Our mission is point couples to Christ and encourage them in the Gospel, but what can be said of the spaces those same couples occupy, namely, the home? In this new series, we’ll be looking closely at the home and the role it can play in the spiritual formation, emotional connection, and missional alignment of you, our lovely listeners. Enjoy!
Ryan: Hey everyone. Ryan here. You know, a couple years back, Selena and I were in a tough spot, so we started praying for one another. And what we realized is the more we prayed the more we changed. The more we submitted our hearts to God, the more our hearts were transformed by Him.
Being able to talk to the living God is such a wonderful gift. So to help couples experience the power of prayer in their marriage, we’ve created the 40 Day Prayer Journey. To learn more, go to 40prayers.com. And by God’s grace it will be as transformational for you as it was for us. With that said, enjoy this episode.
What if we told you that you have more opportunities to connect with your spouse throughout the day than you think? And those aren’t just connection moments but they’re eternal moments.
Selena: I would say, Ryan, what are you talking about? My life is too busy.
Ryan: Whoo, I wish we would do a podcast.
Selena: I wish we could connect more. [Ryan laughs] I don’t feel connected. How do we connect?
Ryan: Well, those little moments are-
Selena: They add up.
Ryan: They add up and we each experienced them. Obviously, all of our lives are different. But we all have these little moments, these eternal moments, these ways that we can embrace the things of God particularly—and here’s the focus for us here—in the home.
So this conversation that we’re going to have today is arising from this epiphany that we’re having, the Fredericks, around our work within Fierce Marriage, Fierce Parenting, Fierce family’s been the umbrella kind of idea, organization, whatever you want to call it, is that we are kind of equipping, mobilizing, encouraging the saints in the areas of the home. So between the husband and wife, also parents parenting their children.
But what are the space in which those things happen? So like the home itself. The home itself is a place where these conversations unfold. And so today we’re-
Selena: They should be the place where they’re unfolding. Unfortunately, they’re either not happening or they’re happening in the wrong context, I think.
Ryan: Those little granular moments, the ones that pile up. We do have kind of big moments that we share as a couple where you go out on a date or you have maybe a vacation or something to that effect. But there are little moments. And that’s what this episode is all about is in finding those moments, recognizing those moments, the ruts that we get into, and how to embrace those moments to God’s eternal glory and for our present good. So I’m excited. I’m always excited about this conversation. So we’ll see you on the other side.
Selena: Welcome to the Fierce Marriage podcast where we believe that marriage takes a fierce tenacity that never gives up and refuses to give in.
Ryan: Here we’ll share openly and honestly about all things marriage—
Ryan: And everything in between.
Selena: Laugh, ponder, and join in our candid, gospel-centered conversations. This is Fierce Marriage.
[00:02:58] <podcast begins>
Selena: How funny would that be if you were to just press record and like, “You know what, I’m really not excited to be here.” [both laughs] Ryan just stating the obvious every week. That hey-
Ryan: That’s the kind of podcast the folks wants.
Selena: The folks want the excitement.
Ryan: I could just have a little more apathy, I’d be happier. [both laughs]
Selena: Careful what she asked for. Shouldn’t joke about that.
Ryan: Shouldn’t joke about that.
Selena: Shouldn’t joke about those things.
Ryan: It’s very meta conversations. I’ve been saying that a lot. What is happening in the home? We really value the space. And it’s not just the whole live, laugh, love thing. It’s not that. It’s is a sacred space. It’s a sacred place.
Selena: Becoming more sacred…. we’ve kind of looked outward this last week on a few things, and just looking at our culture, looking at what is happening out in the world today and it’s not very hopeful in a sense. God is in control. Our hope is in Him. But we’re looking at the world saying, What is going on? There’s just chaos. There’s sin and brokenness to deep, deep… no end, right? And what is that going to look like in 15, 20 years?
And then that has oriented us back in to say, Okay, not looking at ourselves, but looking at what has God entrusted us with? What can we actually put our hand to? And the business of the home is something he’s given us, and it is under attack. And for good reason. Because of hopefully some of the reasons we’ll be sharing today and over the next month.
Ryan: It’s one of the reasons why I love the idea of home economics. And not in like the 1950s and ’60s sense of the word. We’re just learning how to bake cakes and iron aprons and those types of things.
Selena: I don’t like ironing. [chuckles]
Ryan: But Home economics, you said, it’s the business of the home and the seriousness of it. I want to kind of resurrect in a way that old view of it and how we see the home is more than just a place where we sleep, and we eat meals, sometimes even not together. It’s not a place where we just go veg out or mow the lawn on the weekends. [00:05:00] Home is a strategic outpost for the soldiers of Christ, for the soldiers of God’s kingdom to advance the kingdom.
Selena: Yeah. It’s not a college dorm people. We don’t just kind of come and go as we please.
Selena: At least not yet. And so we are going to embrace some of those talks, and it’ll be good.
Ryan: Buckle up.
Selena: Buckle up.
Ryan: By the way, these thoughts are not just for this. This is stuff that we’ve been kind of unpacking and looking at. I’ve been working on outlining some ideas around this and how to prepare our hearts, prepare the hearts of our children for that long game, particularly with the main primary battlefront being in the home, in the hearts and minds that are being forged in the home, which we believe the society’s forged.
