I often overhear people say things like, “Oh what a cute old couple.” or “I want to be like them when we get old. They look so happy.” They say these things when they see a happy old couple. I don’t know if they think about what it takes to get there. First, you have to be a married couple. You can’t do it if you are just shacking up, or getting married and divorced every few years. You also have to be happy. Not just momentary happiness, but the kind of contentment, and joy, that can still smile, and talk with a young person even when their arthritis is causing them so much pain it would put most people in tears. So a long lasting marriage gives the two time to get to really, and truly know each other. It gives them time to put that knowledge into expressing love to them as they would love themselves. This knowledge doesn’t come easy most times. When you put two sinners together in a marriage, sin is going to happen. It is an opportunity for the one who is sinned against to demonstrate the gospel by giving grace to the other. Remember, grace is unmerited favor. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Not only that, He bore our sins, and the punishment for those sins. While your spouse is wrong, and may have hurt your feelings, die to yourself and submit to Christ the way He submitted to the cross. This long lasting marriage is ordained by God. It is a covenant between Him, and the Husband, and Wife. This should not be taken lightly. If you truly want to be a happy old married couple, trust and obey God. Read His word and pray together. Be humbled together and convicted together. When the kids are grown and you are alone with each other, you will be forced to confront the successes and failures you’ve made over the years. Accept and appreciate God’s sanctifying work in your marriage for your own personal growth and use it to love others well.
Our lives will end. The time we have, we are spending. It is up to us how we spend it, but once it is gone we cannot get it back. We can spend it being angry, sad, or hurt by our loved ones, or we can love them more than being angry, sad, or hurt. Nonetheless, the time will be gone and we will be remembered. If God is our master, wash the feet, endure the suffering. Jesus left the majesty of Heaven, to seek and save the lost. He washed the feet of sinful men whose sins He would suffer for on the cross. Our sins, on the cross of His suffering. Surely our loved ones have sinned and hurt us. We have sinned and hurt Jesus. What is our suffering compared to His? Forgive the broken sinful people in our lives, and love them more than we love our own anger, sadness, hurt, pain, and being victims. We are more than that, through Christ we are conquerors. He has won the victory in the war. Dear Christians, just keep fighting the battles. When we fall to the enemy’s tactics, remember Jesus. Repent, and get back in the fight against sin. We must give grace and mercy to our loved ones and all people who hurt us or make us feel like victims. Our time will be well spent, loving well.
1 Peter 4 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
The world is crazy. People are unstable, and unreliable. They are selfish, and self-centered. They don’t care what other people need. They don’t care about other people’s feelings. They only think about their own problems, and their own feelings. They don’t believe in loving other people more than they love themselves. They don’t believe it is healthy to do so. They don’t love Christ above all. People around them are only there as extensions of themselves. Their egos are tied up in them, and when they aren’t rewarded, it is easy for them to destroy the relationships they have, without care for the other people. I’m sick of seeing this, and hearing of it. Being a spouse, and a parent is not for your fun. If you are a spouse or a parent, it is not an option to cease. If you are a spouse, you made an oath to God, and your spouse, in front of witnesses. How on Earth could you justify destroying that, just because you aren’t happy? If you are a parent of a child, how could you mistreat your child because they are interrupting your, “time” or perhaps they don’t give you what you want. Well, duh! They aren’t there to complete you, or make you feel loved, or better. You are the parent for crying out loud. God has given you a job to do. Train them up in the way they should go. Teach them about God, and His word. Preach the gospel of the grace of Jesus to them. Love them more than you love yourself. Sacrifice for everyone around you. You are NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!! Become everyone’s servant. Wash some feet, lower yourself! All of the self-esteem, feminism, everyone’s a winner, sexual liberty, no fault divorce, birth control, promiscuity marketed to women as women’s lib, defilement of marriage by divorce, adultery, and gay marriage, euthanasia marketed as dying with dignity, abortion marketed as a women’s choice under women’s lib/feminism, porn turning men and women into objects, defiling gender that is God given as a gift for the procreation of image bearers of God, that was to be for His glory, and on and on and on… I’m tired… I’m disgusted… Haven’t we had enough of us? Haven’t we had our fill of this delusion? We need God. We need repentance. We need to be broken so we can see the vanity of it all. WE NEED TO HUMBLE OURSELVES AND REPENT. We need to become lowly servants. That is my rant for the day. Like Paul when he said, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB) We are the worst of sinners, I am the worst of sinners, you are the worst of sinners.
