February 6, 2013
by Charles R. Swindoll
Ephesians 5:33 NLT
The more the grace of God is awakened in a marriage, the less husbands will attempt to control and restrict and the less wives will feel the need to "please no matter what." It makes marriage easier to manage.
Grace releases and affirms. It doesn't smother. Grace values the dignity of individuals. It doesn't destroy. Grace supports and encourages. It isn't jealous or suspicious.
I know whereof I speak. For more years than I care to remember, I was consumed with jealousy. I was so insecure and fearful it wasn't uncommon for me to drill Cynthia with questions---petty, probing questions that were little more than veiled accusations. It is amazing she endured it. Finally, we had one of those famous showdown confrontations every married couple has had. No need to repeat it, but she made it painfully clear that I was smothering her; I was imagining things she never even thought of doing . . . and it had to stop. Her words hurt, but she did the right thing. I took her seriously.
I went to work on this ugly side of my life. I confessed my jealousy to Cynthia. I assured her I would never again treat her with such a lack of trust. I asked God for grace to help, for relief from the destructive habit I had formed, for the ability to love and give myself to this woman without all the choking conditions. I distinctly recall how much an understanding of grace helped. It was as if grace was finally "awake" in my life, and I could appropriate its power for the first time. It seemed to free me, first in small ways, and finally in major areas. I can honestly say today that I do not entertain a single jealous thought. Grace literally wiped the slate clean.
Adapted by permission. The Grace Awakening Devotional, Charles R. Swindoll, © 2003, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Copying or using this material without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited and in direct violation of copyright law.