So these are big conversations that we’re having. We’re first going to hit the beginning of it here. So buckle up. It’s going to be good.
Before we do that, leave a rating and review if you haven’t done that yet that. We appreciate it. If you want to partner with us, we would appreciate that too. And this is just the beginning. We’re 240 some episodes into the Fierce Marriage podcast, you guys.
A lot of people who talk about marriage, they get this bar and they’re like, “Yeah, we’ve kind of set everything.” To each their own. I can totally see that we are constantly wondering, like, “What can we possibly say that we haven’t already addressed?” And usually it comes around we’re seeing things differently, we’re seeing them better. But I really believe that we are just in the beginning of what it means to equip the saints in the area of marriage, in the area of parenting.
And so if that excites you, we want your partnership because we want people who are on mission and are excited to be on mission. And we cherish our partner community. If you want to join that, just go to fiercemarriage.com/partner.
Selena: We just ended a whole series about sex last month. So if you haven’t heard that conversation or any of those episodes, definitely go back and check those out. Word of caution: don’t let little kids listen when they’re around. Because it does get a little… not steamy, I would say. But we do talk about things, and we’re not afraid to talk about it.
Ryan: Fierce marriage… after dark. [both laughs] No we just…
Selena: Just like, you know, the…
Selena: What was that? At night. The one-
Ryan: Oh, yeah. “Troy and Abed in the Morning… Nights”.
Selena: Fierce marriage in the… yeah. Anyways, if you know you know.
Ryan: If you’ve ever watched the show “Community,” that’s where that comes from.
Selena: Silly show.
Ryan: You know, I never thought I’d be sick of talking about sex. Actually, you know what, I did think that. As a marriage professional, if that’s what we’re called-
Selena: Minister. Professional is way too-
Ryan: Listen, people, our marriage works because it’s our job to make it work. [both laughs] That’s the bottom line.
Selena: Still a little bit off. But anyways.
Ryan: Talking about sex it does feel I’ll say taxing to take that on.
Selena: Yeah, sex definitely felt like a little bit more work. It’s not that it wasn’t as much fun. It was just kind of like we talked about it already. What else do we have to talk about?
Ryan: It’s good, it’s beautiful, and it’s yours to enjoy. Now go enjoy it. But this conversation… go ahead.
Selena: There was just some good conversations in there with some other people. So check out the interviews, check out those resources.
Ryan: And some of that some of those conversations lead to people getting very upset. I’ll leave it at that.
Selena: It’s okay.
Ryan: But we are committed to harkening the biblical truth, the God’s good design for sex. And what’s dishea… is that a word?
Ryan: Disheartening. There it is. Thank you. …disheartening is when you feel misunderstood, or when you are misunderstood, when people misrepresent… I’m just talking about us. Some of the most discouraging moments I’ve had are being misrepresented and therefore misunderstood is you just feel like there’s nothing you can do to correct it.
Selena: And then probably isn’t, at that moment in time is just giving it to the Lord and surrendering and knowing that, you know, God is our… we can hide in Him. We can rest in Him, our identity is secure in Him. So nothing’s going to change that. So there was-
Ryan: It’s sad.
Selena: It’s very sad and it’s very frustrating. But in those moments, like we’re talking about today, how can we recognize a holiness aspect to them? How can we recognize and how can our hearts be reoriented to God in those sad moments, in those hard moments? And for the sake of the conversation today, in those moments within our home and when we’re together as a married couple? Not during sexy time.
Ryan: Yeah, go back a couple episodes and listen to those. Like we started this episode, it’s just this big reminder, you have more opportunities to connect with your spouse around the things of God than you realize. Selena, we have more opportunities to connect with one another—this is a marriage podcast. So that’s part of it—to connect with one another around the things of God. I’m a big proponent of not… connection [00:10:00] for connections’ sake can sometimes feel like it can get a little bit – what’s the word for it?
Selena: Empty. It’s a dead end. You can’t just connect to connect. There’s got to be a higher purpose and a bigger purpose. And that will come-
Ryan: Well, you can. I mean, you can enjoy your spouse just because you enjoy your spouse. But when it’s hard to enjoy one another, it’s very helpful and I think necessary to remember the purpose of our union is not just for our enjoyment, it’s deeper. And so we seek out these moments of connecting, not just in a vacuum, but around the things of God.
Selena: Right. I don’t have inside jokes with you just to joke with you. I have inside jokes with you to be unified with you to the glory of God.
Ryan: We have many inside jokes.
Selena: It’s a big step. I know.
Ryan: They’ll be a part of [inaudible]. [both chuckles]
Selena: No, I’m not trying to be silly about that. But I see what you’re saying. I see what you’re saying. Because, yes, we have those opportunities.
