| The Marriage Covenant|
Over that last few days, because of some christian marriages that I have heard of breaking up, I have been very grieved.
What is happening. Have we forsaken covenant? Are the preachers afraid to speak out what the word really says about marriage? Has it all become just subjective?
We as the body of Christ are in trouble. We are just like the world, but worse because we know better.
While I don't espouse these people, Benny Hinn & Tod Bentley, it is just a mini picture of what is happening in the rest of the church. We have forsaken our covenant of "until death do us part". This is reflected in our relationship with God as well.
I am saying this for all the christians out there who allow separation and divorce to settle in your thoughts. God hates divorce. In fact Lord Himself says that adultery is the only thing, other than death, that releases you from that covenant.
Mat 5:31 ¶ It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Unless our spouse has been unfaithful, and even then for hardness of hearts, we are in a covenant relationship and not free to divorce.
Mar 10:5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
It is possible to forgive even this sin by God's grace.
I am writing this because I have a huge burden for the state of christian marriages. I am grieved at what I see happening. The instance I heard of yesterday is that of a elder in the church and his wife splitting. I am sorrowful over this. Does it break your heart when you see this happening? Do you do everything in your power to stop it? God has used me to speak to these individual, write letters and intercede for them, and to date only one of these people repented and worked on restoring their marriage, but one is better than none. The others had made up their minds no matter what the word says.
I am coming to you as one who has weathered the storms. I have at times thought I can't take this anymore, and because this verse in Proverbs 31 means a lot to me, Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil, I will not go into personal detail. Just know that at times I have been pressed to the point of bursting, if not for God's grace. I have now been married for 39 years, and 34 of them as a believer. None of them has been easy.
Every time I have thought of calling it quits I hear God speak to my heart, I hate divorce, you have a covenant with Me (God). Your covenant with me does not allow you to leave your husband, there are no biblical grounds here.
When I have pondered why divorce is so rampant among believers I only come up with a few things, unforgiveness, self-centeredness, and rebellion.
Love keeps no record of wrongs, that is no record, just as the Lord keeps no records of our wrongs.
Hbr 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
We are called to forgive our spouses in the same way. Why do we bring up the past? Why do we keep records of wrong? By God's grace we can be just a forgetfull as God is, and it will save or marriage.
Selfishness and self-centeredness are characteristic of the fall. But we are called out of that. Our lives are to be poured out for the sake of others. It isn't about me, but about Jesus and my fellow man, which includes my husband. I listened to Jane Hansen speak about how we as women want to be worshipped, and when we aren't we pout and give them the silent treatment, or withhold ourselves. This is not dying to self, but enthroning self. We demand our needs met, and if not we are going to dump the bum. This is not the heart of God. We have a covenant and it is binding. We have to walk in love, forgiveness and honor our husbands, even if they don't deserve it in our opinion. God's blessing will be upon this heart position.
How about if we spend our time trying to minister to our spouse rather than expecting them to minister to us. What if we do unto them what we would like them to do unto us. What would that do? Hmmmm. You might say what reward is there in that? God's reward. How long do I have to do that? Until He comes. What reward is there in that. If you are looking for your reward this side of glory, you will be hugely disappointed. If you look for your reward from the Giver of reward you will never be disappointed.
I am here to tell you from personal experience, that when you forget yourself and try to make the other happy, you will find peace and rest yourself. You wear yourself out trying make your spouse be what you think they should be, and it never works. All you do is drive a wedge in between you both. It is time to forget about you and focus on God and loving your spouse, the way you want to be loved.
Jhn 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Today let us determine to lay our lives down for the sake of our spouse and the awesome God we serve. All the aggravation and frustration that we feel over our spouses actions and personalities are really easily forgiven if we remember how much we have been forgiven. If we remember, except for His mercy, we would be just as aggravating to God.
Now about rebellion. God's word says He hates divorce. It also says, other than for adultery, we have no right to separate and divorce. Let us not walk in rebellion to His word.
I have watched numerous folks split in my 34 years of being a believer, and very few were because of infidelity. Most were, as they call it, irreconilable differences. That is unforgiveness, for which God will not forgive us. Also I have seen that the ones that leave their spouse for this reason almost always backslide and forsake the Lord. I have heard them say that I am just divorcing, but will never marry again, thereby thinking they are OK with God, but unforgiveness is never OK with God. It is a heart issue. These people have never been the same in their walk God as they were before separating. When you break one covenant in rebellion if effects every area of your life.
Now having said that. I know there are folks out there who are the victims of this separation, and it was beyond your power to keep it from happening. First of all search your heart to see how much you added to the event and repent for being unkind or unloving. The person leaving doesn't excuse you for your actions. If possible be reconciled. Love covers a multitude of sins.
I wonder how many of members of the body of Christ would divorce if they knew that in doing so they are never to remarry, except for in the case of fornication, which I am not certain all would even OK it in that circumstance. This is not preached today, because there is such a vast majority of folks that are divorced for the wrong reasons. However if we are ever to get back on track with the word it is time we tow the line in this area. What does the word say? Then stand on it.
Unless the church stops looking like the world we will have no impact on it. We are no different than they are. We need to be.
Let's die to self today, take up our cross and follow Him. We are not of this world, and He is coming soon. What manner of people ought we to be? If you can only understand that this life is a vapor, and it is only a dressing room for eternity (Duncan Campbell thank you for that). It is not important what we have to endure for a little while. I am telling you when you concentrate on making the other person happy, you will forget yourself, and find peace. Will you still have times of sorrow and hurt? Yes. Go on and cast those in the sea of forgiveness, fall on God for His grace, which will be sufficient. Remember their sins no more. You will find peace for your soul, and please your Savior in the process.
