“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Psalm 119: 89-90; Matthew 17:19; 25:21; Rom. 1:17; 5:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Thess. 5:24
Faithfulness is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and marriage. It is a prime character of the Holy Spirit flowing into and then out of us. It identifies God’s love and will so we can be dependable and trusting to God, in our marriage and one another in others. It is also the one fruit that we give back to God, whereas the others are flowing from the Holy Spirit working in us!
Faithfulness is authenticity, the power and motivation for Christian marriage and living.
Why and how? Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him and in our home! If not then, doubt, cynicism and distrust will flow. We will lose our trust and hope that God is in control! When we do this we will lose or miss out on God coming through with His promises and a working marriage that is triumphant.
Faithfulness is very difficult to have or hold on too especially applying it to our marriage in today’s society and extremely rare in our other relationships. We tend to lose our patience with God, thinking He is just a blessing machine. In addition, when we do not get what we envision for our marriage we leave because of our uncertainty and pessimism.
Yet, Faithfulness is the fruit that we give to God so He can sanctify, change us inside and out and be a change agent of example for our family!
It is the ability to take what Christ has done in us and be a blessing into our family and then to others with loyalty and trust. Faithfulness goes against modern psychology and societies thinking, as it requires us to move beyond ourselves, whereas psychology tells us to be selfish putting the “me” first, rearranging the world to our needs, which creates self-destruction and a broken marriage.
Faithfulness is more than just being faithful in our sexuality! We have to keep the goal of faithfulness in our minds always, as it will allow God to work deeper and us to respond to His call and our spouse!
God has bigger things at stake that He wants you for, much more than the petty complaints we give or things we ask of Him!
When we learn and apply the fruit and attitude of Faithfulness, then Christ is glorified; moreover, quality relationships are built and are kept! This happens best when we realize that Christ paid our debt in full! Therefore we can as Colossians 1:9-14 tells us, live a life worthy or as other translations state, walk worthy of the Lord. This means live in the manner of what we know and believe— and do it consistently.
We do this when we are faithful in pursuing God and His righteousness, and believing His precepts, so He is more and we are less in our will. This is our “walk with God,” meaning living out the daily Christian life thinking as He has called, behaving as we believe, and thus doing in response to His Work in and for us. It is also being empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is never the walk in our own will and strength; such a thing is pride and disobedience to our loving Lord.
So if you want a great tool to change and be an example of change, kept blameless or just improve our marriage, the Fruit of the Spirit, Faithfulness will be it!
As we behave as the One we represent, as the name Christian means to be like Christ in His character. Refers to being an “appropriate” or acceptable offering so we “deserve” our reward—but we do not earn it (Lev. 26:3; Ezek. 36:27; Mark 10:29-31; John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; 5:16; Eph. 4:1; 5:1; Phil. 3:10-14).
Then we can be Fully Pleasing Him, to be a friend of God with gratitude; seeking Him first is to glorify Him. (Deut. 10:17-19; 2 Chron. 20:7; Psalm 69:30-31; Matt. 5:16; 6:33; mark 12:29-30; 1 Thess. 2:4).
Remember; God does not want our complaints, thus He will not give us an answer for them, rather He wants our obedience, so He can use us more and better!
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14
We may suffer betrayal from friends, family, coworkers, and even church members. However, the biggest betrayal is always from those we love and trust the most. Yet, we are called to forgive, anyway!
Why? Because, we need it, and because we are imperfect, fallen, and full of sin. Even the Christian who is saved by Grace is still in the process of growth and sanctification. We are yet imperfect, no matter what the level of maturity. If you are thinking, I refuse to forgive, consider this reason to forgive.
We forgive because God has forgiven us.
If we do not, the resentment will build and build-like battery acid that slowly eats away a car-until, unless we fix it, it will destroy us. Even secular psychologists tell us that resentment is the most powerful, self-destructive emotion in our arsenal. Will you allow forgiveness to build and destroy the love that was kindled, take your relationship away and cause hurt to your family? If so, all that will be left is the building blocks of bitterness to destroy your family, other relationships and your life!
God desires that we seek forgiveness, because God is a God of relationships, and is committed to relationships.
God knows our human weaknesses and our self-destructive nature, and that our relationships tend to be fragile. Broken marriages come out of our sinful nature and our fallen world, which seeks its own gain. God’s desire is to show the world our potential. Because a happy, healthy Christian marriage is becoming more rare and thus more needed. Because of what Christ has done for us, we should not take pleasure in destructive situations, those that divide and draw relationships apart.