Ryan: Yeah. That’s the big, broad idea is like open your mind a little bit, open your heart and realize, okay, looking into our daily rhythms of our lives, there are moments when we maybe don’t realize that we could use those-
Selena: There’s moments that were missing. They could be being stolen from us. We’re being distracted away, we’re in transit too much. I just think about the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. To steal, kill and destroy what? Yes, maybe our bodies but mostly our soul and those moments of recognizing who God is. Steal and destroy what? Our relationship with one another that God has ordained, that we’ve committed to. Destroying the things of God, essentially. So how are we battling those fronts and how are we…
Ryan: And not letting those moments be stolen or distracted away from-
Selena: Or unseen I think was my kind of terminology. Maybe you’ve heard of this book, the Every Moment Holy book. It’s a book of liturgies. So what’s a liturgy, Ryan? Just to define the moment.
Ryan: We didn’t grow up in a liturgical church tradition. But as I understand it, liturgies are forms and formulas for expressing worship to God in the various holy moments within the church service or maybe the cycle of a church. So like the Eucharist would have, you know, the Lord’s Supper would have a liturgy attached to it that the pastor would read out or whatever that a religious official equivalent would be would read that for the church to hear so they can all participate and be on the same page.
Selena: Usually poetic too.
Ryan: Usually, yeah. And it’s a beautiful thing. The term “liturgy” took a huge nosedive around the turn of the century because it was very, very well used. It was part of the kind of the high church, the Anglican Church and Catholic Church. And it took a huge nosedive just in culture over the turn of the century, the middle the 50s is making a… it’s making the-
Selena: Making a little comeback here.
Ryan: A little come back. Yeah.
Ryan: I think people are recognizing the fact that we need to embrace the holy moments of life. And liturgies help you do that. So this book, “Every Moment Holy” was released by Rabbit Room press. I think it’s Andrew Peterson, who we got to see in concert. It was awesome. Released by his company. He’s a musician and an author. He wrote “The Wingfeather Saga” and it’s awesome.
So that book is all around. Like there’s a liturgy around changing diapers, there’s a liturgy for laundry, there’s a liturgy for-
Selena: Coffee time with your spouse, honestly, in the morning. They’re like, “Coffee.” Like there’s liturgies for every moment. And it makes every moment very poetic but it brings kind of the eternal moments with the here now. It’s a big connection. And I think that’s what liturgies can do for us.
Ryan: For example, when someone’s doing laundry-
Selena: Oh, yeah, I had to look up that because I’m like, “Oh, gosh, again?”
Ryan: When you’re doing laundry-
Selena: There’s going to be no laundry in heaven. [chuckles]
Ryan: …you can be productive and you can say, “I’m just cleaning clothes and I’m just folding clothes and managing clothes. That’s kind of soul sucking, right? But if you look at laundry like I am… this is going to sound kind of weird. But I’m literally preparing the garments that will adorn my family. And I’m doing that as a service unto them, therefore as a service unto the Lord. And you have given us the grace of running water, you’ve given us the grace of soap, you’ve given us a grace of chemical reaction-
Selena: It’s seen. It’s a sight of seen. And seeing all these things and understanding-
Ryan: So when I fold these pair of whitey tighties… no one in our house has a pair of whitey tighties. But when I’m folding these things, it’s a service unto the Lord. And therefore, it is a joy for my heart, it’s a joy for my soul, because I can say it has context. And so take that in.
Selena: Oh, yeah, what is the big question is just how are we being blinded as a married couple in the home [00:15:00] to the things of God and how He is at work within our marriage and within our home. Is He at work? What are we missing? So how do we begin seeing these things? We have to go to the giver and the creator of sight. There’s a going to Him and orienting of our hearts to Him. And I think liturgies help us do that.
So we’re not going to sit here and talk about how to write a liturgy. Right? But how can we, in a sense, go to Him and see our daily interactions with one another and our time together as a way of honoring Him? I mean, if you think about your day, you wake up, you have your first kind of hours of the day. How do we begin those hours? Are we picking up our phone and scrolling? Or are we getting out of bed and asking the Lord what He has for us that day? And how can we begin to worship Him?
We’ve talked about on this podcast secret and private worship. It’s what the Puritans called kind of your devotion time you and God, just between you and God. This is the secret worship. And then the private worship is within your home. In this case for this podcast between you and your spouse.
Ryan: It’s private only in the sense that it’s not public.
Selena: Which there is that form as well, which is with other saints.
Ryan: Corporate worship – whoever’s in your home enjoying that with you. But yeah, so seeing those moments. Here’s just a quick illustration. I’m usually the first one to wake up. Usually, not always. I don’t know what it is, but I’m early. And I can either see that moment as “Oh, I just have to get up and I’m tired.”
Selena: It’s dark. [chuckles]
Ryan: It’s dark. I can never see anything. I cannot turn the light. [both laughs]
Selena: Sorry, all the Office quotes are coming out.
Ryan: I can either see that it’s just drudgery, or I can say, “Lord, you’ve given me yet another day. Yet another day when I can count on your sun, the sun rising.”
Selena: This is the hope that we have. This is the hope that we have.
Ryan: “You have chosen to give us another day. You have chosen also to see fit to give me a wife who lays here next to me.” So I could give you a kiss at that moment and say, “I thank God for you” in my heart or out loud, or just “good morning, I love you.” That’s a holy moment. And it’s an opportunity.
