Goaded to Action

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In what areas has your spouse attempted to "encourage" you, only to have you make excuses?

Comfort each other and edify one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

How ironic that I (David) would resist encouragement rather than receive it gladly—resent it, in fact, rather than joyfully accept it. A classic example of this weakness has been my resistance to Teresa's encouragement concerning my driving speed. For years she tried every imaginable approach—some of them more Christlike than others. None had a positive effect on my driving, and most, in fact, resulted in relational conflict.

When Teresa "encouraged" me to slow down, I would rationalize my reactions with countless justifications such as, "I don't need someone telling me how to drive," or "If I get a ticket, I've earned the money to pay for it," or "If our insurance rates go up, that's how I've chosen to spend our money." In retrospect, these answers sound a lot like speaking and thinking as a child (1 Corinthians 13:11).

God often gets my attention through His Word. I love studying Scripture—obviously much more than obeying it! Over the years I've sensed God guiding my life through the Word, sometimes in a humorous fashion. I still remember teaching a class about the book of Acts when I encountered the passage where the Lord said to Saul, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads"(Acts 26:14, NASB).

Amidst considerable research on the text, which used an illustration from the training of farm animals (a goad is a stick used to urge on an ox or other beast of burden), the Lord spoke to me of something more relevant to my own life: "I've given you Teresa's encouragement about your driving—for your good. Why do you kick against it?"

I then recognized Teresa's role in my life as a "goad of the Lord." Changes were underway in my life, particularly that part of my life behind the wheel.

In what areas has your spouse attempted to "encourage" you, only to have you make excuses?

God, help me to encourage my spouse and, more importantly, accept encouragement.

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