Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Child-like Faith
Volume 6 No. 359 July 22, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

Poem: A Tranquil Moment

by Dr Mercy Abraham

My Soul soars to worlds unknown
Like a skylark that soars across the lake
What heights of Joy and depths of deep Love
It can go and find its treasures.

Peace fills my mind at this moment solemn
As I gaze across the green placid lake
Where else can I
find such a place except
In my own country -
"Gods own Country"
Where birds come to nest from eons abroad.

It is just pleasant to spend some moments
In this Tranquil time - when
Time seems to be standstill
And Peace soaks in my heart.

The vision seem very clear, which
Does not fade in memory, when
You look across the years, what
Nostalgia will fill your mind, when
You be old and want to go back
To your cherished moments in your Memory Lane ...

I can see these now as I sit and jot down these lines
Beside the tranquil lake and look at the white birds across
The marshes some of them fly in pairs and dance in the air,
And go back to their nests where their birdlings hatch.

I love these moments where every thing is quiet
And at a slow pace, when I go back
To my restless and monotonous pace, and
I would be glad if my words bring cheer to you,
Across the oceans, and you are far away...

Editor's Note:

Dr. Mercy Abraham wrote this poem on Dec 29, 2011 while visiting a bird sanctuary in Mysore. Mercy does not require an introduction. We have published several poems penned by Mercy in Malankara World. Mercy is a graduate of 1973 batch of Kottayam Medical College and worked in UAE for many years. On a personal note, Mercy is a classmate of my wife Dr. Shila Mathew MD at KMC and is a neighbor of us in my ancestral home in Kerala.

Health: The Cost of Emotional Dependency...

And How A Revolutionary New Protocol & Virtual Reality Are Freeing Us of Our Self-Destructive Behaviors

By Luca Bosurgi

Imagine a world where you can enjoy everybody because everyone in your world is there by choice, not need. Imagine being able to use all of your mental power to invent, conquer, achieve, and love instead of wasting your brain's resources on seeking love and validation from others. Imagine the freedom that comes from feeling equal to everyone, choosing instead of being chosen, or loving unconditionally instead of trying to secure love and appreciation from someone else. Imagine the power of being beautiful, skilled, and rich because you are, instead of trying to acquire those as a means to secure emotional rewards. Imagine being able to love without fear, and simply enjoying it. Imagine a life without all the pain, fears, and addictions resulting from emotional dependency.

Throughout my life, I have loved and studied the beauty that the mind holds. One of the main focuses of my research has been the daunting condition of emotional dependency. I realized from an early age that dependency upon others for emotional support was not natural in adulthood, and there was another way to live. I knew there had to be a way to release this unhealthy need for others and transform painful emotional dependency into highly rewarding interdependency. I embraced the challenge and it became my life's mission.

To address emotional dependency I needed to understand the cause of it; therefore, I worked to gain knowledge about the purpose of our mind, body, and our lives. I realized that everything in the mind and body is equipment that operates to maximize our efficiency. Our skin, our bones, our thinking, our emotions all strive to achieve our life's goals of promoting safe and efficient behaviors.

This concept evidenced that emotional dependency had a natural value in the course of our lives. By observing the early development of mammals, as well as tribal initiations into adulthood, I was able to identify its purpose. Emotional dependency is built into us from birth to ensure the need for love, safety, validation and guidance toward our parents and educators. This bond with our parents protects our vulnerable lives in childhood and stimulates our early learning. We are meant to transition to emotional and physical independence as we progress through puberty; and these skills are refined during the teenager years.

Self-leadership and self-reliance are learned behaviors that we acquire from our parents. Unfortunately, most parents today do not have the models needed to guide their children toward emotional independence during the impressionable childhood years. When the time comes to release their parental duty, instead of empowering us with self-reliance, they have left us with the only pathway open to us: to transfer our emotional needs from our parents to the people around us. This is why emotional dependence still exists in adulthood for most of us. We see the result in low self-esteem, self judgement, the choices we make in our relationships, the failure to create or sustain healthy relationships, depression, fear of rejection, addiction, financial struggles and so many other dysfunctional or self-limiting behaviors. We act out of our need for approval from others.

As soon I identified the origin of this condition, I focused my energy and resources towards finding a solution. The challenge was to identify a methodology that provides the mind with the same self-reliant models that we were supposed to receive from our parents. Through 10 years of research and clinical testing with more than 2,000 clients, I established a protocol offered in a state of deep meditation that guides the mind to self-reliance and the removal of the obsolete behaviors built to cope with emotional dependency.