Relationships are what life is all about! A healthy marriage is the pinnacle of human relationships. Satan seeks to destroy marriage and pervert it with substitutions that only fester brokenness disguised as rights and victory. His first attempt was in the Garden of Eden, nearly defeating our relationship with God and with Adam and Eve and then with the rest of humanity of one another. God’s plan is to prove Satan wrong, and, our call is to build our matrimony and one another up, not destroy one another.
When a spouse betrays and we have been wronged, we experience feelings of betrayal, and consider retaliation to be justified. God calls us out of retaliation and into reconciliation. Then we need godly council and help. Get it. Seek a qualified counselor to help you both through this.
When we fail to forgive, we are the ones who suffer the most. Your spouse may betray, but then that betrayal is lived out over and over, it will never stop. They get on with life, and unfairly the victim festers with the wounds. Then, anger, resentment, shame, bitterness, contempt, and defensiveness all synergistically build on top of one another, so every segment within us is held hostage with these emotions. We are chained like a dog on a leash, unable to reach the destination we desire, what Christ has for us.
A healthy Christian marriage puts aside spiteful behaviors, and embraces our spouse in love. What comes out of love is the release of our feelings of hurt that builds a better relationship of mutual respect for the future.
Do not allow the bitterness to continue so that it festers causing more harm, even corrupting the potential for forgiveness, moving to reconciliation and damaging your whole being. The bitterness must not take hold in your life, or it will block the flow of the Holy Spirit and self-controlling love. Or else, the festering will continue to the point that Christ is crying out to us in the wilderness, yet we do not hear Him.
Our Lord is alerting us to the perils of being unforgiving, just as the call of red alert of impending danger. If we do not heed the warning, our emotions will run wild, and we will no longer have control or composure, unable to recognize who we are in Christ. We will not be able to listen, solve any problems, or clear up misunderstandings. Thus, the anger and the uncontrolled emotions will become controlled by Satan. The red alert has been ignored, and our family has been destroyed! Your relationship(s) have been destroyed!
What are your Expectations vs. Realities?
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
We can take great comfort in knowing that Jesus is working while we are waiting, and even in anguish. We can best practice forgiveness to our spouse by realizing how much we have been forgiven. We can then be imitators of that forgiveness when we feel wronged willfully or unknowingly that cause us setbacks or harm.
How and why? The magnitude of forgiveness from our Lord for what we have done can never measure up to anything others could do to us. When we put forgiveness into practice, we will be free from the bondage of bitterness and pain that imprisons us, disconnecting us from life and its wonders, which God has provided for us.
I was watching one of those reality shows recently where a bunch of young people were put into a nice beach house to live and work together. The show is about the drama and strife each one causes the other, and how they “do not” work it out. After all, if they were a big happy family, it would not make good TV, so I am told by a friend in that business. One young woman, in her early twenties, kept making the statement, “I refuse to forgive anyone for anything.” So, in the episode I watched, the attention was centered on how she was alienating everyone in the house. The result was that she ended up alone, hated by the others. She would make a big deal if someone took her cookie, or gave her an objectionable look. She was a very sad and pathetic person, whose self-imposed code of conduct, created out of pride, made it impossible for her to make friends or cooperate with anyone in her life. She could not see that she was the problem; she refused to take any responsibility. In her interviews, she blamed everyone else for her problems. The sad fact is that this is typical behavior amongst many marriages today, even Christians in the church!
As human beings, we are prone to make mistakes, either intentionally or unintentionally. We all have hurt people, and we have all been hurt; we are all in the same boat. So, when we refuse to forgive one another, especially our spouse and loved ones, it is like escaping the disaster of the sinking of the Titanic in a lifeboat, only to poke holes in the very lifeboat that saved us. Our escape from the sinking ship is our redemption, which we did not deserve. Since everyone else in the lifeboat needs the cross too, why try to sink one another? All you will accomplish is to sink yourself and your marriage.
Out of mistakes we make, or our spouse may cause us, comes our pain, hurt, and resentment. This resentment escalates into animosity, then cause fighting and augmentations and then builds into bitterness, until it destroys your relationship and causes a divorce.
This young woman is like many in marriage, she refused to forgive, and built an impenetrable wall that caused bitterness and isolation as she wallowed in her troubles, blaming everyone else for them. She would not allow forgiveness to break down the wall, allowing for the building of life and relationships.
Forgiveness is the only human force that can stop the disintegration of relationship breakdowns.
This is why it is so essential. This is why our Lord calls us to forgive. If you have been hurt, or you have hurt-and we all have-open your eyes and realize that it is the call of the Christian to dispel these conflicts. Without forgiveness, our growth and maturity with Christ, and our harmony and being “at home” at home, cannot be built.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Romans 12:16
- BE Kind.There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting!
