Sunday announced the start of premarriage counseling for Charity and me. The material comes out of Bethel Redding, specifically Danny and Sheri Silk’s Loving on Purpose teaching and counseling ministry. In the first session, Danny Silk centers his presentation on the following terms: powerful and powerless. These become the categories to identify the areas, attitudes, and behaviors that are either powerful or powerless in the couples pursuing the covenant of marriage. Now, Silk develops these categories or terms, powerful and powerless, in order to describe the types of couple pairings, too. Because of space constraints, I’m going to focus on the actual terms in relation to inner character traits.
According to Silk, powerless characterizes those attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts where the flesh rules and reigns rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, he never really states it that way, but the implication is loud and clear throughout the 45-50 minute DVD presentation. When there’s an unsurrendered area of my life, this manifests itself through forms of manipulation and self-centeredness. In the context of a relationship, this may look like passive aggressiveness, emotional dependency, and fits of rage. These manifestations of powerlessness indicate areas of spiritual darkness in desperate need of the light of the world (John 6:12).
Passive aggressive behavior reveals a deep-rooted fear of personal disclosure through confronting the offending party. Emotional dependency occurs when one or both parties feels and/or perceives emptiness in oneself without the other in her/his life. Fits of rage are very similar to the temper tantrums of a toddler, who goes into a rage when she/he isn’t getting what she/he wants at that moment. All three of these examples reflect spiritual and emotional immaturity. For the believer in Christ, the hope comes in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Silk quotes 2 Cor 3:17 to underscore the freedom given to us in covenant relationship with Christ: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (ESV).”
When the light of the world comes into the believer’s life through the Spirit, there are two key things taking place. First, light shines into the darkness exposing the deeds of darkness. Second, the Spirit indwells the believer, and one of the consequences of the Spirit’s indwelling presence is freedom. This second point is crucial because it connects with another verse from Silk’s presentation, which is Joshua 24:15 where Joshua lays a charge to the people of Israel whether to serve the God of heaven or the foreign gods. I call this the freedom of choice only after spelling out the truthfulness of the present condition. When the Spirit indwells the believer, his light shines to reveal the truthfulness of the believer’s condition. At that point, I have a choice to make: surrender to the Lord or forget what I saw and continue like nothing happened (James 1:22-25).
I will bring this entry to a close with a few parting thoughts. Number one, where do you need the light of the world to shine in your life in order to experience more of his freedom? Second, are you willing to take ownership of those exposed areas for greater freedom and holiness and power in Christ? This isn’t easy work, nor is it solely solitary work. Christ formed his church, the body, for a reason. It’s not just to gather, but to find freedom and sustenance through the sanctifying work of becoming like Christ. Don’t go at it alone.