WHAT IS MARRIAGE?
Summer is almost here! What are some of the things that you are looking forward to? What are some fond summer memories you have?
The purpose of this messages is to give us a clear understanding as to what marriage actually is, defining the difference between a contract and a covenant mentality and attributes that make a marriage work.
Matthew 5:46-48 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
What a challenge and self reflection moment Matthew 5:46-48 brings. How easy is it to pour out love on someone who does the same in return? Sometimes we may find it difficult to always love and stay committed because maybe it may cost us more that we expected it to. Jesus challenges us to be different in this area of our relationships.
Q1 - Have there been moments in your life when you chose love even when it made more sense not to show love?
Q2 - Why does the scripture use the word different?
There are two definitions of marriage. The worlds definition and the definition that God created.
The worlds definition of marriage is that it is a legal contract.
3 PROBLEMS WITH CONTRACT MENTALITY
1. IT IS PERFORMANCE DRIVEN. - Marriage is not a contract! God never wanted us to base our treatment of others based on their performance.
Q3 - Why do you think the world is driven by the performance of the other person?
Q4 - Why are WE not performance driven?
The way our spouse or other people act should never make us change our character. We love and show mercy no matter how they "perform". Doing so causes a reflection of the Love of God, which was his intent for marriage and relationships from the beginning; to display His love for us!
Q5 - It is important as to where we get our advice from about our marriages and relationships. Why is that?
BE DIFFERENT! We are not like the world and we do not do relationships by the standards of this world. Find Godly counsel that directs you to the Word of God. Advice from others should challenge you to grow, not make you stagnant or bitter. WE ARE LOVE DRIVEN!
2. THE WORLD PUTS TIME LIMITS ON MARRIAGE.
We cannot go into marriage with an end date. We are committed in the same way that Christ is committed to us.
3. IT HAS ESCAPE CLAUSES. - Contract mentality enables you to back out when things get tough.
Q6 - How can trials bring out the best in you?
The world says to run when it gets tough or when things are not like what you though it would be. James 1 reminds us about what trials or times of difficulty can do for us. You cannot grow by running.
James 1:2-3 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
The bible tells us that marriage is a covenant.
3 attributes that make a marriage WORK
When we invite God into our marriage and relationships, we invite him as a witness. He becomes the one who holds it all together.
Matthew 19:6 Since they are no longer one, let no man split apart what God had joined together.
Q7 - Why is it so important to invite God into every part of your marriage and relationships?
If it doesn't have the word "forever" in it, then it is not a covenant.
1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.
Q8 - Why is "forever" included in a covenant?
When we enter into a marriage with a covenant mentality we are protected. Our heart is protected because we are doing things God's way and because of that, we have no fear of hurt or betrayal. We honor our marriage by being faithful.
Hebrews 13:4 Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Q9 - How do we honor God in our marriage and relationships?
I declare that I will fight to keep a covenant mindset over my marriage or future marriage. I will include God in every decision. I will stay committed and have no fear of commitment. I will be faithful and through my faithfulness to my spouse or future spouse, I reveal my honor and faithfulness to God. I will fight to chose to love even if it makes sense not to. I will reflect the Love of God through my marriage or future marriage. I will not run but stand in times of difficulty. I will lean on God when I feel weak. I will never give up.
Pray with your spouse and reflect as to what areas you both need to improve on. If you are single, speak to God. Pray for him to impart this into you now so when the time comes you and your future spouse are equipped.