How does your marriage compare to God’s call? PII

Eph 4 26

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27

This is a reminder of our position in Christ, a result of our redemption that should be exhibited in our new life in Christ.  In Christ, our old nature has died and now we are clothed in His new nature and life.  We also become more Christ-like in character and attitude as we grow and mature in Him. Therefore, we can understand God’s truths and apply them to our lives without excuse. In so doing, our marriages will become more triumphant not only to one another and our families, then also to the glory of our Lord (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 1:3; Phil. 3:10-20; 2:1-101 John 3:2).

Let’s look at this keyword, Anger.  It centers around all that most people do that can come out bad, a word steeped in emotion and unhinged response. Whereas a Christian, we have a higher calling with it. The emotion in of itself is not bad, as it can be used for good motivations too. Even Jesus got rightly angry in Matthew 24. Our call, in life and here marriage, is do not hold on to anger, or it will fester and become unjust. Then all is will do is bring us unpleasantness and bitterness.  When this happens, we must seek to break the bonds that destroy others and us. Our beliefs must affect our behaviors; our language must affect and reflect our faith.  If not, our faith and thinking are skewed or even absent (Psalm 4:4; Isa. 63:10; Hos. 7:6; Eph. 4:31; James 1:19-20; 3:9-10).

What counters anger is the Fruit of the Spirit, in this case in this passage, being kind and compassionate or having tender mercies.  This is a Fruit produces a readiness to respond with righteousness and thoughtful consideration beyond how people treat us or how they may or may not deserve it (Matt. 11:29-30; Rom. 2:1-4; 12:9-21; 2 Cor. 6:6; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 Tim. 3:4; 1 John 3:16-23).

So, when we are caring, we hold back the emotion and the escalation of it. Our empathy of another person outside of basic selfish nature will be the brakes that slow down anger.

This will come about when we see our spouse in the light of who they are in Christ, not who they are in our irritation.

It is to recognize, emotionally identify with, and interact with those who are hurting, and helping them by gathering with others with the abilities and resources to help them (Job 29:13; Isa. 40:11; Matt. 9:36; 14:14; Mark 1:41; Luke 6:36; 10:25-37; 19:4; Rom. 12:1-2; James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:8). But how can I do this? This passage gives us the clue, know that God forgave you.  We are to extend the forgiveness to others, to our spouse, because Christ had forgiven us. (John 6:37, 44, 65;13:1; 15:16; Rom. 5:1-8; Eph. 1:4-5; Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:21-22; 2:10; 3:1-14; 1 John 4:9-11)!

How to I apply this passage?

Realize that God loves you and accepts you more powerfully, passionately, purposefully, and deeply than you could ever fathom!

You are secure.  God “guarantees” you with a clear, powerful, loving, impacting, and lasting relationship with Him.  When you are in Christ, God is pleased with you!  Now see your spouse in this light of how God sees them. You have no need to fear; you are both people of deep value and worth before our Lord!  You are both forgiven because of Christ and His righteousness that covers you, not because of your deeds or performance.  You are unique and complete in Him; and because of this, you are each a special person whom God loves and will use to further impact His kingdom.   He does this for all of who are His.

How do we do this in a life of hardship, setbacks, busyness, and uncertainty?

Simply by allowing the Word–Christ’s presence–to dwell in us, and learn His instruction, so the peace of Christ will rule in our hearts and minds and translate into our actions.

It is all about our spiritual growth impacting us so it impacts those around us positively and in love.  Get in His Word more and commune with Him by prayer. And a good fellowship is also crucial. The key is to know that Christ is sufficient, so we can trust in Him–trust in Him alone (Read all of Eph. 4)!

Take an inventory of your life, thinking, behaviors, then go through All of Ephesians 4, look at the key words, and ask:

  • What do I need to put off?
  • What do I need to put on?
  • How do I do that?
  • How do I fail in this area?
  • How can I do this better?

 

How does your marriage compare to God’s call? PI

marriage God_s call eph 4 29

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Ephesians 4:25

If someone wrote a one-sentence summary of your marriage, what would it say? How does it compare to God’s call in Ephesians 4?

In our marriage, we must carefully and passionately listen to our Lord’s instructions and not our desires, so we live in and for Him and not in the ways of the world lest we think like people who love to sin.  If we are of the world–thinking as people who are “ok” with sin–dark thoughts will be ours.  Dark thoughts become our dark behaviors.  This way of life leads only to chaos, life’s upsets, and regrets with all the consequences and none of the perks.  This is life apart from God.  This is life away from God.  People who think and act in darkness have hardened their hearts; they are convicted.  They do not seek God as their eyes are turned only on “pleasures” and desires; they become filled with things like greed and immorality, and they lose real compassion and kindness.

This is not how and why our Lord came to set us free!  Christ, Our Savior, did not die and rise so that we would just sin more!

We have been given a gift that transforms our lives; let us act like it with His Truth and not the world’s wicked ways or our own self-centered motivations.  We can, by His empowerment, remove our old lives of sin and replace our mindset and actions with His principles that give us a better, more fulfilling life.  This is akin to removing filthy rotten rags and putting on the finest clothes.

