Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Glory of the Groom

Leslie Basham: When we're about to take a risk or head off in some new endeavor, somebody's bound to say something courageous like "You go first."

It's Monday, July 28; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We feel safer when somebody else makes the first move. That way, we have one last chance to decide if we really want to follow through or not.

But when God speaks to us, when He impresses our heart about some changes we need to make or another direction we should take, what's the point of waiting? Does it really matter what others do, provided we know we're obeying God? Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: In the last session, I gave wives who were listening a 30-day challenge, and in case you've forgotten or in case you weren't here with us, I just want to remind you. Here's the challenge: every day for the next 30 days, you can't say anything negative about your husband--to him or to anyone else about him.

And you need to say something every day to him and about him to someone else that you appreciate. Tell his mom, tell your kids, tell someone else and tell your husband for sure, what it is that you appreciate about him.

And you'll be amazed at how he will begin to try to live up to that kind of admiration and appreciation. Now, don't do it for that reason. That would be manipulative. But you'll find that he will really be motivated; certainly, more motivated by genuine praise than by criticism. It's true of us and it's true of the man you're married to as well.

Let me read to you a letter that I received from a woman who took that 30-day challenge. This was a woman who was in leadership in a Bible study ministry. And she wrote, after she heard that challenge and she says, "My marriage has been, how shall I say it? Less than desirable for months."

She said, "Communication is the biggest problem. When you talk until you have no more to say and you get no response, you kind of just come to the conclusion that this is the way it is. Live with it the best you can."

She said, "I knew I had pride in my life, but I just wasn't willing to give it up. Finally, I got down to business with God. I waved the white flag of surrender concerning my pride and the wall came tumbling down."

She was willing to take the first step, to be the first one to move. Rather than doing what so many do in a marriage and that's wait for your mate to move.

She said, "I did not really want to take your 30-day challenge about encouraging your husband. I do have a wonderful husband and we've been married for 18 years but I think we became too comfortable with each other and began to take each other for granted." Can anybody here can relate to having had that happen in your marriage perhaps?

"Then communication breaks down and things build up and eventually erupt." She said, "I put many expectations on him to meet needs in my life that he had stopped meeting. The bottom line is that God showed me it was up to me to humble myself and be the wife God desired me to be, no matter what kind of response I got from my husband.

"I got home from the retreat," where she had heard about this 30-day challenge "on Sunday and I worked in a word of encouragement. I had not spoken to him like that in years." Now, should it have come as any surprise to this wife that her husband had gotten tired of trying to meet her expectations? That he didn't communicate?

I don't know the wife. I don't know the husband, but I can picture (because it's true in so many relationships), he just got tired of it--tired of being criticized, tired of being picked on, tired of being told what to do, whatever.

I don't know how extreme it was in their situation but he did what so many men do, he just clammed up--some respond the opposite way, which is getting violent and angry. They tend to go to one of the two extremes. In this case, think about a wife who, for years, had not spoken words of encouragement to her husband.

Now, I don't think she started out thinking, How can I tear my husband down. I'm sure she didn't. And I'm sure she didn't even realize that's what she had done. But as she began this positive exercise, this challenge to build up her marriage, to encourage her husband, God began to change her and ultimately, her husband.

She said, "I have thought the words before but I could not bring myself to say them." And then, she just wrote, "PRIDE." And isn't it hard when you've been hurt or your husband's not been expressive of his love? You have to humble yourself to be the one to say, "I'll be the encourager. I'll start." With no expectation put on him.

She said, "Monday, he was off and home all day. We had the most wonderful day together."

Now, I'm not promising that if you start this 30-day challenge, that tomorrow you and your husband will have the most wonderful day ever. It may get worse before it gets better but in this case, God began quickly to reward her for just the little bit of encouragement she invested in her marriage.

She said, "God showed me that the wall of pride I had allowed to divide us was hindering my husband from responding to me. I had just prayed for God to work in my life and now I am reaping the benefits of many changes in my husband's life. God is continuing to transform my marriage one day at a time, simply because I was finally willing to bring down the wall of pride."

Before we move on, I just want to ask, "Is there a wall of pride in your marriage?" If there's a wall, it's there because of pride. If there's contention, Proverbs [13:10] says, "Only by pride comes contention."

And you can't make your husband do anything about that wall but you can do something about it. And one of the ways that you can begin to tear down that wall"¦of course, forgiveness may need to be sought, repentance, confession, but also you can begin positively to rebuild that relationship by speaking words of encouragement.

