Discontentment is a struggle shared by almost all single and married people. One of Satan’s biggest tricks is getting married people wanting to be single and single people wanting so badly to be married, thinking it will solve all of their life’s problems. No one is actually grateful for what God has given them.
We often take our discontentment to God in prayer, not as a humble request for change or help, but as a demand that he owes to us. In fact, many Christians have been taught that if we did things “God’s way,” he would give us our payoff. We’ve done our obedience, either as a chaste single or a faithful spouse, and we now want to know why God isn’t living up to his end of the deal.
Instead of living with humility as forgiven sinners before a holy God, we live as if we deserve every bit of comfort we desire, especially in our marriages and singleness. When we believe Jesus isn’t all that holy and we aren’t all that sinful, we think Jesus ought to hook us up. Not only should he slip us a free burger, like our high school buddy working the McDonald’s drive-thru, but he must give us what we want because he owes it to us.
Realizing how far we really are from God’s holy standard causes a drastic change in our posture toward him and toward our spouse or our desires within singleness. Thankfully, this distance is not our final identity before him, and I don’t want you to get stuck here. But it must be where we start if we are ever to experience the depths of his grace. You can’t experience the riches of grace if you think it’s owed to you; it’s not even grace at that point.
Knowing I don’t deserve anything from God is a far cry from feeling like I deserve or am entitled to an easy and happy marriage because I was good enough to earn it.
Our posture before God must be one of humble brokenness, knowing we don’t deserve anything from him. But that doesn’t mean we beat ourselves up, get stuck in shame, or mope around like he doesn’t love us. Our identity before God is as his beloved sons and daughters, new creations resurrected to new life in Christ. But we can appreciate and unleash this identity only if we know by our posture that we never deserved it to begin with.
This humble posture can become an incredible weapon for you in your marriage or singleness.
The aim of this devotional series is to dismantle the entitlement we’ve been taught to have in our romance lives and replace it with the sound foundation of who we are in Christ. The truth is, we don’t need to add anything to what he has already given us, because what he’s already given us is the most incredible gift in the universe. Our lives will never be the same once we internalize this idea.
(Note: These devotionals were originally written to men only in the book Beyond the Battle: A man’s guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world. They have been modified here for male and female readers. Please know that abuse is never okay and should never be accepted within a marriage. Please seek immediate professional help if you are being abused and safely separate yourself and your children from the abuser. Part of this devotional is meant to help us find contentment and gratitude within the day-to-day flaws and shortcomings of our spouses, where God wants us to show selfless love and find freedom in his love for us. This does not include abuse. God does not want or require you to stay in an abusive relationship.)
Questions for Married People:
1. What expectations have you placed on your spouse that they are not meeting?
2. How does it make you feel toward them when they don’t meet your expectations? How does it make you feel toward God?
3. What have you tried to do over the years to get your spouse to meet your expectations? What has been the fruit of these efforts?
Questions for Singles:
1. What expectations do you have for your future in regard to marriage? Do you feel entitled to marry someday? If so, what do you feel entitled to receive within that marriage?
2. Do you have peace about being single? Why or why not?
Prayer for the Day: God, show me how broken, rebellious, and deserving of judgment I am apart from your saving grace. Thank you for your saving grace.