Wearing our finest clothes, here means wearing the love and gratitude we have for Christ, creates better attitudes and character.  Crates a better marriage and a more content purposeful life. This demonstrates to others who we are in Christ–holy people created and called by a Holy God.  This holy life strives to be and is free from dysfunction, deceit, and depression.  In this, we can treat each other as well as others with respect and practice our faith with fruitfulness and character.  We can control our thoughts, words, and behaviors so we do not let our anger get out of control or fester.

We can keep ourselves from lying, stealing, fighting, irritation, being mean or bitter, all that we would be useful and productive not just for our marriage but also for the Kingdom, and not bow to the devil’s ways.

The Church must share these precepts and us build our relationships and family’s us, to help one another, work as a community in love, so we do not hurt the Holy Spirit.  We can forgive and move on and be the people we are called to be, as we are sealed by Christ’s redemption (Eph. 4:17-32)!

Our redemption also gives us an understanding, to think, and to have a desire for real Truth. Then a desire to have a healthier communication and mutual respect and love. Because this is Christ’s Truth in the action of our application. We are to think about Christ and consider what we have in Him to experience our new lives.  Then we will have transformed marriages, that are moving away from bitterness and dysfunction. Yes, we can sin and live as we please, we can ignore our spouse and be mean and live as we were never married, but what will that get us?  Paul emphatically fights this heinous notion.

We have no right to sin deliberately thinking, I am already forgiven so it is OK to sin (Col. 1:9; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2)!

What can you learn from Ephesians 4 for your marriage?

In prayer, for the next forty days, read a few verses from Ephesians 4 each day, so you have read the chapter at least ten times. What is God telling you? Seek what you can do to put into practice the Christ-centered life?

 

Forgiveness in Marriage PIII

Forgiveness in Marriage

At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” Matthew 18:26-27

This passage in Matthew, chapter eighteen, is a story of a forgiving king and a wicked servant. The king forgave this servant’s enormous debt, which is a parallel to our enormous debt of sin that we held until Christ forgave us. And this can also apply to the storehouse of hurts, wrongs, misses and the such, we may hold and horde and then harbor ourselves to, that we feel our spouse has done to us. This servant represents the believer, who, after experiencing the forgiveness of God, did harbor bitterness to another, and then refused to forgive his fellow Christian (or a non-Christian) for a much, much smaller debt.  The king became furious, and handed the servant over to be tortured.

What does this have to do with marriage? Everything! A stern warning not to harbor wrongs or they will consume us and hurt yourself, our spouse, our family and leave us in a dysfunctional and bitter life.

The Bible is telling us that if we refuse to forgive one another, and continue to harbor bitterness, we can be tortured, too. What is a greater destroyer or a better torture to have than being bitter and wallow in it so we are inept to be and do anything of worth?

My personal experience is when I have refused to forgive people in the past or my spouse, I have become consumed with feelings of guilt and shame, and this is a torture I can do without. I feel much better, and sleep much better with an attitude of forgiveness; I cannot think well or sleep well with an attitude of bitterness. I can grow in my relationship with Christ, build my family or enjoy my life with unforgiveness left out and about.

Why would a Christian marriage want to go through life with feelings of bitterness, which consume us with misery and unrest, instead of giving it to the Lord, and receiving forgiveness and rest?

How can we go through our marriage life and experience, and rationalize our bad actions and deeds, only to face our Lord later in the judgment? By what point are we to do, by what feeling is we to base, by what hope do we have? Even when we are in the right? When we have the knowledge of God’s mercy, then we have the responsibility of acting with mercy toward our wife, husband and one another (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God calls Christians to operate in the parameters of forgiveness, love, and mercy.  And, when we have not forgiven, we will have a heart filled with suffering and torment.  How can we receive Christ’s forgiveness, and claim Christ as our Savior, when we are unable to forgive one another?  When we have a forgiving attitude, then we will have a heart at rest and in peace!

Let us take our marriage vision from God’s Word and heed from Matthew, chapter 18. We can see what God requires of us, and our appropriate response.  We,  must extend ourselves to one another with love, and that which flows out of love-forgiveness!  Which is a key component to make a marriage last a lifetime and build a legacy for generations.

            Ephesians 4:29-32 tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”   

John 13:34-35 tells us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. 

            We are to love and forgive one another-period!  No strings attached! Unless there is abuse or abandonment. This is the model we are to use to show God’s love to the world!  

We should be clear on this.  A healthy marriage is one who puts aside the malicious traits of an evil, sin nature, and embraces each other with love and respect, and what flows out of that is forgiveness. What comes out of love is the release of our feelings of betrayal and hurt.

We are called to model kindness, love, empathy, compassion-and, out of these, will flow a forgiveness for a content home. Yes, this is hard, but the result of not forgiving, even when we are in the right, is a torture no child of God should endure. God wants us to get with it, to wake up, and seize the wonders and opportunities He gives us. Because, an unforgiving attitude, and its ugly rotten fruits, will chock us off from His wonders!