Marriage Perspectives and Objectives
Some thoughts exchanged between the saints, years ago… captured in some rough notes at that time…
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
“Stop viewing one another after the flesh” (2 Corinthians 5:16).
“See to it, brothers, that no bitter root sprouts up between you. But encourage, deal in one another’s lives alongside daily” (Hebrews 12:15; Hebrews 3:13-15).
Because we are neither married nor given in marriage in heaven (Mat. 22:30), then the marriage institution (as it is called) is not above the Word of God. In other words, if a spouse sees something in his/her spouse’s life that is unlike Jesus, Jesus didn’t say,
“Take it to him and him alone and then bring two or three witnesses—unless it happens to be your wife, or your husband or your children or your parents.” He didn’t make that distinction. He said you take it to anyone who claims to be a Believer!
Who are my mothers and brothers and sisters? Who is my family anyway? Those who do the will of God. That’s the ONLY way a person who has been born a second time is allowed to see it. We must come to understand more of the eternal nature of the things of God than most understand. We’ve got to cross these barriers. “Take it to him and him alone, plus your best friends”—that IS Gossip! Or, “Take it to him and him alone, plus your wife”—that’s Gossip!
A marriage is not a legal place to sin. “Do what you want, inside of your own four walls.” That is not the way the Scriptures read. Also, if your brother or sister who is caught in a sin happens to be your spouse, it’s not, “Take it to them and them alone… but don’t bring two or three witnesses, because they are your spouse, or best friend, or….” Wrong. Those things have to take place. Remember, we’re neither married nor given in marriage in heaven—there’s something much bigger at stake here!
The reason you are married is because God has given you a special opportunity to work the Life of Jesus into a captive audience. You mutually benefit from that relationship. You are together in that relationship so you can help each other become more like Jesus in the quickest possible way—in the most trying of all circumstances. : ) (Did I say that?)
It is a Great Opportunity, to lay down your life for each other in a way that is almost inescapable! It is easy to escape responsibility in just about every other relationship, but marriage is a relationship where your responsibilities are inescapable, if you are honest at all. If you are a pagan you can step out of that relationship, but if you really love Jesus and love your spouse, that’s the perfect place to grow in the deepest possible way.
Marriage is not a place to hide from the Word of God. It is the best possible place to apply the Word of God!
If you are a husband with a wife that is walking in unbelief, or a wife with a husband that’s walking in unbelief, that certainly presents some serious difficulties and painful situations. And, the problem in the home and relationship may not be unbelief (as classically defined, at least). It may be bitterness, unforgiveness, rebellion, a hard heart, laziness, pride, self-centeredness, shortness of temper or other things that are just plain old not like Jesus. These are issues, because those problems are indications that they are very likely not in fellowship with Him—and you care too much to let things stay that way.
Take the opportunity, in your marriage, to build one another up and to use that depth of relationship to help spur one another on to love and good works. If they will not move towards Jesus, that is always going to be their choice. You are still very responsible to show them the way, and encourage them and pray them into Greatness in Christ. But in the end there are seven billion people on the planet at the moment, and you can’t make anyone, even if they live in your four walls, have “a good and honest heart” that wants to love Jesus and obey Him in every area of their lives. Not everyone “loves the Truth and so is saved.” Some, according to Jesus, do not “love the Light.” You can only do the best you can, and continue to serve God in every other area of your short lifetime as well. You must do what you have to do to serve Him well in every arena of life.
Again, as this relates to pseudo-Believers and unbelievers? God says, if he (or she) is content to live with you while you are serving Jesus whole-heartedly, without compromise, being the best servant you can be in the home at the same time you are “about your Father’s Business,” then that is great. If they will not tolerate you living for Jesus on GOD’S terms—laying your life down for them and others, “admonishing one another daily,” “bearing one another’s burdens,” “confessing sins one to another,” “joined and knit together by every supporting ligament” within the daily Life of the Body of Christ Jesus… that is a very different matter. They cannot control your service of God. Not possible. “Judge for yourselves whether it is better to obey God or man.” “You are not a slave in such cases” to unBelievers’ whims.
