Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Defining Marriage Part 3 - Martin Wiles

And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NLT

“If he wasn’t a preacher, I’d divorce him.”

Martha had been a pastor’s wife longer than she cared to remember. In fact, it seemed like a lifetime. She and John had only been married seven years when he informed her God was calling him into the ministry. She hadn’t bargained for a lifetime of being a preacher’s wife, but what choice did she have? She could leave. That would go against everything she’d been taught about sticking with your spouse through thick and thin. She chose to stay in spite of the many aggravations she had to endure: a husband who worked continuously, church members who were backstabbers and complainers, and children who rebelled against having to move from place to place every few years. 

Successful marriages take mutual submission. For Martha, staying with John was one of those submissions. There have been historical periods when women had no rights and did what their husbands said without question. Society might have accepted that; God never intended it to be that way. Telling his listeners husbands and wives should submit to one another was a radical statement in the Apostle Paul’s day. One sided submission makes for miserable marriages.

God has established guidelines for the partners within the marriage. Children are to obey their parents. Wives are to honor to their husband’s God-given spiritual authority. Men are to step up to the plate and be leaders. They are to love their wives as Christ did the church—enough to die for it. Marriages are successful when we obey God’s guidelines—whether or not society recognizes or endorses them. 

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. The church is the bride of Christ. Believers submit to Him. He is our head. He promises to care for our every need and never to leave us. Christian marriages reflect the salvation connection to unbelievers. 

Marriage is not for everyone. Some have the gift of celibacy—singleness. And according to Paul, they have more time to serve God. Playing matchmaker is only a good idea if we’re sure the one we’re matching up is supposed to be matched up according to God’s plan for them. 

When God is at the center of marriages, success is possible. Put Him there and see what happens to yours. 

Prayer: Father, we commit our marriages to You. Make them strong so that we might enjoy the partner You have given us.

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