The Bosurgi Method™ is based on the theory that the mind always strives for perfection, implementing and choosing behaviors that grant the best possible responses to one's daily events. Optimal responses are selected by the mind in order to maximize safety and efficiency--whatever the occurrence.

Of course, the tools available and the perception of the event's influence or limit our behavioral choice. Meaning that if we are driven by emotional needs, we will implement entirely different life choices from the ones we would do if we were self-reliant. Imagine the different set of behaviors that we would use if we try to be beautiful, smart, rich, cool or confident--in order to gain love and approval, or if instead, we just are, without worrying about judgment or rejection.

However self-reliant models, if already in place, are more efficient and safer; therefore the mind will prioritize them over less-functional emotionally dependent sets of behavior. The Bosurgi Method™ helps the mind to identify those powerful self-reliant models; the same ones we should have received from our parents.

As soon as this new clarity is implemented, the mind is free to archive the now-obsolete behaviors. This is the process that searches out obsolete behavioral responses, actions, thoughts, feelings or experiences that trigger the old emotionally-dependent models. As soon as these are retrieved, the mind makes the required behavioral updates, so that in future events, these responses are in tune with the new self-reliant model that you have now set as the priority. This process is subliminal and effortless, not requiring someone to consciously process or remember events to create change or free oneself. The mind is like a computer, if doesn't need to recreate images and sounds; it can simply browse through millions of events in a fraction of a second, and do the upgrade!

While, it may seem very complex, in reality the Bosurgi Method™ only helps the mind to accelerate the same evolutionary process that we normally use to learn and improve.

My next challenge was to bring this method out of my practice and to the world. Two years ago, the advancement in Virtual Reality technology allowed me to convert my method into a home therapy that can be used anywhere, anytime. Virtual Reality is mainly used for interactive entertainment, but it has much more value than games and fantasy experiences. It engages our two main senses in a fully-immersive setting that replicates the way we learn naturally--through experience. It also offers captivating visuals able to calm the mind and keep it focused on the experience. The process enhances this learning environment by guiding the mind into the Theta state, the same state used by Buddhist Monks for mind and spiritual development work. In this emotional state, our highly intelligent mind is less distracted, therefore more open, to analyze and acquire alternative models and acceptable guidance for self-reliance.

It is so natural and simple. No years of therapy, anti-depressant drugs, or multiple seminars. It unleashes your natural powers, creating the freedom for you to experience emotional independence.

About The Author:

Luca Bosurgi is the creator of The Bosurgi Method™ and founder of Mind Fitness Lab. Using the MindFitness phone app coupled with a VR mobile headset, individuals can unwind years of codependency-- to experience complete emotional independence in under a month. The easily affordable Bosurgi Method™ has been proven to be effective 95% of the time, radically changing thousands of lives. For more information and to see comments from users, go to  

Food: Coffee Talk

by Ajit Kumar

1. It shouldn't sound anti-Indian, but the real coffee world is much different than what we know in India. Even CCD in India serves mediocre coffee, Barista is no different. Nestle sells 3rd grade instant coffee in India (taste imported Nestle & see the difference). Thankfully Italian Lavazza has come in.

2. Guatemalan, Jamaican, Brazilian, Colombian coffees are superior, then comes Indian, Vietnamese and Kenyan coffees. Not because Indian variety is bad but because the method of roasting and extracting are often poor.

3. Arabica beans, in taste, is superior; Robusta beans comes as 2nd.

4. Unfortunately market often sells Chicory mixed coffee or Robusta coffee, which are price reducers. Chicory is not coffee. In fact, it spoils real coffee.

5. In India it is hard to get good Arabica beans coffee, most gets exported. Unless asked, Pure Arabica is hard to get, and one should also be knowledgeable to differentiate between Arabica and Robusta taste.

6. Higher the roast, higher the caffeine content, higher the kick. A shot of 30 ml espresso can give 30 -45 mg. caffeine

7. Higher the roast higher the bitterness, and hence also demands more sugar, as such most Indian coffees are roasted to low or medium range.

8. High Roast coffee is bitter, and hence best drunk in smaller doses of 30 ml shot. Good Coffee is best drunk in shots and not as a tall drink!

9. Coffee flavour is best soon after roasting, and brew tastes best if freshly roasted. A well brewed coffee of right consistency foams when brewed directly in the cup, so much so it looks milky & thick.

10. Espresso is a method of extracting coffee thru pressurised steam passed thru layer of ground coffee. High latent heat of steam brings out flavour better than that just hot water.

