Besides our relationship with God, there is none other which effects our lives more than an intimate relationship with another (whether that be in the form of marriage, dating, or living together); our, "significant other" is one of the biggest, and life effecting relationships of our lives. Faith is a direct relation to divorce rate among Christians. The world will offer you an unbelievable number of options in who you can marry, how you can make marriage work, and why you don't even have to get married to have a great intimate relationship for life. If these are the options you want, there are plenty of places to go and learn more, including many churches today. But, I warn you, even secular studies have shown where this, "wisdom" leads in the end. But, if you know Christ is real, and if you'd like to hear His timeless wisdom about marriage, then tune in for the next couple of weeks, since He did design it, after all.
You either love self over God so much, that you refuse to do what you know is best for you and your mate, or in your own pride and intellect, you feel that your way is somehow best, even though He created you, marriage, and the rest of the known Universe. You have no idea that, even if you make the relationship work your way, you’ve lost irreplaceable ingredients in the recipe that will never allow you to have the relationship you could have experienced; that will never allow you to grow into the person God was using your relationship to help mold you into: James 1:22-25. If Jesus is the perfect picture of real love; if He came to show us how to love; if He has the plan for perfect love—why would we not trust Him? Why would we not follow His lead? The first and biggest part of this mission to help some of you in your relationships is to simply get you to admit that God is right, and you are wrong, and to make you want the truth, and trust the truth—enough to apply this message; otherwise you will carry the cure around in your pocket and never be healed.
There is no sense discussing practical details and ideas of how to make a relationship work, if the very foundation we build on is broken. Ephesians 5:25, 31-32: our marriage is supposed to mimic Jesus and the Church. How does that compare to the foundation of marriage, as compared to the world? We (the world) see marriage as a means to our happiness. We place all of our hope and focus on one person as a means to our security, and our needs—and that one person will never be able to meet our needs—they will fail us—and when that person stops meeting those needs and wants in our lives (when they stop making life better and happier for us; when it stops being enjoyable and advantageous), we quit. We don't see the hidden venom Satan has in this way of thinking; the pain, depression, financial loss, and endless list of problems for children of divorce (71% suicide); the love, security, and deep bond lost when we don't learn to stand beside one another in pain and faults. But with God's Plan for a relationship, two major things change in the foundational plan: 1) the main focus shifts from your mate, to Jesus Christ as the Center—and it changes everything. When your life no longer revolves around your mate's actions, failures, or acceptance and rejection of you, you can stand by them without falling with them. Your world doesn't stop; your joy doesn't end, when they fail, because everything that you are is rooted in your love for Christ first, and you can be a source of strength, instead of a casualty: Colossians 1:11. 2) our entire goal for why we are getting married changes—which changes everything. God did not create marriage with the single goal of making us have an easier, more enjoyable, or even more secure life first and foremost; He created it so we could find and grow real love, which by its very nature, will not always be easier, more enjoyable, or more secure, but it will always be better. When the goal becomes finding and growing true love, then the marriage completely changes from being only about what needs and wants I must have met, to finding someone we see worthy to be served, cared for, forgiven, understood, and even carried through their faults and failures when necessary. Done right, it should and will use all of your focus, energy and time to keep it alive at times. Marriage was designed to teach you how to love just like Christ loves the Church.
Think for a minute about how Christ loved the Church: 1) He lost His reputation—for you 2) He left His belongings—for you 3) He lost His position, His power, His comfort—for you 4) He worked tirelessly, and never for Self—for you 5) He forgave, even when He was purposefully, spitefully done wrong—by you 6) He tore the entire Universe apart in the battle to get you for Himself 7) He never gave up; never walked away—from you 8) His goal was to save you, heal you, grow you into a better person, and lavish you in undeserved love 9) He surely didn't leave when it wasn't fun anymore; He stayed, and He died trying to be near you. If we are to love as He loved the Church, then it must be our goal in marriage, first and foremost to completely give our lives to them (after Christ). Even in all of their failures and sins, when it’s not deserved and no one else would still be there—unlike the world thinks—when things are hardest, and seem most unfair, that is when your calling to your mate is at its highest point. We are to show them their awesome worth in our eyes and in Christ's, because no one else in the world may ever show them; and we can only do that when we are rooted in Christ first, and not in them. Marriage is designed to teach you the beauty of learning how to love sacrificially, as we have been talking about; of understanding that love is a choice, even when it sometimes isn't a pleasant one; of understanding that love is an action, not just words; of understanding that love is a disregard for self—a life lived for another; of understanding that love is not just emotional, not always deserved, and is never easy—that is why it is so important to know that you have the very one you are supposed to spend your life with—because this is the permanent love and devotion that is expected; this is what makes it the most beautiful and incredibly special vow you will ever take.
