I was extremely fortunate to be part of a wedding recently between two great people that I am blessed to count as friends. In studying for the short message I gave during the ceremony, the Lord impressed upon me the love and tenderness that he shows when speaking to His bride, the church.
As the church really did not fully come into existence until after the day of Pentecost, we must look at how Jesus speaks to His church through the Holy Spirit as it moved the writers of the New Testament. We look at Paul, Peter, John, and so on, to see what Christ had to say to His church. While there is correction, conviction, and even plain old discipline, the Lord primarily shows His love, tenderness, care, and concern for His church.
Take for example the letter sent to the church at Philippi by Paul. One could argue that this was the church that Paul cared for with the highest esteem. In the section of scripture quoted above, we see some amazing statements that those of us who are married, or even those looking to be married can take and put into action.
1) Grace to you and peace…
In this one simple sentence, Paul shows us that we must give one another grace and in so doing, we will bring an amount of peace to our marriages, through Christ. Peter speaks of this as dwelling with one another as fellow heirs of grace. When your spouse makes a mistake, show them the same grace that Christ has given to you.
2) I thank God upon every remembrance of you…
Solomon said that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. Eve was originally given as a helper fit for Adam. In other words, our spouse is a gift from God. They are not the worldly understanding of a “ball and chain” or a bother. We need to remember this when we wake up in the morning and see them each day. Give thanks to God privately and in front of your spouse, for your spouse, and you will notice the way that you interact with them will change.
3) …In Every Prayer…
Are we praying for our spouse? We get really talented at praying for our own needs but quite often, we forget to pray for our spouse. Remember though, the Lord made us one flesh. So in praying for your wife or your husband, you are praying for yourself. And even more importantly, in praying for your spouse, you are also placing your treasure in your spouse and Christ specifically said that where we put our treasure, our heart will follow. Want to grow in love for your spouse? Pray for them!
4) …For Your Fellowship in the Gospel…
Our marriages need to be built on the gospel. This is the good news that we are broken sinners and yet Christ died for our sins and paid the price even though He did not need to. If we remember this, we are going to be so crazy with joy that it will overflow into how we treat our spouse and family members. Remember your marriage is founded on the gospel!
5) He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
If your marriage has some valleys, as all marriages do, do not worry or fret. Continue to press on to the goal of knowing Jesus fully. He is the one that started your marriage the day you took your vows… He will not leave you to fend for yourself. If you ask Jesus to be at the center of your marriage, He will fulfill that request.
We see Jesus speak to His bride, the church through Paul in such an amazing way. My prayer for we that are married is to learn to follow this example within our marriages. My prayer for singles that hope to be married is that they can practice speaking through love and care so that they are ready when the Lord brings them the person intended for them. Oh that we would follow the example of Jesus in all things!