20 October 2012

Partnering With the One

A young man sat down with his pastor, full of hatred toward his wife. "I do not only want to get rid of her, I want to get even. Before I divorce her, I want to hurt her as much as she’s hurt me."  It is said when you are dating, opposites attract. But, too often, after marriage, it seems opposites attack.

God uses opposites in the covenant of marriage to complete each other.  Yet, our spiritual enemy wants to use those opposites for us to compete.

Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Hebrew word translated as One is the word “echad,” which means united, altogether, completely joined as one.  Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, one may be overpowered, but two can stand strong.  “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Imagine a husband and wife as a cord tied together, as if they are in a three-legged race.  The husband is still an individual, and she is still an individual, but they are joined by the cord of Christ.  And, if they will work together, run together, serve together at the same pace and rhythm, they can get something accomplished.

But, if the husband wants to go his way and she wants to go her way, there is no harmony, there is no unity, and there is no vision.  When there is no common direction, then there will be fighting or competing the whole time.

God wants to strengthen us; He wants to complete us; and Christ wants to be the cord that unites the two to become one. When we are united by Christ, this union is not going to be broken.

We need to recognize that marriage is a covenant, not a contract.  A contract is based on mutual distrust, and a covenant is based on mutual commitment.  In a covenant partnership, how can we take our differences and work together for godly results?  Through godly leadership and mutual submission.

Eph 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  We submit to one another out of reverence and in worship for the One who laid down his life so we could be forgiven.  This means we should not go into marriage saying, “I will do unto you as I hope you do unto me.”

Instead, we must say, “I will lay down my life to serve you.  I will submit to you as unto the Lord out of reverence for Christ so that we together can better serve him.”

Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Why do some women get so angry when they read this verse?  Because, they have been around distorted leadership, instead of godly leadership.

Typically, it is men who are abusive, dominant, controlling and manipulative.  Christian men can take God’s word and use it as a sword to cut and hurt.  They might also use God’s word to manipulate women, and that isn’t godly leadership.

Then, there’s another side of the distortion. That is the passive man.  This man has no backbone, no willingness to stand up and fight for anything. This man doesn’t make decisions, abdicates leadership to the woman, is content to sit back and play video games or act like a 12-year-old and watch sports all day long.  That is not godly leadership.

Men, you have the God ordained call to lead.  Many men will say “but that intimidates me, I’m not sure.  Does that mean I have to make all the decisions?”  No! Making all of the decisions is not leadership. That’s dictatorship.

1932:  in game three of the World Series, Babe Ruth stands up to bat- one of the most memorable moments in sports- and what does he do?  He points to center field.  Cocky!  Next pitch, the left-hander, tags it, homerun to center field.

Men, that is what you are to do. You point, you lead. It doesn't mean you come up with it yourself.  You sit down and say to your wife, “Hey babe, what has God put in us, what is important to us?”

Together you come up with a blueprint for your marriage.

You may argue back, “She won’t follow.” That is a sorry excuse. You haven’t led her.  You may say, “My wife does not honor and respect Me.” Then Give her something to honor and respect!

Be a man of God, stand up, lead strong, take out the sword of the spirit and don’t cut her with it, but fight away the enemy.  Be a man of prayer; be a man of integrity; be a man of purity. Serve her; lay down your life, and you will witness over time, she will respond beautifully to your leadership.  Together, united with the cord of Christ, you will walk in the direction of God’s perfect will.

Grab your wife’s hand and say, “Glorify the Lord with me.  Let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34: 3.

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