The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
So many of us approach our marriages today with less than the optimal plan that our Heavenly Father envisioned for us. God ordained marriage in the Garden of Eden when He established the perfect relationship that existed between Adam and Eve before the fall. This also included a close relationship and fellowship with His creation as they lived there in the Garden. However, Satan sought to disrupt this beautiful relationship that existed between God and His masterpiece and also between Adam and Eve. Thus, after the fall, marriage relationships were to be a challenge even under ideal circumstances of a God-fearing couple.
It is time to step back and take inventory where life has placed each of us in our own marriages. So often, caught up in the emotions of our courtship and our wedding, we lose track of God’s desires for our lives and our marriages. We often drift off toward the secular world, even if we are active in church life. In chapter 4 of 1 Peter, the section is sub-titled as “Living for God” (NIV version):
As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:2
So often we forget that Jesus Christ called each of us to not live for ourselves but live in service to others which includes our spouse. This is God’s will. Many marriage problems erupt from this vision God has for all of us.
If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:11b
[Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” .. So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:4-7,12-15 (NKJV)
Jesus gave His disciples this example of serving when He washed their feet during the Last Supper. He has commanded us to go and do likewise. As mentioned above, one of the areas found in a failing marriage is that we too often live for ourselves rather than for others. This is outside the will of God. In such times, our marriages suffer and often fail. There are many other areas where marriages fail.
Let’s review our marriage vows (promises). Question: Do we just walk away from this relationship that God ordained or do we seek to heal this relationship with God’s help? Marriage is a sacred ordinance ordained by God Himself. When we marry, we exchange vows, covenant marriage vows with our spouse. These are solemn promises made to God and to our spouse of our part in this bond of marriage. In them, we state that we take our spouse to be our lawfully wedded wife (husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. It is in this last part, “until death do us part,” that many today don’t understand.
In God’s original plan for marriage (Genesis 2:24), He united one man (Adam) and one woman (Eve) together (‘married’ in modern terms) and they became one flesh. It is a holy covenant made before and in the presence of God. Covenant means “a coming together.” Some Bible versions use the concept of “cleaving,” or sticking together, much like Super Glue!
“The two shall become one—no longer two, but one! And no man may divorce what God has joined together.” Matthew 19:6 (TLB)
Read again this last scripture and the mention of divorce.
A covenant is built on selfless love, freely given and freely received. As strange as it may sound, a covenant marriage and it’s vows are the glue that binds each couple together. It is a commitment freely offered with no strings attached. Paul said it well: Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8a.
In closing, the message today is that we are called by God to stand, empowered by Him, in unconditional love for our spouse. Our covenant marriage vows speak to this. They are sacred promises made to our spouse and to God and witnessed by God Himself. This marriage covenant ends when and only when one spouse dies. The goal of a covenant marriage is to glorify God in our marriage relationships and to exemplify Christ to the world.
Are you “empowered to stand?”
Standing firm on my covenant marriage vows shared with my wife and before God until we are parted by death.
Ben in Texas