STEWARDING YOUR NEW YEAR (Pt. 1)

Lets start the New Year off with a bang!   For some that will mean making sure that appropriate or well thought out business goals for this year are established. These types of goals are important. For some setting personal exercise and weight loss goals must be taken into account. But I am also thinking about goals for  those who are married? (Or wish they were).

BACK TO BASICS

Whether you are recently married or an older married couple you cannot afford to neglect the marriage relationship. “As goes a marriage so goes the family.” Starting the New Year off as a couple may well mean returning to the things that are basic. For a car to run well it requires periodic tune-ups and maintenance. Periodic storms with adverse winds do come whether we like it or not. You must get ready to weather the storm. So, too, marriages face adversities that will test the foundation of the home. The enemy sends them to destroy a marriage and home. But God allows rain and strong winds to come in order to test the marriage foundation. The ultimate purpose of a test is to prove you are ready for the next level. God wants to strengthen and create rock solid marriages.

Let’s be honest the enemy has does his work well. Broken lives resulting in broken homes have never been at a more all-time high. The challenge of marriage has been both “politicized” and “socialized” with the times. Nevertheless, if we want to see restoration in families we must get back to basics. Let’s start where God starts, Genesis 1: 1, “In the Beginning God”. In the Book of Genesis we have the story of God’s creative design for Marriage. “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”(Genesis 1:16-27a).

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that broken homes resulting in broken lives was never God’s idea. It was NOT so from the beginning.   “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh”(Mark 10:6-8).

GOD OF THE COVENANT

Before the subject of marriage became a social, political (or high court) matter it was a spiritual matter.  God who is a covenantal God deals with human beings on the basis of covenant relationships (Not merely “contracts”). God created mankind in such a way to indicate that they were two parts of a whole. Therefore, there was an understanding, from the beginning, that the “maleness” of man was not complete without recognizing, honoring and cherishing the “femaleness” of mankind. If we move away from that intentional design and reality… then we can make marriage whatever we want it to be.  And in so doing, we make it something less than God intended–Less than a sacred union. It becomes a state of convenience, as long as convenient.   (Please don’t misunderstand my motive in writing on this subject. This is not written regarding marriages that have ended in divorce or remarriage. But as an understanding of what the Lord Jesus said regarding the cause or reason that marriages break down and divorces occur.

 REPAIR & RESTORE

There is the need to help repair homes and restore marriages that suffer due “to the hardening of hearts” in relationships. The scriptures offer hope and help (Even guidelines for new beginnings).

According to the scriptures, marriage was designed to be both sacred and covenantal. It was intended to reflect the glory of God (Mother & Father, Male & Female, both being necessary to express His holiness and our wholeness).  The apostle Paul declared it is “a mystery”.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:31-33 KJV).

FAITHFUL STEWARDS

We are called as followers of Jesus to faithfully “steward” of this mystery.

(1) Marriage is a unit, a “oneness”.  Although God brings a man and a woman together, they really represent two-halves of a whole.  Adam said of Eve, “She shall be called woman”(See Genesis 2:18, 22-23). The uniqueness called “woman” that was recognized by Adam was the “she” that was already inside of him.  God took it (A rib) from his side so man could appreciate her beauty as the counter part, functioning emotionally and intellectually different than himself–but NECESSARY.  As someone observed regarding the uniqueness in a healthy togetherness in marriage, “If both of you are alike, someone will appear as unnecessary”.  Hence the differences will often appear as COMPETING rather than COMPLIMENTING.  This often will lead to one or the other marriage partner feeling threatened by the other rather than being seen as an ally.

When we begin to see the value in “the other” partner (Who is necessary to my “wholeness”) then we will value and love them for who they are, as my necessary “self”.  The responsibility of this recognition is placed upon the husband (Adam/Man) who is called to take the lead. Paul teaches us that a husband in loving the other (his wife) really loves himself.  When a man does not love his wife, it is therefore an indication he struggles in loving himself as God loves him.  The apostle John asks, “How can a man say ‘I love God’ whom he cannot see and yet does not love (In this case his wife) whom he can see?”(See 1 John 4).

(2) Marriage is also a prophetic picture. It speaks of the mystical Bride of Christ. Through faith we have a “One flesh” relationship with Jesus Christ, Our Husband, Our Head.  There is coming a great wedding celebration of this ultimate mystery (See Revelation 19:7).  

The apostle Peter gives practical instruction for God-honoring marriage. “Husbands… Be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. “(‭1 Peter 3:7 NIV)

The apostle Peter teaches us that stewardship in marriage involves husbands taking the lead by(1) Be considerate of the other. (2)Be respectful of the other (In both word and deed). (3)Recognize that BOTH are “Equal partners of the gracious gift of Life”. (4) LEARN how to become an effective prayer partner.   Remember YOU fight better TOGETHER rather than APART. “If one can chase a thousand, two can put ten thousand to flight”(Deuteronomy 32:30).

When a husband and wife are “one in the Spirit”, they multiply their effectiveness against the enemy.  Praying together helps them stay strong together.  This is good stewardship.

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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