Think of the contrast there. The drudgery and the “oh, so it’s Monday,” which today’s happens to be Monday recording this. “It’s Monday, it’s another week, another hook day, another dollar.”
Selena: The darkness is easy to see but the light is hard to allow to shine sometimes. I feel like the light is what we fight for. You got to fight for the light. But it becomes easier I think and it becomes more of a blessing to begin to live that out.
Ryan: And the moment it becomes rote, and what I mean by that, the moment it starts just being something you just do, and it’s void of awe and wonder and gratitude, that’s the moment it becomes mundane and that’s the moment it becomes drudgery again. But even saying, “Lord, thank you for this day” could be drudgery again.
Ryan: You can say that faithfully and even if it’s hard, but this is not just about things you say and things you do. This is not formulas, incantations to realize a better Christian life. These are ways to reorient our hearts on the very goodness of God with true gratitude, with true thankfulness.
Selena: The truth itself—scripture. You know, we always talk about the Psalm as saying, “Why so downcast, O my soul?” I was reading about Paul I think in 1 Corinthians and how he is disciplining his body to do the things that he doesn’t necessarily want to do, but knows that it will bring glory to the Lord by doing it. And so how can we not miss these moments because we don’t feel like doing anything? How can we grab ahold of these? I mean, what a better way to steal your life away than to just scroll it and just live to the next thing.
Ryan: Lord help us.
Selena: How can we begin to orient our hearts? And I mean, it’s asking those questions. It’s going to God saying, “Help me, God. Help me to see these quote-unquote “missional moments,” which we kind of I think we’ve explained. But what is the missional moment? Could I write something about this moment? Am I seeing the outworking of God within our marriage?
Ryan: This is an epiphany to me, sorry. And I’m going to go a little bit on a sidebar. But this I think changes – what’s the word? It flips the script on the enemy. So instead of now just taking in whatever that lie is… observing the darkness. But it’s observing it and then kind of hoping that the light will shine through there, instead of doing that, you then are becoming… What is John in the Gospel of John… I’m talking about John the Baptist. He says, “I’m not the light, but I’m here to tell you of the light?”
Ryan: In other words, He’s shining the light of Christ by saying this is the Messiah.
Selena: “I am the light. I am making the way.”
Ryan: I am the light. So we can be the ones who are shining the light in these areas [00:20:00] because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we are in Christ ourselves. And so it flips the script. So transparent moment. Recording the podcast for the marriage side, the parenting side, it’s very difficult, it’s challenging. We’re still trying to find the rhythms that work for us so we can continue creating gospel centered quality content.
But most days when we wake up to record, I’m just like there’s a heaviness there because we have this burden to do it, but the work seems difficult. And so to turn that moment into a liturgy. “Lord, you’ve given us the gift of a voice to manipulate sound waves themselves, to point others to you, you’ve given us the gift of yourself, the gospel and then a voice with which we can share that gospel.” You see how it starts to change the script?
Selena: It totally does.
Ryan: It changes the whole narrative. And we can do the same thing in our marriages.
Selena: You know, we talk about communicating better with your spouse, we talk about how to connect with your spouse on various levels. And I think a big part of that is recognizing these moments. That it’s not just, “Okay, we’re having a fight. What did Ryan and Selena say about what we should do when we have a fight?”
No, it’s reminding ourselves that, Okay, we’re two people or two sinners that have been brought together under this covenant for God’s glory. It’s stinks to be fighting right now, I don’t like it, and I don’t want to continue in it. However, God is loving us in these moments by allowing us to clash, by allowing when we clash to hopefully break down some of that sin and that darkness that’s inside of us and for the light to shine through.
Truly, that book just nailed it. Every moment is holy. Nothing is wasted. God has redeemed everything. And so I guess there’s a call, there’s this hope, hope you hear and hope you were able to embrace. If in a marriage that is feeling cold and disconnected, there is a mission within that. God has given us a mission and a purpose, you listener. And you are fully equipped with the Holy Spirit.
Ryan: That’s a great reminder that you listener are also part of this commissioning that has happened, and therefore you’ve been enlisted into the work of God that Christ began. And you’ve been counted among disciples and saints, citizens and children of God, and you are now living in that reality. The question is, Are you walking in it? Are you stepping forward in it?
And so these moments and recognizing and seeing them, they calibrate us by placing us on that continuum of God’s mission again. Say, God, this is not an arbitrary moment. This has a purpose. And it reorients our hearts to God. It reorients our hearts to be missional.
Now, what do we mean by missional? I think the clearest reading is just in Matthew 28 when Christ gives us the great commission to make disciples, he says, “No, go.”
Ryan: “Don’t just sit,-
Selena: Imperative. Go.
Ryan: …sleep, lay down. Go, move in faith, go make disciples of all nations, proclaim the gospel. We should probably read it. “Read the gospel, make disciples of all nations, discipling them in the name of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.” So preach the gospel. Share the good news. Now, does that mean everybody has to be a preacher in the vocational sense? Well, obviously not. We’re not even preachers. Sometimes I preach at church.
Selena: Sometimes we preach.
Ryan: But that’s not the case. But proclaiming the gospel is the way of the Christian.
