyond reproach. This rule doesn’t apply to every person called to ministry (and guess what: we’re all called to ministry in one way or another). Furthermore, in first century society, women didn’t have the right to divorce, only men could divorce. So a divorced overseer would have been a man who had sent his wife away for whatever reason. He didn’t have to have a “godly” reason (like infidelity), he only had to desire to send her away.
So don’t put God in a box, and don’t limit His women, either. Jesus certainly didn’t! God is good!
 And that one is never a third party, no matter what some people think. The other woman is called a home-wrecker, but she could never wreck a marriage without the full and willing cooperation of the husband. He is the one who broke his vows, not the other woman.
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