A lofty word for me, an imperfect wife.

Yet, a word that brings a smile to my face as I see the possibilities with Christ in my life,

I see hope.  Yes, hope for HE is the Hope-Giver — He is our hope.

Hope for your marriage involves Honesty. Overlooking. Perseverance. Excellence.

In wrapping up this series on HOPE I am excited that I am beginning the new year with this focus on excellence.

A new year, a clean slate.  Do you see the opportunities before us, ladies?  The air is pregnant with possibilities.  There are new possibilities for our marriages as we apply HOPE to our marriage relationships!

We live in a world that has risen to mediocrity, and no further.  It is enough to just get by in your job.  Many around us just do the minimum.  Customer service isn’t about going above and and beyond anymore and it is hard to find service with a smile.

Now I know this is a sweeping generalization of the world around me but I think you see what I mean.  We have the tendency to get complacent.  I do.  You can see it in my menu.  I tend to serve the same dishes over and over even though I know my family would be thrilled with more variety at dinnertime!  I see it in the way I relate to my teenagers…sometimes I just try to get by so I don’t have to get pulled into teen drama instead of finding better ways to communicate with my wonderful boys.  Or I just say, eh, we have been married for 21+ years now and he still loves me so I don’t really have to change the things that I know drive him crazy.  Whoa.  Talk about mediocre.

Here is the stinger though.  We were created for so much more than this.  Philippians 4: 8 admonishes,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)

“If anything is excellent…” we are to think about such things.

As I began to think about this verse I asked myself “how much time do I devote to intentionally thinking about things that are excellent?”  My answer?  Not nearly enough.  The concerns of the day often take precedence in my thinking.  I realized that I often allow my desire to be controlled by the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit living within me to be shoved to the back burner of my day.  Before I know it several days have passed and I am just going along with the flow and living complacently.  

Ever find yourself there?

When I find myself there my relationships suffer.  Ladies, we must rise above and pursue excellence!  Will we always achieve the goal?  No, but never aiming at excellence and never working toward it is a sure guarantee of mediocrity, or worse.

We have the Creator of the Universe living within us to help us rise above the fray and off of the plain of mediocrity.  Jesus will set our feet on the path towards excellence but it will take work.

Are you willing to work?

Most of us say we will, but will we, or will we do just enough to get by?

My relationships with others are worth the effort.  My marriage is worth the sweat and struggle to climb higher.  I will pursue excellence and it is clear from this verse that excellence begins in the mind.  We must think about things that are excellent.  We must purify our minds and then, Paul tells us the next step in verse 9.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

We need to then put the excellent and praiseworthy things into practice!  We move out in action.  It is not enough to think of excellence, we must pursue it!

The Imperfect Wives theme this year is Living Intentionally Free.  Excellence isn’t just an adjective.  It is something to be pursued, intentionally and on purpose.

Got HOPE for your marriage in 2012?  Allow Christ Jesus to show you HOPE as you are Honest, Overlooking, Persevering and a wife of Excellence!

Hopeful in 2012,

Kim ♥

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