IS MARRIAGE YOUR priority?
This morning a little five year old boy slid up on my lap while I was hunched over my laptop typing. He said, “Dad, have we had good morning prayer time yet?” he must have forgotten that he had slid in and put his arms around Bonnie and I as we started our day in prayer together early this morning, like we try to do every day. He came up while we prayed, wrapped those chubby little arms around our shoulders and chimed right in with a very creative and heartfelt prayer.
But later as he came to me he had something on his mind, so he wanted to pray again. His prayer was short and simple.
“Dear God, help me NEVER become an ak-o-holie (not sure where he heard about that) and NEVER walk around with a bottle (possibly from a John Wayne movie he seems to watch a lot or our trip by
Do you have as clear a mandate about life? Children reduce life to its bare essentials; they know what really matters – love, time, food, and the Lord!
· Do you know what is your highest earthly calling TO MINISTRY?
· Do you know what is most important to God about MEASURING the fruitfulness to God of your life today?
· What is the primary ministry each one of us publicly signed up for? Is it parenting, educating our children, and serving in Christ's church, missions, Sunday school, youth work, evangelism?
All of these are important to God, but did the Lord declare that they are our PRIMARY MINISTRY that we were created to fulfill? God’s blueprint  for marriage is in Genesis 2: 18-25.
After combing God's Word for all that He has instructed us about marriage, I have found only one description of marriage that God chooses to repeatedly present to us. Four times in the Bible the Lord clearly states what He wants us to do – what our SIMPLE MANDATE is to be in marriage. These four declarations are in Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7,8, and Ephesians 5:31. Here is our SIMPLE and very CLEAR MANDATE:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Four times God says the same thing. Four times God repeats Himself. Four times the Lord clearly maps out what He wants us to do and to be if we are married.
Now for those of you who like to really study a topic in God's Word here are some interesting facts:
· God’s Mandate for Marriage is stated once in the Old Testament and three times in the New Testament.
· God’s Mandate for Marriage is stated once before man fell into sin and three times after man fell into sin.
· God’s Mandate for Marriage is God’s marital purpose for perfect man and for sinful man.
· God’s Mandate for Marriage is God’s all-time blueprint for a good marriage.
An honest examination  of scriptural data leads to the conclusion that the wife's primary ministry in life is her husband, and the husband’s primary ministry in life is his wife! Everything we do is tied to that.
God says our prayers the very life breath of spiritual life are hindered if we don’t follow His plan and live like Marriage is OUR PRIMARY MINISTRY!
When God created Eve for Adam He said, ' It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable [literally, corresponding to] for him. And out of the ground the Lord formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky. ...But for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of the ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man" (Gen. 2:18-22).
If we want to most fully serve the Lord then we shouldn’t get married is what Paul said. In other words certain people (like Jeremiah and the 144,000) and certain times (like the persecutions of the early church) are times that marriage may not be best.
1 Corinthians 7:32-33 “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.”
But for most of history and for most of God’s servants – their marriage is to be their PRIMARY MINISTRY. Marriage is what God created us for.
Think about the Genesis Mandate that God repeats 4 times. Several important facts about our marriage relationship emerge from this passage.
1. Husbands are INCOMPLETE without a godly wife. GOD MADE THE WOMAN TO BE MAN'S HELPER. Without the woman, man, even in his perfect condition, was incomplete.
2. Husbands are ONLY COMPLETED by a godly wife. GOD MADE THE WOMAN TO BE A SUITABLE HELPER. None of the animals could provide the kind of help that man needed. Only woman could do that. "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22). 'An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain" (Proverbs 31: 10, 11). I can try to fill my life with activity and ministry but if I neglect my primary ministry of my marriage – I am a failure!
3. Husbands are DIFFERENT than their wife. GOD CREATED THE WOMAN TO CORRESPOND TO MAN. She is similar to man, yet somewhat different. She is man's complement, not his carbon copy. She is to man what a key is to a lock and what a film is to a camera-indispensable. 1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.
4. Husbands are ONLY ABLE TO SUCCEED by a biblical partnership with a godly wife. ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE THE WIFE WAS MADE TO FULFILL THE NEEDS, THE LACKS, THE INADEQUACIES OF HER HUSBAND.
· She was made to be her husband's unique helper. She is to "do him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:12).
· She is to be like a fruitful vine in her husband's house (Ps. 128:3).
· She is to be "one flesh" with her husband, and this will happen only as she accepts and fulfills her God-appointed role in marriage. This does not mean that everything she does must have a direct connection to her husband. Nor does it mean that she should never do anything for her own benefit or for the benefit of others, or that she should never become involved in activities or ministries outside the home (Proverbs 31:10-31). It does mean, however, that she ought never to do anything which would be detrimental or harmful to her husband or that would cause her to neglect her primary ministry of helping her husband (Proverbs 31:10-31).
And now becoming very specific, I want to suggest some ways in which a wife may help her husband. She may help her husband in word and in deed, at home and at heart.
This sermon will continue tomorrow November 9th as we start by looking at “The Wife’s Mandate.”
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.