I apologize for being so late with my post today. Circumstances just didn’t work according to my plan this week. I haven’t felt well. And I’m not sure my meds are helping. That sounds all kinds of serious, doesn’t it? “My meds.” HA! OK, now I’m sounding ridiculous. If this is an indicator of things to come, then you may want to go to the next blog.
But I’m going to push through and write about this book.
We have made it to the second portion of Martha Peace’s book, The Excellent Wife. Chapter 7, “Christ: A Wife’s Heart,” is focusing on our worship, who/what is on the throne of our hearts, our idols.
To get our minds thinking, Peace lists common idols and false saviors. An idol can be anything we have our hearts set on. A false savior is that thing, person, or activity to which we turn for relief, comfort, or escape when we do not get what we want.
Some desires are good and right for us to have. But sometimes even good desires grow into idols. How do we know when a desire has become an idol? Peace writes, “A primary clue to recognize that a heart’s desire has become an idol (something more important to her than delighting in and serving God) is that the wife is willing to sin in order to attain that desire.” The only way to guard our hearts from idolatry is to develop hearts that delight in the Lord more than anything else.
Where does such a heart come from? It is a grace gift from God to the believer (Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 36:26). Scripture says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). This means God will put the desires in her heart that He wants to be there. In other words, God places that kind of passion within the deepest longings of a person. The wife’s responsibility is to ask God for that passion and then diligently seek God through His written Word…Ask God to give you new heart’s desires. Then proceed to seek after God with the same passion and energy that you are currently expending on idolatrous desires.
Peace ends the chapter with two helpful lists, six right desires and six ways to “set your mind on the things above.”
My husband reads my blog. It occurred to me the other night as I was serving up dinner that he just may be taking advantage of my desires to be an excellent wife. How do I know this, you ask? He asked me to dress his cheeseburgers for him, obviously.
I’m terrible at this (I never put enough stuff on it). So I asked him, “Why do you want me to do it this time?” He says, “I just want you to make my burgers.” I snapped something back at him about how he always complains because I never make them messy enough. Well, he wanted me to do it anyway because he was ready to sit down (he stood outside to grill said burgers).
Now, normally, I have no trouble with preparing my man’s dinner plate. I almost always make his plate and serve him at the table. I also make the kids’ plates. Then, I make my plate. (I’m fighting the southern urge to write “fix” the plates. Can you tell?). And we all sit and pray. It’s great. I just rarely do his burgers, and I thought we had an unspoken agreement about my making his burgers. You know, that I would never have to do it again. It’s just so…messy. So when he asked me to do it, I felt myself getting upset about it. It’s really dumb, but it’s like this: I am more than happy to serve him, he just better not ask me to with the knowledge that I am supposed to and that I’m fighting to do it with a happy heart. I don’t know why, but it takes all the fun out of it. It’s like he was testing me. Will she do it without complaining? Will she do whatever I ask?
I don’t know if that’s what he was thinking. It probably wasn’t. I was thinking, This man reads my blog and he’s testing me. He knows I can’t make these things messy enough for him. He just wants to sit and do nothing. He better not pick up that magazine. OH! He’s just going to sit there and read a magazine while I fix six plates, eight burgers. Doesn’t he realize I’ve had a long day, too? And I didn’t even want burgers tonight. This pickle juice is getting everywhere. Ugh, why can’t I do this with a happy heart? What is the big deal about fixing his burgers? Help me, Jesus, these messy burgers are for you.
He was probably thinking, I’m hot and sweaty after cooking those burgers. I want to sit down. I’ll ask my sweet woman to make my burgers. And then I snapped at him. And then he thought, Whew, it sure is good to sit down. I wonder if one of these kids will fix me some tea. Hey, we got National Review today!
Martha Peace is right. It’s not my circumstances. It’s my idolatrous heart. It doesn’t take much, does it? Just ask me to fix you a messy burger. I’ll bow to my idol of ease and bite your head off.
Peace’s encouragement to spend more time in the Scriptures and to ask for a heart that delights in the Lord is right on. The last one, “Be alert to sin and anxiety,” is also very good advice. When I can stop myself, take stock of what my mind is thinking and my heart is feeling, God helps me to see it and repent in that very moment. This is a very healthy discipline that prevents many pains and sins when I do it.
Next week, we’ll discuss Chapter 8, “Home: The Wife’s Domain.”
Women who’ve written posts for chapter 7:
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 8.