We learned of two more Christian couples that have separated and are getting a divorce. Actually there are 3 couples, if you count the couple with eight young children who appear on American television and profess to be Christians. Our hearts are breaking over this. We can only imagine how this must grieve the heart of God. God does not take relationship deaths lightly. Marriage is a living picture of Christ’s love for His church. So this has to grieve God deeply.
These are wonderful God-loving, intelligent couples. This is where one partner (or both) decides to end their marriage. They decide to break their covenantal vows to love, honor, and pledge themselves in marriage to each other for the rest of their lives.
God knows that sometimes a spouse can’t prevent or stop a divorce from happening. (This is particularly true when dangerous abusive behavior is involved or the other spouse is bent on divorcing.) But still, there are many more times when more work can be done to heal a relationship. And yet the additional effort and sacrifice isn’t made.
This is particularly sad when one spouse sincerely repents and wakes up to the harm he or she has caused in the marriage. But the other spouse decides the marriage is done, no matter what!
Please understand, this Marriage Message is not meant to throw stones. After all, which one of us is without sin? Not us, or anyone. This particular message is intended to be a wake-up call to those who profess Christ. This is for those who can prevent a divorce from happening.
Reveal and Reflect the Heart of Christ
The ministry of Marriage Missions came into being years ago because God put it on our hearts to spend our lives encouraging Christians to apply the principles of loving that we see throughout the Bible. We inspire others to reveal and reflect the heart of Christ in and through our marriages as a living testimony to the glory of God.
As we see all the divorcing going on, we keep asking ourselves —what is happening to “followers” of Jesus Christ? We seem to be walking the same execution line toward the death of our marital relationships as those who don’t profess faith in Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, there are entire web sites dedicated to disproving God because those who call themselves Christians who don’t live out what they say they believe. This should not be so!
One web site in particular tells people to “Notice the divorce rate among Christians.” They point out “the divorce rate is even higher for Christians than for those who don’t believe in God.” Thus, they conclude by saying, “The reason for the higher divorce rate among Christians is easy to see. God is imaginary.” I cried as I read this. Sadly we give “ammunition” we to doubters as we live our lives contrary to God’s will.
How Are We Different From the World?
The question is, what makes us any different from “those who are in the world?” Our understanding is that as Christ followers we’re to “be imitators of God as dearly loved children.” We are to “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.“ (Ephesians 5:1-2) By tearing apart our covenantal marital relationships and breaking our promises to Him and to each other, is this how we “imitate” God? Is this how we give of ourselves as a sacrifice to Him?
We’re also told in the Bible to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. But in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death —even death on a cross!“ (Philippians 2:2-8)
What Would Jesus Do?
By divorcing, is our attitude the same as Christ? Is this what Jesus would do? Jesus said, “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have love you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.“ (John 13:34-35) What love are we demonstrating to the world if the divorce rate within the church is even higher than the divorce rate among those who don’t have a personal relationship with Him?
“When all is said and done, a truly Christian home is by far the most powerful and persuasive evangelistic agency on earth. Without ever passing out a tract, preaching a sermon, or even saying a word, a Spirit-filled Christian home declares to all who come within reach that God will do for others what He has done for them, if they will only give Him a chance.” (John Lavender)
We need to take it seriously that our lives are a letter written by God for the world to read. We are a visible picture of the love of Christ for His church. As it says in the Word of God, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.“ (2 Corinthians 3:3) God has entrusted to us the privilege and responsibility to be His “living letters.”
God’s Visible Pictures
A Christian marriage is a “visible picture” —a living example to the world, of the covenant God has with His people. It is a living example of Christ’s love and relationship to His bride, the Church. The Bible refers to Christ as the Groom and the Church as His Bride.
So when we divorce, what does this say to the world of God’s promises to the Church of His love, faithfulness and devotion for them? And what message are we giving out to others of the “transforming power” that God can perform in their lives and marriages? This is especially true when we don’t even utilize that power. It’s a sad testimony when our marriages are weak and unhealthy. And this doesn’t even take into account all the divorcing that’s going on!
It’s our “mission” to help Christians see that marriage is at the heart of God’s message to the Church. It’s our deepest prayer that you’ll join us in this mission. Help us to build up and encourage each other in marriage. We are to help others reflect the love of God to a world that so desperately needs Him.
Join With Other Couples
Find a marriage seminar or a marriage study series (whether CD’s, DVD’s, books and/or talking, encouraging and praying with each other). And then consider having other couples join you to do this together to make more marriages stronger.
You can meet once a week, every other week, once a month or whatever you decide. The important thing is to take pro-active steps to help marriages become stronger. Help them to become less vulnerable to destruction. There’s always room for improvement in every marriage, no matter what! Pray about what God would have you do to make marriage a “mission” —in your own marriage. And then help other couples strengthen theirs as well.
God doesn’t just want our sacrifice to live out His principles as He calls us. He wants our obedience. (See 1 Samuel 15:22, Psalm 51:16-17, and Proverbs 21:3.) As someone told us yesterday, “Christians are educated way beyond obedience.” Living in a marriage where there’s no love and devotion can be a sacrifice. But loving as Christ does, takes obedience!
We pray you’ll join us. Please work together with us to make our marriages the best they can be. Do this by demonstrating the love of Christ, not only to your spouse, but to everyone who is a witness to your life!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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