11. Since Steam brewing is only possible in high end brewer often not available at homes, coffee in shops tastes better. Steam extraction should be limited to 30 to 45 second, extended brewing spoils coffee.

12. A good coffee machine roasts coffee bean on top, and gives the brews directly below.

13. Italians are Best Coffee roasters and brewers in the world. Bar-ista comes from a Italian word, it is an honour given to someone who has mastered the art of coffee brewing.

14. Americans have adopted large coffee concept calling it Americano, diluting espresso with hot water. British have added milk and sugar making it sweet. More flavours were then added by Europeans and Americans to add variety and appeal to a larger consumer base. No harm done, variety has somehow increased consumers for coffee.

15. Turkish or Greek Coffee, actually boil coffee powder in water and pour it directly in cups.

16. As a Good Scotch must be drunk neat, a connoisseur of coffee will also prefer coffee undiluted and never as a cocktail with milk / sugar / cardamom / coco etc.

17. All coffee brands tweak their blends based on price range & local taste. For example, a Russian Nestle coffee will be much more bitter than UK ones. Some brands specify dark coffee indicating high roast. Sometime even the same brand may have one or two variety, so read the label for origin / Arabica and caffeine content.

18. Branded Ground coffee if more than a month old will lose aroma, and hence best to buy fresh roasted beans by smelling variety on offer. Some will also specify origin and degree of roast. Have it ground in supermarket or specialty coffee shop itself. Many good sellers have such facility (rare in India) or grind it at home mixer grinder. You can have it ground based on the type of filter you use, paper / mesh size etc. like fine coarse etc.

19. Never buy more than 200 gm. coffee at a time, and visit again to replenish stock. Keep coffee preferably in squeeze zip pouches, and not in fridge.

20. An espresso machine works better than hot water drip coffee maker.

21. Coffee is sometimes served with a Nestle wafer sweet bar. It serves the purpose for those, who cannot take bitterness.

A bite on the bar and then coffee sip makes it doubly appreciable both for coffee and the bar being opposite in taste. Bitter and Sweet.

It is doubly enjoyable for a black coffee, if you pair it to with cheese, chocolate, dates, Danish pastry, or dry fruits.

You taste black and white clear in having bitter and sweet one after another, and not grey that will happen when you mix sugar with coffee.

[Editor's Note:

Ajit is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India. ]

Family Special: The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission

by John Piper

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1–7

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Today we focus on what it means for a wife to be submissive to her husband. I am very eager that men and women, single and married, old and young (including children) hear this as a call to something strong and noble and beautiful and dignified and worthy of a woman's highest spiritual and moral efforts.

To set the stage for that impact, notice two phrases in 1 Peter 3:1: "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands." Notice the word own in "your own husbands." That means that there is a uniquely fitting submission to your own husband that is not fitting in relation to other men. You are not called to submit to all men the way you do to your husband. Then notice the phrase at the beginning: "Likewise, wives." This means that the call for a wife's submission is part of a larger call for submission from all Christians in different ways.

First Peter 2:13-3:12

In 1 Peter 2:13-17, Peter admonishes us all to be subject, for the Lord's sake, to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as set by him. In other words, keep the speed limits, pay your taxes, and be respectful toward policemen and senators.

Then in 2:18-25, Peter addresses the household servants (oiketai) in the church and admonishes them to be submissive to their masters with all respect, both to the kind and to the overbearing.

Then, in 3:1–6, Peter instructs the wives to be submissive to their husbands, including the husbands who are unbelieving. This is the part we are focusing on as part of our series on marriage.

Then, in verse 7, he instructs husbands to live considerately with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life.

Finally, in 3:8-12, Peter tells the whole church to have unity and sympathy and love and tenderheartedness and humility toward one another, and not to return evil for evil. In other words, submit to each other and serve each other. So, as we saw in Ephesians 5, submission is a wider Christian virtue for all of us to pursue, and it has its unique and fitting expressions in various relationships. Today we are focusing on the relationship of a wife to her husband. What does submission look like there?

Peter's Powerful Portrait of Womanhood

Before I describe what submission isn't and what it is, let's gaze for a few minutes and the powerful portrait of womanhood that Peter paints for us in these words. What we see is deep strong roots of womanhood underneath the fruit of submission. It's the roots that make submission the strong and beautiful thing that it is.

Start with verse 5: "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands."

The Deepest Root of Womanhood: Hope in God

The deepest root of Christian womanhood mentioned in this text is hope in God. "Holy women who hoped in God." A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God.

