Thursday, August 23, 2007

Restoring the Covenant Ministry of Marriage (Part III)

Before posting this portion of the marriage teaching, I must repent. I must be honest and say this is something I DID NOT WANT TO DO. Yet, God gave me the instruction, and it must be followed. I felt this teaching would be overlooked and taken for granted, because it doesn't involve a lot of "revelation." In fact, God's instruction to me was to share the Scriptures as they are literally given, nothing more. I delayed writing this next portion, feeling that it would not appreciated.

Last night's news of an unfortunate occurrence with international ministry figures woke me up to some things. As I read the story and watched the newscasts, God began to deal with me even more about marriage and ministry, in general. So many that we esteem of high honor have MISSED IT! I began to think on many couples in ministry who don't understand and walk in a MINISTRY of marriage. No, not everyone is physically abused -- yet so many are EMOTIONALLY abused. There is a spirit of control that haunts many relationships.


Principle III: Know Your Place

Whether we like it or not, Jehovah is a God of order. He has set order and hierarchy among His people -- in the family and in the physical church. Especially in the realm of "public ministry", we tend to feel it is a weakness to exhibit this divine order. We have all heard and read messages about how one must submit to leadership in the church, but if we are honest, many of those giving the messages do not adhere to the same principles in the home. NEWS FLASH: Submission MUST take place in a Christian marriage. We cannot display and promote order in the church when we cannot submit and be accountable in the home. NO, submission and accountability do NOT make you weak. Instead, a submissive, accountable person is empowered by God (2 Cor 12:9)!

Eph 5:21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

I thank God that He has eliminated "private interpretation" (2 Pet 1:21-22). In other words, no man has been given the authority to influence, manipulate or change the Word of God. No one is that special. Revelation comes only from God. Since none of us are all-knowing, as He is, we must depend and rely on one another. When we do so, the Bible says that we honor Christ. Yes, when you honor the Holy Spirit and the calling of God in the person, you are still honoring God. Reverent respect for order and even position are required, whether we like it or not.

Eph 5:22 Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.

I have literally seen this Scripture cause fights in the church and in many homes. It amazes me to see so many women (and men) who refuse to submit to and honor the person THEY CHOSE to marry. This is why it is so important to only enter those covenants ordained by God.

In general, submission is the act of YIELDING one's power and/or authority to another. It is the willingness to be obedient to an outside force or influence. I've heard some say the word literally means to "get under" the mission of another person. Submission DOES NOT mean one is take abuse or join forces with anything that is AGAINST God. However, anything that is not against His word and will does allow for the written Word to be followed.

We know there is no male and female in the spirit realm (Gal 3:28) when it comes to certain things, namely respect of persons. However, marriage deals with our spirit beings AND our flesh. Too many rely on that Scripture out of context. Many of us, especially women, are gifted and anointed by God, and feel this places us "above" our husbands. If your husband is not causing you to sin, it matters not. His authority within the marriage must still be honored and recognized.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.
Eph 5:24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

Paul always compares the family to the Body of Christ. They are intermingled. One cannot be in order if the other is out of order. As the Body of Christ is subject to Jesus, a wife is called to subject herself to her husband in the same way. This is the Word of God. Now, I know that I will receive responses and emails with all the "what ifs..." They will be addressed as well, but the Word of God says what it says. Amen?

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Eph 5:26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,
Eph 5:27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].
Eph 5:28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes {and} carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
Eph 5:30 Because we are members (parts) of His body.

Oftentimes, we focus on the wife's role in the marriage and neglect to expound of the role of the husband. The husband's requirement is to love and take care of his wife. He is to provide for her and love her even as Christ loved the church. Christ DIED for the Body of Christ. He poured all He had into those who would follow Him. A husband is required to sacrifice, even to the same magnitude for the woman who walks with him.

Verse 27 says that Christ sacrificed so that He could present the church in a "glorious splendor." Yes, a husband should care for and take care of his wife to the point that her presentation is glorious. She should be ornamented and pampered. A man's thoughts and care for himself are displayed in the way he treats his wife. A man's wife is part of himself, and should be treated as such.

All in all, the two must work together. Women refuse to submit, because their husbands do not love and pamper them. Then, men refuse to love their wives correctly, because they refuse to submit. God is not mocked. We will reap what we sow. We'll see later on that one produces the other. Women, if you submit as a godly woman, the love will follow. Men, if you love your wife as Christ loved the church, your wife will submit.

Eph 5:31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

I love our Father -- He is truly wise! The number one step to knowing your place in the marriage ministry is to LEAVE your "old" family out. The Word of God says that a man and a woman become one flesh and must CLEAVE to one another. People of God, if you are married, your MINISTRY is unto your spouse, not your parents or extended family. Yes, you are to share the Word with them, but they are not to interfere with the union God ordained. Understand, you are a PRODUCT or your parent's union and ministry, but not part of the equation. You are a RESULT of their ministry. Now, you must operate in the realm God has called you -- beside the one with whom you have become joined together.

Eph 5:32 This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects {and} reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. [I Pet. 3:2.]

Women of God, what does it say about us when we have no public respect and affection for our own husbands? How can we expect the world to listen to the Gospel from our lips when we act as if we hate the person we lie beside every night? Moreover, how can we expect anyone to honor us and be submissive to us in ministry when we can't submit to our own husbands? We have adopted a "do as I say, not as I do" ministry, and God is not pleased with the compromise.

As a teenager, I was in the holiness church. I remember the church mother's always giving people advice when they had problems and disagreements. Whether the problem was in the church or in the home, the answer was, "Baby, you have to grin and bare it!". I'm not implying that it's always that simple, but my point is this -- those old mothers understood ministry. They didn't run and rebel every time something went wrong. Then, people stayed married for 60 and 70 years. In their generation, families remained in one church for generation after generation. Now, we have a self-proclaimed freedom. We don't understand sacrifice. Dying HURTS!!! God never said this thing would be easy. This is not about pleasing your husband or looking good -- it's about pleasing God! If you love Him enough to reverence your pastor and ask "how high?" when the pastor says "jump," love your husband enough to do the same!

Eph 6:1 CHILDREN, OBEY your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.
Eph 6:2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother--this is the first commandment with a promise--
Eph 6:3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.

Just as the husbands and wives are addressed with instruction, our children are as well. Our children MUST honor us. In teaching our children to love the Father, they must understand and follow the physical instruction within the household as well. Proverbs 23:14 says that if you beat your child with the rod, you will deliver his soul from hell. Just as we've compromised in marriage, we have compromised with our children as well. We excuse them out of reverence and respect. We want to "understand" them and be their friends rather than correcting them. I meet so many parents in the church who don't even believe in spanking.

Sometimes, love hurts. My God said that He chastises those He loves. I want my children to have long life on this earth. Most importantly, I want them delivered from hell. The instructions are clear...

Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not irritate {and} provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training {and} discipline and the counsel {and} admonition of the Lord.

On the other hand, we are also instructed not to provoke, or mistreat our children. They have been entrusted to us by God, but they do not BELONG to us. They are His instruments in the earth, just as we are. They are to be trained by us, that their lives will please God.

We have seen how the Word of God describes a family unit in operation. For those who feel that it's "just not that simple", we'll look at some "real life" situations and considerations (a.k.a. excuses) in the next segment.

Be blessed!

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