How to Be God's Man and Husband
One of my favorite moments in ministry is when I stand up here with two trembling hearts standing before me at the wedding ceremony. May I remind you of what they agree to be at just one portion called the LIGHTING THE UNITY CANDLE:
The two outside candles have been lighted to represent your lives to this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going its separate way. To bring joy and radiance into your home, there must be the merging of these two flames into one.
From this time onward may your thoughts be for each other father than for your individual selves; may your plans be mutual, your joys and sorrows shared.
Wow, every time I say that it gives me shivers of joy to think that is what our marriages are all about. The Lord has offered to each of us a choice. We can either choose to follow His plan or ours through life. One of the most visible of all our choices is the person we marry. The choice is either a marriage after our own heart or after God’s own heart.
Remember you only get one chance in life to start with a wonderful Biblical marriage. It is worth the wait. Don’t squander one of the greatest areas of life by doing your own thing instead of God’s! I think the choice is yours. Where are you headed in your marriage and as a family this morning? You will never get to anywhere you are not headed right now! But if we aren’t careful, what is the other choice? It is called unhappiness, unfaithfulness, hardness, and divorce.
There are over 111 Million of us in America who are married. That is the majority or 56% of all over 18-year-old adults. Most of us this morning only faintly realize the dangerous climate we live in. We live in a culture soaked with the stain of divorce that has penetrated to the depths of all our institutions. Listen to a couple paragraphs from a book called The Divorce Culture.
"Divorce is now part of everyday American life. It is embedded in our laws and institutions, our manners and mores, our movies and television shows, our novels and children's storybooks, and our closest and most important relationships. Indeed, divorce has become so pervasive that many people naturally assume it has seeped into the social and cultural mainstream over a long period of time. Yet this is not the case. Divorce has become an American way of life only as the result of recent and revolutionary change.
For most of the nation's history, divorce was a rare occurrence and an insignificant feature of family and social relationships. In the first sixty years of the twentieth century, divorce became more common, but it was hardly commonplace. In 1960, the divorce rate stood at a still relatively modest level of nine per one thousand married couples. [emphasis added] After 1960, however, the rate accelerated at a dazzling pace. It doubled in roughly a decade and continued its upward climb until the early 1980s, when it stabilized at the highest level among advanced Western societies. As a consequence of this sharp and sustained rise, divorce moved from the margins to the mainstream of American life in the space of three decades.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Americans began to change their ideas about the individual's obligations to family and society. Broadly described, this change was away from an ethic of obligation to others and toward an obligation to self. I do not mean that people suddenly abandoned all responsibilities to others, but rather that they became more acutely conscious of their responsibility to attend to their own individual needs and interests. At least as important as the moral obligation to look after others, the new thinking suggested, was the moral obligation to look after oneself. [emphasis added]
People began to judge the strength and "health" of family bonds according to their capacity to promote individual fulfillment and personal growth. The family began to lose its separate place and distinctive identity as the realm of duty, service, and sacrifice. The conception of divorce as both an individual right and an inner experience merged with and reinforced the new ethic of obligation to the self. In family relationships, one had an obligation to be attentive to one's own feelings and to work toward improving the quality of one's inner life. This conception of divorce strongly argued for removing the social, legal, and moral impediments to the free exercise of the individual right to divorce.
So, how do we pray for our children if we are parents? And how do we direct our lives if we are young people? And how do we live together if we are married today? Or what do we look for if we are single and waiting today? We are studying Prayer as the key to raising, nurturing, and launching children that please the Lord.
Good Boys and Men Look and Act Like This
Listen to what God says we can be by His grace. This is what you should want to be, what we should want to be around, what we should be drawn toward:
- Seek to become a man who is Wise (1.5) Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. The Lord has already told us in James 3.17 that this wise man has wisdom from above. He is characterized as pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to talk things over with, full of mercy and wanting to do good.
- Seek to become a man who is Happy (3.13) Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. The Sermon on the Mount says it all. Happy are the pure in heart, Happy are the meek, Happy are the humble, Happy are the peace makers, Happy are the righteous seekers, and Happy are those who are hungry for God.
- Seek to become a man who is Blessed (8.34) Proverbs 8:34Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. As Psalm 1 says the Blessed Man is rooted deep in God's Word, the Blessed Man is full of God’s fruit, and the Blessed Man is won’t walk, or stand, or sit with those who mock God. And on that point, parents are you aware that your teen aged children sit week after week whispering, passing notes, laughing, and doing everything but paying attention? They should sit with you until they are mature enough to act honorably and respectfully out of your presence.
- Seek to become a man who is Just (9.9) Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. This quality of being just is like the English word ‘straight’. This man is straight – in his talk, walk, habits, convictions. You know who he is and where he is going.
- Seek to become a man who is Merciful (11.17) Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. Hitler surrounded himself with men who were evil, and cruel. Together they made the darkest blot yet seen in history. Stay away from those who delight in cruel words, attitudes, and actions.
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