- SMILE Often. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.
- NAME Use. The sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of one’s own name! So, be thoughtful with how you call your spouse.
- BE Helpful. Share the load, do not rely just on your spouse to do it all, help out more than you are helped!
- BE Cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do were a genuine pleasure! If it is right and good, it really should be.
- BE Interested. Empathy means involvement! Ask, how your day is and then listen with interest.
- BE Generous with praiseand cautious with criticism! Do not nag, do not prey upon your loved ones.
- BE Considerate with feelings. Feel your spouse’s plight. It will be appreciated.
- BE Thoughtful of their opinions. There are three sides to a controversy, yours,’ your spouse and the truth! Do not assume, listen and be open to the real truth.
- GIVE Service. What counts most in life is who we are in Christ and then what we do for others! So, be there for one another.
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:43-45
Because financial issues can be so destructive in relationships, you need to know how to make sure both of you know what money is and how money works. How do we do this? Know that money is a tool, not the focus. It is important to have a good, biblical concept of how to deal with budgeting and debt. Know what comes in, know what goes out, and make sure the ‘in’ is more than the ‘out’. Communicate without judgments and strings or pride to one another.
If your treasure is on earth, your heart will undergo many disappointments, and the storms of life will overwhelm you and hurt your family. All of the things in life in which you find your primary joy are suddenly gone!
Can you go through all of your possessions and tell which ones will rot and will not apply to your Christian growth? How can that list, motivate you to seek what is in Matthew 6:33? Then what will you have, do and feel (Matthew 6:33; 7:24-27; Luke 12:33-34; Hebrews 10:32-39; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)?
When our focus is on possessions, they become our idols, and we worship them. Our identity, and personification of who we are, becomes branded by what we have, and not who we are in Christ (1 John 5:21).
Let’s look at another key word, Fear the LORD means to trust, serve, and worship Him. Money and things can easily become the priorities in our lives! The choice becomes whether we will worship the One True God, or be idolaters, following after false gods. Know that our real and true treasures are imperishable! Make a list of them, and put them in a place that you can see daily to encourage yourself. Keep in mind that true treasures are not material in nature, so look to relationships and character (Proverbs 1:7; 3:5; Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:9-19; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
You must be able to ask questions, listen, and be vulnerable to reflect, challenge, and address each other’s views and ideas on budgeting. Do not focus on faults, rather on areas that need growth. Take it slow and develop your budget first. If you do not do this, then you will be among the countless relationships in our culture filled with miscommunication, hurt, and misery!
- Money is not for power and control, it is a tool for effectual living and our Lord’s service! How can you make this your mindset? How will it improve your family?
Make your budget, but first pray, and pray more and treat each other with respect, dignity, listen and take breaks, perhaps have fun doing it!
Remember, our real and true treasures are imperishable!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
A married couple is on the same team; you are not each other’s enemy! So, be willing to see your spouse as your teammate, and not your rival. In that way, you can avoid seeing the other as the problem, and focus on the issue and the solution!
What do you need to do to cement and practice this paramount point to build a healthy marriage, that the heart of any healthy relationship is love and respect?
Remember that the heart of any healthy relationship is love and respect! If you do not get this, you will not get marriage!
Your marriage is all about grace, that we receive that we must also distill and pass on. How will you do this?
Sometimes we force marriage to do something it was not designed to do, and we turn this most intimate and important relationship into a place of loneliness, worry, hurt and strife. We take what was to be good and turn it into a warzone void of the practice of love, mercy, and our growth in maturity, but rather hone our weapons of pride, arrogance, condescension, and contempt, or just withdraw, staying angry and bitter. We model these practices for our children and expect them to have better lives and marriages when all we’ve really taught them is how not to do it.
Unanchored stress and disappointments, along with a detachment from looking to God, will prevent us from seeing His signposts of precepts.
We cannot just expect God to get us through without any effort on our part. To grow, we have to struggle and work it out. It is the struggle that helps us; it is what builds us and forms us. Without it, there is no growth or real impacting faith, honest character, genuine patience, or maturity—and thus, unhealthy relationships.
Don’t play these games. Your marriage and relationships are too precious and valuable to destroy them with our whims or hurts. Yet, Christians can be some of the most critical and arrogant people on earth! As Christians, we need to be an example for Him wherever we are, set ourselves above pettiness, and let God remove our pride!
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“The real authenticity of our Lord, will enable us to build a real authenticity of love and respect, that will in turn build a “Wondrous Marriage!”