Thursday, September 8, 2011

Marriage Works!

Have you ever thought about how much of our lives are spent in preparation & study?  I've been reflecting on this lately, & it occurs to me that we honestly spend the majority of our lives preparing for one thing or another.  Consider:  from the time we begin our formal education (sometimes even before), we are studying for exams or working hard to perfect some skill, be it sports, music, or any other discipline.  We put a lot of effort into making sure that we have all of the information to excel in our studies & athletic/artistic pursuits.  This hard-working mentality even carries on through our post-secondary education to whatever arena we choose to employ our knowledge & abilities, both in our jobs & in our leisure activities.  We simply take it for granted that excelling in life will require a deep knowledge base & a honing of abilities, so we work very hard at acquiring these necessities in almost every area of our lives.  Almost.

The one area that seems to be most neglected here is relationships.  We live in a sinful world full of sinful people.  Sinful people commit sin against each other.  There is not a single relationship that will remain untainted by sin.  And that makes relationships hard.  Two relationships are the most difficult:  relationships between spouses & relationships between parent & child.  So, I've been thinking - why is it that we just expect to excel in these relationships without study & hard work?  We will almost kill ourselves to perfect our knowledge so that we are good at our job or our passion, but we think that marriage & parenting will just come naturally.  Therefore, we put little to no effort into gaining godly wisdom about how to be a good spouse or a good parent.  And then we wonder why our families are falling apart.  Forgive me, but this disparity just makes no sense.

Last week, I became aware of no less than 3 marriages that are now defunct.  One lasted less than a year.  All 3 of these marriages were entered into - & dissolved by - people who grew up in the church & still claim Christ as their Savior.  One of them lamented about searching for God's will.  Can I be honest here?  I wanted to scream.  As a matter of fact, if memory serves, I believe I did.  Why is it that even believers will look to any other source than God's Word for wisdom, or even for His will?  Is it because we don't believe His Word to be the final authority in all matters of our lives?  Or is it because we don't like that His Word won't allow us to wallow in our sin, so we ignore it?  We need a reality check.

We love to sing, "What a friend we have in Jesus"!  And we truly do have the ultimate friend in Him.  John 15:13 reminds us of this truth because Jesus Christ is its fulfillment:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

We rightly revel in the truth that Jesus Christ willingly died for us on the cross!  The problem is that we tend to stop here & ignore what comes next:

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

The proof that we are saved by Christ's sacrifice is that we obey His commands.  It follows that if we choose to ignore His commands, this is proof that we are not friends for whom Jesus died.  So, what commands found in His Word are either specific to or can be applied to marriage?  We'll explore that next time.


Anonymous said...

Ohhhhh, it's hard sometimes, though. I hope that doing what Jesus commands, despite not wanting to do it at all, is evidence, too. In the end, that's all I want: Jesus. And that gets me by when it's so darn hard.

The Boyds said...

Oh, it's absolutely hard at times! Our sin nature's only desire is to rebel. That's why it's so important for us to not rely on ourselves or the culture around us for truth. Our only hope is to cling to God's truth. We're never going to perfectly follow Jesus' commands, & there are times when we don't want to at all (that whole sin nature thing rearing its ugly head), but sooner or later we will come to our senses if we are His & remember exactly what you said: that all we want is Him. I'd say that is indeed pretty good evidence. ;-)