FOUNDATIONS AND PURPOSES IN MARRIAGE
WHAT IS A FAMILY?
In an article in Christianity Today, Edith Schaeffer related an incident that took place while she was flying between cities in the United States. An attractive young woman beside her noticed that she had a copy of her book, What Is a Family? The young woman said to Mrs. Schaeffer, "Do you realize that 75% of all marriages end in divorce? What can I do to save my marriage?"
A survey by the Institute of Life Insurance revealed that 87% of the respondents who were 29 years of age or older said that their main goal in life was to have a happy family life.
WHY THIS CONTRADICTION?
Here we have what would seem to be a contradiction in our society: a rising divorce rate on the one hand and a deep-seated desire to have happy marriages on the other. Why is this?
Not long ago the roof of the Hartford, Connecticut, sports arena collapsed. It was built to be aesthetically pleasing, but it was not able to stand the pressure of the ice and snow that fell on it. There are many marriages in the same predicament. They begin with beautiful weddings and everything seems so promising, with the happy couples looking forward to happy lives together. Then come the pressures of married life and cracks begin to appear in the structure. At this point, many marriages collapse.
GOD'S INTENTION FOR MARRIAGE - THREE-FOLD FOUNDATION
God's intention is not simply that marriage should endure, but that it should be good. God's will for a marriage is that it should be lasting, growing, and exciting. But if this is to happen, there must be a proper foundation. God shows us in Scripture that marriage has a three-fold foundation.
The first foundation stone that God wants to lay in a marriage is that the concept of marriage is His. The Bible clearly teaches this. Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother, and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." Matthew 19:4-6, "Have you not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one? What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." Ephesians 5:31, "For this reason shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one." This is an important statement because it is repeated four times in the Bible. It is given first in the Old Testament and reaffirmed by Jesus and Paul.
I am afraid in many of our weddings we pay so much attention to the non-essentials that we lose sight of what a marriage is all about. Marriage is not our institution. It is God's. It was not instituted for our convenience and satisfaction but for God's will and purpose. God created us with the intention of marriage.
Not only is this taught in the Scripture, but it is confessed in the marriage ceremony when the minister says: "Beloved in the Lord, we are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted by God." The wedding ceremony should be centered on God. We are accountable to Him for the kind of marriage we have.
In 1 Peter 3:7 we read, "Likewise you husbands, live considerably with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered." Notice what God says. One reason we do not experience answers to prayer is that all things are not right between husbands and wives. God says to each husband and wife, "You cannot be in a right relationship to me unless you are in a right relationship to each other."
GPD RELATES OUR MARRIAGE TO HIMSELF
God does not allow us to compare our marriage with other marriages to see if it is right, but He relates it to himself. In Ephesians 5:25-27 He says, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." The relationship between a husband and wife is to be the same kind as exists in the Godhead.
God doesn't evaluate a marriage on the basis of material gain or social status but on the basis of spiritual growth. Husbands and wives are responsible to God for the way they live together. He asks each of us, "Are you more like Jesus today because you are married than you would have been otherwise?" That is one of the reasons He brought us together. He is not concerned about whether or not we have moved from a small house to a bigger house or if we have a two-car garage instead of a one-car garage. He asks, "Is your marriage what I called it into being for?" Some day we will stand before God and give an account to Him.
THE SECOND FOUNDATION
The second foundation stone of a Christian marriage is a consciousness of the will of God. Most of us have either read the book or seen the play, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Near the beginning of the story, Fred invites his uncle to his house for Christmas dinner. Abruptly, Scrooge asks him, "Why did you get married?"
I don't want to play the part of Scrooge, but I would like to ask those of you who are married, "Why did you get married?" There are only two possible answers.
The answer most honest people would give is, "I got married because I wanted to. I found something in the other person that met a desire or need in me and I wanted to have that person for my own. I found that I had desires - emotional, physical and social that were quickened within me and he (or she) seemed the most likely person to meet those desires. This is why I got married."
