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21 Days Of Prayer And Fasting | DAY 4





 

DAY 4

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22


PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  


READ: Ephesians 5:21-28

If it wasn’t clear from the scripture highlighted at the top of this page, I think it is very clear after reading today’s scripture passage that today’s devotional is going to be centered around the topic of marriage.  And so, before we dive in, I want to encourage all of you who are single, divorced, or widowed, don’t check out!  Because though the main focus of our discussion today may be the topic of marriage, the truth of scripture we are about to uncover is for all of us!

I want to start out by asking a seemingly simple question - What is a marriage

In 1828, Webster defined marriage as:

MARRIAGE, noun [Latin mas, maris.] - The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life.

Today there are many definitions of marriage and sadly, rarely do you see “man and woman” mentioned in the definitions. 

Today, Webster defines marriage as: the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.  

Notice the absence of man and woman, and “for life” as was written in 1828.

The view of Marriage has been changed by man’s sinful perception to fit cultural changes in our increasingly sinful society.  Regardless of man's view, God's view of what a marriage is has not changed and will never change.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever - Hebrews 13:8.

If you are married and or preparing to marry, you have been influenced by many things to create an expectation of what marriage is.  The marriages of your parents, older siblings, grandparents, and other relatives have all impacted your perception of marriage.  These experiences can be good or bad depending on what you saw and they, more than likely, are different from what your spouse or future spouse experienced/will experience.  These different expectations and lack of preparation have led many couples down very difficult roads. For many, the word divorce is often used as a “safety net” long before the marriage vows are even said by leading with the mindset that “If it doesn’t work out we can always get a divorce.”  Sadly, 50% of the time, even Christian couples end up doing just that.  However, I have good news for you! No matter what culture has attempted to teach you, God has a different plan for your marriage!  One of blessings and fulfillment. And one, when built firmly in the Lord by both you and your spouse, has a 100% chance of success!  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying it is always going to be easy.  In fact, every great marriage is one that has two people that worked hard to serve each other above themselves.  I promise you every great marriage, no matter how long they have been married, has seen some challenging times that they worked through together, with God helping them through it. Jimmy Evans says that the greatest marriages in the world are where two servants are in love.  I believe this to be true.  Even my marriage of 38 years, as strong as it is today, has seen days where we questioned if we were going to make it.  Praise God, we never gave up!  Praise God we learned to communicate and talk through the pain and even sought Godly couples to mentor and help walk us through painful times.  

We have learned to serve one another and work to speak blessings and positivity into each other - tearing down the walls of false perceptions, expectations and misunderstandings.  Being aligned through God's word and praying together every day has been the greatest tool to continue the strengthening of our marriage while also helping us to heal from past hurts.  Incredibly, God takes those past hurts and uses them to create beauty in the midst of pain and even helps other couples as they navigate through similarly difficult times.

The next question we need to answer is - Why Marriage?  

Why did God create this unity covenant between one man and one woman? Our heavenly father recognized early on that it was not good for man to be alone.  Genesis 2:18 states,  “God said, it is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a suitable helper for him.”   The King James version calls this “suitable helper” a “help mate” and in Hebrew the word “Ezer” is used.  Praise God for His wisdom to know men could not make it without the beauty, softness and wisdom we gain from their wives.  

Ladies, did you know God gave you a special name?  Ezer.  Ezer in Hebrew means: Helper, Help mate, or one that has the power to help or rescue others!  What a wonderful blessing and calling.  Ladies – I encourage you to know how God named you and pray that you will come to know clearly who God made you to be!  There is incredible strength in this and something you should embrace in your womanhood.  Did you know that God is also referred to as Ezer, the helper, 16 times in the Old Testament?  God named you after a name he used for himself.  

Husbands, our wives should never be made to feel inferior to us.  In fact, we, as their husbands, should make sure our wives are seen and known to be co-heirs with us in this gift of life! Many times the passage of scripture found in Peter 3:7 has been used to champion the very opposite.  It says,  “Wives are seen as weaker physically and should submit to the spiritual and home leadership of their husbands.”  This word submit has been taken out of context and abused for years and for many ladies, it has become a bad word.  

For those who have a negative perception of the word or act of submission, it is more than likely because they have never seen what true submission looks like and, to take it a step further, have probably even seen this concept abused by a male figure in their life.  However, when a man truly respects his wife, and when he honors, serves and protects her the way Christ loved, served and even gave himself for the church, something beautiful happens.  And the Lord lays out the model for how to cultivate a marriage of beauty amidst the messy in Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”  

Friends, it is only through the power and example of Christ can we have a fulfilled marriage!  Even through pain and difficult times, we can grow and thrive in this thing called marriage!  Lisa and I would not be teaching a Marriage Matters class today had it not been for the pain we walked through TOGETHER!  One man, One woman, walking together with God.  This is the key to a successful marriage!  In fact, this is God's plan for marriage.

If you take nothing else away from today’s devotion I hope you remember this one thing:  God's definition of marriage is “One man and one woman becoming one”.  That’s it.  There’s no further question, discussion, or debate about it and we should be mindful to not complicate this truth regardless of what Webster or any other definition given may say.  


Now, before we close out our time together today, I want to reiterate a few things for all of our married couples:

  • You have a 100% chance of success!

  • You can make it!  Don’t ever quit!

  • When husbands serve their wives the way Christ served the church, wives will naturally submit and honor their husbands!  Act today and don’t wait on the other to move first! 

  • Couples that pray together, stay together!

  • Make your marriage a servant competition and I promise you, peace, joy, fulfillment in this marriage covenant will come. 

  • Be a Marriage of Blessing and watch it also be a blessed generation for your kids and grandkids!  Even for a thousand generations!  (Deuteronomy 7:9)



Novelist, Susan Elizateth Philips, once said “Anything worth having is worth fighting for.” and I promise you, your marriage (be that present or future) is worth the fight!







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