Selena: I’m going to read this because we just need to. So Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Ryan: Teaching them to observe. We need that for now.
Selena: First it starts with Jesus, though. And I hope that people hear that. Every time when we talk about anything in marriage is that it starts with God, it starts with Jesus, it starts… All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him, and now He is commissioning us. He, the one that has all the authority. So He gives us the commission. Just by I think, virtue of Him giving us that commission, we should feel empowered.
Ryan: Amen. Amen. So, again, we’re recognizing that these little moments are missional moments. They’re not this throwaway moment.
Selena: In serving the Great Commission, yeah.
Ryan: No such thing as a throwaway moment. Now, you could say, Well, what if I just like to watch “The Office” with my spouse and that’s our way to…” That’s not a throwaway moment either. Entertainment is is wonderful. It’s good. And yes, you want to be entertaining… you’re putting good things into your heart and into your mind. And we have to guard our hearts.
Selena: The line is that when we… go ahead.
Ryan: Well, I was going to say like the show itself is the holy thing, but the moment is the thing that can be used for God’s holy means or holy ends, I should say. [00:25:00] So to laugh with one another, that’s a funny thing, that’s a connected thing, that’s a gift. So we’re not saying that you need to live every moment vigilant and to the point of utter exhaustion.
Selena: It’s a recognition.
Ryan: But recognizing-
Selena: I think there are some moments, yes, that we do need to live out to that fullness in that extent. But recognizing what the moments are and how they’re holy, and how they are glorifying to God is something that is… it’s a lost art I think.
Ryan: So David Platt in his book “Radical, I think, said it very well. This is transformational for me. But it really speaks to this. He said, “The point of a Christian life is to experience God’s grace and extend His glory.” Experience God’s grace and extend His glory.
Now, the ways in which we experience God’s grace clearly we have a salvific sense of the word that I’m saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. But also common grace. The fact that we have clean water, the fact that we have delicious food, the fact that you can enjoy the smell of a rose, that’s enjoying God’s grace. That’s not just a rose, it’s a grace of God to smell that thing.
Selena: Do you know what goes into making roses grow? I mean, come on. Have you just stop and look at a rock even? The rocks cry out. They really do. The formation of anything in this universe is almost unfathomable to our small little minds.
Ryan: So we’re talking about seeing these moments. We’re defining what these moments actually are. Now, I want to ask the question: why don’t we experience or see these moments? And I think-
Selena: I think there’s layers of answers.
Ryan: There’s layers for sure.
Selena: Because we kind of talk about, you know, oh, we don’t have time, and I don’t know, we just-
Ryan: I think even we’re not aware.
Selena: Or unaware, yeah.
Ryan: That’s the first piece. We don’t know that every moment is an opportunity.
Selena: No one said, “Hey, guess what you can recognize these things as more than what they are.”
Ryan: But if you’re listening this podcast, that’s no longer you because we’ve just killed that excuse. So either we’re not aware or we don’t actually understand… like we may be aware of it, but we don’t understand the depth of the implications of what we’re now aware of. Another reason we don’t have these holy moments or I guess these missional moments, as we’ve been calling them, is we’re not desirous of our affectionate toward God in a way that would beget these types of moments.
I mentioned that I’ve been preaching at church because we’re kind of in the middle of raising up elders in our church gathering, and I’m one of the interim kind of preachers until we figure that part out. I got the privilege of talking to our church on Ephesians 5:1-2. That passage… it’s really hard to talk about here, because there’s a lot of context that you have enough time to get into.
But leading up to that point, the book of Ephesians is just such a rich, encouraging theological work. But he spends so much time the first three chapters of the book rooting the believers in the reality of Christ’s resurrection, the reality of it has for them as people who were brought into the fold of God, people who are now called citizens and saints and children of God. And so all of it is building a case for that.
And then Ephesians 4-6 are kind of the so what. So we have this new reality, now how do we live it out? As we talked about in Ephesians 4, the unity in the church. He talks about the expression of the gifts and the diversity, the beautiful diversity within the church and the gifts and how they’re expressed and how we can be unified despite the diversity of those gifts, because we all share the same resurrection, the same truth in Christ.
And then in Ephesians 5, and this is the part that we pay attention to because we’re marriage people, we talk about this a lot, especially Ephesians 5, you know, Husbands love your wives, wives submit to your husbands. ike that. That’s a huge passage that marriage ministries have to deal with. It’s beautiful. I’m not afraid of it. I love it.
Selena: It’s all called submission, people. It’s submission for everyone.
Ryan: So Ephesians 5:1-2, it says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dearly beloved children.” And so that got me thinking through what… be imitators. How can we possibly imitate the living God of the universe? Well, in most kind of reformed circles, there’s communicable traits, there’s non-communicable traits. And so there’s aspects of God’s character that we can imitate. We can’t replicate, but we can imitate God in these ways.
Like we are creative but we can’t create something from nothing. We can manipulate and create a new construction of the things that God has already created. Now, we can’t love perfectly but we can love in a way. We can’t be good perfectly how God is good, but we can be good in a way. But the deeper question is not how do we imitate God or what do we imitate Him in? The deeper question is why are from what well can we even possibly imitate Him?
