"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, December 13, 2013


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."

Months of planning are put into a wedding.  Details are just right; the cake, tuxes and dresses are 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?  Great marriages don't "just happen."  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.

Paul uses marriage to illustrate Christ's love for the church.  "Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy. (Ephesians 5:25 NIV 1984) "

Christ loved the church by laying down His life for her so that the best could be brought out of her.  As a part of Christ's bride, we understand the significance of this sacrificial act.  He was willing to empty Himself for the good of the church, His bride.  In the same way, the husband is to seek to sacrificially love his wife by emptying himself and serving her.  Christ didn't lead by domineering, but by caring and cherishing.  This is how a husband ought to treat his wife.

Verse 33 exhorts wives by saying, "The wife must respect her husband."  Love and respect are foundational principles for any marriage to remain healthy.  Just as a wife desires unconditional love, the husband desires unconditional respect.  Unfortunately, most wives don't understand this fact or simply refuse to accept it to the detriment of their marriage.

My marriage hasn't been perfect, after all, we are two very imperfect people. There are times when I regrettably disrespect my husband, withdraw from him physically and put unfair expectations on him.  Many times these are a result of selfishness, insecurity as a woman and my own lack of spiritual maturity.

I know God's desire for marriage, but it's my choice to carry out His design.  Sometimes I can be down-right strong-willed and even manipulative when I try to maneuver my desires and wishes for certain things.  When I refuse to allow my husband to function in his leadership role it grieves God.  My friend Kathy Altmeyer reminded me that it requires faith on my part, to trust God enough to lead my husband, so I can honor him without impeding his position. 

I want to honor and respect my husband, even though my humanness may sometimes resist this.  This human reality has taught me over the years the absolute necessity of nurturing my own relationship with Christ and depending upon the Holy Spirit to help me overcome this temptation.  

This is true in many aspects.  The more we earnestly seek the Lord, the easier it is for us to submit to God, and others.  When we submit, we can easily surrender ourselves, which is typically the root to selfishness and pride.  Seeking, submission and surrender are a powerful combination for any life desiring to be in the center of God's will.

Perfect marriages don't exist; only a perfect God who restores imperfect people.  When two purposeful individuals pursue God's best for their lives they will experience a thriving relationship and biblical oneness.  This does not mean God-honoring marriages are exempt from struggles, disagreements or desert experiences.  But it will reveal those who are submitted to Christ's authority.  The fruit of their marriage will result in the determination to work through various issues.  They will exert the time and effort needed which will ensure victory for the Kingdom and defeat to the enemy! 

Heart Work:
Evaluate how your relationship with God, or lack of, contributes to your marriage.

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

Consider the possible reality of any strong-willed behavior you may exhibit in your marriage.

Heart Exam:
How healthy is your marriage?  How easily do you extend forgiveness, unconditional love and respect to your spouse?

Are you committed to do whatever it takes to love your spouse and have a godly marriage whether or not your spouse reciprocates?  Why?

Are you willing to be responsible for your contributions, good or bad, to your marriage?

Does forgiveness, unconditional love, unconditional respect, humility and prayer characterize your 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 5:21  "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."

Ephesians 5:33 "The wife must respect her husband."

Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen.  Revised 2013.  All rights reserved.

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