Ever since Thanksgiving, I’ve been musing on how my celebration of a holiday is distinct and different from the world. I think too often, our (Christian’s) celebration is merely the same kind of celebration as the world, except it’s maybe cleaner and we add Christ on top. But we have the same kind of greed for gifts and service out of obligation. So, what steps does your family take to celebrate the holiday in a way that distinctly points to Jesus?
For today’s Marriage Monday segment, I thought I would allude to the theme that was to occur last Friday night at HomeWord (we ended up cancelling for a few reasons). I was struck by 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 and the outright command (“order” in the original) he gave married couples based on the authoritative word of Jesus to stick together. Wives aren’t to separate and husbands aren’t to divorce.
I’m wondering what keeps you together as a couple? I mean I’ve heard people say they are toughing it out for the kids (which is noble) or Jesus (which I have some questions about — I mean if Jesus is really the reason you are holding it together, shouldn’t you both be growing more together…anyway, I regress) or maybe even pride and ignoring public embarrassment. Paul appeals for us to stick together because it is God’s will for us. You don’t have to pray about whether or not God wants you in that marriage relationship. I think Jesus said it best: “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” Therefore, if we are seeking God’s desires above all, we will stick together. We will pursue “togetherness.” So how are you doing at this?
For today’s Marriage Monday, I thought I would give good encouragement to “be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God, in Christ, has forgiven you.” Recently I’ve been reading an excellent book entitled, How To Be Free From Bitterness. In just the first chapter, the author was used by God in tremendous ways to get at my heart and reveal how bitter I really am over some things. Here’s an excerpt:
How can we tell if we are bitter?
One good rule of thumb is this: bitterness remembers details. You have had thousands of conversations in your life, most of which you have forgotten. But this one took place five years ago, and you remember every single word, his intention, and the inflection of every part of his voice. You know exactly what happened–which means you are bitter.
Scripture calls on us to get rid of all bitterness. Is there any bitterness you need to turn away from today? Don’t let the canker of bitterness sour you! Kill it and walk in victory.
With stewardship on my mind after the morning service yesterday, I was wondering how you as a family are doing in attacking the money issue? Does the world get a picture of sacrificial giving, demonstrating a trust in God? Or is the world shown that you value money just like they do, you just have God “working” for you? As a couple, labor together to strive to be Godly stewards of what you’ve been entrusted with.
What can you do this week to intentionally express to your spouse how thankful you are to them? Think! Be Creative! Labor hard to demonstrate this with action. Thankfulness is an overflow of praise from God. Let’s express the overflow of our gratitude to God by demonstrating thankfulness in intentional acts of blessing to our spouses.
In the Danvers Statement, it is interesting to note, when thinking about roles, how the Fall radically affected mankind. They say:
The Fall introduced distortions inot the relationships between men and women.
– In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
– In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
What this reminds me of, then, is my need for a change of heart through the Gospel.