His this is pastor Ken and this is my Monday Marriage Message…Losing The Right
One of the things I tell each couple who comes to see me for pre-marital counseling is that on the day they are married they will have forever given up the right to think as an individual. I understand when a person marries, they do not stop existing as an individual, but another individual is forever directly impacted by their choices from that day forward.
A wedding day is a miraculous one. It is not the preacher, minister, court official or any other human being that marries people, God does. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” God is the one who does the marrying. If marriage is what Jesus has said it is, the taking of a man and a woman and making of them oneness, then marriage is a miracle. It is as we have said, a re-creation of the oneness enjoyed and experienced by Adam and Eve as they were in fact literally created one flesh. Miraculous indeed that the same would happen for us!
That oneness is so thorough, so complete, so encompassing that the parts of the whole can no longer claim autonomy. While we have gained the privilege and the right to think as a husband or a wife, we have relinquished the right to think as an individual. It is not what we are any longer, and as such it is not a way we are free to continue to think.
When I gave my life to the Lord, when I chose to follow Him with everything I have, I gave up my right to think like someone enslaved to sin. I am still capable of sinful thought, but I am not right to do so. Why? I belong to Christ. He is not enslaved to sin, therefore as one belonging to Him, I am not within my rights to be enslaved to sin.
It is much the same when we allow ourselves to be joined with one another in marriage. If I am married, then I am married 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. There is no time allotted for singleness. I am now a part of something greater than myself so I can no longer consider only myself.
God’s word actually speaks to this very thing. We will look at this scripture in later podcasts in greater depth but I use it today to illustrate this biblical truth: 1 Corinthians 7:4 says; The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. When you are at work you don’t think like an individual, you think like an employee, someone responsible to the employer who is counting on you. If you are an employer, you don’t think like an individual, you think like someone who has employees who count on you. If you play on a softball team or a bowling league or some other team sport, you don’t think like an individual, you think like a team player when you are in the game. When we are at work or on a team we have to answer to more than ourselves. This scripture points out it is the same in marriage. I am responsible to my wife; she is responsible to me. I cannot afford to consider myself…only…ever…it will make me a poor husband. Likewise, she would be a poor wife if she only considered herself and not us.
I know a lot of people take issue with this and other scriptures like it. While I may be the one offering this podcast, the scriptures come from God’s word. We can take issue with a particular concept in God’s word…but not without taking issue with God. It is not God’s responsibility to get His word in line with our thinking on marriage, it is our responsibility to get our thinking on marriage in line with His word. I will give you time to reflect on the entirety of this scripture, it will be a few more weeks yet before I dive deeper into its meaning. For the purposes of today’s discussion, I use it only to illustrate that as husbands and wives we are responsible to consider our spouse in everything. It would be my hope that if this is not already your practice, that you learn to run every thought, every decision through the filter of: “How will this affect my spouse?” If we as married couples would learn to do that better and more often, many of the marital difficulties I deal with every day in my office would be dealt with by making the best decision in the first place.
Satan has three jobs, they are noted for us in scripture…kill, steal, and destroy. Nothing will kill, steal or destroy the peace and joy in your marriage like selfishness. Your marriage is about two being one, and selfishness sucks the air out of the room marriage is designed to thrive in. It creates an atmosphere that will not support the life of a marriage. That is precisely why the enemy tries so hard to make us resistant to giving up our autonomy…because autonomy makes us selfish and selfish makes us single…at least in our minds.
Questions to answer:
Do you think you have the right to think as an individual though you are married?
Do your decisions back up your answer to the question above?
What are your gut reactions to scriptures like 1 Corinthians 7:4?
In what ways have you still been thinking as an individual?
In what ways have you been doing a good job thinking like a husband or a wife?
Actions to take:
Talk with your spouse about checks and balances the two of you can enact that will keep you thinking as a husband and wife and not as an individual.
If you need to seek forgiveness from your spouse for being selfish instead of selfless…do that now.
Ask God to keep you reminded of the oneness you share with your spouse and to help you be protective of it so that the enemy can’t easily steal, kill, or destroy your marital peace and joy.
So now, recognizing you are not alone, and unable to afford to think and act as if you were…Go be Awesome!
Thank you for joining us online. We will begin with a 5 minute countdown prior to service on Sunday Mornings at 8:30 and 10:30am.
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Autumn Leaves
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) …God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart…
I love to see spring bursting forth. After the short stark winter days, spring is filled with the promise of things to come. Everything is new in the spring. New flowers, new growth, new leaves. Summer is awesome too! The warmth takes hold, and while present, seems as though it will never end. The natural greenness of the outdoors comes into its fullness. The days are as long as they will be all year, and we are able to spend the long hot afternoons cooled by the shade of the deep green leaves of the tree limbs swaying above. Autumn is the anomaly when it comes to the leaves. In the spring and summer the leaves are green as one would expect. Leaves are thought to be for the most part, supposed to be green. Some shade of green are most leaves natural color. In the fall however the beautiful deviation takes place. The leaves turn all manner of colors and then fall away as if bowing facedown to the ground.