Paul says that is the reason the heathen get married. Their marriages spring from within themselves. And the truth is, that is why most people get married - to meet their own needs. These are counterfeit marriages. They may take place in a church. Maybe a pastor is involved. But a marriage instituted as an expression of our own human will is a counterfeit marriage. It can be likened to a counterfeit dollar bill. It approximates the real thing, but the expert can tell the difference. Besides not being genuine, there are no resources behind it. It isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
THE COUNTERFEIT MARRIAGE
The counterfeit marriage, having sprung from two people's own wills and desires, has no resources other than its own. That is why so many marriages become bankrupt. Human love soon runs out. Sexual desire or social status will not sustain the relationship and we finally have to admit our marriage is in trouble. Some of us head to the divorce courts and some of us just keep going. We have pale imitations of the real thing. We have made an attempt to bring into being out of our own wills that which God alone can create.
The second answer you can give to the question, "Why did you get married?" is "I got married in obedience to the will of God." This is a Christian marriage. 1 Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion or lust like heathen who do not know God."
A Christian marriage is not simply one that takes place in a church. It is one that begins in the heart and mind of God and is entered into in obedience to His will.
Jesus said that whoever builds his life on anything but His Word and His will is building upon sand. When the storms come, the winds blow and the rains fall, the life collapses because it has no foundation. When the pressures and temptations come, if your marriage beings to shake and crumble, it is because it is a counterfeit marriage that is not built upon the Word and will of Jesus.
Jesus also said in Matthew 19:4-6, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
A Christian marriage is a gift from God, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:7. The first words in the Bible, "In the beginning God," reminds us that everything good that has come into existence comes from God. A Christian marriage is not one that begins in our hearts and minds but in the heart and mind of God. A Christian marriage takes place when two people acknowledge that they have been chosen by God for each other. God, the great Creator of the universe, infinite in intelligence, whose every action is governed by wisdom and love, has chosen this woman and this man and put them together. Do you believe this? God puts us together in marriage, not to satisfy the desires of our hearts but to satisfy the desire of His heart and to bring joy and gladness to each other.
Genesis 24 tells the story of Rebekah and Isaac. As Abraham contemplated the necessity for Isaac to get married, he did not say to Isaac, "Now, son, you are grown up. It's time that you get married. I'll tell you what to do. Put an ad in the Mid-East Gazette, list the qualifications, and at the bottom add, 'Canaanite ladies need not apply.' " Nor did he say to Isaac, "Why don't you go down and look over the eligible girls." Abraham's first concern was the will of God. He may have prayed, "Oh God, I want Isaac to marry someone who is in your plan because you have purposes in which he as a vital part." And so Abraham sent his servant Eliezer on his journey. Hear this words: "Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me success today and show that steadfast love to my master Abrahamů" "Let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master's sonů" "The thing comes from the Lordů" Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master's kinsmen."
RECOGNIZE MARRIAGE IS HIS CONCEPT
Will you come before God and recognize that marriage is His concept? Will you confess that the one whom you are married is God's partner for you? You see, that is why a Christian cannot contemplate divorce. He will not be the initiator because he recognizes that this marriage is not his but God's. Will you, together as husbands and wives, confess that the one to whom you are married has been appointed by God himself?
What about those who were married before they became Christians? Romans 8:28, "We know that in everything God works for good to those who love himů" When you came to Jesus, you were put into Christ and your marriage became part of the will of God for you. Husbands, God says your prayers will be hindered if you do not love your wives as Jesus loves the church. He is not judging your life by how successful it is socially or economically, but by the spiritual growth that has resulted, not only in your life but also in your wife's life as a result of your walk before Him. Will you commit yourself to that?
In the quietness of this moment, will you as a husband or wife say, "Lord, I have to confess that my marriage is crumbling. It looked so good and we started out so well, but when the pressures came, the cracks began to show. I have been considering this marriage mine, for my convenience. And when I didn't find that, I thought I had the right to turn somewhere else or do something else. I confess that my marriage belongs to you, and you hold me responsible for our relationship together."
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
In the sections above, we raised the question that Ebenezer Scrooge asked his nephew in A CHRISTMAS CAROL: "Why did you get married?"
