Have you ever known a couple that was married for a long time that appeared to have a great marriage and then you find out they’re getting a divorce? What a HUGE disappointment! It can lead you to wonder, “If their marriage can’t make it, what hope do we have?” … “How can we finish well in our marriage, if they can’t? They seemed to have it all together!”
Someone once said, “The problem with getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour.” What is it about finishing well that’s so difficult? We’re often able to “run the race” well in the beginning and sometimes even for many, many years. But sadly, too many marriage “partners” find themselves tempted not to persevere through the “worst” of the “for better or worse” times, and veer off in another direction.
Finish Well in Your Marriage
We want to encourage you in this Marriage Message to “FINISH WELL” in living out your vow to be faithful to the end of your physical days here on earth. Don’t allow that, which seems to look better than what you have, pull you away from doing what is right.
Conduct yourself in such a way that not only do YOU know you’re living true to your promises but you’re also a living example to those around you of how a person of integrity conducts their life. O how this world needs people who are willing to live exemplary lives that will inspire others!
God tells us in the Bible:
“See to it that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ IF WE HOLD FIRMLY TILL THE END THE CONFIDENCE WE HAD AT FIRST” (Hebrews 3:12-15). “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
Being Promise Keepers
May we be promise keepers through to the end! Christ was faithful while here on earth. He was able to confidently say, “It is finished.” Because it was. He had completed everything He needed to accomplish here on earth. He gritted through to finish well, and that is our goal, as well, as we follow his example.
The Apostle Paul said:
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7).
Some of you can relate to “being poured out like a drink offering.” You are tempted to give up fighting “the good fight” like others are doing around you. Life is hard and seems unfair (this side of heaven). It’s natural to want to give in when you see others, who haven’t been faithful, enjoying life more than you are. And yet you’ve remained steadfast in doing what is right. It’s tempting to go in a different direction, as a result.
A Lesson From Asaph
We see in the Bible that Asaph struggled with this same temptation in Psalm 73. He saw everyone else prospering around him. Others, who were evil appeared to be doing great. And yet he wasn’t. As a result he wrestled with the dilemma, “What’s the use in staying faithful? I might as well give in and at least enjoy SOME pleasure.”
During this confusing time, Asaph said:
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped. I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles. Their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man. They are not plagued by human ills.”
He talks of their arrogance, which he had a difficult time understanding. It seemed that God should smite them instead of allowing them to prosper. He says, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure. In vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.” You may be able to relate, as you read of Asaph’s struggle.
Making Sense of It All
But then he goes on in his reasoning and comes to this insight, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me TILL I ENTERED THE SANCTUARY OF GOD; then I understood their final destiny.” What we see in all of this is that sometimes we just can’t make sense of why God allows some things to happen. But just as Asaph, by entering “the sanctuary of God” we can come to the place of releasing that, which doesn’t make sense. God is God and we are not.
There are some things that human beings will never be able to figure out. In our finite ways, we can’t comprehend His bigger plan. On those things, we must to be faithful to the end to do what God has told us to do. We are to be confident that He will straighten it all out in the frame of eternity.
As God tells us in the scriptures, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Essentially this means, we aren’t going to figure everything out that the Lord allows —not on this side of heaven.
Trusting So We Will Finish Well
But none-the-less, we are called to trust Him. In this faith walk, here on earth, you (we) are told to, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
It comes down to realizing as Asaph did, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” It’s a matter of going back to the Lord —trusting His heart and His plan. He truly knows the beginning from the end and we do not.
There is more to life than what appears on the surface. God wants to work in you and through you and us to do His good will and display His power and attributes to those around us who need to see faithfulness in action. That’s what we hope you will join us in doing —in living out the gospel “with and without words” —trusting God, holding on to FINISH WELL!
We want to close this message with an important challenge. One pastor made the following statement, which we believe is true:
“The most important day of your marriage is not the first day —your wedding day. It’s the last day —the day you or your wife dies, and you have loved and served her (or him) like Jesus till the very end. That is the most important day of your marriage.”
To that end we pray for you:
“May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
May you finish well in your life and in your marriage. And may the Lord someday say to us, as it pertains to how we conducted ourselves in our marriages, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Steve and Cindy Wright
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