Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Basis for Marriage

Ephesians 5:15-21:

[15] Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [18] And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, [19] addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, [20] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [21] submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (ESV)

I’ve heard Christians who desired to twist what the Bible said in order to justify their own pursuit of happiness. Divorce, homosexuality and promiscuity are the big ones with regard to the subject of marriage. So I’ve heard the argument made that “God just wants me to be happy.”

The answer that I’ve conserved more often than not is, “God doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants us to be obedient.” The problem with this answer is that God does want us to be happy. The real issue I have come to understand concerns where we are placing the source of our happiness. In other words, if you are trying to find happiness in what someone else does for you, then you will be disappointed and go looking for happiness elsewhere.

Look at the Ephesians passage. This comes right before a primary source teaching on marriage from the Bible. This is its context. The reason we submit to each other is because our desire is for God. If we don’t submit to each other then our desire is not for God. Rather, our desire is to have our own needs satisfied. Remember what Jesus said: seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. The first thing we should seek is the will of the one who provides us all things (v 17).

So we see how this works with marriage. If you want a happy marriage, seek God’s will. If you understand that God loves your spouse more than you do, you will seek to minister to the one that God loves according to their need. When both spouses do this, it’s pure bliss. When one spouse doesn’t, then the one who does will continue counting the suffering as joy. There is no seeking happiness elsewhere because you are aligned with Christ who died for us while we were still in sin.

Long gone are the self-serving warm fuzzies I once felt for my wife. Long now have I had an even greater passion for her as I follow Christ on her behalf.

So whether you are married, single, or have inappropriate feelings for another, whether the opposite or the same sex, seek God’s will first. All of us will suffer in one way or another for our earthly passions. Count it as all joy as we glorify God and submit to each other out of reverence for Him.

"Run to the Cross"

I've heard or read the phrase in the title of this post more times than I can remember. I've even heard it in songs. I have a question about it:

What does it mean?

The phrase "run to the cross" is not in the Bible. I looked. In order to answer the question, you have to give me an answer that indicates how this phrase means the same thing for everyone. You can't just tell me what YOU think it means. If it doesn't mean the same thing for everyone, then how can anyone admonish anyone else and expect that they will understand the admonition.

You see, I think we Christians too often use vague language like this and expect that everyone should know what we are talking about. But such is not the case. So can anyone tell me what this means?