She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God.


The next thing to see about Christian womanhood after hope in God is the fearlessness that it produces in these women. So verse 5 said that the holy women of old hoped in God. And then verse 6 gives Sarah, Abraham's wife, as an example and then refers to all other Christian women as her daughters. Verse 6b: "And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

So this portrait of Christian womanhood is marked first by hope in God and then what grows out of that hope, namely, fearlessness. She does not fear the future; she laughs at the future. The presence of hope in the invincible sovereignty of God drives out fear. Or to say it more carefully and realistically, the daughters of Sarah fight the anxiety that rises in their hearts. They wage war on fear, and they defeat it with hope in the promises of God.

Mature Christian women know that following Christ will mean suffering. But they believe the promises like 1 Peter 3:14, "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled," and 1 Peter 4:19, "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."

That is what Christian women do: They entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. They hope in God. And they triumph over fear.

A Focus on Internal Adornment

And this leads to a third feature of Peter's portrait of womanhood, a focus on internal adornment, rather than external. First Peter 3:5 begins, "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves." This adornment refers back to what is described in verses 3-4:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

We know this does not mean that all jewelry and all hair styling is excluded because then all clothing would be excluded as well, because it says, "Don't let your adorning be external . . . the clothing you wear." What he means is: Don't focus your main attention and effort on how you look on the outside; focus it on the beauty that is inside. Exert more effort and be more concerned with inner beauty than outer beauty.

And he is specific in verse 4. When a woman puts her hope in God and not her husband and not in her looks, and when she overcomes fear by the promises of God, this will have an effect on her heart: It will give her an inner tranquility. That's what Peter means in verse 4 by "the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

A Unique Kind of Submissiveness

That leaves one more feature of this portrait of womanhood to see. First, there was hope in God. That leads then to fearlessness in the face of whatever the future may bring. Then that leads to an inner tranquility and meekness. And, finally, that spirit expresses itself in a unique kind of submissiveness to her husband. Verse 1: "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands." Verse 5: "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands."

That is a brief look at the portrait of the kind of woman Peter has in mind when he calls a woman to be submissive to her husband. Unshakable hope in God. Courage and fearlessness in the face of any future. Quiet tranquility of soul. Humble submission to her husband's leadership.

It is a great sadness that in our modern society—even in the church—the different and complementary roles of biblical headship for the husband and biblical submission for the wife are despised or simply passed over. Some people just write them off as sub-Christian cultural leftovers from the first century. Others distort and misuse them—I actually sat in my office once with a husband who believed that submission meant his wife should not go from one room to the other in the house without asking his permission. That kind of pathological distortion makes it easier for people to dispense with texts like these in the Bible.

But the truth of headship and submission is really here and really beautiful. When you see it lived out with the mark of Christ's majesty on it—the mutuality of servanthood without cancelling the reality of headship and submission—it is a wonderful and deeply satisfying drama. So let's ponder from this text first what submission is not, and then what it is.

What Submission Is Not

Here are six things it is not based on 1 Peter 3:1-6.

1. Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says. You can see that in verse one: she is a Christian and he is not. He has one set of ideas about ultimate reality. She has another. Peter calls her to be submissive while assuming she will not submit to his view of the most important thing in the world—God. So submission can't mean submitting to agree with all her husband thinks.

2. Submission does not mean leaving your brain or your will at the wedding altar. It is not the inability or the unwillingness to think for yourself. Here is a woman who heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. She thought about it. She assessed the truth claims of Jesus. She apprehended in her heart the beauty and worth of Christ and his work, and she chose him. Her husband heard it also. Otherwise, Peter probably wouldn't say he "disobeyed the word." He has heard the word, and he has thought about it. And he has not chosen Christ. She thought for herself and she acted. And Peter does not tell her to retreat from that commitment.

3. Submission does not mean avoiding every effort to change a husband. The whole point of this text is to tell a wife how to "win" her husband. Verse 1 says, "Be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives." If you didn't care about the Bible you might say, "Submission has to mean taking a husband the way he is and not trying to change him." But if you believe what the Bible says, you conclude that submission, paradoxically, is sometimes a strategy for changing him.

4. Submission does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ. The text clearly teaches that the wife is a follower of Jesus before and above being a follower of her husband. Submission to Jesus relativizes submission to husbands—and governments and employers and parents. When Sarah called Abraham "lord" in verse 6, it was lord with a lowercase l. It's like "sir" or "m'lord." And the obedience she rendered is qualified obedience because her supreme allegiance is to the Lord with a capital L.