This past weekend our family was spending the morning together and having a wonderful time. We were outside, sitting and talking and enjoying sweet pumpkin doughnuts and coffee as we manned a family yard sale in the driveway of our home. As we talked and enjoyed the time together, some of our grandchildren were playing in the front yard running through, and kicking up the leaves that were falling prematurely from our old maple tree. As I sat amidst it all, I watched the falling leaves and thought about how they resembled our walk with the Lord.
In the natural we are who we are. We act as we will. We think we know what is right, we feel secure in being who we are, doing our ‘own’ thing…all the while actually looking like every other person around us. Everyone has their own ‘brand’, but a selfish person living a life that is designed to suit them, ultimately looks like every other selfish person doing selfish things. We think we are making our ‘mark’ on the world but as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, in the end, no matter what our ‘brand’ looked like, no matter what ‘mark’ we made, it all ends up looking the same. Kind of like the summer leaves. When you look closely at them you may see some small differences, but step back just a few feet and they are all described the same way. Green.
Ah, but in the Autumn…it all changes. As the leaves are impacted by the weather their colors morph and they become more and more interesting and beautiful. They are still on the trees in their natural position except now their colors are radiant and amazing! Kind of like what happens to us as people when we are impacted by the incredible love of Jesus. As we consider His awesome vision for our lives, His amazing desire to make us more, and we submit to His Lordship…everything changes. He takes the ordinary condition of selfishness and transforms it into the extraordinary beauty of selflessness. He changes us from the inside out and slowly we begin to resemble Him. In our natural state we can only look one dimensional…sinful. But in our intended state, we are given through the transformational empowerment of Jesus the ability to look like Him…righteous. We become beautiful like the autumn leaves.
Those falling leaves didn’t escape my attention either. As I said earlier, they were falling as if to bow face down on the ground. Philippians 2:9-11 in the New King James Version says; Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Someday, just as every leaf must fall from the tree admitting that Autumn has come, every knee will be compelled to bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord.
Those leaves my grandchildren were finding joy in last weekend had fallen early. None of the leaves yet to fall were bringing them such pleasure…only the ones that had seemingly done so ahead of time as if by their own accord. The impact of that was not lost on me either. I thought of the joy our Lord experiences when we bow to Him with our lives before it is required of us. As I watched those children with smiles on their faces and squeals of delight escaping their lips playing gleefully among the leaves that had seemingly decided to fall early, I knew it was nothing compared to the joy in heaven expressed when each one of us decides to bow to the Lordship of Jesus! Luke 15:10 says as much. In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
What an awesome God we serve! He loves us so much that He desires to remind us of it in everything. Even to this aging Papa as He watches his grandchildren playing in the leaves. Even the simplest things reveal the complexity of His unending love!
So now, expecting to see His great love being showered on you like so many leaves falling from the trees…Go Be Awesome!
Hi this is pastor Ken and this is my Monday Marriage Message…Differences That Divide – Part Three This is the third part of a Three-part series and so if you have not listened to parts one and two I would strongly encourage you to do that before listening to this edition.
For the past two weeks I have been talking about the differences between the way a man thinks (compartmentally) and the way a woman thinks (relationally). Today I want to delve into why God did this. As I said, though we think as men and women, husbands and wives, and we do almost certainly amuse God regularly, I don’t believe that He created us with these particular differences to amuse Himself or to frustrate us.
Remember back in Genesis 1:26 we read; Then God said “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness… and then in verse 27, So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. You’ll also remember that I spoke about the fact that God couldn’t get all of His varied attributes and characteristics into one gender, so He created two genders as one flesh so that their oneness would be reflective of Him. Then He made provision for that oneness to be re-created throughout history through a mystery (or a miracle really) called marriage.
Since we know what the plan is, to create one thing out of two so that it might reflect Him, we can deduce that when there is a difference that follows gender lines, it likely exists because God has duality of that particular characteristic or attribute. Accepting that premise, we can then look for evidence that He thinks both compartmentally and relationally.
