As my lovely wife celebrates a special birthday, the best gift I can give her is outlined here by Jonathan Parnell:
Our hunger for God will not be confined to our closets. As we know him and delight in all that he is for us in Jesus, our joy in him reaches beyond personal experience on a quest to be reproduced in others. One of the simplest ways we realize this is by taking serious how we pray — by wanting and asking for others the same things we want and ask for ourselves.
It is a beautiful thing — a miracle — when we become as invested in the sanctification of others as we are in our own. And, of course, the best place to start is with our spouses.
So men, here are ten things to want from God (and ask from him) for your wife:
- God, be her God — her all-satisfying treasure and all. Make her jealous for your exclusive supremacy over all her affections (Psalm 73:24–25).
- Increase her faith — give her a rock-solid confidence that your incomparable power is only always wielded for her absolute good in Christ (Romans 8:28–30).
- Intensify her joy — a joy in you that abandons all to the riches of your grace in Jesus and that says firmly, clearly, gladly: “I’ll go anywhere and do anything if you are there” (Exodus 33:14–15).
- Soften her heart — rescue her from cynicism and make her tender to your presence in the most complicated details of dirty diapers and a multitude of other needs you’ve called her to meet (Hebrews 1:3).
- Make her cherish your church — build relationships into her life that challenge and encourage her to walk in step with the truth of the gospel, and cause her to love corporate gatherings, the Lord’s Table, and the everyday life of the body (Mark 3:35).
- Give her wisdom — make her see dimensions of reality that I would overlook and accompany her vision with a gentle, quiet spirit that feels safe and celebrated (1 Peter 3:4).
- Sustain her health — continue to speak your gift of health and keep us from presumption; it is by blood-bought grace (Psalm 139:14).
- Multiply her influence — encourage and deepen the impact she has on our children. Give her sweet glimpses of it. Pour her out in love for our neighbors and spark creative ways to engage them for Jesus’s sake (John 12:24).
- Make her hear your voice — to read the Bible and accept it as it really is, your word… your very word to her where she lives, full of grace and power and everything she needs pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
- Overcome her with Jesus — that she is united to him, that she is a new creature in him, that she is your daughter in him. . . No longer in Adam and dead in sin; now in Christ and alive to you, forever (Romans 6:11).
And then a thousand other things. Amen.