5. Submission does not mean that a wife gets her personal, spiritual strength primarily through her husband. A good husband should indeed strengthen and build up and sustain his wife. He should be a source of strength. But what this text shows is that when a husband's spiritual leadership is lacking, a Christian wife is not bereft of strength. Submission does not mean she is dependent on him to supply her strength of faith and virtue and character. The text, in fact, assumes just the opposite. She is summoned to develop depth and strength and character not from her husband but for her husband. Verse five says that her hope is in God in the hope that her husband will join her there.

6. Finally submission does not mean that a wife is to act out of fear. Verse 6b says, "You are her [Sarah's] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." In other words, submission is free, not coerced by fear. The Christian woman is a free woman. When she submits to her husband—whether he is a believer or unbeliever—she does it in freedom, not out of fear.

What Submission Is

If that's what submission is not, then what is it? I suggested a couple weeks ago from Ephesians 5 what is true here as well:

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It's the disposition to follow a husband's authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, "I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don't flourish in the relationship when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works."

But submission does not follow a husband into sin. What then does submission say in such a situation? It says, "It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. You know I can't do that. I have no desire to resist you. On the contrary, I flourish most when I can respond joyfully to your lead; but I can't follow you into sin, as much as I love to honor your leadership in our marriage. Christ is my King."

The reason I say that submission is a disposition and an inclination to follow a husband's lead is because there will be times in a Christian marriage when the most submissive wife, with good reason, will hesitate at a husband's decision. It may look unwise to her. Suppose it's Noël and I. I am about to decide something for the family that looks foolish to her. At that moment, Noël could express her submission like this: "Johnny, I know you've thought a lot about this, and I love it when you take the initiative to plan for us and take the responsibility like this, but I really don't have peace about this decision and I think we need to talk about it some more. Could we? Maybe tonight sometime?"

The reason that is a kind of biblical submission is 1) because husbands, unlike Christ, are fallible and ought to admit it; 2) because husbands ought to want their wives to be excited about the family decisions, since Christ wants the church to be excited about following his decisions and not just follow begrudgingly; 3) because the way Noël expressed her misgivings communicated clearly that she endorses my leadership and affirms me in my role as head; and 4) because she has made it clear to me from the beginning of our marriage that if, when we have done all the talking we should, we still disagree, she will defer to her husband's decision.

The Goal: Everlasting Holy Joy

So I end with the reminder that marriage is not mainly about staying in love. It's about covenant keeping. And the main reason it is about covenant keeping is that God designed the relationship between a husband and his wife to represent the relationship between Christ and the church. This is the deepest meaning of marriage. And that is why ultimately the roles of headship and submission are so important. If our marriages are going to tell the truth about Christ and his church, we cannot be indifferent to the meaning of headship and submission. And let it not go without saying that God's purpose for the church—and for the Christian wife who represents it—is her everlasting holy joy. Christ died for them to bring that about.

© Desiring God Foundation Website:

Family Special: Beauty in Submission

by Lee Eclov

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:11—3:7

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1–2

For many people, the word submission implies serving someone else hand and foot. Submission seems dehumanizing. We assume that such deference would sap a marriage of the mutual respect and service that a marriage ought to have to make it strong and vital.

In 1 Peter 3, Peter was addressing a specific situation: how the wives of unsaved husbands might influence them to become Christians. He counseled the women to submit, but he was thinking of the kind of submission that is deeply catalytic, a potent secret remedy for a lost loved one.

The secret of a Christian wife's submission is found in three phrases.

The first is in verse 1: "in the same way." It refers back to the Christlike submission described in the previous verses (2:21–24). In the same way that Jesus trusted God to work redemptively through his submission, we can trust God to work through our submission.

The second key phrase is in verse 2: "when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." Purity and reverence ennoble a person; they are signs of spiritual strength. They are the marks of carefully guarded relationships with people and with God. Submission without purity and reverence has no potency, but when someone is the recipient of your humble submission and realizes that it springs not from his or her power over you but from your relationship with God, the person is changed by the experience.

The third important phrase is in verse 4: "a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." A gentle and quiet spirit is the opposite of a fearful spirit. Wives of unsaved husbands in Peter's day had a lot to be afraid of, but those who learned to quiet their hearts in the promises of God took on an inner beauty that no dress or makeup could give them, a beauty that attracted others to Christ. The message, both then and now, is that while Christian wives serve their unsaved husbands, they are depending on God, and that is a transforming experience.

