Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
One of the vital principles of marriage that God gives, is that husbands should help their wife become her best and a wife should help her husband become his best. And certainly that’s what a genuine believer wants for himself – to be his best version! Certainly, nobody wants anybody to be anything other than who they truly are. However, we do want to be the best version of that unique individual. God states that your mate is the best person to help you achieve that.
Proverbs 31 is mostly King Lemuel’s mothers’ poem about qualities to look for in a wife (most of these traits can be applied to a husband as well). The format of Proverbs 31 was that the truths contained therein were meant to be repeated over and over again until it became part of the mind.
The king’s mom said, “look for a mate who will help you to become successful, someone who will lift you up and not pull you down.” In this case it says that it is her husband that is “known” in the gates. Not all the husbands, but this woman’s husband is known in the gate. There’s something about this lady’s behavior that made her husband’s reputation really shine. It was Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world, who said these words, “It takes 20 years to build a good reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” God wants husbands and wives to work for the betterment of each other’s reputations. Marriage is the ultimate partnership. In any partnership, what the other person does can bring you up or pull you down (note: this is one reason why God warns against business partnerships).
This husband is known in the gates, he’s known. How is he known? He’s known to have a good wife. There is something about him that reflects on her. Maybe he wore clothes that weren’t wrinkled and it was obvious therefore that someone cared about his appearance. Apparently he had a good attitude and so people must have concluded that his wife must be a kind person at home for him to have such a warm spirit. Scripture is teaching us here, that her husband is known in the gate because she had made a big impact on his life.
Our mates can affect us deeply. One time, years ago, I was talking with a man about a situation in the church that was a delicate matter. After we had discussed the matter, man-to-man, Christian-to-Christian, and Pastor to parishioner, there became a good understanding between us. I was rejoicing because it was apparent that God had really worked. And then the man went home. Well, the next time I saw him things were radically changed, I mean, his spirit had changed 180 degrees. He was sour and angry. When I got a chance to talk to him alone I said, “Your wife had something to say about the matter didn’t she?” I knew something had happened. It was obvious, based on what I could tell from his attitude, that after he went home she had taken up offense for him. Things didn’t go well at home. Sad isn’t it.
When a married person has a cheerful countenance, it’s a reflection that things are good at home. You can tell by the way that he conducts himself, that he must have a wonderful and supportive mate. I have been in meetings before where someone walks in with a chip on their shoulder. You can sense it. They brought it from home. How terrible to transfer that kind of tension from home into a place where everybody is trying to come up with some good solutions, not more problems.
How can we help our spouse become their best version? God calls us to love people as they are, but also to love them so much we don’t let them stay that way! I’ve noticed something about plants that don’t grow…they are dying! And Christian husbands and wives ought to always be growing too. I like what Bible teacher Howard Hendricks said, as he would challenge people, “How have you changed positively in the last 3 months?” If we’re not changing, we’re not growing and if we’re not growing we’re dying. Every marriage should continue to morph and to grow. Every Christian should become their best version. We start out at a certain point when we get married, and then we continue to grow decade after decade. A spirit-filled, growing husband and a spirit-filled, growing wife help each other. They feed off each other and it’s an awesome thing!
What Can We Do to Promote That Best Version?
1. Pray for Them
Absolutely the first, foremost and highest thing that we could do for each other is to pray. Why is it important to pray for our mate? Because nobody knows and nobody cares for that person as much as you do. You know the finest in’s and outs, and perhaps the less desirable ones, of that person’s personality and character. Nobody can pray for my character deficiencies any better than my wife. Nobody can pray for my hurts more than my wife and nobody can understand what I’m going through like my wife can. In 1 Peter 3, husbands are told to understand their wife, so that their prayers are not hindered.