God tells us to do all of this, based upon the honor that we place on our mate (not the honor they deserve), because God surely hasn’t given us the honor and value that we deserve. Romans 5:8; Psalm 139:16-18; 1 Peter 3:7 (honor: Honour- time (tee-may'); Strong's Greek 5092; esteem of the highest degree, very high value or worth, dignity, precious) You place incredible worth on them alone; they are your everything; irreplaceable. Everything about them is special, honored, and not to be damaged, taken for granted or abused. Can you see why it is so wrong, so hurtful, so disrespectful to the beauty and honor God says we are to bestow on our beloved, to use their body when it doesn't belong to you yet? (When you go to another besides them?) To take away something that is designed to be the most treasured, coveted, special gift shared by only one person on the whole earth? Even if you think for sure, you are to be the one; even if they, in their own low self-worth don't see it until you have earned that privilege by giving them your vow of commitment for life; show the honor you place on them, by saving and guarding their most special gift until you are the one. By showing respect for someone and waiting to enjoy everything about them physically, you are showing so much love, and awe, and honor, and value for that person; so much more than you could ever show otherwise—that is why it is so ridiculous for the world to say you are dumb to wait. They totally miss what it is like to be honored and loved exclusively; they have one special, totally intimate gift to give, and to give that away for a chance to be liked, or to make that gift simple and common causes one to lose so much they should be getting from the one they are intimate with—honor; worth—what a gift God has given to us, as a token of our love for that one person. To live with someone is to make them cheap, not honored. To have intimate relations as a Christian, but not care enough to promise yourself to them for life, is to destroy this gift, and to completely take away that honor. The world has completely missed it, and they have taken us so far from the Truth, so far from the beauty of its purpose, that we have lost something amazing. Proverbs 5:15-19: Doesn’t this give you just a hint of how awesome, and special sexual relations can/are meant to be? And how simple and cheap they have become? And how it is so easy to lose the physical desire for someone? How easy it is for sex to become distorted, and push the borders to have the same thrills, because it has become nothing more than an act for your pleasure, and the incredible meaning, and worth, and awe are taken away from the act? It doesn't matter how many times you've messed up in the past; the whole reason Jesus died on the cross is so that whatever you've done wouldn't matter, because He puts that kind of worth in you—just take back what Satan has taken from you.
This is one of the biggest areas that Satan has used to hurt us, and to make us lose respect for one another and destroy families. Before we can go further into God's Plan for how true relationships and marriages were designed to be, we have to first decide if we are even ready to listen and trust what we hear—if we are willing to apply the truths that we hear? If not, why go any further? Not just because God says to do it, but because He is so much wiser; His Plan is so much better, and we are missing so much. Understand that your significant other, cannot be the center of your world, or even of your relationship—Jesus Christ must be the Center—or you will not have the strength and love to approach your relationship the way God intended; and He intended that you approach the relationship as their servant, their strength, their helper, their acceptance; even when they fail you, because you have given them honor; because you are with them to love them as God intended. By living for them, rather than living in expectations for what you can get from them all the time, you will learn what it means to really love someone, and you will show the love of Christ to your beloved as He designed marriage to do. You can't live this way in your own strength. God never intended for us to be able to live this way without His help. We can’t just force ourselves to do good; it's just not in us. We have to rely on Him to live through us; we have to simply give our lives to Him, knowing that we cannot be good enough, and that it doesn't matter; because He loves us exactly as we are, and died to pay for our mess ups: 1 Timothy 1:14-17.
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