Are Your Feelings Determining How You View God, Or Is God Determining How You Feel?Are you acting like a child? Are you following people who act like unreasoning beasts, and encourage others to do the same? A child allows his emotions to rule him. He is without discipline and only knows want. A false teacher promotes what is against God. He acts like an unreasoning beast, “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,” (2 Peter 2:12 NASB)
Do you let your feelings determine how you view God, and treat others? Love is a big deal. People go on and on about feeling like they are in love, wanting to feel love. People also feel other emotions like, hate, impatience, greed, jealousy, envy, apathy, and pride. People desperately want others to validate their feelings, by agreeing with them. When we allow feelings to determine how we treat others, and how we view God, we are behaving like children. All they know is what they want. Their wants are not informed by anything else, just their will alone. As they get older, hopefully their parents discipline them, and train them. If you are an adult, and your feelings rule you, then spiritually speaking, you are a sinful little child. If you believe all of the self-help gurus out there, teaching you how to get in touch with your feelings, and how to be happy. God tells us how we should feel about others, about situations, and He also tells us how we should feel about Him. When we obey our feelings that are against what God commands in His word we are definitely in sin.
Viewing God through any other lense than His word is creating an idol in your mind. When you just go by your fallen, sinful, emotions, to build a picture of God, it will most certainly be a false god, not the one true God of the Bible. If you find yourself disagreeing with long-held orthodox doctrines, in favor of your own personal interpretation, chances are you are worshipping a god of your own making. Repent, and worship the God of the Bible. Let your mind be informed by the word of God, so that the God you worship is the true one.
As Christians, we are not to behave, think, or feel like the world. We are to obey God in all things. So when God tells us to love our enemies, that is what we must do. Love needs to be thought of as an action as well as a feeling. All of the emotions must be thought of as actions as well as a feelings, because they move us to action. Unless God changes your heart and mind, in regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to think or feel rightly. When you are truly born again, and you resist feeling the way your know you should or you indulge a feeling you know you shouldn’t, you are sinning. Sinning this way is accepted by the world and encouraged. We are not to be like the world.
There are benefits to obeying God. Yes, God gave us emotions, but they are under the effect of sin. They are affected by the fall. Knowing this, hopefully you can see how they need to be conformed to God’s will as expressed in His word? Don’t reject the will of God, for your own childish feelings. Bring your feelings into obedience to God. You can do it with His help. It will be a blessing to you and to all of the people you come in contact with. God’s will is always better. So next time you are feeling your way through life ask yourself if those feelings are sinful or are they in obedience to God?
Yesterday I posted a piece about toxic relationships being a new age cop out. It came to my attention that perhaps I didn’t stress the power of God enough. People can feel extremely hurt and justified in maintaining their anger and resentment. They can harden their hearts and sear their conscience, so that they no longer feel conviction when the Holy Spirit brings to mind all of their complicity. We know from God’s word that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We also know that none are righteous.
For the person who is deeply hurt, this information doesn’t seem to help them, but it is the only information that will help them. They have to see their own sin and see how much in need they are of God’s grace, mercy, and love. When they can see their need, and it moves them to repent and believe in the work of Christ, then they can see the other person, and how weak and needy they are. When you can look at someone who has wronged you, hurt you, scarred you, and then see how you have done the same thing to Christ, and yet know that He has forgiven you, given you grace, mercy, and love, in light of what you know you justly deserve, you can then love the other person in like fashion.
