February 27, 2023
This past week was a memorable one for our family. Our oldest son Caleb was married, and I had the honor and privilege of officiating the wedding as he and Lauren said their vows. We are very proud of who they are and excited to join them in their next season of life.
Marriage is a tremendous gift God has given mankind. As the old saying goes, a good marriage is one that multiplies our joys and divides our sorrows. But marriage is more than a gift. It is also a mirror, reflecting the relationship that God wants to have with each of us.
As followers of Christ, we see that marriage is used in a variety of ways in Scripture connected to our relationship with God. For starters, God uses the marriage relationship as a picture of His relationship with us. Followers of Jesus are intended to handle their relationships in such a way as to say, “If you want to know what God is like and how He relates to us, watch me as a husband love my wife. That is a picture of how God feels, speaks, and relates to us.” And “If you want to know how we should respond to God, then watch me as a wife. See how I gratefully respond to the way my husband relates to me and meets my needs by providing and protecting me and loving me selflessly.”
Jesus tells us that faithfulness, purity, and mutual submission are to characterize our relationships. Our interactions should always build trust, not damage and demolish it. Our marriage should essentially be a mutual submission competition, according to every value in God’s Word. Read Philippians 2. Check out the “one another” passages in the New Testament. You will never find a more complete set of guidelines for living together in joy and harmony than these. Yes, these were written to all believers, but if you are a follower of Jesus, these are never more essential than in your own home. When you look at these verses, some common themes show up.
Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity with other followers of Jesus:
1. Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).
2. Don’t grumble among one another (John 6:43).
3. Be of the same mind with one another (Rom 12:16, 15:5).
4. Accept one another (Rom 15:7).
5. Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another with your words and attitudes (Gal 5:15).
6. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Gal 5:26).
7. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Eph 4:2).
8. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Eph 4:32).
9. Bear with and forgive one another (Col 3:13).
10. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 The 5:15).
11. Don’t complain against one another (James 4:11, 5:9).
12. Confess sins to one another (James 5:16).
Love. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another:
1. Love one another (John 13:34, 15:12, 17; Rom 13:8; 1 The 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 John 5).
2. Through love, serve one another (Gal 5:13).
3. Tolerate one another in love (Eph 4:2).
4. Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pet 5:14).
5. Be devoted to one another in love (Rom 12:10).
Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers:
1. Give preference to one another in honor (Rom 12:10).
2. Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3).
3. Serve one another (Gal 5:13).
4. Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Rom 12:16).
5. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pet 5:5).
Here’s the rest:
1. Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Rom 14:13).
2. Greet one another with a kiss (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12).
3. Husbands and wives don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Cor 7:5).
4. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2).
5. Speak truth to one another (Eph 4:25).
6. Don’t lie to one another (Col 3:9).
7. Encourage and build up one another (1 Thes 5:11).
8. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).
9. Pray for one another (James 5:16).
10. Be hospitable to one another (1 Pet 4:9).
Think of how our homes and marriages would be if we lived in this manner!
Every time I do a wedding, I am challenged as I reflect on this symbol that God has given us, as well as the vows that are being exchanged. As I helped Lauren and Caleb make their vows to one another, I remembered the responsibility Patty and I have had. Studies and common sense tell us that nothing affects a child’s life more than the marriage of their parents because it is the first time they interact with either the same sex or the opposite sex.
Not only does this too often unintentional school on relationships teach our children vital perspectives about their own relationships, their home schooling also plays a huge role in shaping their ideas, and thinking about who God is and how He relates to them. We don’t want to be unintentional and casual. We want to get it right on purpose with God’s help. It’s a monumental task. We will never get it as we want to and need to on our own.
Lord Jesus, may Your attitude pattern my relationships intentionally and consistently in my own home. I know there is great reward.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11 NLT