Our Marriages are the testing ground for God to win us to himself. Our marriages are basic training for the one Marriage that will not disappoint.
~ Dan Allender & Tremper Longhman III
Christianity has long called us to this truth: Marriage must be about more than itself because love that does not serve life will die.
~ Evelyn & James Whitehead
How great, then, is the constraint in marriage, which subjects even the stronger to the other; for by mutual constraint each is bound to serve. Nor if one wishes to refrain can he withdraw his neck from the yoke, for he is subject to the [desires] of the other... You see how plainly the servitude of marriage is defined.
Marriage is hard work.
It requires humility and sacrifice. It calls us to a higher place of denial and selfless service. The Apostle Paul wrote his eloquent passage on "love" in I Corinthians 13:4-8 which is often recited during wedding ceremonies. He also addresses marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.
Marriage takes teamwork. It requires a "give & take" attitude and often calls for setting aside your views and wishes for those of your mate. Many couples simply don't take time to reflect sufficiently on the tremendous commitment they are undertaking in marriage.
Let's take this scenario as an example:
Someone you know is getting married. You saw the day coming and you are happy for them. Months of preparation have gone into their impending nuptials. The wedding date is quickly approaching - but you begin to see warning signs of trouble ahead. Maybe they are not made for each other after all.
How would you confront your friend? Would you tell them you were concerned that their decision to marry might be the wrong one? Could you honestly share your heart with them and plead for them to reconsider?
Spiritually speaking, as Christians, we have a wedding date in the future with our Groom [Jesus Christ]. Do we take seriously the pledge to our future husband? Do we contemplate life with our beloved? Are we keeping ourselves pure for Him only?
1. We have little or no preparation - Ephesians 5:26 tells us that Jesus cleanses us with the washing of water by the word [of God]. Time spent in the holy Scriptures allows the Spirit to test our hearts and search our minds - conforming us to His standards and not the world's. Our outward appearance as a Christian and primping for the public eye is useless if we do not concern ourselves with our inner beauty and purity.
2. We have a wandering eye - Our God is a jealous God. We are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). When we yearn and lust after the world, we demonstrate our wandering heart. God repeatedly chastised the nation of Israel for playing the harlot. Hosea 2:19-20 tells us that God betroths us to Himself forever. Longing for yesteryear or days gone by with affection is dangerous and deadly. Every believer in Jesus Christ needs to have "eyes for Him only".
3. We don't take it seriously - How often do we "play games" with our spiritual heritage. Well meaning rituals, programs, even service to God can become mechanical and habitual. Our focus on the Lord Jesus must be heartfelt and genuine. Our lame attempt at sincere devotion is evident when we dismiss meaningful engagement with other believers or avoid church wide commitment. Brides look forward to their wedding.
4. We lack fervent anticipation - Longing for our Lord Jesus is key to our heart's desire to be with Him for all eternity. Matthew 25:1-13 says that the virgins that were waiting for the bridegroom were a divided lot. Half of them were wise and half of them were foolish. The wise virgins had the oil they needed for their lamps when he came unexpectedly. The Apostle Paul also expressed great joy in anticipating Christ's return in I Thessalonians 2:19 and I Thessalonians 4:16-17. True love waits with a longing that is easily recognizable.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. That means it is permanent. God intended that a man and a women would be partners for their entire natural life. Christ and His church is the heavenly portrait of what our marriage on earth should be patterned after. It is also a glimpse of our relationship with Him for eternity as we are the bride of Christ.
May and June are traditional wedding months for many couples. Take some personal time to reflect on your commitment to a Groom who loves you with an everlasting love...
Love and Marriage