“There is something wrong with every marriage —we have idolatrous hearts. Because there’s something wrong with the heart of every person that ever gets married, there’s something wrong with every marriage.” (Scott Engelman)
You might wonder about this logic, thinking that you don’t have an idolatrous heart. But when you look at what idolatry truly is, you might think otherwise (we sure do, and we admit that there are times our idolatrous hearts cause problems in our marriage).
“Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people. But the concept is much broader and far more personal than that. An idol is anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure. In biblical terms it is something other than God that we set our heart on (Luke 12:29), that motivates us (1 Corinthians 4:5), that masters and rules us (Psalm 119:133; Ephesians 5:5), or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isaiah 42:17; Matthew 6:24; Luke 12:4-5). In short, it is something we love and pursue in place of God” (see Philippians 3:19) (from the Peacemaker Ministries article “Getting to the Heart of Conflict”).
“The truth is, idolatry is not only bowing down to statues, it is anything that means more to you than God does. It is manifested when getting what you want has become more important than what God desires for you. Simply put anything that you are loving, desiring, or serving more than God is an idol of the heart.” (from the Biblical Counseling for Women article, “The Idolatrous Heart”).
When we look at the definition, it’s easier to agree with Scott Engleman’s premise that we all have idolatrous hearts. But it’s also important to look at the originator of idolatry —the devil and his cohorts, and recognize their plans for us —to destroy us and destroy our marriages.
That doesn’t mean that they are solely responsible for destroying our marriages, because we have to give in to the temptations set before us in order for that can happen. But it’s important to recognize the danger and “be on the alert” as we’re told in 1 Peter 5:8 and “stand firm in faith” against these evil plans.
The enemy knows that God has designed the covenant of marriage to be a living picture of Christ’s love for His church. For that reason, it’s a picture that is under attack continually. Unfortunately many of us are participating in this destruction —without ever realizing it.
To help us better understand and identify the “enemy of marriage” and the effort put forth to tear apart our marriage (and all relationships), we’d like to share with you a portion of a 7 scene play titled, “Satan’s Agenda” -written by Geraldine Harris and Kristen Maddox.
We hope that when you are done reading it you’ll take the time to look at your own marriage and honestly answer the question that is posed. The first scent of this play reads:
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior.
Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their dinners, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil. “Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!” His demons shouted back, “How can we do this?” “Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent as many schemes as possible to occupy their minds,” he answered.
“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. And as their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!
Over-stimulate their minds so that they can’t hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive— to keep the TV, VCR, DVD, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break their union with Christ.
Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes. This will also keep them too busy to read their Bibles and other Christian literature that could help them in their everyday lives.
Keep pictures of skinny, beautiful models in all the magazines and on TV and everywhere you can so the wives become dissatisfied with their own bodies. This will also help their husbands to believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives as well.
Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night. Give them headaches too! If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, they’ll begin to look elsewhere (and the reverse can be true as well). That will eventually fragment their families!
Even in their recreation, let them be excessive —have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead. Keep them busy all the time they’re awake!
And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, help them to leave with troubled consciences. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they’ll be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”
It was a great plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments influencing Christians everywhere to have little time for their God their marriages or their families, and little or no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is—has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge!
“Be self-controlled and alert. The enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:8). “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.“ (Hebrews 12:1)
It is our deepest hope that we will stand firm in the Lord, resisting the temptations set before us —that we will fight against the enemy of our faith, rather than fighting each other and destroying our marriages in the process.
Steve and Cindy Wright