What is Faithfulness in Marriage? PII

A love storlove storyy from the Bible 

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” Ruth 4:13

Take a look into the Bible Book of Ruth. It is set in the time of the Judges. The main character is the great grandma to King David. And depicts for us a shadow to Who and what Christ will do, our God as the Redeemer. It also shows us what the ingredients to a great marriage are.

This story follows the adventures of three principle characters, Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. Ruth has just lost her husband and is in a state of loss and confusion. She felt helpless and hopeless, but turned from her false gods to pursue the One True God. Even though she was not a Jew, she remained faithful to God. Naomi was Ruth’s mother-in-law, a Jewess, who was led by family remembrances to go back to her homeland, thereby exercising faith, too. Naomi trusted God even though she sinned against God by leaving her homeland in the first place and marrying a Gentile. God looked beyond her sin and worked it out for good as He does with us. God protected her and Ruth, who is an alien, through many harsh trials and tribulations.

God blessed Ruth’s faithfulness and brought to her a new and better husband, Boaz. God, even allowed her to be in the genealogy of Jesus.

Naomi, at first, was bitter and did not want to take Ruth back with her, but learned about faith and received blessings for her faithfulness, too. Boaz was a relative of Naomi, and culturally, held the position to redeem her, which meant to take care of her, which he did. In the process, both he and Ruth remained faithful to God, and took their time to get to know one another before falling in love.

The Book of Ruth is a must read! It shows us the importance of faith and commitment. And what an enduring marriage filled with love and respect is all about.

Boaz was a man of integrity who had the opportunity to take advantage of a young, pretty widow. Instead, he chose righteousness as he protected Ruth, and looked after her needs. He made an extremely difficult situation easier for her by not seeking his comfort or lust, and, eventually enjoyed a beautiful marriage. If he had chosen the way of the world, he could never have had a good, enduring relationship with Ruth. Ruth, who remained faithful, would also have missed out on the relationship (Ruth 2:20; 3:10-11).

Boaz was the Kinsman-Redeemer for Ruth’s family. This meant he was a close relative whose call and obligation was to come to the aid of a family member in distress. According to Levitical Law, he could redeem the property, family members sold into slavery, assets such as farm animals, and he could care for a widow, or orphans, and such (Leviticus 25:25-34; 27:9-33). However, in practice, this rarely occurred, because greed usually took over and people took advantage of the weak and helpless. This is one of the main reasons God judged the Israelites and sent them into captivity, as found in the book of Jeremiah.

In the New Testament, Christ is our ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer, as He represents humanity and our bloodline (Mathew. 1:1-17; Galatians 4:4; Heb. 2:16-17).

Jesus represents our need (John 10: 15-18; 1 John 3:16), and He has the resources (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Christ is our Redeemer, and He does not take advantage of us or let us rot, as we deserve. Thus, in our relationships we can and must be faithful, we should also look to Boaz’s example, who was a righteous man. And, we can look at Ruth’s example, who was a woman of faithfulness and patience.

What does a real husband of faith look like? Ruth and Naomi were attracted to the kindness and integrity of Boaz as he treated them both well. Boaz was attracted to Ruth’s humility and nobility.

Thus, we are to be kind, listen, learn, not take advantage, care, share, and take care of one another! We need to see the importance of nobility and authenticity, as it will pay off much better and greater than the ways of the fast world would. We are to be attracted to goodness and integrity, not looks, power, wealth, or position.

What does a real wife of faith look like? Respectful, patience and looking to God and not to hurts or ones plans. So, if you are not married yet, Ruth shows us how to find a great mate. We look to God, run to Him, and if anyone is running beside us, then that may be the best person God has for us.

Faithfulness means to live out our lives, centered upon Christ’s glory, so our lives ooze Christ-like character and personal growth; striving for greater heights, good works, and personal growth is what is important.

This is the result of our gratitude for being in a special spiritual union with Christ as Savior and Lord. And what makes a marriage succeed and enjoyable. So, our marriage integrity is fueled by what Christ has done for us, as husband and wife become intertwined with distinction for one another. It is not because we earn anything with Christ, but because we are filled with gratitude which translates into compassion and friendship with others, especially with our spouse (Eph 1:3).

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Is the most important thing in a marriage, love?

Most people assume that love is the most important thing in a marriage, or the most important reason to get married!

You will frequently hear people in TV, in the movies, out on the streets of life and even in the church saying, I do not need to work on love and relationships, it will just happen. And, if not, it was not meant to be, and I can get out of it if it does not work out.

How sad that philosophy is!

But, when you carefully examine love from the Bible, you will find that it is a choice over and against any feeling or aspiration of what we may want it to be or mean (Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 5:8-13).

Love is a choice that also happens in a seemingly magical and metaphysical way, as poets have tried to explain it throughout the millennias. But, is that it?

1 Corinthians 13The Bible tells us that love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on. In our human mind, we may see it as magical, as if it “just happened,” but, without pursuing its true meaning and character, it will dispel and waste away. So, when we do receive that spark of love that we cannot explain, to keep that magic, that romance, that spark going requires us to do something about it.

If we do not work on it, the spark that was once there will vanish as quickly and as suddenly as it came. It will fade into the night, leaving us in the darkness of the maze of relationships, lost and confused. The way we keep that flame from blowing out is our understanding and modeling the character of love. So, as it becomes contagious and spreads, it flames and excites, burns and grows, so the winds of the ups and downs of a relationship will not blow it out!

