FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR PRAYER
1 Peter 3: 1-7
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Pet 3:7God gives a high regard to the marriage institution. It is the smallest most powerful unit of human society. That is why the devil focuses intently his attacks on homes. He knows that once there is disintegration at that level, then much of its negative effects would be transferred to the society. That is why every party in the marriage institution must strive to maintain harmony and peaceful coexistence so that God’s purpose would stand. A particular instruction is, however, given to the husband to be considerate as he lives with his wife because this has a bearing to the spiritual tempo in the family, especially the prayer altar. The main responsibility in the home lies at the feet of the man. Men often like to repeat the biblical adage, “Wives, submit.” But in reality, the most important command in the passage on the husband-wife relationship is the one which says, “Husband, love.” The only way to put off strife in the home is to love as Jesus loved. He loved us while we were still sinners to the extent of dying for us (Romans 5:6). That is how a man should bear his wife’s weaknesses too. If you are married, make effort to apply this principle to your marriage. If you are single, understand upfront that marriage requires demonstration of selfless love for it to work.
- Birthday Blessing: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18
CULTIVATING DEEP MUTUAL LOVE
1 Peter 1:13-16, 22-23
“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22bHave you seen a tailor place a piece of absorbent paper over a spot of grease and press down on it with a hot iron? Why do you think he does that? The heat melts the grease, and the paper absorbs it. Real love absorbs the spots in the lives of others, making them feel the warmth in our hearts for them. Believers are called to love one another deeply. Love is the emblem of Christianity; it is the evidence of our union with Christ. Humans by nature are selfish. It is one of the attributes of the bad nature we inherited from Adam at the fall in the Garden of Eden. The bible calls it the acts of sinful nature (Gal. 5:20). But when we yield our lives to Christ and give him the control of it, he causes our heart to be flooded with his love (Rom. 5:5). There are three kinds of love – Eros, Philio, and Agape. While the first two are important in human relationship especially between married couple, it is the agape, God’s kind of love that expresses itself in an unselfish manner. Every believer can grow in this love as he/she grows in the word of God. We must remember that we have been redeemed from the corrupt practices of the sinful nature by the power of the Holy Spirit. How is your love life? Make a commitment to show genuine love to someone today.
- Birthday Blessing: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” Psalms 92:12
HONOUR THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
‘Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.” Hebrews 13:4One of the most basic causes of marital failure is when the couple involved does not understand that marriage itself is honourable. Someone once remarked: “success in marriage does not depend on spouses committing themselves to each other as much as it does to their committing themselves to marriage, the unchanging institution that they have mutually entered into.” This statement is true because marriage is a covenant and it carries severe consequences when broken by either party (Malachi 2:14). This is a key message from our passage for today although Paul discussed other important issues. Those entering into the marriage institution must guide against sexual immoralities; it defiles and weakens the foundation of marriage. Purity is a virtue that must be entrenched in marital relationship and this must have been cultivated from the time of singlehood. If you cannot control your sexual appetite while single, you will have problem exercising self-control in your matrimonial home. Couples must also run from deceitfulness of riches which our passage called the love of money (Hebrews 13:5). One thing that every married couple must keep at heart is that though money plays significant roles in family welfare, it should not be sought at the expense of marital harmony. God doesn’t mind you making money; He minds you serving it.
- Birthday Blessing: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4
MARRIED AND DEVOTED TO THE LORD
1 Corinthians 7:1-7, 32-35
“I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:35Marriage is responsibility. It takes a high level of commitment to keep marital unity and sustain God’s love in the home. Someone once said, “There is the connection between harmony in a home and the honour a family gives to God.” Now, we may hope that when things are right with an earthly home the inhabitants may be ready for the heavenly home, because the home is one of the testing grounds of one’s Christianity. These are the issues our bible passage for today deals with. Paul identified two things that are very important to keep the harmony of marriage – sexual fidelity and unflinching love for God. One of the reasons God created the institution of marriage is for the partners to be able to fulfil their sexual needs and desires in a godly way. Sexual desire is God-given and, in its proper place, healthy and good. By itself, the desire for sex is a poor and shallow reason for getting married. In conjunction with other reasons, however, such as love and the desire for companionship, the desire for sexual fulfilment is a strong and natural motivation. That is why our passage interwove our commitment to God with our marital relationship. In other words, while we create time for our family responsibilities, our devotion to God must not dwindle.
- Birthday Blessing: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalms 126:5
BECOMING ONE FLESH
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Matthew 19:6aOne common reason many couples give for opting for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” What this means can only be explained by those involved. The truth is that every married couple – no matter how solid their marriage is – has problem areas that seem to be “irreconcilable.” What led to today’s passage was a question the Pharisees asked Jesus, if it was lawful to divorce one’s wife for any and every reason (Matt. 19:3). Jesus’ simple answer was that marriage is meant to be for life because the two have become one flesh (Matt. 19:8). Every young person going into marriage must arm himself with this truth: While marriage does not promise a bed of roses, divorce is hardly an option; God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). People get married for lots of reasons - some good, others not so good. When the purpose of marriage is not known, it is bound to have problems. So, before you get married, you must be able to explain why you are getting married. Among many other good reasons, God brings two people together in marriage to build a strong, godly home filled with love and grace – a home that exalts Jesus Christ as Lord and provides a unified ground for the fulfilment of God’s purpose and vision(Mal. 3:15). May you experience this reality in your marriage in Jesus’ name.
- Birthday Blessing: “May the Lord bless you from Zion!” Psalm 128:5