Of course, you must not provoke unnecessarily, or manipulate to get something you want and use your “service of God” to do so. But on the other hand, when a spouse or parent or child will not cease “crucifying Jesus afresh” right before your eyes, the ultimate decision is no longer yours, if you are “not your own, you are bought for a price.” If they are willing to stay, as you live a Life for Jesus, deeply involved in His Kingdom, “contending as One man for the Faith” (while also being Godly and sacrificial in the home), let them. “Who knows? You may actually participate in saving their souls!” But you’ll never do that by compromising and giving in to their emotional and physical blackmail. They will only learn (from any lukewarm compromises and slavery to mere men on your part) how little Jesus really means to you, and how pointless it would be for them to give their lives to such a powerless God. Don’t do that to them, thinking you are doing them and God a favor by lowering the standard of your life to accommodate someone else’s sin. Bad, bad choice. Don’t do it.
Now, back to relationships amongst Believers. Take the opportunity to use whatever resources you have available, to help them Grow in Christ—even if it involves bringing other people into the picture. If “to him and him alone” is ineffective (because they “won’t hear you” or because there is no change) then JESUS said there was a next step to take! Bring “two or three others” and even involve the entire church if necessary to snatch them from ways that crucify Jesus and harm their ability to have a true relationship with the Father. It is not in THEIR best interests, as well as being forbidden by God, to just turn away and ignore sin in your home or relationships. Again, marriage is not a place to hide from God’s Word. It’s a place to explore a close-proximity relationship to help each other be more like Jesus.
In other words, don’t put up with (ignore, overlook, refuse to deal with) anything in your marriage or home or workplace or neighborhood (when Believers are involved) that is inappropriate and unlike what Jesus taught and commanded. Just because they’re your spouse or your children or your parents or, on the other hand, because you supposedly don’t know them very well doesn’t give you that right. “Cop-outs” are not the way to please Jesus and to “wrestle to present everyone complete, perfect, full and free in Christ.”
And marriage is not to be pursued for self-interests. It must not be pursued on the basis of what you want for yourself, rather than what would best serve God. “MY house”—“MY family”—“MY time”—“MY day off”—“MY yard”—“MY job”—“MY dinner table”…. These are very weak and destructive expressions of one that is not connected to the Head and the Body of Christ. People who live that way will not See the Kingdom in the Lives around them, beyond the middle-class, cultural counterfeits. Don’t settle for that! God has designed you for better!
And never, ever, EVER marry someone based on wishful thinking—hoping that someday “they’ll be a man of God or woman of God.” Only marry based on what is proven and bears fruit, not on what you hope it will be someday if they “grow into it.” You must forever live with what you decide in these matters. Don’t be naïve or self-deceived, or let your hormones rule you and ruin your life! The human body is just a decaying earth-suit that ends up shriveled and stretched and ripped in a short amount of time anyway. Be wise! Be governed by the Spirit, seeing “no man after the flesh,” as Paul said. Nothing is judged or decided by “the seeing of the eye or the hearing of the ear” if we are walking with God.
Look at Jesus as the Standard—an irrevocable Standard, regardless of the kind of relationship you have. Whether it’s mother, daughter, husband, wife or whatever, that kind of relationship must not nullify the teaching of Jesus. That’s the place to apply the teaching of Jesus to the greatest possible extent. Love and mercy and patience—but NOT disobedience to what God taught.
A marriage is not meant to be a hiding place. It is meant to be a place to bring each other to the highest possible place in the shortest amount of time.
So, DON’T SHRINK BACK from that responsibility.
“We’re neither married nor given in marriage in heaven,” Jesus taught.
“Those that are married should live as those not consumed or controlled primarily by this relationship, as time is short and the days are evil,” said the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus, through the apostle Paul.
The purpose of marriage is to build the character and qualities of Christ in the shortest amount of time, in the closest possible proximity.
See it that way, instead of trying to get all of the things you “want,” okay??!! Love, devotion, kindness, patience, selfless partnership, and more… all are part of the Picture of Jesus and His Relationship!
Now, PLEASE…!!! Don’t use this as a license to do the nagging you’ve always wanted to do, either. It’s not like that. Again, patience, kindness, forbearance, generosity and love. But with clarity—there is a Standard. Help each other to walk it out, in love, without compromise. Marriage is not for your entertainment and your “rights” primarily. That self-life standard is sold to you by the world, and pagan ideology, but it is not God’s Intent. From the Beginning it was not so. Find your “enjoyment,” your “joy and crown,” in “bringing many sons (and spouses and neighbors and co-workers) to Glory”—not just surviving and serving your own interests. That’s where Life really is found!!! Go and find the meaning of this!