July 2016

Mutually reverse conflict in marriage

Be encouraged to mutually reverse conflict in your marriage.

The Christian couple is able to counter the causes of conflict, allowing marriage as God designed it by mutually obeying God’s Word. First, recognise that marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church (Eph 5:23-24). Likewise, realise that sin does NOT have to be the prevailing wind in your marriage. In Christ, we are free to live God’s way (Rom 8:1-2). Following are 5 principles that will allow two soft hearts to unitedly experience marriage as God intended.

  • Mutually submit to each other within your unique roles.

    The apostle Paul details in Ephesians 5:21-30 that mutual submission is the foundation of marriage, practiced as an expression of respect for Christ as Lord. While all men are the wife’s equals, only her husband is spiritually head of the family. The husband’s headship is to be characterized through leading by humble, self-sacrificing servitude as he establishes the spiritual headship and authority of Christ in the family.

  • Mutually pursue reconciliation.

    When sin or offense is present, and the guilty person turns from their wrong,you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him” (2Co 2:7-8). To reconcile is to love, to love is to forgive, to forgive is to confirm the authenticity of love.

  • Mutually yield to love.

    Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 that we are to recognise the reality of sexual temptation. Be proactive against temptation by satisfying each other. Especially as husband and wife,Let all that you do be done in love” (1Co 16:14). Endeavour to make life together an act of love in word, in body language, through intention, in your planning of events, and in speech.

  • Mutually pursue truth.

    Truth is the foundation for trust. It builds trust, because trust is an expression of genuine love – to deny trust is to deny love. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:15). Truthfulness is not to be used as a weapon, or as an excuse to inflict pain, or to gain control. It’s not to be manipulative or self-seeking. Rather, Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things” (1Co 13:6-7).

  • Mutually commit not to fight.

    Passionate discussion can be healthy; however, anger turns it into a fight. Anger, grumbling and moaning, are inconsistent with the character of a Christian, Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Php 2:14). Yet we so often excuse these painful qualities as mere personality traits. Quite likely, it’s selfishness. Conceit fighting to demand the submission of your partner to your way of thinking. Selfishness is the enemy of unity, and the causer of fights.

  • Mutually don’t flirt with the enemy.

    Abstain from every form (appearance) of evil” (1Th 5:22). It’s too easy for our conduct around others to suggest vulnerability; a suggestive smile, an inappropriate wink, immodest clothing, off-coloured jokes, or overly familiarised touching. Both husbands and wives are equally vulnerable to the inappropriate allurement of others. Protect and enhance the sanctity of your marriage by not emotionally or physically stepping outside of God’s boundaries. Remember, don’t punish your spouse when they share with you of their temptations – thank them for their honesty, integrity, and love.

Today, live as free people in Christ. Live for His glory, for the testimony of the church, for the expression of the power of the gospel, as witnesses to the authority of God’s Word, and for the blessing of your families.


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Guard Against Conflict in Marriage

I wish to encourage you to guard against conflict in your marriage.

For many newlyweds, it doesn’t take long for the honeymoon to wear off and a less favourable reality sets in. Traits and habits in each other that weren’t obvious in the past become a problem. While it takes two soft hearts to experience the dream marriage as God designed it, it only takes one hard heart to create conflict.

Sin’s Consequence in marriage:

Obviously, there will always be minor, inconsequential differences between spouses, but its sin that causes conflict and damage. From the beginning, when God administered judgment on Adam and Eve’s sin, we see the ugly reality of sin’s curse upon marriage. Genesis 3:16b ”Your desire (desire to master) shall be for your husband, and he shall rule (to make to have rule) over you” [Emphasis added]. Today, we still find these two sinful traits in marriage. Two spouses, both with an internal, and often unidentifiable desire to get one over the other. The unspoken desire is to master and rule the other through the small and large issues of life, often silent, yet powerfully undermining the other for dominance.

The Internal Seeds of Conflict:        

God’s Word gives us many warnings of the source of sin that damages relationships; these relate to marriage also and should not be ignored. Following are just five key passages which assist us to identify our internal causes of conflict, for which we are responsible.

  • Internal passions that war within. James tells it the way it is, ”What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1). Our self-centered desires will sooner or later lashes out in arguments. If unchecked, these can become a bloodthirsty war fueled by the blinding desire to have what it wants at any cost.
  • Internal hostility toward godliness. Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the only hope of victory over “the mind that is set on the flesh (which) is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:7). Sinful human desire will always lead away from a God honouring marriage.
  • Internal Idolatry. It’s all too easy to become your own god through self-obsession. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Believer’s put their spouse before self as an expression of the Lord’s character within. Once self becomes primary, idolatry is established, and others must bow to it.
  • Internal condemnation of others. Here’s where the flesh rages against the Holy Spirit. Sin empowers the critical heart. Instead, Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Forgiveness and reconciliation is wonderful in marriage, but better still, is the absence of a condemning attitude which creates the need for reconciliation. Forgiveness is a powerful comrade of holiness and best expresses the gracious character of Jesus Christ.
  • Internal antonyms of love. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

Today, tell your spouse of your unfailing love for them by guarding against conflict in your marriage. Our Heavenly Father will be glorified and your marriage will be blessed.


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Think of Marriage as God Does

I encourage you to think of marriage as God does.