I’m trying to make this short but effectively, it always comes down to our affections. Because we imitate what we’re affectionate toward, and what we’re affectionate for or desirous of is usually an indication of some sort of void. So if you think about an appetite that you have, if you’re hungry, then you’re going to seek out food. Your affections are for food. Like right now we ordered some food, and I’m hoping that it is ready so we can go eat it after we’ve recorded.
Whatever that void is, now, when it comes to the soul deep questions, we have these big questions like, Where do I come from? You know, what is the meaning of all this? Where are we headed? What happens when I die? What happens when I suffer? What happens when someone I love suffers? These are old soul deep questions that we have voids to fill those. We have a void because of these questions unless we learn the answers.
So we have to notice that Paul doesn’t just say “be imitators of God” in this passage. He goes a step further and he says, “Be imitators of God as dearly loved children.” And then he says, “Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”
And so if we just read those two verses without the context of the other previous four chapters, we can just start to moralize and say, “Do more of the right things.” But Paul knows that way leads to death. He knows that the path is lined. And this is what he says concerning this. “With the dry bones of many well intention self-justifying dead want to be saints, right? Because that’s moralizing. Just do more of the right things.
Paul is cutting to the core of that and saying, “…as dearly loved children.” He’s reminding you that the well from which you go there, the well from what you drink, the well you go to when you’re trying to imitate God and the whole source of your imitating God is recognizing our identity that He’s laid out for us in Ephesians 1-3. “We are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. That’s chapter 1 verse 3. We have been chosen for adoption not as servants or slaves, but as sons and daughters. Why? Because of God’s great love. That’s, again, chapter 1.
In chapter 2 he says, “We were once dead.” We’re not maimed, injured, sick, or dying, we were absolutely dead. But we have been brought to life. “You were once dead, soul and dying body but now we’re resurrected soul in a soon to be resurrected body.” Do you see how this is calibrating?
So now, I can imitate God, because I’m beginning to understand and actually believe that I’m a dearly loved child. I’m not just somebody He has saved and have been granted citizenship, that’s part of it. I’m not just a saint been given right standing, but I’ve been called a child of the living God, a son of the king.
Ryan: And that begins to-
Selena: That reorients.
Ryan: …give us this opportunities to now imitate God. To back all way back up to these holy moments, we don’t sometimes recognize them because we fail to see and believe the true reality of who God is and who He says we are. And this is a reminder to you, listener, to remember those things, and that each one of these little moments can be a reflection of remembering that deep, eternal reality that you are in Christ, the son or daughter of the king,.
Selena: Right. So, again, this going to this reorienting our hearts, essentially for worship and glorification to God, giving him all the glory for every single moment in our life, it begins with understanding who he is, it begins with the knowledge of who He is, and therefore who I am. I cannot be defined outside of God.
So I need to understand that these moments He’s given me, they can fall one of two ways. I can, you know, lay aside my identity as a child of God and just endure life or I can embrace the identity that He’s given me and embrace the life that He’s given me and recognize every single moment as being holy and glorifying to him.
Ryan: I love it.
Selena: So let’s get a little bit more tangible. We’d like to leave you with some tangible ways of working and living and being holy, I guess. Let’s just get to the action items here.
Ryan: So where are these moments in your actual life? So we’re going to give you some ideas of where moments might be. But the bottom line is you listener and your spouse, you’re going to have to talk, and that’s the conversation challenge, and find and embrace so that you can embrace these moments.
For us, the I think the big obvious ones are mornings and evenings. I love morning time because… I love them both. Because in the mornings it’s like you’re waking up, God has given you another day, you’re breathing another day. It’s a day full of opportunity and full of life that you can either pass by, get through or you can embrace. So the small moments we talked about. Basically from the moment your head lifts off your pillow. What else? Like coffee time?
Selena: Yeah. I was thinking about morning and evenings. The beauty about mornings is that you’re kind of waking up and [00:35:00] you’re getting ready to be wrung out for the rest of the day. And so are you being filled up by God and the things of God? Are you able to get up…? And you can argue, I guess, whenever you do devotions and there’s different seasons for all of that. Like I read my Bible at night because that’s when kids are in bed.
When I wake up in the morning it’s kind of things are already happening. We’re just getting out of that season of little baby and we’re in a toddler now and sleeping is a better rhythm for her. So we can now kind of plan some of those mornings of like, okay, I can set an alarm to get up a little bit earlier, and we can spend some time together. So, how are you waking up, I guess would be the first question. What is the first thing that you grab and go to? And why is it that?
Ryan: So it’s kind of before it’s calm for the storm, before being wrung out, like you said. I love that. For us, we have chosen to make breakfast together as a family a priority whenever possible. It’s not always possible but most of the time we are sitting down. Like this morning I have a… today is a very busy day for Ryan. I was in here in the office earlier doing work knowing that breakfast was coming, and I wanted to skip it. I wanted to say-
Selena: And I thought you might. I gave you permission. I was like, “Babe, I know you got a busy day. So like, this is what we’re doing. We want you here, but it’s okay.”