God, who created everything, things known and unknown by us, the seed from which a redwood grows, the highest majestic mountains, to the lowest, deep cut valleys, to the blue sky where winged birds fly, and beyond to the vast reaches of space where we lose ourselves in contemplation of our smallness, this very God who knows everything about us, He is all powerful, and to think that He cannot change your heart? What hope is there if a sinner’s heart cannot be changed? Therefore, there is no wound so great that the saving balm of the gospel cannot use it for the glory of God.
How many times have you heard from one of your married friends who is being left by their spouse, “We were just toxic together.” Probably as many times as you’ve heard, “He/She was just toxic for me.” People complain, “I’m just not happy. I deserve to be happy.” So many of my friends, as of late, have had these things said to them, usually followed by, “I don’t love you anymore.” For good measure they might even throw in a, “You are controlling and abusive, I never loved you.” These are some of the most selfish, and injurious accusations I’ve heard in a long time. These are also very sinful and rebellious. They are definitely not Christian sentiments. I believe they are selfish and used as a cop out. It is the lie they tell themselves, and others to not put in the hard, sanctifying and gospel exemplifying work that is needed for a life-long covenant between them and God.
I’d expect to hear this vitriol coming from the lost, but we often hear it coming from professing Christians. I’ve even seen several articles on supposedly Christian websites that advocate divorcing a toxic person. Have they forgotten that everyone is a, “toxic person?” Have they forgotten the power of the gospel? Have they forgotten that God hates divorce? If they are saved, and acting/feeling like this then, they are in rebellion, and will be disciplined by God. If they are false converts, they will receive their just punishment in Hell, where God will be just and right to pour out His wrath on them for all eternity.
Of course you are in a toxic relationship. You are a toxic sinner. Of course your spouse is toxic. They are a sinner. When you put two sinners together in a room they are going to sin. They are going to be selfish, prideful, arrogant, idolatrous, and petty. Of course you aren’t happy. You are expecting another person to make you happy. Guess what… a sinful person will always let you down. You will never be fulfilled by another human being. You can only find the contentment you are looking for in God and His gospel.
Oh, and here is another big shocker, regardless of what you’ve heard, you don’t deserve to be happy! You are a sinner, like everyone else. God is perfectly just, holy, righteous, and good. You have broken His laws and are a guilty sinner. You and I deserve to be punished. We don’t deserve to be happy. You and I deserve to be killed by God, and be sent to Hell for eternity, just like everyone else on the planet. You see, it is a sin problem, not a relationship problem. The only way it is a relationship problem is that as sinners we are enemies of God. If we want peace with Him, we must repent and believe in the work of Christ on the cross, to justify us with God.
We read all of the New Age drivel on websites, blogs, and social media. We listen to podcasts, and self-help gurus on the radio. It validates, and justifies the selfish, idolatrous, sinful, thoughts. Why do people consume these things? I know why I am here. I am here to combat the darkness that has been enslaving people, and ruining marriages, children, and families for far too long in this country. Why are you here? Are you here to flirt with the darkness? Do you want to hear something that will give you permission to give up and give in to sin? Are you being tempted by the New Age malarkey? Are you setting up false teachers to tickle your ears? Wake up! We need to stop behaving like selfish children and truly understand what this means, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Do you think you are something special? Do you think you deserved His love? If it weren’t for His grace, we’d all be lost.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not telling someone who is getting physically abused to stay in the home. If you are getting physically abused you should be separated. “Separated” does no mean, “Oh goody, time to commit adultery.” Being separated for a time can be necessary, but it is always supposed to be temporary. If your spouse has committed adultery you may divorce them. If your spouse is an unbeliever, and walks out on you, you may divorce. If you really understand grace, even though you may divorce them, if they are repentant, you will forgive them and give grace to them, just like the way Christ gave grace to you, instead of what you deserve.
I don’t agree with the modern definition of psychological abuse. Pretty much any difficult thing you talk about with a person can be deemed abusive anymore. Obviously if you are a Christian you should not hurt your spouse emotionally. You should not intentionally or maliciously hurt their feelings. It is sinful to do so. Your sin does not justify a divorce though unless it fits the criteria mentioned above. Christ endured our scorn and ridicule while on the cross, dying for a bunch of sinners. Do we think we deserve better than Christ?
