Monday, 21 January 2013

And the Answer Is

First of all, what is the question?  Secondly, do I have a “life line”, i.e. someone I can confer with before I give an answer?  And lastly, as has been popularized by a well known American TV game show, “does this have to be my final answer”?

In his book Marriage Matters, Winston Smith had the audacity to pose the following two questions:

1.    Which statement more accurately describes your attitude: “I want my marriage to serve God’s purposes” or “I want my marriage to serve my purposes”?  

2.    If you believed that God’s greatest good for you in marriage is to make you more like Christ, how would it change your attitude?

 Most of us, if we are honest won’t get beyond question number one.  Winston could have made this a little easier by giving us some wiggle room, i.e. “given a choice would you prefer to serve God’s purposes or your own”?   Or leave room for a “Yes, but.., answer”, i.e. “Yes I would much rather serve God’s purposes BUT…. (fill in the blank with any excuse you’d like).

What are God’s purposes any way?  This counter question at least buys me some time to conjure up an answer to the original question.  I need look no further than Matthew 22:37:-39 which says:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Or perhaps you would pick 1 Corinthians 10:31:

           So whether you eat of drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

So God’s purpose for marriage is for me to put God first, even ahead of my spouse.  In addition I am to love my spouse as much as I love myself.  And finally I am to love my spouse in a way that would bring glory to God.

I certainly can’t admit to God that I want my marriage to serve my purposes.  And being of reasonably sound mind and body I have no earthly idea of how I could conduct myself in such a way that my marriage could serve His purposes.  This has to be a trick question.

However I know that two things are true.   First of all, God looks at our hearts.  He looks at my intentions and motivations, He is not expecting perfection.  Secondly, no one is more aware that we are sinners than God so He has put His Holy Spirit in us that we might draw upon him to do what we are unable to do in our own strength.

As for question number two I would understand that marriage is one of the tools that God is using to make me more like His Son.  That’s good enough for me.

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