Activating the fullness of God’s love in marriages
Looking around us there is little in our nation, or the world, today that was ever a part of God’s perfect plan for mankind.
In the order of creation God created man then government and then the church. With the creation of man, man that was sinless at the time God saw and spoke out “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” Genesis 2:18 [NKJV] Even though Adam was sinless, perfect and without the pressures it was God not Adam that moved. It would seem that Adam was totally unaware of what he lacked. So, God created woman, Eve, from one of Adams ribs and having done so did not leave Adam to find her but presented her to Adam. So, we had the first marriage, all part of God’s perfect plan and showing the importance of marriage to God and to His plan. This should show us the priority that marriage should have in our lives after our relationship with God.
Regrettably the importance and value of marriage per Gods design, generally, is not recognised throughout many nations and has been largely ignored by some of the church. As a result of this we in the Christian church have not put too much effort or the necessary investment into marriages and consequently there has been little benefit to marriages and families. God is not being glorified through our marriages/families and the world is not seeing a glimpse of the loving, serving relationship of Christ and the church as God intended.
As Ps John Piper wrote/spoke in February 1984 –
“Ephesians 5:31 is a quotation of Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” Then Paul adds in verse 32: “This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church.”
The union of man and woman in marriage is a mystery because it conceals, as in a parable, a truth about Christ and the church. The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church. Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).
It is no accident that human marriage provides language to explain Christ’s relation to the church (2 Cor. 11:2). For human marriage is the copy, not the original. Geoffrey Bromiley is right when he says,
“As God made man in His own image, so He made earthly marriage in the image of His own eternal marriage with His people” (God and Marriage, p. 43).”
It seems that many married couples in the church might have little or no idea of what God intended marriage to be. They have been influenced by the worldly standard of marriage that is around them where conflict often seems to be expressed as part of marriage, and where some couples may appear to be without conflict there is a ‘cold’ war which rages within the relationship. We in the church need to assess ourselves against God’s standards and not the worlds, as Paul wrote “…. But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” 2 Corinthians 10:12 [NLT].
Yes, you are right, not everyone in the church are having troubles in their marriage and they have recognised that where there are battles or attacks on their marriage those battles are spiritual. They have noted the verses that are contained in Paul’s ‘final word’ in his letter to the Ephesians “…. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13 [NLT]
But even recognising and dealing with these spiritual battles’ marriages can still be short of God’s best! As God created marriage and sets out the way, for it to work properly, in His Word. The divorces that occur within the church, in this nation, would not have occurred if people had followed God’s instruction regarding marriage. This would also have been possible for the rest of the divorces.
Sadly, within the church, married couples often seem to operate with the concepts and standards of the world’s kind of love to each other and not God’s kind of love. His kind of love is woven/shown throughout scripture, and we need to apply this in our marriages and our families. For many these would be our nearest neighbour whom we are instructed to love. God’s kind of love must be applied to our marriages too. We all should be in the process of teaching ourselves, through reading His word and hearing His word, to operate in God’s love and choose to operate that way rather than operating in anger when events do not go our way. Indeed we are commanded to love our enemy Matthew 5:44.
Those in Christ, have His promise that their spirits have been totally changed 2 Corinthians 5:17 and have become like Him. Also, Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” [NLT] Whilst God has renewed our spirit it is then for us to deal with our feelings and emotions and to bring them under control so that we naturally act in love. It is good to remember that “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 [NKJV] We didn’t do anything to merit His love, it was He who chose to give it. When we choose to receive that kind of love and then give it to others in the same way teaching others to love their spouse and family.