Friday, 1 October 2010

Build Your House Upon the Rock

In the Book of Luke, chapter six, verses 46-49 Jesus lays down a simple statement with profound implications. Basically he is saying, “If you hear my words and obey them, you will find that you can withstand the difficulties that life brings. In other words you will be building your marriage on a firm foundation that will help you weather the storms of life. If on the other hand you hear my words an ignore them you will be overwhelmed by the circumstances in which you find yourself. And thus you will be building your relationship on sand which can be washed away by the torrential downpours that life brings.

Or if you are less circumspect you may prefer the words of that great theologian Vince Lombardi who said, “Gentlemen this is a football.” Legend has it that at the start of each season the genius coach of the Green Bay Packers would start his training by reminding his players that perfect execution of the fundamentals would produce victory.

Building your house, i.e. your marriage, on the Rock, namely Jesus Christ, will produce a victory for you and your husband/wife. For the Rock refers to making decisions based on God’s will and doing things His way. The Book of Ephesians is a good place to start, specifically chapter five, verses 21-33. This is the foundational verse that applies to marriage in Scripture. It says that husbands are to agape their wives, i.e. express unconditional love toward their wives. And wives are to have unconditional respect for their husbands. By unconditional I mean that the love/respect you display is not based on the performance of your husband/wife. The husband is called to love his wife regardless of whether or not she is respectful. The wife is called to respect her husband regardless of whether or not he demonstrates love. This is tough stuff.

If you choose to build your house/marriage on the “ground” and not on a firm foundation storms will erode the ground on which you have built your relationship and to quote a familiar song “it will go slip, sliding away.”

Vince Lombardi believed that if his team executed the basic fundamentals of the game better than the opponent they would win every game, given enough time. Scripture provides the fundamentals by which the “game” of marriage should be played. A couple who studies that playbook will absolutely achieve victory.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I Want Someone Who Will Complete Me

If you are one of those people who got married in an effort to be completed – ding, ding, ding – it’s not going to happen. To paraphrase a line from the movie “Cool Runnings”, if you are not complete without marriage, you’ll never be complete with it.

In all honesty it depends on how you define “completes me”. For God recognized in the Garden that Adam needed a helper, someone of his own species to do life with. Not only was it not good for man to be alone but they were created male and female in the image of God. Thus it says to me that neither man nor woman alone is capable of reflecting the nature, character and qualities of God, but combined we come closer.

If your definition of “completes me” is more along the lines of “I have been unhappy with who I am. I have a void in my life that I have not been able to fill” then you don’t need a husband or wife but a Christian counselor.

We are only completed in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We feel most complete when we are using the spiritual gifts, the talents and abilities that God has given us in the service of others. We feel most complete when we are in His presence, be it in prayer, worship or in His Word. It would stand to reason that we would feel most complete when we adhere to the Great Commandment, i.e. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Isn’t it interesting that we are most likely to feel complete when we put God and others first. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to offer his life…” When we stop navel gazing we feel complete. When we help others, we feel complete. When we truly worship and give thanks to the all mighty, magnificent God, we feel complete.

To the extent that you can put your husband/wife’s deal ahead of your deal, that you can “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but consider others better than yourself” (Phil 2:3) to that extent you will find completeness in marriage.