Notice that the goal is not a dominating husband, but a godly husband. God-shaped submission makes the people around us better, not worse. Furthermore, even if an unsaved husband never responds to Christ, the Christian wife may grow in such beautiful godliness that others will be attracted to Christ.

Peter didn't apply to believing husbands the same recipe for winning over an unsaved wife, but we can be assured that the principles are similar. Paul instructed Christians to "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21). If a husband has an unsaved wife, his loving and sacrificial behavior toward her will show her a picture of Christ's love for the church (see Ephesians 5:25–32).

Let's Talk

How can Christian submission as Peter described it actually empower rather than dehumanize us in marriage?

How does fear sour submission (see 1 Peter 3:6)? What is it like to be around a fearfully submissive person?

How does the purity and reverence of our lives change the character of submission?

Source: NIV Devotions for Couples

Self Improvement: The Secret to Making Habits Stick

By Leo Babauta

If you want to create a new exercise habit (for example), you might tell yourself something like this:

"This is going to be amazing, I'm going to get fit and look incredible and be super healthy!"

This is a story you're telling yourself. It's not real, but it has tremendous power to affect your feelings about your habit, and to change your action. You have a positive story about the habit, and it motivates you to take action.

But perhaps the exercise you did one day was really tough, and you didn't enjoy it. Your story might change, to something like, "Wow, that was super hard. It sucked!"

Now your story about the habit is not so good, and you'll be less enthusiastic about doing the habit from now on.

Maybe you also missed a couple of days of exercise because you got busy. Your story changes to, "Damn, I screwed up, I'm not as good at this habit as I thought, why am I not disciplined?"

The story isn't so good. Now you might actually try not think about the habit, and you are much more likely to skip the habit from now on.

The story you tell yourself about your habit matters more than most people realize.

So the key is to shape the story, become your own habit storyteller, and create a story that will make you more likely to stick to the habit.

Telling a Good Story

The truth is that none of these stories is actually true. They're just narratives we have made up, in our minds, about what's going on. The reality is what's happening right now, and in an "ideal" world we would just drop the stories and be present with the moment, experiencing reality as it is.

There's no such thing as an ideal world, though. We tell stories. That's what we do. So the key is to realize when you're telling a negative story that's going to make you quit the habit, and instead create a more helpful story.

Try this:

Ask yourself how you feel about the habit you're creating. Are you psyched about it? Are you discouraged? Looking forward to it or dreading it? Feel strong about it or feel like you're doing lousy? Is it a wonderful experience for you or are you ploughing through the suckiness? This is all an indicator of what story you're telling yourself.

Start creating a better story by focusing on the things you love about the habit. You could focus on how much you hate the habit, or you could focus on what you love. It's your choice. Find things to appreciate about the habit. Look at your successes and think, "Man, that's awesome that I've done those things."

This is not to say that you should only think positive thoughts, or that you should ignore the negative. But if your story is on the balance more positive than negative, you'll be more resilient. You'll be able to handle the negative stuff with grace, because you have a positive feeling about the habit.

If you resent doing the habit, or see it as a sacrifice, you're more likely to blow the negative aspects up when they happen. But people with a strongly positive story will be likely to weather the storm of negative aspects of the habit.

The Positive Story Exercise

Try to think about some of the following thoughts when you're working on your habit:

This makes me feel strong/healthy/empowered (or some other positive trait).
I am proud of doing this habit.
I have had some great successes with this.
I'm learning a lot with this habit.
I've had good experiences with this habit.
There are some exciting things about this that I'd like to share with people.
I can appreciate the little things about this habit.
There are things I genuinely love about this habit.
This can sometimes be a struggle but it's definitely worth it.
This habit is improving my life an multiple ways.
I'm lucky to be able to do this habit.
There are things about this habit that I look forward to.
I've missed doing this habit sometimes, but over the long run it doesn't matter.
Doing this habit makes me more resilient.
When I've done this habit, I feel accomplished and satisfied.
I feel like a better person when I do this habit.

Just think about one of these each time you do the habit, or just after. And then try another one on the next time you do the habit.

Slowly, with thoughts like these and others you might think of, you'll start to have a more positive story about the habit.

And that will make all the difference — not only will you want to stay with it longer, you'll enjoy it more each time you do it.

About the Author:

Leo Babauta is the owner of, a website devoted to providing clear and concise wisdom on how to simplify your life. He's also the author of, 'The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential, in Business and in Life.'

2016 © Early to Rise Publishing – All Rights Reserved

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