2/13/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“A Biblical Perspective on Marriage

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Ephesians 5:32, “This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

A newspaper on the West Coast ran this ad:  “Wedding Rings for Annual Lease.”  I guess this company decided to capitalize on the growing market of those who enter into marriage with an escape clause.

 

Having an escape mentality when it comes to your marriage is a deception straight from the Devil.  Satan knows that if he can deceive you into breaking the covenant you made before God to love, honor, respect, and cherish your spouse, he has a foothold to destroy your relationship with God as well.  Ephesians 5 describes marriage as the physical representation of a beautiful spiritual truth:  Christ is our Bridegroom and the church is His beloved bride.  To distort our view of earthly marriage is to shake our relationship with God to its core. 

 

Many Christians enter marriage without fully understanding God’s design for the heavenly purpose behind the union.  Perhaps this is why so many couples in the church today, also wind up in divorce.  Wrapped up in this connection between our earthly bridegroom and our heavenly Bridegroom rest three components that can help a marriage last.  Take a look at them below:

 

  1. Pursuing an intimate relationship with God.  Whether you are single or married, understating that Christ is the only One who can fully meet all our needs is essential for having a healthy, biblical perspective on marriage.  At the beginning of my marriage, I was constantly frustrated with my husband’s inability to meet my needs.  I thought he was the problem until God broke through my self-centered attitude with the truth that He never intended my husband to meet them in the first place.   God created us with a void that only He can fill.  For me to think that my husband should even try to do this is impossible.  As I began to seek Jesus, allowing Him to fill me with His love, I was eventually transformed into the wife my husband needed and deserved.  I’m only his bride for a short time on earth, but one day I will be united to my heavenly Bridegroom and He will take my hand in an eternal marriage.

 

  1. Pursuing an intimate relationship with your spouse.  Are you one who approaches your prayer time with a list of things you want God to do for you, instead of asking God what you can do to better serve Him?  If you are, you aren’t alone.  However, whether we realize it or not, many of us are living out our marriages in the same self-centered mode.  Instead of demanding your own way, ask your husband what he would like to see happen in your relationship.   Spend time talking about ways to get to know one another more intimately and be willing to serve him as you would Christ.

 

  1. Pursuing a healthy acceptance of yourself.  I remember standing at the altar on my wedding day wondering if I could really love my husband as I was promising.  How was I supposed to love someone else when I didn’t even love myself?  It wasn’t until I understood my identity in Christ that my whole perspective changed.  Adam and Eve felt perfectly comfortable with who they were, and each was accepted by the other until they sinned.   Then they made coverings with fig leaves and we too have been trying to cover our imperfect selves ever since.  When I finally saw my sinful self as a dearly loved child of God, I could then see my husband as one as well.  By loving yourself, you will be able to love your husband more fully.

 

As you begin to understand God’s perfect and unfailing love, you will begin to delight in His ability to be all that you need.  When you approach the throne of God with a heart that desires to serve, He makes you ready to not only be the cherished bride of your husband, but the bride of an eternal union (Revelation 21:2) When you see your sinful self cleansed and purified by the covering of Jesus’ sacrificial blood, you will begin to see your imperfect significant other with the same love and grace Jesus had for you. 

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, give me a right view of what biblical marriage is all about.  Help me to see the spiritual truths in the union that I am a part of so that my marriage may be full and happy.  Help me to cling to You first and foremost so that my fullness in You may pour over into my marriage.   

 

Application Steps:

Here are some ways you can apply the three components of comparing our earthly bridegroom to our heavenly Bridegroom.

 

  1. If you are deeply wounded because your spouse hasn’t met a spiritual or emotional need that you so desperately want met, take it to Jesus.  Ask Him alone to fill that void and declare Him to be your perfect Husband. 

 

  1. To open the lines of communication between you and your spouse, start by asking a few of the following questions about what he wants from your marriage:

·         How can I be a better friend to you?

·         How, in your opinion, can I be a better person?

·         Talk to me about your aims and goals.

·         In what ways can I better help you succeed in life?

 

  1. Start loving yourself by recognizing that you have stolen God’s heart with “one glance of your eyes” (Song of Solomon 4:9).  Also, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  How would you revere the house of God?  Remember that you, too, are that house.

 

Reflection Points:

  1. In what way can you strengthen your relationship with Christ?
  2. In what way can you humble yourself before your husband to serve him?
  3. What changes in your mentality need to be made in order for you to see yourself as a beloved child of God?

 

Power Verses:

Genesis 2:25, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (NIV)

 

Jeremiah 2:2, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown.” (NIV)

 

Ephesians 5:28-31, “[She] who loves [her husband] loves [herself].  After all, no one ever hated [her] own body, but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body.” (NIV)

 

Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (NIV)

 

Malachi 2:16, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel, ‘and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (NIV)

 

 

Additional Resources:

Capture His Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_captureHis.htm

 

Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_becomingTheWom.htm

 

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretBalanced.htm