Last week we presented the Division and Strife model of marriages. Sadly this model is seen too often in Christian marriages. But it doesn’t have to be YOUR model. Instead, we hope you’ll join us in working to model our marriages in ways that show Unity and Overcoming. It’s a model that reveals and reflects the heart of Christ within our marriages to a world that desperately needs to see it. It’s one that the Lord can use so others will want to know our God better. This should be our ultimate goal.
First, we want to clarify that unity does not mean uniformity. When you take one sinner, and join him or her together in marriage with another sinner (often times adding a bunch of little sinnerlings) into the mix, you will NOT find uniformity. But you CAN forge ways to build unity.
Unity in Wedding
Have you seen within wedding ceremonies (perhaps yours) where a bride and groom each take their own candle and lights a “unity candle” and then blows out their individual candles? This signifies that BOTH are committed to work together. They pledge to put the needs of their marriage relationship above their individual needs. The goal is to act as a team. So, what goes wrong when that doesn’t happen? Could it be that we forget what the Bible says about unity?
The principles for building unity as Christ-followers, is outlined in Colossians 3. They are the same principles we are told anchor our marriages upon. We are to be Bible-living followers of Jesus Christ, within our marriages. Our challenge to you is to take time to read through this chapter.
1. In light of Colossians 3:5-9, prayerfully consider if there is anything written there that you need to “rid” yourself of, or “put to death” in your “earthly nature?” [Don’t rush this. Let God speak into your heart so you’ll know what you need to confess and ask for forgiveness. And then do it.]
2. Pray through verses 12-13. Ask God to help you make any necessary changes needed so you mirror these characteristics in your marriage. (They are also highlighted in 1 Corinthians 13.)
3. Read verse 14, asking the Lord to show you how you can “put on Love” (like changing clothes), binding you together in UNITY. (Even if your spouse won’t do this with you, do this as “unto the Lord.” Ask Him to show you how to “put on Love” as He would have you.)
To go a step further (which we hope you will), please explore through the Marriage Missions web site, gleaning through the Communication Tools topic. There you will find additional tools you can use to help you grow together in unity. One in particular, that we recommend is titled, Scripture Based Marriage Check Up List, based on 1 Corinthians 13.
As far as “Overcoming” —when you truthfully live out the principles in Colossians 3, plus grab onto other scriptures the Holy Spirit points you to for guidance and comfort, you can overcome just about anything you encounter.
On this point, we want to expand further. In her book, The Power of Simple Prayer: How to Talk with God about Everything Joyce Meyer makes a great point, as far as experiencing “peace of mind” when it comes to overcoming. She makes the point of the importance of filling our mind with God’s Word. But she clarifies what she means by “filling.”
“It’s not the Word you read casually, but the Word you PROCESS MENTALLY and APPLY to each situation that Jesus promised His peace. Jesus corrected His disciples when they lost their peace of mind during a storm. He didn’t lose His. He was asleep in the back of the boat.
“So where are you today? Resting with Jesus in the back of the boat, or panicking with the others up front? Worry overwhelms you when you forget two things:
- “What the Lord has told you. Jesus said, ‘Let us go over to the other side‘ (Mark 4:35). And once He spoke those words there wasn’t a wave big enough to sink them. Anytime you’re doing what God has told you to do, you may go through storms but you won’t sink.
- “Who’s with you in the boat. The disciples thought they knew Jesus pretty well, but before the night was over they were asking, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!‘ (v. 41)
“Has it ever occurred to you that the storm you’re in right now has been permitted by God to show you that you don’t have a problem He can’t solve; that you’re not alone, and that through this experience you’ll come to know Him better?
“In the Amplified Bible the words of Jesus are translated like this: ‘Do not let your hearts be… distressed, agitated‘ (John 14:1). The only power worry has over you —is the power you give it.”
Commitment to Overcome
We know this is easier said than done, but it’s so necessary to overcome that, which comes your way so you experience the peace of Christ, rather than the anxiety the enemy of our faith wants us to embrace and run with. It’s what we’ve both learned through the years, and hope you can too.
Let me close with something I read this week on the Dr Kelly Flanagan web site:
“Commitment is not a sentiment we vow. It’s a discipline we live. We don’t promise commitment; we PRACTICE it.”
Can we make a commitment to practice Colossians 3:12-14, this week —even if we don’t feel like it? By doing so, you are making a step in the direction of unity, as Christ would have you.
Steve and Cindy Wright
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