Lord, help me surround myself with mature believers who will hold me accountable in all things, including my marriage.
This was a marriage prayer on The Marriage Bed’s Facebook page last week. Today’s sermon at church got me thinking about this, too.
One of our Elders did the sermon today on 1 Timothy 1:12-20 today. It was a reminder of the Gospel message, but also a message to Timothy not to give up on his faith.
1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
How many shipwrecked marriages do you know of? How many couples have given up hope? How many believers have lost faith in their marriage, their spouse and their God? This Elder stressed to us that being a part of a church body, we should never have reason to lose our faith. He was celebrating his 34th wedding anniversary that day he preached. Another couple in our church had the exact same 34th wedding anniversary day, just a few hours later! In my church body, there are so many couples whose marriages have stood the test of time. His point was that marriage is hard. Marriage is work. There are going to be bad times as well as good times. If we come to a point where we are giving up our faith in our spouse, find someone, another married couple, to talk with. That is what your church body is for. I have made so many friends of different generations at this church, and we’ve only been there about a year and a half. It’s home, and I do feel that if I ever had trouble in my marriage or if DH and I needed counseling, there are so many different people to choose from.
This coming Monday, Hubby and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage. Has it been easy? No. I was a refuser for 11 of those. It was only by God’s grace and Hubby’s patience that we made it through that, and here I am today advising you. Do you have a support system in your church where you can go for help if you needed it with your marriage? A couple that you can trust that you may come to find out has been there, done that and got the T-shirt. And they made it through. My parents, later this year will celebrate 48 years of marriage. Isn’t that incredible? I am so proud of them. It’s been hard. It’s been a struggle in the past 4 years with three bouts of cancer, but they have stuck together like glue, and keep trudging forward. They have given me so much to learn from.
Has your faith been tested? Have you given up on God? Just know that he never gives up on you.
1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
What you said is true. It’s time for God’s people to be real. If we cannot share our lives via our marriages, our faith or even our short comings with other believers in the church without labeling, passing judgment, or indignation; where else can we go? He who is without sin cast the first stone.
We are commanded to love and not given the choice. Christ said this is my commandment that you love one another. Unfortunately many Christians have given up and thrown in the towel because of so called, “friendly fire” from the church. Our faith has been tested because we have trusted someone who has let us down in one way or another. We need each other to survive and draw strength from so “theoretically” there shouldn’t be an excuse to have to go it alone. But we know we are not living in a perfect world–God help us.
There is strength in numbers. Times when we don’t understand, miss the mark, need clarity or just don’t get it; we have to first look to God and encourage one another. A three strand cord is not easily broken. Relating to marriage, it’s very important to have godly models displayed before us. By example they can encourage others, help couples avoid the traps of the enemy, and possibly steer clear from divorce court. Everyone knows or has seen what a dysfunctional or worldly marriage looks like. But rarely do we acknowledge or glean from true Christian marriages that are real and based on the Word of God. Does that mean they are perfect–absolutely not? We are all works in progress. It simply means that in their marriages, they have chosen through prayer, faithfulness and commitment to stay together in spite of difficulties, hardships and circumstances. That being said, someone is always watching and we should always be ready to give an account of why we live the way we live and believe the way we believe. That could be the difference between someone giving up or continuing on in the faith. Everyone should have a church home where they feel comfortable, can seek help and have someone to talk to when life happens.