I want to end with a bit of hope in this dying to self. After 34 years of refusing to quit, I am beginning to see glimmers of change in my husband. He now defends me to the uttermost if anyone says a word against me, you better watch out. He has started to ask me to pray about things. He tells me he loves me several times a day and likes to do little things for me. I don't require this or demand it. When we unconditionally love others and don't set a timeline, in due time we will reap. It may not be in this life, but it doesn't go unnoticed in heaven.
Peace and rest to you all.
| 2010/7/30 10:04||Profile|
| Re: The Marriage Covenant|
The instance I heard of yesterday is that of a elder in the church and his wife splitting.
Why should this be a shock when churches have been tolerating this kind of behavior for years? After all, the leadership are humans, just like the people that sit in the pews. If it is wrong for the leaders, it is also wrong for the laity.
| 2010/7/30 11:14||Profile|
| Re: |
ginnyrose it is not a shock at all, just a grief. My desire is that the church, those who really are the church, would begin to stand up and make their voices heard, rather than ignoring the situation.
The word says that the old woman, or more mature women should instruct the younger women.
Tts 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
It doens't say if they love them back. Jesus loved us when we didn't love Him at all.
My point is that we are doing nothing. Instead we just let them go down the road never to be heard of again without speaking to them and telling them the truth. We do have a reponsibilty to correct those in error, or their blood is on our hands.
I am not shocked at, just saddened.
As one of my godly friends said when she heard about this couple separating:
Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This person has endured much more difficulty and hardship than in marriage than any person I know, but she has remained steadfash, faithful and loving. She will have her reward.
| 2010/7/30 11:25||Profile|
| Re: |
I heard of a pastor and his wife who divorced, and in two years, only 6 people in the leadership knew they were divorced.
The still lived in the same house, and to the outside world everything was ok. However, it would appear that the position they had was too much to give up.
I was told this by someone who formerly went to the church.
How people could live like this is beyond me, but it's obvious that they can.
It's a sad indictment on the church when it mimics the world in everything. Even the divorce rate.
God help us. I mean that.
| 2010/7/30 11:33||Profile|
| Re: |
I understand your grief...
Presently I have a brother whose wife left him...years ago people would divorce to marry their lover. Today they separate so they can live like a playboy or playgirl with no thought of even remarrying - not that I think they should - God forbidded that! I am just saying this to demonstrate how this lifestyle is becoming so acceptable in popular culture.
Recently, in a nearby city a man was convicted of committing adultery with two ladies in our town. Both of whom were arrested! (He is oriental, practices medicine in that city.) This is an old law that is still on the books in Mississippi. Don't know what the outcome will be because it is still an ongoing issue as far as I know.
KLC, I appreciate your testimony.
KLC, I PM'd you, did you read it?
| 2010/7/30 11:53||Profile|
| Re: The Marriage Covenant|
Its encouraging to see a 30/40 year plus marriage these days. I guess why preachers say nothing is they are busy getting divorced. Hinn, bentley, white, bynum etc
If doctrine is not christ-centered it is self-centered and it is anyone's guess which produces fruits of the spirit like long suffering that one requires in life long relationships. The divorce rate like you said is way too high and is the highest amongst all world religions. Also i think the young are suffering because of this i have seen youth that are so intoxicated by the world that if they didnt have christain parents you would question if they were saved. A deacon at my church told me her 16 year old daughter was away for the weekend to go to a concert (one of the biggest pop concerts in the UK) i really didnt know what to say. And then the same deacons sit down and ask why the rate of youth leaving the church when mature is so high (i dont really blame them when we would rather entertain them from a young age than feed them the milk of the word why would they stay for semi-skimmed secularism when they could leave and chase are the original ). I think the answers to most of our christian problems has been bashed around for so long it has become a religious platitude in many hearts as opposed to a testimony. How can one be called to witness but have no testimony to the living word of God. Where is the demonstration of power that is supposed to accompany our witness. Marriages are failing the youth are becoming even more secular by the generation and what answers do we have for the world as Christ ambassadors? where are the greater works? We can try to theologically rationalize with great profound platitudes but im tired of masquerading unbelief and fear in trusting Gods word as a theology of sovereignty (yes i do believe God is sovereign). Why do third world countries find it so much easier to believe God despite all thier suffering. Have we become the new laodicea?
What has happened to joy unspeakable?
did he not say
"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
-is the lords joy dependent on what we see
"Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts" -What does our diet comprise of the words of Jesus or the philosophical ideas of men?
"But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves." - He said i could have his joy how do i get it? How do i know he have it.
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." -Not meat and drink!!!! but joy in he holy ghost -ah
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" - we are promised may trials in the word (not this exact quote for the picky) yet we are promised joy how does this joy come to us?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - if joy and peace are fruits of the Spirit then where is this joy in the christian marriages that end in divorce?
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" - is this our reality today as a church? is the body of Christ experiencing Joy unspeakable? or have we substituted the joy of the Holy Ghost for the American dream?
What Goldminer about hardened hearts is so very true. Most men saved or unsaved struggle to forgive and unfaithful partner. Like the God said in Hosea
"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
"Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children."
what happens when we reject God word.
| 2010/7/30 11:54||Profile|
| Re: |
Thanks for the comments. Yes ginnyrose I did answer. Thanks for your comments. I hope to hear more.
RainMan it is time for the church to be salt & light. We can't remain silent any more. Salt preserves and light illuminates. Do we.
Your comments on joy are spot on. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but in spite of them. It is joy in the Holy Ghost, not matter what makes life difficult. Good word.
| 2010/7/30 12:06||Profile|