January 15, 2018 | When happiness is left still wanting…

Most people enter into marriage to achieve happiness.  But when happiness is left still wanting, what do married people do?  When troubles arise in the relationship, how can one overcome them when the marriage is purposed around being happy?

In his book, “Sacred Marriage” (which I highly recommend), Gary Thomas asks the question, “What if God had an end in mind for marriage that goes beyond happiness, comfort, and desire?  What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  

Holiness is the standard that God calls every Christian to. 1 Peter 1:15-16says, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

Marriage is one of the most opportune ways God gives believers to become more like Him.  For marriage calls us to an entirely new and selfless life! 

There is a giant thread running throughout the Scriptures comparing God’s relationship to his people with the human institution of marriage.  Marriage models God’s Love for His Church.  

In Ephesians 5:21-33 Paul writes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit about the covenant relationship of marriage.  And in this description, marriage serves as an illustration for how God loves and relates with His Church.  Read what Paul wrote…

Ephesians‬ ‭5:21-33‬
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

The early church father, Augustine, considered three benefits of marriage — offspring (procreate), fidelity (guard against sexual sin), and relationship (union).  And he considered this third benefit as the greatest benefit of all.  For as long as a couple is married, they will display the ongoing commitment between Christ and the Church.  No matter how imperfect we are, simply “sticking it out” is vitally important.  Because our faithfulness displays the faithfulness of Jesus to the Church.  

In a time in which many are married for self-centered purposes, comforts, expectations, and desires, our world desperately needs a visual illustration of what God’s Love, devotion, and faithfulness with His people looks like — and it’s found in the union of a marriage!  

Not only do marriages reveal how God is committed to His Church; but, this relationship also reveals the Gospel.  Look again at Ephesians 5:25-27 — “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

The Gospel is that man can be reconciled with God.  Everyday two sinners live together as husband and wife and our differences must be mutually reconciled so that we can continue to live in union with one another.

How do we model the Ministry of Reconciliation in our Marriages?  Read what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

So what if my marriage were an opportunity for me to become more like Jesus!  What if I were to look ay my wife through the eyes of Christ.  I would clearly see that she has a new identity in Christ, just like me.  And every day, the good days and the bad ones, are opportunities to walk, talk, love, forgive, and relate like Jesus would.  

In Christ,
 
Pastor Ashton

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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