Thank you for reading Standing Firm, a weekly men's devotional written by Dennis Wingfield for Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10a ESV
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b ESV
Life and death. Heaven and hell. Truth and lies. In the turmoil of a broken marriage, my thinking started to become confused. I wallowed in despair and bewilderment. Things that were once certain in my mind – i.e. marriage is forever – were now uncertain. Everything in my world was upside down. All I knew for sure was that my marriage was slipping through my fingers and I was powerless to stop it.
My wife was convinced that ending our 10-year marriage was a good thing. Family and friends were also convinced that divorce was the best option. I could not find support for my conviction that marriage is a life-long covenant – even among the clergy. I started to doubt whether I really knew right from wrong.
How do you discern right from wrong? How can you distinguish truth from lies? The 10th chapter of John, verse 10 tells us everything we need to know regarding discernment of truth. The thief, Satan, comes to “steal and kill and destroy.” Jesus came to bring “abundant life.” So if you see evidence of stealing, killing and destroying, Satan is behind it. If it looks like “Abundant Life,” it is from God. I can say with confidence that your marital strife is the result of Satan trying to steal, kill and destroy your marriage.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Your wife is not your enemy, Satan is. He is the Great Deceiver, cunningly making evil look like something good. Every situation can be evaluated by the Steal-Kill-Destroy/Abundant Life dichotomy. As further confirmation, you can turn to the Word of God. If it is contrary to God’s Word, you can be certain that Satan is trying to deceive you.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
God’s Word is truth. God will never contradict Himself. Satan is full of murderous lies. He takes truth and then twists it and perverts it into a lie. Did you know that Satan is familiar with Scripture? Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus during His temptation in the desert (see Matt 4:1-11). Satan is skilled at taking God’s Word out of context and applying it falsely to trap the unsuspecting in a lie. A great example is the fall of Adam and Even in the third chapter of Genesis.
You belong to your father, the devil...a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him...for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
Satan hates you and your marriage. Marriage represents the love of Christ for His bride, the Church (Eph 5:25-31). It is intended to be an unbreakable bond. God chose marriage to represent His unbreakable love for His children; what better place for Satan to attack? If Satan can destroy marriage, he is also destroying the image of God’s love. It is no wonder that people no longer believe in a loving God.
“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47
Through spiritual bondage to sin, Satan can make us deaf to the truth of God’s Word. The Ten Commandments then become barriers to personal freedom and fulfillment, not words of life as God intended. God is pushed into the background and sin prevails. The life of freedom is traded for a life of slavery to sin. If our spiritual foundation is weak, Satan fills the void with half-truths and lies. And sin leads to death.
“...my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
The Word of God is your source of knowledge. To know God’s truth, you need to know God. To know God, you need to read God’s Word on a daily basis. To know God intimately, you must know His Son, Jesus Christ. If you know Christ, you will know how to be the best husband to your wife.
I pray that Christ will bless your efforts to know and love Him. In spite of your current situation, God has a beautiful plan for your life. Spend time with Him praying and reading Scripture. Allow time to be quiet before Him. In silence, God speaks to His obedient ones. Listen to Him for He has the words of eternal life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Peace and blessings, my dear Brother in Christ.