Saturday, September 10, 2011

Marriage Works!

The story of the Bible revolves around God's redemption of mankind through Christ's atonement.  From the moment of the Fall, after pronouncing curses on the serpent, Adam, & Eve respectively, God gives a life-giving promise of the coming child who will be their salvation.  As the Israelites wandered & sinned in the desert, God gave them the sacrificial system as a reminder that not only were they in bondage to sin, but that their sin deserved death.  Embedded in that system, though, there was also the repeated promise of the Lamb who would one day take away the sin of the world.  With the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, the Son of God took on human flesh & walked the earth, healing infirmities & giving life to the lifeless.  His mission carried Him to the cross, where the innocent One bore the guilt of sinners & paid the punishment we deserve.  But the story doesn't end there, for being pleased with His sacrifice, the Father raised Jesus from the dead, securing once & for all victory over sin & death!  Upon His ascension, He left His disciples with the charge to spread His Gospel to the ends of the earth.  So, the rest of the Bible is given over to our "already/not yet" lives, the lives we live in between Christ's first & second comings.  Pick any letter in the New Testament & you will see a pattern of Gospel followed by response.  Repeatedly, we see that "because this Gospel is true, here is how we should respond".  So, any time we see a command given in Scripture, we must always, always, always view it through a Gospel lens.  To do anything else will lead us either to self-righteousness or despair.  So, with this firmly in mind, let us look at the commands in Scripture that are either specific to or can be applied to marriage.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a good starting place.

Pray for one another  (James 5:16)

Wives - Respect your husband  (Eph. 5:33)

Wives - Submit to your husband  (Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:3-5)

Husbands - Love your wife  (Eph. 5:25-33; Col. 3:19)

Forgive one another (Heb. 12:14-15; Matt. 6:9-15; Luke 17:3-4)

Repent to God & one another (Matt. 5:23-24; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 3:19-21)

Prefer & Serve one another  (Rom. 12:10; John 13:1-17; Phil. 2:1-8)

Romance each other  (Song of Solomon)

Communicate with love & understanding  (Prov. 20:5; Eph. 4:29; Col. 4:6)

Put your spouse ahead of parents, children, & others  (Genesis 2:24)

Be faithful  (1 Cor. 6:15-20; Matt. 5:27-28)

Encourage one another  (1 Thess. 5:11)

Some other things to remember:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
~Prov. 4:23

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, & let him make her sorry to see him leave."  ~Martin Luther

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  ~Col. 3:8-17

Finally, let me recommend a few books for you.  If you're not a reader, let me encourage you to become one, because there really is no better way to learn & grow.  These are incredible books full of godly wisdom & simply bursting with Scriptural application!

Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes is a highly practical book with 25 applications after each section, plus a study guide & prayers in the back.  This book has been so helpful in giving me new ideas & re-centering me when I get a little off.  I simply adore it!
Oh, me, oh, my!  What an amazing book!  We are inundated every day with all sorts of lies about God, about ourselves, about sin, about men - you name it, Satan (the father of lies) has led us into wrong thinking regarding it.  Nancy does a superb job tackling these lies & using God's Word to show them as the twisting of truth that they really are.  Seriously, you need this book!
Because this is a post for men & women, I would be remiss if I failed to include books that help husbands!  I haven't read either of the following books, but I asked my beloved, & these were his first suggestions.  I hope they're as helpful to you as the ones above will be to your wife.

My prayer is that you, your spouse, & your marriage are blessed by this post.  The state of marriage in the church seems to be almost as bad off as outside the church, & it just should not be so.  We have God's Word - the only foundation for truth to be had in this crazy, sinful world - to guide our thoughts, words, & deeds.  Please, let's run to God rather than "Cosmo", "Desperate Housewives", or Katy Perry for wisdom & truth.  Our marriages aren't the only thing at stake here.  So is our witness for Christ to this dying world.  May our marriages reflect the love of Christ & bring our Savior glory!  Amen!