Monday, November 24, 2008

Conversations: Marriage

Living in a different time zone than most of my friends has definitely taken its toll on time for thought provoking conversations with my friends. However, I've had several lately over the phone with some good friends back home and it's been so enjoyable! Thanks guys!

Here's one of them I particularly enjoyed:

There are so many people who get married, and then divorced, even among believers. Even some among those who are really following Jesus. My friend said she'd like to think that she wouldn't get divorced, but she knows she can't say that. She knows she's a sinner and it's possible she, or her man, will mess up.

I totally agreed: we are sinners. Sin affects us all on this side of heaven. Of course it's possible to fall, we all do at some time or another and life's not perfect. I know that in my own sinfulness, I could easily ruin a marriage.

However, I'm not going to go into my marriage expecting failure. In fact, I'm going to do quite the opposite. Yes, I admit that I sin and I will sin. I am FAR from perfect, as I know my husband will be, too. But, there's something else that I know that I feel that most people forget: God is for my marriage. His power is much mightier than the power of my sin. There's a really good reason to have hope for a lasting marriage!

I must be able to admit I can't hold my marriage together. But I also must have the faith to admit that God can. Not only can He, but He WANTS to. God created marriage as a beautiful thing...two people becoming one so we can better understand what being one with God is like.

We know that you can't separate Jesus and the Father, right? I mean, we whole heartedly believe they are both God, right? They are one.

“Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work...John 14:10

If then, the power of the Father is so great in Jesus, and we know that they can't separated, what makes us think that His power in us is any less that that of which was in Christ?

Jesus himself said, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [that's us], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me...John 17:20-21.

So, we are one with God. His power is in us. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these...” [Jesus] John 14:12. The power of Christ is in us. Who's to say that we don't have the power to keep a marriage together? Sure, on my own I don't. But I'm not on my own! I am walking in faith, living in the power of Christ!

That power is there. I believe it. I know it to be true and have seen it embodied in numerous areas of my life.

So, the power is there. Now then, what does God want? Even if He hadn't given us His power, He would still be able to hold a marriage together! Why would He do that? Because, God is for marriage. He created it. As long as my marriage takes place within the confines that God created it to take place within, I believe He has no reason to let it fall apart [Both believers: 1 Kings 11:2; One man, one woman:Eph. 5:30-32; etc.].

Sure, there are those who have been divorced, but there are also thousands of marriages that have lasted. Not only do we have the examples of righteous men and women throughout the Bible whose marriages were held together by God, but there are many today. Like all the great couples at my church, some being married for 50+ years. And then there's my own parents. I'm so thankful for them. Yeah, sure, marriage has been rough for them in ways, just like it has been for others. But, the Lord has held them together and I'm sure that they would personally vouch for me saying that they love it; they have both grown greatly from those hard times and they are blessed because of it. Not only do they love their marriage, but so do I. It's beautiful, even with its glitches. Because God is in the midst of it all. It's His marriage.

As long as I can admit that my marriage is not held together by my own efforts to do the right thing, I believe it will be held together. I believe that God will keep my marriage together. That He will make it a beautiful picture of His oneness with us and His love for us, that I will be made holy through the experience and that He will be glorified through it. My faith in God and His power and His goodness must prevail over thoughts that I have the power to ruin something myself. Even the power that I have to sin and make mistakes is nothing in comparison with the vast greatness of His power. How dare I even think that I could ruin something of His like that.

I think it's when people forget about that power, when they forget who's really in charge, that their marriages struggle. How sad that they weren't able to rely on that power in faith, on Christ's power, to get them through it. And how sad that I and my brothers and sisters in Christ weren't believing in that power enough ourselves to remind those struggling so that they could depend on it as well.

Here's to believing in the power we have through Jesus over sin. And not just for myself, but reminding others of that power, so they too can believe and rest in it.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

What God has joined together, let man no separate.” Matthew 19:6

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