Most people get married with honourable intentions. They anticipate a life-long partnership in life, love, faithfulness, peace, harmony, and joy. However, as we all know, the statistics of marriage failure are alarmingly high. However, in God’s immutability, marriage is still His ultimate human relationship. He designed marriage as the supreme union of 2 people for life. His design is perfect, His intent and purpose are perfect, and His means of fulfilling the purpose is also perfect.

Unfortunately, the human participants are imperfect; flawed, even damaged and scarred. Sometimes spouses are wired wrong and programed incorrectly by worldly standards and painful history. Indeed, the human participants represent the greatest challenge to any marriage. In spite of the world’s best efforts to present alternative living arrangements as being equal to marriage, it’s failed miserably with devastating and far reaching consequences.

The Dream Marriage

No passage of Scripture offers such a clear definition of marriage as Malachi 2:10-16. Malachi presents five distinctives of marriage.

  1. Marriage is a Sanctuary Relationship.

    Mal 2:11 …the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves. Marriage is a relationship set apart from all others as unique, distinctive, and pure. It’s an oasis relationship. A place of recovery and rest from the business and bruises of life. One where forgiveness, acceptance, and patience are mutually appreciated and practiced. Where trust does not bring to remembrance the pains from past relationships. Where the guilt of past abuses and failings are not transferred to your present spouse who is trust-worthy.

  2. Marriage is a Faith Relationship.

    Mal 2:10,11,14,15,16 … you have been faithless… (5 times in the negative form). Faithlessness is the violation faith. A faith relationship is one of belief in the other, of loyalty, support, benevolence, and love in action. It’s a relationship of interdependence, of emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy. One where living is done openly, without second or hidden agendas. Where there is no manipulation, no dictating of terms, no ultimatums, and no revenge. Where there is transparency in love, softness in passion, grace in strength, and mercy in generosity.

  3. Marriage is a Companion Relationship.

    Mal 2:14 …she is your companion (partner). God’s intention was that marriage benefits, compliments, and completes the individuals in the coming together of a man and woman in marriage. This is a relationship that recognises and lives in the commitment of a distinctive partnership that functions best with the absence of selfishness.

  4. Marriage is a Covenant Relationship.

    Mal 2:14 …your wife by covenant. God is a covenant making and keeping God (1Ki 8:23). A covenant is a morally and legally binding agreement – it’s entered into by the exchange of promises, vows, and commitments. Marriage is a 3 way covenant: 1 man, 1 woman, and God. This covenant relationship grows out of the clarity and certainty of the commitment made to each other. A love relationship that’s intertwined, mutually submissive, serving for the security, wellbeing, pleasure, and betterment of the other.

  5. Marriage is a New Identity Relationship.

    Mal 2:15 Did he (God) not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union… God makes two individuals into one – both physically and spiritually. This is a divine working of the Holy Spirit, even in the lives of unbelievers. The amalgamation of two lives into one new identity, a relationship that abandons strict individuality in preference of a “we” attitude. One where selfishness is surrendered for the betterment of the other.

Today, be encouraged to think of your marriage as God thinks of it, for His glory and your blessing.


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See God as the Greatest Giver

See God as the Greatest Giver

We often think of someone who is a giver as having human inconsistencies and failings. However, God is the greatest giver of all, with no mortal limitations, no imperfect motivations, and with no questionable intentions. His giving is selfless, merciful, and expressive of love in ways that the recipients would normally never consider.

As a father, I can’t imagine handing over one of my sons to suffer the judicial penalty for someone else’s crimes. Yet, that is precisely what God did, “who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). We, who were the guilty sinners, happily living indifferent to the Lord of glory, happily indulging in sinful attitudes and behavior without giving a second thought. Yet, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

James G. Small, published a hymn in 1863 titled; “I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a friend”! Verse 4 tells the Christian love song;

Naught that I have mine own I call,
I’ll hold it for the Giver,
My heart, my strength, my life, my all
Are His, and His forever.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the greatest story to tell. They’ve abandoned all of self, and gained all of Christ. They’ve relinquished the momentary, decaying pleasures and treasures of this world to invest in the eternal wealth of Heaven. They have recognised that this is only possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and dependence upon Jesus suffering the death penalty on the cross that belonged to them. Like Paul, Christians can say “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The Gift of Understanding

The apostle Paul, drew the Corinthians attention to the fact that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). What an awakening this is, for us to be recipients of this breath-taking gift, the realisation that we have access to Almighty God through Jesus Christ. This realisation was not cooked up by ourselves, it was not inherited from past generations, it was not induced by any internal philosophical process, and it was no pushed on us by any religious organisation. No, it was placed within us by God. Not only so, but spiritual understanding was given for the sole purpose of equipping us to perceive the glory of God in the person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Earlier Paul wrote to the same Christians in Corinth of his response to God for the way in which the Lord had treated them. Paul said; “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4-6). Thanks for what God has and continues to do in others’ lives is the right response, even when we may not understand all the details. We are to be thankful that others are recipients of God’s grace and that they too have been given the understanding of who Jesus Christ really is and what Christ has done for them.

Today, be one who sees God as the greatest giver, particularly in other’s lives. Encourage someone else by telling them that you can recognise God’s work of giving in their life. Then, be thankful with them!


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