"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, April 19, 2013

* IT TAKES W. O. R. K. - Part 2

Genesis 2:24 (NIV 1984)  "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

Sadly, many marriages represent two individuals operating independently of the other without any regard to physical, emotional or spiritual oneness.  Couples resemble roommates instead of teammates.  A united whole is God’s design as He announced in Genesis 2:24 “ . . . and they will become one flesh.”

Behind the bouquets, lace and fruit punch is a myriad of two backgrounds and ideals coming together as one; it takes more than just ‘wishing’ for a good marriage.  A godly thriving marriage takes work.  Here is some W.O.R.K. we can implement: 
  • Welcome forgiveness.  Unforgiveness plants a bitter root within and produces more weeds of discord.  Without forgiveness, healing is not possible.  Ruth Bell Graham says, "A great marriage takes two great forgivers."
  • Overturn apathy and negative habits.  We can just get plain lazy and stuck in the rut of routine and monotony.  Find something you both enjoy together and have fun with each another.
  • Resolve conflict biblically (Matthew 18:15-20).  Conflict is inevitable.  How we handle conflict communicates our level of maturity.  Accept responsibility for your part in any conflict.  This removes pride and finger-pointing to allow necessary growth to flourish.
  • Keep God at the center.  When God remains the center of each person’s life and marriage, their foundation stands firm.  Even during hardship, frustration and disappointment, restoration is possible when the couples’ cornerstone for living is concrete.
  • Kneel often.  Prayer joins hearts.  We cannot do marriage on our own.  Communication with God is an expression of humility because we seek His strength to live and function. We desire His protection from the fiery darts of the evil one.  We pray for ourselves and each other to ensure our heart is right with God and our finger is not pointed elsewhere.  
This is not a recipe for a 'happily ever after' marriage.  No.  Perfect marriages don't exist, only two imperfect people seeking a perfect God who can take our imperfection and transform it into beauty.  Commitment, surrender, forgiveness, unconditional love and respect are biblical ingredients for a flourishing marriage.  This does not mean you will be exempt from struggles, disagreements, or desert experiences.  Remain determined to work through them though to ensure victory for your marriage, and a defeat to the enemy!  This is a start to reflecting the glory, grace and oneness God intended for man and wife.

Months of planning are put into a wedding.  Details are just right; the cake, tuxes and dresses ordered, invitations sent, reservations made, decorations bought, and flowers arranged.  It is interesting how much time and effort is willingly put into a wedding ceremony, but what about the marriage?  

Heart Work:
Evaluate how your relationship with God contributes to your marriage.

Ask God to remove the tactics of the enemy to persuade and speak lies to you.

Consider the strength of your foundation.  Which building blocks can you better implement for a healthy and godly marriage?

Heart Exam:
Do I understand how important my relationship with God or lack of relationship with Him impacts my marriage?

How healthy is my marriage?  How can I extend forgiveness and unconditional love to my spouse?  How is the enemy deceiving me?

Am I committed to do whatever it takes to love my spouse and have a godly marriage whether or not my spouse reciprocates?

Am I willing to be responsible for my contributions, good or bad, to my marriage?

Does forgiveness, unconditional love, respect, humility and prayer characterize my marriage?

Heart Transforming Word:
Matthew 7:25  (NIV 1984)  "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

2 Corinthians 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Romans 8:12 "Brothers we have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live."

Hebrews 13:4  "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure."

Ephesians 5:31 "The wife must respect her husband."

Ephesians 5:21 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.

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