I hope that you're taking that 30-day challenge and that you'll write and let us know at Revive Our Hearts how it's going in your marriage, how it's going in your life, how God is changing you as you take that 30-day challenge.

Well, we started that challenge by talking about the bride in the Song of Solomon, who lost the sense of her bridegroom's presence. And she went to the daughters of Jerusalem and she said, "Help me find him."

And they said to her, "What's so special about your beloved?"

And she began to describe to them what it was that she admired and appreciated in her beloved.

We find this in Song of Solomon chapter five. But all through this book, she's describing her beloved in the most glowing and intimate and appreciative and grateful terms. She's being specific in her praise of her beloved.

She talks about his name being like perfume poured out. And of course we know that the Lord Jesus, who is our heavenly bridegroom, has hundreds of names in the Scripture. And all of those names, like perfume poured out, tell us something about His character and His person.

As we study the Song of Solomon and see the bride in that book, we see that the bridegroom is her magnificent obsession. Her eyes are fixed on him; he's what matters to her.

And as we read her description of her beloved, we realize as one writer said, that we are witnessing an unveiling of the splendor and the loveliness of the Lord Jesus. We see that we're seeing a picture of the wonder and the beauty of the Lord Jesus, as she describes her beloved.

And as she begins to speak His praise, to say what it is that she appreciates and admires about him, two things happen. First of all, something happens in her. The sense of his presence and his intimacy is restored in her life.

And second, something happens in others. The daughters of Jerusalem say to her, "Tell us how we can find him. How can we get to know this one who is so lovely, who is so wonderful, the one you describe in this way"?

You know, the greatest evangelistic plan in the world is an in-love Bride of Christ, telling others what she sees in her beloved--telling others what He means to her.

And so, if you ask me the question those daughters of Jerusalem asked that bride, what is your beloved more than any other beloved? What makes Him so special to you? I would tell you about His names.

I would tell you about who He is and what He is like. I would tell you my beloved is the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end. He's the Ancient of Days. He's the Author and the Finisher of My Faith.

I would tell you He's My Beloved. He's the Bread of Life. He's the Bright Morning Star. He's the Captain of my Salvation. And He's the Chief Cornerstone. I will tell you He's my Counselor and He's the Door. He's Emmanuel. He's the Faithful and True One.

What is my beloved more than another beloved? I would tell you that He's my Fortress and He's a Friend of Sinners. Oh, how thankful I am for that! I would tell you that He's my Good Shepherd and He's my Great Shepherd and He's the Chief Shepherd.

He's my Great High Priest and He's the Head over all things and He's the Holy One of God. And I would tell you that He's the Lamb of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and I would tell you He's the Life and He's the Light of the World and He's the Lord of Glory and He's the Lover of my soul.

And then, He's my Master and He's the Messiah and He's the Mighty God. He's the Prince of Peace. He's my Redeemer. He's my Refuge in times of trouble. He's the Resurrection and the Life. He is my Righteousness. He's my Rock. He's my Savior. He's the Son of God. He's the Son of Man. He's my Strength, my Shield, my Strong Tower and He's the Son of Righteousness, risen with Healing in His wings.

What is my beloved more than any other beloved? Oh there's no one else like Him. He is God's great eternal I AM. This is my Bridegroom.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss with great perspective for another busy Monday. If you've received a fresh appreciation for your Heavenly Bridegroom today, would you send us a note?

Let us know how God is using Revive Our Hearts in your life.

We also hope you'll contact us if you're ready to take the 30-day challenge that Nancy gave to wives earlier in the program. Here's the challenge: every day for 30 days, don't say anything negative about your husband and mention something you appreciate about him every day, to him and to someone else.

We want to help you meet this challenge and if you visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com, we'll send you periodic e-mails to remind and encourage you to say at least one word of appreciation about your husband every day for 30 days.

Again, our Web address is ReviveOurHearts.com and while you're there, you can find out how to get a copy of our current series called "Here Comes the Bridegroom" or call for more information 1-800-569-5959. 

We've all been given some good news and we shouldn't keep it to ourselves. Find out what it is on tomorrow's broadcast. Here's Nancy again to lead us in prayer.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Oh, Lord, how beautiful You are. *More precious than silver, more costly than gold, more beautiful than diamonds and nothing we desire compares with You.

There is none else like You. We love You. We worship You. We magnify You, our Beloved. Amen.

* Lynn Deshazo, "More Precious Than Silver"

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.