Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Surely It Is Not That Simple

32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through Christ, our Liberating King.  Ephesians 4:32 The Voice

Could a Godly marriage be so simple as to just be kind, compassionate and forgiving?  Probably not but it would be a good place to start.  Non-Christians exhibit kindness and compassion.  To a certain extent a non-Christian can even be forgiving.   Based on the divorce rate statistics it is reasonably safe to assume that there are as many happily married non-Christian couples as there are those who consider themselves followers of Jesus. 

God wants more and He deserves more.  God wants marriage to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His bride (the church).  God wants marriage to bring glory to Himself; God wants us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, spirit and strength.  God wants a Christian’s marriage to be a “showcase” if you will, an example of what being in an other-centered relationship looks like.  Such a relationship would mean putting the other person’s needs, desires and wishes ahead of our own.

Christ gave it all for His bride so that she might be radiant, free of stain, blemish and  wrinkle. (My wife suggested that without wrinkle may be a stretch).  As you can see this goes way beyond just being kind, compassionate and forgiving but surely these characteristics would be incorporated into a marriage that would bring glory to God.

We know that it is difficult to be other-centered.  In 2Corinthians 5:15 the Apostle Paul said “ And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves…”  My translation of this is that we are so self-centered that we can’t get out of our own way and that Jesus recognized that He would have to experience an agonizing death to make our death to self a possibility.

So is it possible to live in a relationship with another person in such a way that God is glorified?  The answer is “Yes” for that is why Christ went to the Cross.  It is possible because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in all who truly desire to follow Jesus.   It is with the help of the Spirit that we can exhibit the love of Christ.

There is an old expression that says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  A God glorifying, other-centered, Christ edifying marriage isn’t built in a day either.  Depending on your starting point just being kind might be a great place to start.  In what tangible ways could you demonstrate kindness to the person that God has brought into your life?


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