Posted by: Derek Guyer | February 7, 2009

Stephen’s Story: Life Through the Spirit


A month and a half ago, I had the distinct pleasure of being contacted by a man named Stephen. Stephen, by his own admission, had neglected his marriage over the last couple of years and his young wife had felt the pain. Unfortunately, though, his indifference had pushed his wife away. His disregard for her emotional needs and both of their spiritual needs had taken its toll on her heart.  She had begun looking for love, attention, and fulfillment elsewhere. 

In November of 2008, she began talking to another man. Within no time at all, she had lost interest in working things out with her husband. To date, any attempts made at reconciling the relationship and healing from the past have been met with strong resistence. She continues to chase down that relationship, with no regard for her marital responsibilities before God. In fact, she has spoken of God as if he’s looked down at her laughing as she hurts. She has really begun purusing her own will with new strength as she lays aside the will of the Father.

To an outsider, the decision to stay with someone who has no regard for your feelings and how they’re treating you is ridiculous. But Stephen knows two things:

  1. God hates divorce and has clearly said that what He’s brought together should never be seperated. 
  2. His wife’s lost condition before God and need for grace is far more important than his own thoughts about how he feels or his desires to see things work out. 

With this in mind, Stephen has taken up an incredible fight. It’s not a fight to save his own feelings, rather he’s begun the battle of denying himself and searching for God’s perfect will in all things. Does he still struggle and fight to keep himself under control and to guard his own words? Absolutely. He fails and he succeeds with all of this. But, he realizes, more than ever, his wife needs to see the gospel in it’s purest form, through the sacrifice of his own life. Though still flawed, Stephen has taken up his cross and begun to follow Jesus in a different way than ever before. He’s begun to allow Christ to use him as a vessel in the midst of his own pain. He’s begun to have that same attitude in him that was in Christ that Paul mentioned in Philippians chapter two, specifically in verses five through eleven.

Stephen knows this fight is likely to be very long and hard. But, he’s also learning that the fight is not with his wife. Stephen has learned that his battle is not with flesh and blood, but with the spiritual forces of this dark world. He can’t win this battle in his own strength, and so he’s begun looking to his own Savior for hope and direction. He’s an ambassdor for Christ and His Kingdom to his wife. He could work as hard as he wanted to fix his marriage, but until his wife knows his Savior, he will never have the marriage God intended.

Stephen doesn’t need your pity or your sympathy. Stephen is a powerful example of the very thing we should all be doing. He’s getting out of the way, so that Jesus Christ can work through him to save one of His lost lambs.   He’s depending on the Holy Spirit to lead every move every minute. Why? Because he knows he’s a broken man whose feeble attempts to fix things will only make them worse. He’s resigned himself to a different way of living. It’s called “life through the Spirit”.

Let his example be an example for all of us. Our suffering in this life is just a “momentary light affliction” in comparison with the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ. So, I encourage you to “consider it pure joy, my brother, when you face various trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)

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