Mark: Yesterday at church, our pastor, Mike Baker, preached on Genesis 12:1-9. It’s the story of when God told Abram he needed to leave where he was to go where God wanted him to go. It was an 800-mile, 8-10 year journey where Abram had to depend upon God to show him where to go and what to do.
Jill: Mike shared that the journey of faith is a constant leaving from where you are and walking towards where God wants you to go. That’s what growth and maturity looks like in real life.
Mark: While God may ask us to physically “leave” and “go,” often what he asks us to leave are our hurts, habits, and hangups, as they put it in the Celebrate Recovery ministry. These are the things that get in the way of us being about to move forward in life and relationships. They keep us from reaching our full potential as a person. They knock us off course and headed in the wrong direction.
Jill: What struck Mark and I was how much yesterday’s message applied to marriage. You see, our marriage is strengthened as we grow and mature personally. As we personally reach our full potential, our marriage experiences it’s full potential as well!
Mark: So the question we need to ask ourselves is: What does God want me to leave today? Here are some thoughts to get you started thinking in the right direction:
Hurts: abuse, rejection, fear, mistrust, self-protection, anger, unforgiveness, dysfunctional family of origin, or personal vows (“I’ll never let another man hurt me.” Or, “I’ll never let another woman control me.”)…
Habits: Pornography, steamy (erotica) novels, laziness, selfishness, drugs or alcohol, smoking, criticism, lying, workaholism, spending issues, all types of control…
Hangups: Thinking your way is the right way or the only way, greed, impatience, lack of self-control, procrastination, pride, perfectionism, people-pleasing, materialism, lack of faith in God…
Jill: At some point we need to drive a stake in the ground and say, “Today’s the day I’m getting serious about this.” Sometimes it’s just a decision that needs to be made and followed through on. Other times it will take extra effort like counseling, asking for accountability, or even attending something like Celebrate Recovery.
Mark: I remember when I knew I had to leave my affair relationship in order to go where God wanted me to go which was a restored marriage and family. It wasn’t easy because I had to die to what I wanted in order to experience what God wanted. What He wanted was best for me and I can now fully attest to that, but making that decision required a “leaving” and a “going.” It also required counseling and accountability.
Jill: I remember the day God convicted my heart of criticism. I was reading Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your husband’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your husband, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your husband’s eye.” Yes, yes, I know…that verse doesn’t say “husband.” It almost always says “brother.” But that day, I read it as husband and God took the plank in my eye and hit me over the head with it. I made a conscious decision to “leave” criticism and “go” to grace. It’s been an imperfect journey for sure, but one I’m glad I’m on.
Mark: We never stay where we’re at when we’re truly following Christ. So, for the sake of your marriage, what do you need to leave today?