God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return flow out from us to those around us. God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian.

Remember; “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” (NAS) What love is not is as important as what love is! Be aware that we will be held accountable and even judged on what we do not do or refuse to see when sin and pride are in the way (Matt. 23:27; Luke 19:42)!

“Why, we’re in Love”

If you ask most couples who are thinking about marriage, or who are already engaged, why they are getting married, they usually will say: “Why, we’re in love.

It has been through studying the Word, plus, over twenty-five years of pastoral counseling experience, that has prompted me to question the validity of this motive. Yes, love is essential and powerful!

However, if that is all you have, you will end up with nothing!

The number one mmarriage distake people make when they date is to look just for love. The number one mistake married couples make is thinking that their love is all they need. This puts their brains “on hold” from everything else. Yes, love is putting the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 into action, but most people, including Christians, do not even know what real love is!

Choosing a life partner should never be based on love alone. A marriage cannot last on love alone. This may sound like crazy talk, but think it through. Have you ever seen a relationship work with just love? No, not for movie or TV stars who have everything going for them, not for the singers who sing about it, and not even for the Beatles! Because, they do not know what love is, nor do they really put it into practice.

We do not necessarily fall in love as the love songs and movies proclaim, because, you may well fall out of it, faster than you fell in it!

If you never choose to make it a commitment, with love, you will never have it, or, if you do, you will not keep it! Love is a verb; it requires action that is implied for being a verb, action to do something with it. What are you doing with it? Is it cherishing? Is it respectful? Or? Are the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 being put into action with your friends, family, acquaintances, and your spouse?

If not, what is in the way of that verb action?

Have you ever known some to get married to someone they did not love?

Most, if not all, people who get married do it for love, yet, according to most statistical evidence, fifty percent will divorce in less than five years. The Christian divorce rate is less, about 28%.

So, what happened to the love?

If love is all we need, should not it have worked? Why did it not work? Because, there never was ‘real’ love, they misunderstood what love is, or, they had nothing but love. Perhaps they let that spark of love flame out in neglect, so that there was a huge vacuum in their relationship!

Love should not be the horse in front of the cart. Love alone cannot influence a relationship. Love needs to be a result, not a cause, for getting married. Love is the result of a good marriage, not the fuel to make it. Love is an attitude that is followed by action; when this does not happen, love will sit and go nowhere.

God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return flow out from us to those around us.

God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian. We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs to self-concerns, and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. Because, if love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then what we have is lust, not love! As the passage of 1 Corinthians 13:3 would say, we become just a noise that has no reason or purpose.

Our model? Out of true love, God the Father gave us His Son, and the Son gave His life in replacement for ours. The Son sent the Spirit to save us, and we should be literally overwhelmed-consumed–with extreme joy and gratitude for what God has done for us.

Is the Love in you?

The idea of Love

Love  will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, of course, our family and others around us.

Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return.

Love desires to seek and apply what God has to say. It also runs the full spectrum from romanticism and the quest for personal satisfaction, to God, and the meaning of life. And, when you have the wrong idea and definition of love, it will adversely impose on all those areas in your life. What love is not is as important as what love is!

The opposite is Hate, Lust, and Disgust. It covers the areas from disliking people who are different to deliberately seeking malice and destruction of what the Lord has for us!Not having real love will leave you empty and alone. Lust is not just the opposite it is the counterfeit!

(John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John)

Is real Love in your marriage?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of love from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

1.How do I exhibit Love in my daily life?

2.What can I do to develop a more loving attitude?

3.What blocks love from being expressed in me?

4.How can I make love function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?

The call to Love one another applies first and foremost to your spouse.

This means sacrificial, unselfish, determined love; the change Jesus makes in John 13 is from “neighbor” to “one another” to make sure the theme is community. Our change is from seeing our spouse as the opponent to the partner, from the problem to the focus of our love. Love confirms the genuineness of Jesus and us as followers! This is also a template on the importance and value of friendships and building an effective church!

(Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)

The prime purpose of marriage is to grow us closer to the love and the Person of Christ and His Likeness.

The call to Love one another is Agape, which means “self giving” and “sacrificial”. Agape love is more concerned with others than self. We are to be more concerned with our spouse than ourselves.

  1. What would your marriage look like when you are pursuing love in the midst of your toil? How is this the irrefutable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ?
  2. What and how do you think will help you lead your marriage in the right direction? What can you do to not seek to control your spouse, but rather trust in Christ?
  3. Do you know that your justification in Christ is sealed and more valuable than you will ever know? How does this affect your righteousness and purity?

How will this build your marriage?

When we love one another, we prove and exhibit Christ!

 

You can have better!

 

The marriage God has for you may not be the one you are in right now!

No, I am not talking about leaving; I am talking about cleaving. What He has is greater than your vision, your past, your hurts, what you have right now, or even what you think you want.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

The world tells us that being in love virtually guarantees a perfect marriage; this idea encourages us to follow our hearts. Is this true? Does this work? Is it biblical? Are we ready to really follow our hearts? Does the heart’s desire equal what is best? Is there something we can do to help our heart be content and not be led into what is false or dysfunctional?

What about my heart?

Because our hearts are corrupted with sin and can lead us to what is false, actions based on the heart alone can result in indecision, unpredictability, inconsistency, shallow, and ever-changing desires that lead us in multiple wrong directions and blind us to what is better and more fulfilling. So, how will we be led in the right direction (Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 23:7; 27:19; Matthew 15:19)?