Ryan: Well, thank you for that. And sometimes I will take you and I have taken you up on that offer. But this morning, I was like, “No, this is a holy moment, this moment around this table with these little girls.” And we did our family worship. We’re reading, I had to figure out because we just finished kind of the readable parts of the Pentateuch. I’m I going to read Leviticus with our kids. Maybe when they’re older.
Selena: I mean you can.
Ryan: You can. With our daughters, I feel like it’ll be a tough sell. So we read some scripture, we sang together. And Luisa, our youngest, she was singing today.
Selena: She was singing her little heart out. And you know when 2 year old start really engaging in song and motions, they sing like no one’s listening. And they’re just trying to be a part of it and their heart is just there. Oh, man, it just brings tears to your eyes. It’s just the best. She was loving the song that we sang today.
Ryan: And that’s not every day. I mean, can you imagine if I would have skipped, that moment never happened? So it’s something-
Selena: It’s a balance. Yeah, you can’t live in fear. You have to trust that God is sovereign in every moment. But in those moments that we do decide to step I think and live in the light, even though it feels hard, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time, and just sometimes don’t want to do it, that God is so faithful-
Selena: …to show us the holiness and the light in those moments—His goodness.
Ryan: Evenings are similar. So for us, it’s after the kids are down for the night, they’re in bed asleep and it’s quiet, like that’s our moment to connect. Frankly, a lot of times we’re too tired to be intimate in those moments. [chuckles] And we have-
Ryan: What? We have utilized those moments to that end many times, but with the season of life we’re in, it-
Selena: Go listen to the last series. [Ryan chuckles]
Ryan: Yeah. But really, it’s a time for us to connect relationally. So sometimes we’ll have updates, like, Here’s what’s happening, going on in life, here’s kind of schedule—logistical updates. But also it’s time for us just to be friends and just laugh. And if I’m discouraged, Selena will come over and encouraged me. I’ve had this really bad… a huge knot in my back-
Selena: Case of grumpy.
Ryan: I’ve had a physical knot.
Selena: No, your shoulders. Yeah.
Ryan: And you’ve been so sweet to help kind of massage that out and spend time for us to reconnect and talk. My neck start to hurt a little bit right now, so maybe tonight we’ll-
Ryan: Uh huh. You get the point, listener. For the second “where are the moments,” these in between moments, do you have a leaky life? And what I mean by that, is your life a sieve in that everything’s kind of getting through drop by drop and you find yourself totally drained at the end of the day? What are those little things? That’s more for the lost moment. So that’s not in between but the lost moments. So things that we think typically are redeemable in a sense. Like when you’re in transit, you can listen to a podcast, you can listen to music.
Selena: How are you making those moments? You making them holy. But how are you recognizing them is God at work or building your unity? I mean, I just think if we we’re commuting or something, how can I stay connected to my husband when we’re away from each other? How can I not just like think about what I have to do work that day? But how can I “hey, babe I listened to this podcast or I was listening to Scripture…” I think those moments flow out of something that’s already happening and welling up within us.
Ryan: That’s I think where it comes back to the Ephesians 5 piece where we know we’re doing it to little children. If we’re embracing these moments… a day is not just a day when you’re in Christ. A day is an opportunity to be wrung out for the gospel. That’s where you now have this glad orientation toward the things of God and saying, “I’m going to pray for my spouse in this moment. I’m going to pray for this thing I know [00:40:00] they’re dealing with.”
Selena: And I’m going to tell them that I’m praying for them. Like, I’m going to text a prayer or I’m going to say, “I’m praying for you right now. I know things are going crazy or whatever.” Maybe things are going really well like Praise God. So I just think staying connected in those in between moments can… There’s something about connection and… not holiness but… when you feel connected to God… He doesn’t disconnect from us, right? But there’s something about feeling that connection that it brings in that holiness, sort of, like that warmth. I’m saying this terrible. I don’t know how to-
Ryan: It comes from walking with God, where you… It’s the communion that you have experienced with God. We are in Christ. That’s the union with Christ. That’s fixed and unchanging. But our communion with God, I mean, the fellowship we share and enjoy with Him is a function of these things we’re talking about. We’re stirring our affections for Him going to His Word, glorifying Him in every turn. Those will stir our affection and it will make us feel more… It will feel more the reality that is already there. Does that make sense?
Ryan: And then where are the moments? So I mentioned in between, yeah, calling, texting, praying, in those in between moments, maybe between meetings, or the kids are down for a nap, or you’ve just got… embracing those moments as opportunities for all these things we’re described.
Selena: We talked about looking at your day, and kind of finding the actual time for you to connect and kind of recognize the moments. But I think the deeper question too would be, what’s your default response? And like, what are the ruts that you’re in when it comes to waking up in the morning? What’s the default response? Grab my phone? Shoot. No, I want to grab the Bible. Or do I even like think about that?
One of our good friends, Cliff, something that’s kind of stuck with me that you shared Ryan is that he says, “Lord, what do you have for me today? What is your will for me today?” Not “Hey, God, I need your help on these things.” Right? It’s very much, “God, what do you have for me today?”