We suggested that there are only two possible answers to that question: The first is that we got married to satisfy ourselves, because we wanted to. Our marriage originated in our own hearts and minds. In reality, this is a counterfeit marriage.
The second answer is that we got married because we knew it was God's will for us. Our marriage was an act of obedience to Him. This is a Christian marriage. Marriage is something that God gives or may not give us. A Christian marriage takes place when two people acknowledge that they are being married or have been married in the will of God and that God the Father, the Creator of the universe, has chosen them for each other. Therefore, the first foundation stone of marriage is that realization that the concept of marriage is God's.
The second foundation stone is the consciousness that our marriage is the will of God. Marriage is a gift and must be sustained by God's grace. Human love cannot sustain a marriage; it was never intended to. It is the love and grace of God that give durability and quality to a marriage.
In Phil. 1:9-11, Paul says, "It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve that which is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness, which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
WHERE DOES LOVE COME IN? DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE
"If marriage is in obedience to the will of God," we ask, "where does love come in?" That's a good question, but we first need to ask another, "What kind of love do we mean?"
We use the word love about many things. We say, "I love my dog," "I love my house," "I love my job," "I love my wife," "I love my husband," "I love my children," "I love God." When the Greeks presented the concept of love, they had different words for it. They used the word "eros" for physical attraction: "I love you because I am physically attracted to you; I hope to find in you the satisfaction of some physical desires; I appreciate your beauty." This is not what the New Testament means by the word love. In fact, the New Testament never uses "eros" when speaking of love.
Another type of love is "phileo," or brotherly love. This is the love of emotional attraction: "I like you because we have things in common." This is the kind of love that brings people together in friendships, or associations of one kind or another. It is, "I find something in you that I like; therefore I love you."
Neither of these is the type of love God talks about because both are based upon the human needs and desire and the opportunity to find those satisfied in someone else. They are based upon getting rather than giving and therefore are not the type of love that God talks about in marriage.
Where is the place of love then, in a Christian marriage?
The Greek word is "agape." It beings when we recognize that our marriage is in the will of God. It is God who has chosen us for each other and we marry in obedience to Him. There must come a point in our lives when we accept that fact. This is where love begins. We read in Acts 5:32, "He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him;" and in Romans 5:5, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." So love beings in marriage when we obey the Holy Spirit; it is He Who brings love into marriage. Only the Holy Spirit can produce the things that are necessary to sustain a marriage and cause it to grow. If we work on the basis of "eros" or "phileo," we produce the works of the flesh. If we work on the basis of "agape," or the love of God, we bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in our marriage.
The reason we have so many difficulties is that we are not continually filled with the Holy Spirit; therefore we cannot bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Christian marriage is a miracle of God's redeeming grace. It is something God has done. He has put us together and filled our hearts with love for one another. It is God who makes our marriage durable and desirable.
FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK THE WILL OF GOD BEFORE MARRIAGE
What about those who married before they were Christians or those who knew the Lord but have to admit that they really didn't seek His will about their marriage? Do they get divorced? Do they start all over? Of course not. God meets us where we are and He can redeem our marriage. God only wants to destroy sin and its effects. We must acknowledge that our marriage is counterfeit. He will redeem it as we come to Him, accept each other as we are, and realize that God will now take our marriage and make it what it should have been in the first place. This is the will of God for us. We must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and obey Him. Such a marriage has an abundance of the resources of God to sustain it.
THE THIRD FOUNDATION STONE OF MARRIAGE
The third foundation stone of Christian marriage is that we covenant to live together. We have mentioned the misconception that is prevalent in our society: it is that marriage is for my own personal satisfaction, that my partner might serve me, give me security, satisfy me physically, materially and psychologically. Wherever I have a need, he is there just to meet it.
When a couple enters into marriage on this basis, it brings great insecurity. This is why so many marriages are shaky. My partner is under the strain of somehow trying to meet my needs and live up to my expectations, realizing all the time that he cannot do this alone. The fear is also present that if he does not, I will be tempted to find security and satisfaction in someone else or turn my attention some other way. Some people go from husband to husband, or wife to wife, seeking to find satisfaction that only God can give.