How do we know what God thinks? We simply look to His word. What evidence do I have then that God thinks compartmentally? We can find that relatively easily, we just have to turn in our bibles all the way to…the first verse! Genesis 1:1 says; In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This is a compartmentalized idea. It is simply a statement of fact. Though the scope of the content is immeasurable, the concept is singular. It doesn’t mean anything more than it says. It does not lead to anything; it does not allude to anything not covered in the statement…it is compartmentalized. It was written by Moses but if we believe the bible to be true 2 Timothy 3:16 makes it clear that though Moses may have scribed it, God’s Holy Spirit spoke it. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Therefore, this first verse written in God’sword comes from the mind of God. It is one of His thoughts recorded in written form. I could literally go on for days citing scriptures that display God’s compartmentalized thinking, but I will leave some of that research up to you. I do suggest as you are becoming aware of this information, that as you read God’s word look to see if what you are reading seems compartmental in nature or is more of a relational thought of God’s. Speaking of the relational side of God’s thinking, I chose another well-known scripture to illustrate this aspect of God’s thoughts. John 3:16 does a good job of illustrating relational thought. I will break the verse down into its individual relational concepts to show this clearly:
1st – For God so loved the world
2nd – That He gave His only begotten Son
3rd – That whoever believes in Him
4th – Should not perish
5th – But have everlasting life
This verse is relational on five levels and clearly comes from the mind of God. God thinks compartmentally and relationally…or for you ladies He thinks relationally and compartmentally. God thinks both ways! As I have looked closely at scripture I have come to believe that He thinks both ways all the time. There have been many times when I have shared a scripture with my wife, pointing out to her the compartmentalized view of it, and then she has then shared with me the relational meaning in it that I didn’t even see or consider because I was viewing it from my natural compartmentalized mindset.
It quickly becomes evident when you look for it that God does demonstrate in scripture that He uses both processes of thought. With that in mind, and understanding that the two kinds of thinking are so different from one another, arguably opposites of each other, it becomes clear why we as humans are not able to possess both ways of thinking. It is easy to see why God created men to think one way while He created women to think the other. By doing this and then joining us in marriage, our resulting oneness possesses both kinds of thought. You’ll recall that in the scripture we reflected on a few weeks ago from Malachi, God referred to marriage as a covenant. In the Old Testament one of the effects of two people entering into covenant with each other was that what one possessed the other now possessed…right down to a birthright. We see this clearly illustrated in the story of King David. David, while still a young boy, was a friend of King Saul’s son Jonathan. David and Jonathan joined themselves to one another in a covenant. While the outcome was not the intent of either boy at the time, it is interesting that God honored the covenant even beyond the participant’s considerations. Jonathan was the king’s son, heir to the throne…but it was David who became King after Saul. Make no mistake, God cares about covenant.
As compartmental and relational thinkers, when we are joined in the covenant of marriage, our oneness now makes us each possessors of both kinds of thinking. I don’t get to actually think relationally in my mind, my wife keeps that process in her pretty head, as I keep our compartmentalized thought in my not-so-pretty one. As one flesh however, we each possess and have access to both processes. Proverbs 31 speaks to this. Proverbs 31:10,11 reads as follows: Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. This scripture points out the need to consult one another to arrive at complete thought. It basically states that the husband who considers his wife’s thoughts on a matter will make decisions that will turn out well for the entire family. It was recorded in this direction only because at the time it was written, men made all the decisions. Because women do make decisions for the marriage and the family today, I don’t think God would be upset with us for reading it in reverse. Who can find a virtuous husband? For his worth is far above rubies. The heart of his wife safely trusts him; so she will have no lack of gain.
Essentially, God is saying here that we should consult each other if we want to make good decisions. He utilizes both processes of thought and His word tells us He is wise, in fact, that He is wisdom. We can then conclude that the two ingredients of wisdom are compartmentalized thought and relational thought. So if we want to make wise decisions, God is making sure we see the necessity and the value of consulting one another.
I contend that a husband can achieve intelligent thought all on his own. A wife can also achieve intelligent thought all on her own. Wisdom however, can only be attained when both processes of thought are considered…and utilized in the final decision.
Questions to Answer:
What are some of the best decisions that have been made in your marriage? Were they the product of both of your thoughts on that particular subject?
How do you think these past few podcasts have changed your view of your spouse’s thoughts?
When you believe you are right about an issue you and your spouse are facing, are you open to differing thoughts without the inclination to discard one of them as incorrect?
Are you open to the idea that the two of you can differ greatly in your thinking on a particular matter and both of you can in fact be right?
Actions to Take:
As you read scripture, try to decide if what you are reading is compartmental like we see in Genesis 1:1 or if it is relational as we see in John 3:16. Get into the practice of sharing your thoughts from God’s word. There is much to be gleaned from seeing scriptures from your spouse’s way of thinking.
Talk together about the idea of each of you having different ways of looking at things and the value that can bring to your corporate decision making process.
Discuss some practical things the two of you can do to make sure that both of your lines of thought have been considered when making decisions of importance.
Decide what the two of you consider a decision of importance to be. Put some measurable parameters in place to help you know what decisions should not be made in your marriage without having time to discuss both ways of thinking before the decision is completed.
So now, understanding that God created you to think differently so that together you might better reflect His thinking and more readily arrive at wise decisions that will bless the two of you, consult one another regularly and Go be Awesome!