We all want the romantic fairy tale marriage. We all want to feel loved. Some people are living the dream, but it might not have always been that way for them. How do you think they got there? It wasn’t by giving in and giving up that is for certain. They had to fight against their own sin, and forgive the other’s sins, while loving God more than anyone or anything else. They had to trust and obey God, not their ever-changing emotions. If you give up you miss out on the sanctification that God has planned for you. If you give up, you’ll just take your sin problems with you to another sinner and find some other reason to leave them. You’ll never deal with the real problems as long as you use the cop out excuse of, “They were just toxic, it was a toxic relationship.”
Our only hope in marriage is Jesus Christ. Our only hope in life and death is Jesus Christ. If we have been saved from our sins by Christ, then we are obliged to demonstrate the same type of sacrificial love for our spouse. We love them without any expectations of return on our investment. We love them because Christ loves us. Our sins put Christ on the cross. It is as if we had the hammer and nails in our hands and put Him up there ourselves. He died for us, knowing that we hated Him. He got nothing worth having in saving us. By God’s sanctifying work, the Holy Spirit conforms us to the will and word of God, to be Christlike to the world, including our spouse. We love them even though they don’t deserve it. We demonstrate grace to them when they don’t deserve it. Marriage is a covenant with God, you, and your spouse, for the rest of your life. It is a picture of the gospel, to be lived out in front of the world. The husband is the head of the wife, the way that Christ is the head of the Church. Christ died to save the Church, His bride. The wife is the representation of the Church, submitting to the Bridegroom who saved her for Himself. So love one another sacrificially, and stop all of this selfish carnal nonsense. Obey God and glorify Him in your marriage.
To all of my family and friends, who think that I have become too religious, fanatical, or that I am one of those Christians who push their religion down everyone’s throat’s, please consider this; If I truly believe what the Bible says about Hell, if I believe all people who have not repented of sin and put their faith in Christ are going to spend eternity in Hell, having the wrath of God poured out on them forever, and I just live my happy little life without warning you of the Hell to come for you, how is that loving? I would be actively hating you and not obedient to God. My love for Him and you compels me to warn you! Wake up! A faith in God is fine. Everyone believes in God. Even the devil and the demons believe in God so you are in the company of demons, congratulations. The Faith that saves is more than just an intellectual affirmation that God exists and you believe in Him. You might even affirm that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins, that won’t save you either. Many people sit in Church on Sunday and say they believe, but they have not been crucified with Christ. They have not been born again as a new person. They don’t even understand what that means, because it hasn’t happened to them. They think they are, but they can’t know until God has regenerated them, and justified them, granting them true faith and repentance that leads to life. You can believe in God and live the same life you were before, because you don’t truly believe what He says, or what He has done. Truly believing in God means you will believe what He says and live life according to His truth. So what you do will seem strange to everyone who does not trust what He says in His word. If I explain to you how a parachute works and how you are to use it, but if you act as if you don’t truly believe me or trust me, or the parachute, when the airplane is in trouble, you will sit in your seat and hope for the best as you plummet to your death. If what I had told you changed your thinking towards the parachute, you will put it on and use it. Faith applied in action is true faith. It must change you. You must behave as it is true. If I were the only one who could truly see that there was a pit of fire in front of millions of people and they were all about to fall in, even if I warned them, they would insist I was crazy, but what if I wasn’t? What if they were just blind to it? Christians truly see what is actual, because God has opened their eyes. If you are not truly saved you are blind to the hell to come. We simply love you too much to not warn you. Repent, turn away from your sins, let them go, don’t hold on to any remnant of your old life, let the old man be killed and buried, be born anew as a servant of God. Believe Him and His work on the cross. Jesus is God and He has shed His precious blood to pay for your sins. Believe in and on Him for your salvation and live out the new life He has brought you into.