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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Developing a Healthy Marriage_Pt. 4

Bride and groom kissing.7. The Faithful Connection – A Steadfast Commitment

“It’s over.” “We’re through.” “I’m finished!” These phrases are too often thrown around in arguments and should never be a part of a Christian’s vocabulary when it comes to marriage. The greatest insecurity in a relationship is the lack of security. Your spouse needs to know that you are in for the long haul. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but how can you resolve problems and work things out if someone is constantly in fear of being abandoned and deserted? When you establish security in a relationship, you establish a key element for long term survival and happiness.

Being faithful is not only a characteristic of a good spouse; it is also a prevailing characteristic of Christ himself. Jesus tells his spouse, the church, in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He also said in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” What was Christ doing in these verses? What message was he sending to his followers in John 3:16 when he said “whosoever believeth in him shall never perish, but have everlasting life.”? Jesus wants his bride to know that no matter what trials and difficulties would come our way, He will always be there for us and we will never be abandoned. WOW, What security! The New Testament is full of verses like this offering eternal security to the children of God. If we really want to be like Jesus, we must learn to display this level of commitment and faithfulness in our marriage. If God offers this commitment to us, why then can’t we offer this same security to our spouse and family? What stops us? Allow me to offer some insightful statements that will help us understand the anatomy of commitment and more effectively develop this connection of faithfulness:

  1. You must first accepts Christ’s security for yourself and understand that God will never leave you, before you can offer this kind of commitment to anyone else. Are you 100% sure that you are a child of God and that when you die you are going to heaven? If you are sure of this, do you understand the doctrine of eternal security as taught in the Bible? Take time to study God’s word and learn more about Gods unconditional love and commitment to his children. Learn all you can about the forever faithful nature of God.
  2. Don’t place conditions on your faithfulness. Be faithful and committed to your spouse and family, regardless of what they decide to do. You keep your vows even when others break theirs.
  3. Compare not, want not. To stay committed we must stay content. We cannot be looking at what others have in their relationship and family; and compare what we don’t have to what they do have. This breeds discontentment and will loosen our bands of commitment. When tough times come in a relationship, discontentment makes it easier to walk away than to stay and pray another day.
  4. Don’t be a score keeper. How can you stay committed and faithful to someone you’re trying to beat? Holding grudges and bringing up past failures will destroy the faithfulness in your heart towards your spouse, which will ultimately destroy the relationship. Forgive quickly, fully and totally; no strings attached!
  5. Give more than you take. Be a Christ-like giver. Invest into the relationship with all your might. When you are building and investing in something you tend to protect it and hold it in high regard. The more you help and do for your spouse and family, the less likely you are to do anything to destroy them.

This list is not exhaustive, but it is to the point on the basics for developing a marriage that is biblical, healthy and strong enough to last the tests of time. Your home and marriage has the potential to be great and wonderful, but it will only reach that potential by faithfulness, hard work and the blessings of God. Faithfulness in conflict is not a common quality to mankind. We tend to leave when it’s tough and stay if it’s good. Faithfulness is a character trait found throughout the pages of Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ. The more we learn about Christ and the closer to him we walk, the more likely we will be to express faithfulness even in the toughest of trials. Faithfulness is more than just staying together for a lot of years; it’s about staying together in the right spirit and for the right reasons. It’s about loving God and each other with all your heart and growing together for the glory of God and the good of your home; it’s about obedience to Gods word, following his Holy Spirit and putting his will and your family’s needs before yourself. Keep growing in Christ as an individual and watch Him bless you both together as a couple! “…and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24  (Be sure to look back and read parts 1-3 of this devotion)

 

The Perfect Spouse

largeEph. 5:25-27  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus Christ is without question the perfect “spouse” and example for any marriage. The phrase “as Christ” in verse 25 proves to us that when God wanted to give his people the perfect pattern for a faithful spouse, he thought of his son Jesus Christ. God wants us to love our spouse in the same ways that his son loves and cares for his bride, the church. I would like to show a few examples from the life of Christ that will be a help to every husband and wife that have a desire to learn and to improve their relationship.