MARRIAGE IS TO BE A MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S LOVE
Marriage was meant to be a manifestation of God's love. Everything that God does flows from His love. Let me illustrate: When I go fishing, I have a can of worms. The worms are not for me but for the fish. I don't walk up to the side of the lake and dump the worms in. I put a worm onto a hook. I want the fish to catch the worm so I can catch the fish. This is a homely illustration, but I hope you get the picture. God never puts hooks in His worms. He just dumps them into the river. He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. He causes the sun to shine on the just and unjust. He loves us unconditionally. His love is never baited. His gifts never have hooks in them. He gives of himself without hope of return.
When God puts two people together, He intends that they should live together for His highest glory and their greatest good. When we covenant with each other in a Christian marriage, each of us is saying, "I will live my life for your highest good." And to God we say, "We will live together for your highest glory."
THE CONTENTS OF THE COVENANT
Those of you who are contemplating marriage must take it seriously. This is what a husband and wife covenant together: "I take thee to be my wedded husband (or wife); to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death us do part; and thereto I plight thee my faith." In other words, "I covenant before you and before God that no matter what happens in the future, I will love you. You're beautiful to me now at 5'4" and 100 pounds. But I want you to know that if you get to be 180 pounds, I will still love you. You're 23 years old and beautiful. When you are 83 and your hair is grey, or gone, and your face is wrinkled, I will love you then. I will love you in health, when you have the vigor of youth; I will love you when you are ill; I will love you even if you are bedridden or crippled. I will love you if you are a failure. I love you and will go on loving you and you need never be afraid. The only thing that will part us is death." This is the covenant to which God will hold you.
Do we love each other like that? "I love you, come what may!" Such an attitude brings security and freedom into a marriage. This is what makes it blossom and grow and allows the other person to become all that Jesus intended him to be. It is absolutely essential that we covenant before each other and God that we will love each other. This is the third foundation stone in a Christian marriage.
Do you see why only a Christian marriage is capable of being the kind of marriage that God intends? Only the Holy Spirit can produce that kind of love in our hearts. If we are married and walking in obedience to Jesus, we love each other more today than we ever did before. Paul says, "I pray that your love may grow with knowledge and understanding." If our marriage is not growing, if it is not better today than it was last year or the year before, it is because we have not laid hold of the love of God.
God has called us to covenant together, knowing that marriage is His will, and He will hold us responsible for how we have lived out the covenant of marriage. We covenant together by God's grace, not by our own strength. We do not have the resources for this kind of marriage in ourselves. It can only be real if the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We can read all the books we like, but no amount of reading will help unless we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and fill them with the love of God.
LET US CONFESS
Let us confess, "Father, our marriage is not what you want it to be. I can't love with that kind of love." Then repent of whatever God deals with you about. Ask the Holy Spirit to flood your heart. He will revolutionize your marriage. He will begin to make it all that it was intended to be - something beautiful before Him.
IN THE MINDS OF THE DESIGNER A SHIP IS BUILT FIRST
The town in Scotland where I was brought up is built on the banks of the River Leven, which flows from Loch Lamond, and the River Clyde, which flows into the Irish Sea and then into the Atlantic Ocean. Where the two rivers meet there was a shipyard at which I worked for almost five years before coming to Bethany. One of the highlights of working there was seeing a ship being launched down the slipways and into the water. The building of the ship, however, did not begin with its launching but in the mind of the designer, who imagined and drew it according to his purpose. The first thing to be laid was the keel, the foundation of the ship.
We have been sharing what God says about marriage. One of the first things He tells us is the necessity of a good foundation. A marriage begins with God. He is the Great Designer, and everything has been made to reflect His great heart and mind.
