September 8

Honoring Marriage, Part 2

Matthew 19:6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Malachi 2:15 But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives.

Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Marriage is far more than a personal experience. If you are married, marriage probably means something specific to you—your relationship with your spouse, your friends’ marriages, etc. If your marriage failed, then the word and idea can be fraught with pain and emotional damage. If you are single and want to be married, marriage is something of a goal, something to be desired.

In any of these scenarios, marriage is an individual experience, either one we have, one we lost, one that hurt, or one we want. But marriage is so much larger than our own personal experience of it. It’s a precious institution for society, His church, and for all mankind, created by God, with many purposes.

Certainly it is meant to bring us personal joy. But as Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, so tellingly asks on his book’s cover, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Note he doesn’t say, “instead of,” but simply, “more.” That one question immediately takes marriage out of the realm of the simply personal and elevates it to something grander. God has a plan for married people, and it is consistent with every other move of His Spirit within us—to transform us into the image of His Son. Every experience we have, including those in marriage, is either designed or can be used by God to this end.

We rightly lament marital breakdown and dysfunction in our society because we know the damage it causes, and yes, how much it costs. Fatherlessness alone has given rise to untold crimes and personal misery. Yet beyond that, we see the heart of God in Malachi (above) that seeks godly offspring. Solid marriages are the foundation of a stable society, and godly stable marriages are the best way to bring godly offspring to God.

Sometimes marriage is such a deeply felt personal experience that we forget that it was God’s idea originally, and He has many purposes for it beyond our own enjoyment. For these reasons, we need to respect and honor marriage wherever we see it. For those in a difficult marriage, it’s worth taking a step back to see the heart of God in it. For those looking to be married, this is a great encouragement to wait on God for the right one.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see the role of marriage in society, and especially, in Your kingdom and in Your purposes in the life of the married person. May my life be one of respect for every marriage, first in my own, and then in everyone else’s.

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