First, I want you to see The Example of His Love. Verse 25 says we are to love our spouse “as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” The same way Jesus loves his bride, is the same way we are to love our bride. How does Christ love his wife the church? He loves with Strong Affection. You will never have to wonder if Christ loves you. His words, actions and affection are more than visible throughout the pages of scripture.  As we walk with Christ, we easily feel his love for us as we see him provide and care for his own. Does your spouse know you love them? I don’t mean that they heard you one time on your wedding day express affection; I mean do you presently and persistently tell them they are valuable to you and that you love them!  A strong affection is a visible affection. Christ loves with Sacrificial Action. It is no secret that Jesus died on the cross; but the reason he died should move us and motivate us to love him and serve him faithfully – he died for you and he died for me! Jesus knew that as sinners we could not save ourselves; he knew we would perish for eternity in a devils Hell without his intervention. His love for us was more than words; it was a visible action that to this day is the greatest picture of sacrificial love known to mankind. In a similar way, we should sacrifice for our marriage. Our spouse should be able to see our love by the actions we display. Christ loves with a Selfless Attitude. The reason Christ could die on the cross is because he first died to himself. Christ thought more of us than he did of himself. The needs of his bride where in his estimation greater than his own personal needs and feelings. When we die to self, we are putting down our fleshly wants and desire so we can clearly see the needs of others. We must learn to say NO to our wants, so we can meet the needs of our home and those around us. No one teaches this better than Jesus Christ.

Next I would like us to look at The Example of His Life. In verse 23 it says “Christ is the head of the church.” This means that he is first in the church; he is the one in charge, the leader, the pace-setter and the example of what is right and acceptable. If husbands and wives would strive to perfect in themselves the righteous character of Jesus Christ, homes would be more peaceful and more productive. We see many things in scripture as to how Christ lived and conducted himself, but I want to focus on just a few details. First look at The Goal of Christ. His goal or purpose was to make people better; to make us just like him (Rom. 8:29). Jesus wanted to clean and wash his church to remove all spots and wrinkles from his precious bride. We should purpose to help our spouse be like Jesus. We often make goals that best suit our wants; we try to shape our spouse into our mold, when we should be encouraging them to be just like Jesus. After all, if our spouse is like Jesus, then they will be exactly what we need them to be. We should not force changes on them, or try to guilt them into doing right. We should focus on living a Christ-like example ourselves; praying for them and encouraging them to grow in their own Christian walk also. We see The Goodness of Christ in scripture. Jesus was good and kind to the people he met. It didn’t matter who they were or how they treated him, Jesus always seemed to walk the high road and treat people with a polite and respectful disposition. Are we good to our spouse? What was the last thing you did for your spouse with no expectation of anything in return? It is easy to do something nice so we can get something nice, but genuine goodness needs no motive; goodness is the motive. Jesus did things for others just to be a blessing. Let’s practice being a blessing to our spouse and family. Then we see The Gladness of Christ. Jesus was a man that spread joy and happiness wherever he went. At the birth of Jesus the angles announced that his life would bring “great joy” to all people! Whether it was providing food, healing the sick or being friendly to an outcast; when Jesus touched a life that life was more joyful and complete than before. Are you a positive influence in your marriage or do you make trouble? Do you see the glass half full or half empty? Do you encourage with positive words or do you discourage with complaining and criticism? Try being the encourager in the relationship; I’m sure you’ll find it becomes contagious and helpful.

Then last we see The “Let It Go” Example of Christ. The greatest quality of Jesus Christ in my estimation was his ability to fully forgive people who hurt him. When Jesus forgives, he lets it go forever! God says in Hebrews 10:17 that when he forgives a person “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Why do we hold thing against people? We certainly don’t learn this from God; it must be that we learn it from our sinful flesh. We hold things over people’s heads as a way of making them pay for the hurt they have caused us. We secretly want them to hurt like we hurt. The best way to deal with pain is to give it to Jesus. Get the hurt out of your hands and put it into the loving hands of Christ.  Ask God to help you love the people who have hurt you. See them that hurt you through the eyes of Christ and forgive them and let it go! If Christ has forgiven us, we can forgive others also. The pain and hard feelings will never go away from you as long as you “hold” un-forgiveness in your heart. Think about it, when you hold hard feelings, you are “holding hard feelings.” In your hands, in your heart, in your life and in your mind, you are literally holding on to hurtful and damaging emotions in your life, restraining them from ever leaving, therefore infecting every area of your life and relationship. Marriages die every day because of un-forgiveness, but with full-forgiveness relationships can blossom with new hope.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a spouse; teaching every man and woman how to have a peaceful, passionate and productive marriage relationship. Surrender to Christ is the first step to a successful and long-lasting relationship with your spouse. Start today patterning your own life after the examples found in the life of Christ, and discover for yourself that happy marriages aren’t just found ‘haply ever after’ in fairytales, they’re found every day in Jesus Christ!

 
 
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