In light of His purpose to portray His image (relational love) and His salvation (exclusive love), it is impossible to consider God’s guidelines for sex as arbitrary. Nor can we label them as outdated or old-fashioned.
God’s call for sex to be preserved for one man and one woman who have not even a hint of sexual experience anywhere else is in context with His plan to portray Himself and His love to a lost world.
I believe the exclusive passion and commitment of a bride and groom is meant to be a picture of an exclusive, exciting relationship with Jesus Christ that is free from any other gods. When people witness the passion and mystery of that rarely seen couple who are still emotionally engaged with each other “after all these years,” it gives credence to the possibility of something lasting and passionate. And the apostle Paul said such a relationship will be so rare in our world that it will be called a “mystery.” He went on to say it will make people hungry for the mysterious, exclusive love of Christ.
~ Dannah Gresh
FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER
AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE,
AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
This mystery is great;
but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Here’s the bottom line… one of the greatest witness you have to a lost and dying world of the gospel of Christ is a healthy and happy marriage that lasts. Your marriage is one of the biggest leaps of faith you will ever take apart from salvation. We are supposed to go into marriage saying “come hell or high water you are stuck with me and only me, and the only assurance I have of the future is that you will be there with me, I don’t know what we will go though, but whatever it is, we won’t go through it alone, I’m with you baby, let’s do this thing!”
When two people come together in this world, and both are focused on Christ and each other, they show the world that God’s way is true and right. It is a beautiful picture of the love relationship that God wants to have with us. There is a reason that idolatry and adultery are so similar in sound and definition.
In our relationship with Christ we are to have no other gods. We are not to seek nourishment, help, peace, guidance, comfort, pleasure, from any source outside of Him. In our marriages we are not to seek nourishment, help, peace, guidance, comfort, pleasure from any person outside our spouse.
We are to know Christ intimately, personally, and deeply and we are to know our spouses in the same way.
Sex with our spouse (male and female sex) unites us inside and out.
Salvation in Christ unites us with God inside and out.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,
whom the world cannot receive,
because it does not see Him or know Him,
but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
(There’s a reason that Eve was called Adam’s “helper”)
Your marriage is more important than any track you can hand out, any show you can put on, any conference you can put together, any concert you might play, any trip to Africa you might make, it’s more important than any message you might preach.
Your marriage validates all these others. If your marriage falls apart because you have put these before your marriage as a “sacrifice” to God… you need to stop and examine your heart.
Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
“ SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED,
BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME
In marriage you become one, one body. This is the body you are to care for first, then out of this body you reach the rest of the body of Christ. The first person that God called Adam to sacrifice for and care for was his wife. The first person Eve was called to help was her husband.
This is why saying “I do” shouldn’t be a Las Vegas joke. It’s serious business.
That’s why before you even choose to date or be courted by someone you need to ask yourself,
“Does he meet God’s standard of a godly husband?”
These are not the questions to ask:
“Doesn’t he deserve forgiveness?”
“How much should it matter that I am physically attracted to him?”
“Isn’t there an emotional feeling you get that he’s the one right away, and why didn’t I get that?”
Yes, he deserves forgiveness, but that’s not the real issue is it?
Will you be physically attracted to you spouse? Well, yes, of course, most of the time, but if this is what you are relying on, then when you go through a rough patch the enemy will convince you that you “have fallen out of love”.
Is there an emotional feeling right away… sometimes yes, but many of the best marriages are formed out of friendships and then the friends look at each other one day and realize they want to be more than just friends…
The first and most important question always is: Does he meet God’s standard? Does he have faithful, true, staying love?
Honey, do you want yada ?
Yada doesn’t come from first, ooey-gooey emotions… yada is more than that, it goes much deeper.
Yada is realized in imperfections and craggy disfigurement, hidden beyond the unblemished innocence of not knowing. Yada knows. It knows the unwelcome, unsightly secrets- secrets that could rightfully prompt rejection. But yada overrides the logical desire to dismantle the wounded relationship. Yada reaches into the grace-filled depths of unconditional staying power and finds the strength to breathe life into love one more time. Yada is a faithful love. A staying love.
This is the heart of yada. To be known- just as we are- and still be pursued.
Here is the beauty in marriage.
My husband sees the very worst of me. He sees me roll out of bed after three days of the flu. He sees me gain forty pounds and lose it and gain it again. He sees the new wrinkle, the stretch marks, and the varicose veins. He sees the ill woman raging over the dirty clothes all over the house. He sees the woman who cries for no reason and is easily frustrated because of PMS. He sees me yell at the kids and the dog. He sees me make a fool of myself because of emotional turmoil. He listens to my complaining.
He sees me. The good, the bad, and the ugly…
He sees all this and yet he still lifts my chin and looks me deep in my eyes and says “I love you and I am absolutely crazy about you.” Ladies, this is yada. This can only be known through faithful, true, staying love. Love that says, yes sometimes this relationship gets ugly… but it’s worth it.
It’s worth it for my children to see what forgiveness looks like. It is worth it for my children to see that real love is not based on flowers and candy. It’s worth it for my children to see that you can be real and be loved.
It’s worth it for my marriage to be able to be used by God to declare the glory of His majesty and faithfulness.
It’s worth it for my marriage to be able to show a dying world that God’s Word will heal any hurt and get you through any storm.
It’s worth it for my marriage to be used by God to correctly illustrate His image to a world that Satan has been pretty darn successful so far to distort. Your marriage is bigger than you and your marriage is not just for your own personal pleasure and satisfaction and happiness. Your marriage has the power to display the glory of God. To display the covenant between Christ and His church. To display the image of the Trinity. To display hope, faith, and love.
Your marriage is to be a picture to the world of how much God loves them.
Because God sees us. He sees the good, the bad, and the ugly, and He still lifts our chin and says “I love you and I am absolutely crazy about you”
This is why, as I have grown in grace myself and yada, I will never again look at a couple and say, “I can’t believe she stayed after all that.” or “She should have left him a long time ago” or “Well if I was her I would pack his stuff right now and say hit the road jack!”
Yes maybe she’s a fool… but maybe, just maybe, it’s yada.
Maybe, just maybe, her mission is her marriage.
We would not say this about someone who has chosen to stay in a city in a foreign land that hates Christians, even when death is imminent would we? Maybe, just maybe, God has said, “if you can love him, you can love anyone.” Maybe, just maybe, she is the only one who has never abandoned him and maybe constant abandonment is the reason why he is the way he is…
I will never pass judgment on a woman or man who chooses to stay in a marriage again.
***(Please know that abuse is NEVER OKAY and please know that I am not saying a woman should stay in an abusive marriage, if abuse is a part of the marriage, help needs sought IMMEDIATELY)***
Your challenge today…
Spend today looking at your marriage through the eyes of Christ…
And now look at it through the eyes of others who see it
and hear you talk about it…
Are there changes you need to make?
Then, make them on your face before your unconditionally loving God.