THREE ASPECTS OF THE FOUNDATION OF MARRIAGE
We have seen that there are three aspects of that foundation. The first is that the concept of marriage is God's. Marriage belongs to Him. It is His idea. Second, we have seen that in our individual marriages we must be conscious of the fact that our marriage is the will of God, that He has chosen for us each other according to His will and purpose. A Christian marriage begins when two people accept that truth. We may have been married before we were Christians. But we cannot escape our responsibility by saying we entered into marriage not knowing it was God's will. When we give our marriage to Jesus and receive it back from Him as a gift it is the will of God for us. We become the ones God has chosen for each other.
The third aspect of the foundation of marriage is that we make a covenant before God, that by God's grace we will live together in love. The only thing that will part us is death. We have covenanted together to love each other for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. This covenant involves a total, unconditional commitment of ourselves to each other for life. This brings security into our relationship.
WE NEED TO BUILD ON THAT FOUNDATION
We need to realize that it is not only necessary to lay a good foundation in our marriage; it is equally important that we build on that foundation the way God intends us to.
Psalm 127:1, "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." When an architect designs a ship, he doesn't simply design the foundation but everything about it. We read in Hebrews 3:4 that the builder of all things is God. The reason many of our marriages are in so much difficulty is that we have been seeking to live according to our own intentions rather than living according to the purposes of God. If we are to know how God wants us to build on the foundation, we must seek His mind.
We find the beginning of marriage in Genesis 1 and 2. As we read these chapters, the Holy Spirit shows us what His purpose is for marriage. Gen. 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
THE FIRST ASPECT
The first aspect of the purpose of God for marriage is that we be and do His will. That's the way God works. However, when we get away from following the Holy Spirit, we get more concerned about the doing than the being. God is concerned first with the being and then the doing. He can only effectively use us as He has made us. Therefore, He brings us into situations to transform our lives.
In order to accomplish this, God tells us three things about being and doing His will. First, as men and women we were made coequal. He is saying two things: He has made us male and female to express His likeness. When God thought about what we would be like, the image that came into His mind was male and female. Women were not an afterthought. When He brings us together in a marriage relationship, He does so to express His image.
There are aspects of the character and nature of God that only women can show forth, and there are aspects that only men can express. Neither of us separately is able to fully express the image of God. There is an essence of maleness and an essence of femaleness. Together they constitute the likeness of God. That is what is set forth in Gen. 1:27. The Bible says that God is a trinity in unity. There is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - three separate personalities. The essence of these personalities constitutes the one God. So it is with male and female and husbands and wives.
This is why I believe that philosophical homosexuality is satanic in its origin. It seeks to destroy the image of God in man. It denies that there is an essential difference between men and women and says we are not really male or female, but persons, and we can co-habit with any person we choose to.
In the joining of our maleness and femaleness, we express the image of God. We show forth His character to one anther, we reflect it to the world, and we reflect it back to God. That is part of the purpose of God fro us in marriage. We are brought together as husbands and wives to be like Him.
So often in our marriage we try to make each other over. "Why can't you be like me?" "Why can't you do things the way I do them?" But God's intention is that together we be like Him, not like each other.
THE SECOND ASPECT
The second thing we learn from the fact that we are coequal is that we are of equal worth. There is no chauvinism with God. There is no room for chauvinism in Christian marriage. Men have distorted what God has said. We have acted as though somehow a woman is less than a man. As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal in the trinity, in making us in His image, God is telling us He has made us equal to each other. 1 Pet. 3:7 says we are "heirs together of the grace of life."
The value we place on an object is shown by the way we treat it. Rather than enriching, we are often berating and putting each other down. We are devaluing each other in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world. God says that He has made us of equal worth. Husband, is your wife a better person for having lived with you? Is she more what Jesus intended that she should be? Has she known more of the character and nature of God for having known you? Has she seen more of Jesus? Wife, does your husband see something of the gentleness and beauty of God in you that he wouldn't have seen had he not known you?
We read that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that He might present it as something beautiful and wonderful to His Father. Jesus said that we are to love each other the same way, receive each other from God, and so enhance each other's lives that when we stand before the Father we can present each other to Him, more beautiful, more complete, more like Him. There is no room for competition, only harmony.