What are our default responses to waking up in the morning to breakfast, to going to work? What are we listen to in the car? What are we listening to at work? What are we seeing? What’s our thought pattern? What are conversations like with other people? And how are these shaping and forming some of those holy moments and connection times with our spouse and of course with the Lord?
Ryan: Really good. The visual of a rut is really helpful for me. If you’ve ever been on a dirt road-
Selena: Or driven any streets in the city of Tacoma. Just kidding.
Ryan: It’s Beirut out here, I tell you what. Actually, it was out on the peninsula, which is a beautiful part of our state. I was in our… Okay, don’t judge me. But we have this 2008 Toyota Prius.
Selena: Hey. You know what? [Ryan laughs]
Ryan: All the guys I know judge me because I drive this car.
Selena: We bought this in the right season.
Ryan: I’m like, “Listen, it works. It paid off. It works. And I have no pride in the vehicle I drive.”
Selena: And gas was crazy when we bought.
Ryan: So anyway it had snowed our on peninsula, and I’m taking this front wheel drive electric hybrid car with zero horsepower. I was at the mercy of the… because the snow had melted to where the road was exposed but they were still a huge center, like chunks of snow.
Selena: It’s like hell right in the middle.
Ryan: And it had frozen. Like the ruts were real, and there was no getting out of them. Like if the road was going to the left, I was going to the left. Anyway, those ruts are real. So sometimes to break out of those ruts, we need to take a hard turn and go out into the wilderness, so to speak.
Now get away from the snow analogy and you think about the jungle. Like sometimes you have to drive through a field that has no paths and you’re very uncertain where it’s going to take you. But you get out of your rut because you know that the road itself isn’t taking you where you want to go.
Selena: And so I guess we’re just here to help you question those ruts and that path, right? Look down the road if you can, or the space around, and how is that habit? How is that rut going to determine your route I guess. A couple-
Ryan: Thankfully, because the Prius, don’t judge me.
Selena: I’m not judging you. I’m full on Nini. We love Nini. [both laughs]
Ryan: That’s what we call it.
Selena: If you know you know.
Ryan: But if I had a truck or something, then I wouldn’t have this mediocre illustration to use today.
Selena: We are grateful. We are grateful. It’s a holy moment right there.
Ryan: You’re being productive. Couples conversation challenge. What do we have? What do you have?
Selena: Taking inventory of your day. Maybe go hour by hour if you got to write it down or whatever. Ryan talks about kind of some of the leaks. I think you just kind of touched on that. What are some of the areas that could be [00:45:00] more recognizable as holy, I guess? Are there moments where I’m… I just keep going back to this but picking up my phone instead of my Bible. That’s something that I struggle with?
Selena: If I have a quiet moment, what do I pick up first? Where are these missed moments that we could be praying for one another, we could be engaging with one another even if we’re not geographically present face to face with one another. Let’s take inventory of our day. And what are the holy moments that we’re missing or we’re not cultivating and allowing God to create within our marriage?
Ryan: And I think in terms of also social media usage, I mean, how easy is it to let 20, 30, 40 minutes slip away because the algorithms… Algorithms, algorithms.
Selena: Algorithms, algorithms.
Ryan: They’re the devil. [chuckles] They are brain washing you. They know-
Selena: We’re going to cut down now.
Ryan: Their whole job is to keep your attention. And we’re saying like, no, let’s give our attention elsewhere. Let’s give our attention to the Lord. Let’s give our attention to one another. So that’s a leaky moment. So take an inventory of those things. That’ll be fruitful I believe. Let me pray for us.
Lord, I thank you for the moments that you give us, every breath, we experience because you ordain it, you allow it. You allow us each second by your grace, and you hold us together. The very atoms and molecules that make us up are there by Your grace, by Your mercy? So Lord, who are we to let those moments slip away?
Lord, may You transform our hearts through our affections for You, that we might recognize Your glory even in those small moments for Your glory, God, for our good and worshipping You. That is going to be the best good that we can have is glorifying You, but also, Lord, for the good of our marriages, for the good of our relationships with one another.
I pray that You would comfort the spouse who feels alone right now. I pray that You would convict the spouse who is living in sin right now. And I pray that You would bring couples back together and may You use our efforts in some way to that end so that they might glorify You more deeply through their union. In Jesus name, amen.
Ryan: All right, thanks, ladies and gentlemen. As a reminder, we have an online learning platform that is for your edification, for your good. It’s called Gospel Centered Marriage. And that’s exactly what it is. We teach folks how to create, how to build a more gospel centered marriage. You don’t have to be newlyweds to go through it. I think it’s good for any couple wanting to get on the same page.
To sign up for that, just go to gospelcenteredmarriage.com. There are a number of options there for you in terms of how to enroll. We’ve spent a lot of time, energy and even resources to make it possible. So I hope that you take us up on that. So go to gospelcenteredmarriage.com.
And with that, this episode of the Fierce Marriage Podcast is—
Selena: In the can.
Ryan: See you again in about seven days. So until then—
Selena: Stay fierce.
Ryan: Thank you for listening to the Fierce Marriage podcast. For more resources for your marriage, please visit FierceMarriage.com, or you can find us with our handle @Fiercemarriage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you so much for listening. We hope this has blessed you. Take care.