But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. – Romans 13:14 (ESV)
What does it look like to put on Christ in a marriage…
Since this month we have been talking about masks that we wear, it makes sense that we finish the month with a “mask” we should put on. When in a marriage, or preparing for marriage, we tend to bring in masks that we wore before and those masks get revealed sooner or later in marriage. Sometimes to devastating consequences.
The “mask” we should be wearing isn’t a mask at all really. A mask is something we put on to make other’s believe that is who we are and it is a way to hide our true selves from others. Some put on masks of humor, some of confidence, strength, etc. and others put on knowledge as their mask. But the one we should put on is actually adopting a way of life, of thinking, of actions, and behaviors that reflect the One who adopted us, Jesus Christ.
The best time to put on Christ is before even getting into a relationship with someone that you are going to marry. This is the best way to make sure a good foundation is set and that when problems come up they will be handled with grace, truth, peace and joy. There will be nothing hidden, no skeletons in the closet per say, that you won’t bring up for fear of the reaction of your spouse. But what if you are already married? What if you have already brought in skeletons that you haven’t revealed?
A better way to rephrase the timing of putting on Christ from above would be, “The best time to put on Christ is now.” It doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done, putting on Christ is important to do on a daily basis. This might be a scary thing to do because it would mean those skeletons will be revealed. Yes, that is true.
Now, when I am talking about skeletons, I am more talking about those secrets that you still hold on to. These are our “secret” sins that we put masks on to cover. Just covering them up is not doing what Paul means when he says, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime.” He is saying to walk without any masks, to show the real you, not hiding in shadows, but in the light. Paul then continues as he describes some things not to do, “not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”
These are areas where we will find a mask to wear to cover things up. We will put on a mask of confidence and self-control, but secretly be battling addiction to porn, drugs or alcohol. We will put on a mask of a devoted husband, but secretly be talking to a lady coworker, or purposefully scanning where we are to check out other women. We will put on a mask of humor or of a jokester to cover up our jealousy or our desire to argue at the drop of a hat.
Paul continues in telling us to, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Once you put on Christ, you can’t give any room for the flesh to control. It can’t be, “just one look,” “just one drink,” just this, or just that.
When you get into the “justs” you are trying to justify the flesh instead of being justified by the Spirit.
Putting on Christ isn’t easy because it means removing the flesh. Putting on Christ requires humbleness. You can’t boast or make yourself look cool or impress others by it. Putting on Christ requires meekness. You can’t do this under your own strength. You can’t make it happen sooner than later. You can’t partially put on Christ, it is all or nothing.
Putting on Christ requires sacrifice. The things of your flesh must be destroyed. Pride
must be crushed. The flesh must be silenced. The image that we might have worked so hard for others to see will be destroyed. Our whole world could be put upside down.
But the benefits of putting on Christ far out weigh the sacrifices. The peace that comes with putting on Christ is more than worth those things that are sacrificed. Walking in truth in who we are, (made in the image of God), and in what we do will give us the ultimate peace. This in turn then gives us confidence to walk truthfully with others.
Romans 13:14. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (NKJV)
What is it like to “put on Christ” in marriage?
I have heard the term to “put on Christ” for many years now. I think of times past where it was explained to me that sometimes it’s just what you do when you are out living life. When you are at the grocery store and you get into an argument with your friend, family member, or your spouse, and then you turn the corner to the next aisle and there stands someone you know. Someone from church, who doesn’t know you to well, but one whom you wouldn’t let in on the fact that you are in the middle of a “heated discussion” right there in the store.
So you “put on Christ” like a mask, a covering for you to be able to smile and fake your way through the situation to the best of your ability. And as you walk past that acquaintance, apparently, then you can go ahead a take Jesus right back off and go back to being the angry sinful jerk you were covering up.
I am not sure how I feel about that today, and I am certainly not thinking that that is the true message of putting on Christ. That is most definitely not what I want to experience in my marriage with Rob. It makes it seem to me that either Christ is a false covering, or that I am wrongly using Him and putting a sour taste in the mouths of those I encounter when it comes to Jesus and my faith in Him.
So what does it mean then to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ?” To have His covering over me in my life so that He spills out into my marriage and can be seen by my husband? The verse says that I should make no provision for the flesh. Well, I know for sure that when I am left to myself, my own thoughts and desires, my own actions and behaviors, my choices, if I am doing anything alone and in the metaphorical dark, then I am making every provision for my flesh to win the daily battle. My flesh wants it’s own way and is selfish. My flesh doesn’t want to share and doesn’t feel like being kind. My flesh can be judgmental and uncaring.
At the same time, when I am in my own flesh, even when I am getting my way because of it…it doesn’t make me happy! That seems so strange. How annoying!!! If I am getting my own way and doing what I want, why would I not be enjoying myself?
That’s because God designed us to become one when we have married. Our flesh is united along with our hearts and our lives. By living with Christ as my covering, He gives me the ability to not want things for only myself. He gives me a desire to see my husband pleased and for me to serve him in my days.
In fact, I am smiling right now at the thought. By “putting on Christ” I can live in His strength and still be me. I can still feel and hurt and I don’t have to hide anything from Rob. I can look to Jesus and His ways in my trials and still be real about the fact that I am in a trial. Rob is there to be in the trial with me.
I don’t want to, or need to, fake it like the grocery store example. When Rob comes home from his busy day, he can know that my day was difficult as soon as he comes home, yet at the same time, I can set that aside for a moment to love on my husband and welcome him in. I can ask him about his day and be preparing our dinner.
My desire is that I would grow closer to God and Rob every day. I don’t ever want to live in such a way that I would be trying to hide my true self from either one of them. I know because I have done both and neither of them work. God always knows what I have going on, and Rob can usually see through my hiding right away too. (It’s like our young daughter who “hides” at the kitchen table by covering her eyes, or behind the couch pillows as if I would never see everything is in disarray). My marriage masks are obvious and just like how I don’t like what it feels when I am being selfish and I force the situation so that I get my way, I also don’t like trying to keep any kind of hidden attitude or agenda with Rob.
So I take risks. I risk in my relationship to be real with my husband and to trust that because he also has “put on Christ” we can deal with what comes our way in life. When I am having a bad day, or I am emotional, or hormonal, I also can take risks and grow in knowing that Rob will be ready because he too has “put on Christ” and Jesus can handle all of me. Therefore, so can Rob. It goes both ways. The longer we are married, the more we risk with one another and grow in our walks with the Lord, the easier it has become to trust one another. To trust that we know that each other is still a human and imperfect, but in that we allow each other to be real, honest and to keep our marriage mask free.
So put on Christ today. Married or unmarried. Young or old. He is the only covering that we need. He does not need us to fake our way through life, but quite the opposite. He allows us to be more real than ever imagined. He has made me who I am and with Christ I get to be me, and others will see Him.