The second thing we see in Genesis is that as husbands and wives we are not simply created coequal but we are co-ordained. He has called us together to serve together. Gen. 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." As husbands and wives we are not only equal before God, but we also have equal responsibility to do His will.
God didn't bring us together to satisfy our own desires and live for our own purposes. He brought us together to serve Him, that our homes should be open towards the Father and also towards others. We are to minister and serve together. A marriage must never have a circle drawn around it and be closed to everyone else. There should be worship towards God and ministry to the world.
We have said that marriage is a gift of God's grace and all of God's gifts are given to us, not simply to satisfy our own desires but to be a source of blessing to others. God wants to pour His life and love into our hearts and then through us into the hearts and lives of others. That is why Jesus speaks of the relationship to Him as the relationship in a kingdom. Our homes are to be illustrations of the kingdom of Jesus. People coming into our homes should experience something of the kingdom life.
Some husband might think, "That kingdom idea is very appealing. I'm the king and my wife is the palace maid. She is here to serve me while I rule. She takes care of the kitchen and all the other things in order to make my rule and reign as good and pleasing as possible."
God does not agree with such thinking. Together we express the will and purpose of God. Jesus is the King in the Kingdom, and as husbands and wives we are brought together under His rule to serve Him.
Once when Jesus' disciples were arguing about who was going to be the greatest, He told them they were talking like Gentiles: "It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave" (Matt. 20:26-27). Is your marriage Gentile or Christian?
THE THIRD ASPECT
The third thing we see is that we are not only created coequal and are co-ordained, but we are made for cooperation. In Gen. 2:18 God said, "It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper, fit for him." We are not made for competition but to complement each other and cooperate with each other. Our marriage is to be a living expression of God's will.
As we look at the Godhead, we see that there is a distinction of responsibilities. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not all do the same thing, yet they are equal in value.
The same thing is true in marriage. There are distinctions, not that we assume, but that He appoints. Much of the discussion that is prevalent today takes place because of the failure to accept what Jesus says and live in obedience to His precepts. There has been a distortion of what Jesus means by these distinctions of responsibilities. There is authority and submission in marriage, but we are to derive our ideas of authority and submission from Jesus, not from the world.
AUTHORITY AND SUBMISSION
Authority and submission were part of the Godhead before the world was created. God intended that if we were to live in beauty and harmony, as He lives, we would experience and express the same kind of authority with which the Father can say to the Son, "The plan of redemption necessitates your death and suffering," and the Son, coequal with the Father, can reply, "Yes," gladly and willingly. The Godhead is the model for marriage. We are to be one as they are one.
Jesus is the model for husbands and wives. In Phil. 2 we see He was in the form of God and equal with God, but He was willing to lay that equality aside and live on earth in submission. He said and did only the things that pleased His Father. He fully and voluntarily submitted.
Jesus is the model for submission for wives. To understand submission, we need to understand the relationship between Jesus and the Father. The Holy Spirit is the One who ministered through Jesus. He will teach us what it means to be submitted wives.
Jesus is also the model for husbands. He is the Head of the Church. Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. A husband is not one who asserts authority. He is given authority by Jesus. This authority is meant to be an expression of Jesus' love. A husband is called to be submitted to Jesus and then to express the love of Jesus to his family. He is called to lay down his life for his wife and family. Jesus said, "I have done everything you called me to do, Father. I've lived on the earth to serve you and to lay down my life - not to be ministered unto but to minister."
I know some of you are saying, "There's an idealist. I could never be like that! How could I ever be a husband like God?"
BY MY HOLY SPIRIT
Then Jesus answers, "By my Holy Spirit." He is the Divine Energizer. He is the One who comes to produce in us the likeness of God. He is the One who makes husbands and wives like Jesus and carries out the work of God in our lives. He is the One who transforms us. Jesus says that our natural love was never intended to produce this kind of love. Only the Holy Spirit can produce in us the love of God and He gives His Spirit to those who obey Him.
He has brought us together to cooperate, to work together, and to live together. We are not to compete, but to become one as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, giving of ourselves for the greatest and highest good of one another.
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