Living happily ever after is becoming rarer in our riddled world. The ideal marriage too often morphs into an “ordeal,” and couples are too prone to throw in the towel, often neglecting good counsel from family, friends and faith leaders. Tim LaHaye cited a poll years ago that asked 3,009 wives if they would marry their husbands were they able to do a “reset.” Less than 50% said “yes.” Another poll, taken by the Chicago Sun Times, asked 2,301 husbands the same question, and 72% said they would marry the same woman were they given the choice to do it over.
The Indianapolis Star published the results of a poll that sought to determine why marriages too often were hitting the rocks. Their findings: 40% never worked out anything together as a couple; 50% enjoyed a physical relationship; 60% claimed they were emotionally abused, while 20% said the abuse they suffered was physical; 25% never laughed together; 60% argued about money; 31% said their spouse was unfaithful, and 25% said they were married to an alcoholic. How about this ad: “Single, white female, narrow-minded, unfaithful, complaining, quick-tempered and critical, seeks jealous, emotionally abusive, drug-using single white male.”
Well, it is not difficult to isolate some of the current cultural stresses that wear on marriages, but in this series of posts I want to offer some positive Biblical guidelines that will keep a Christian home intact “till death doth us part.” Note: the key word is Christian home, a home where Christ is Savior of both husband and wife and where the Bible, God’s Word, is revered as one’s final authority for faith and practice. It is much more likely that the storms of life will dash any other home—built upon the shifting sands of time—against the rocks of dissolution.
In part 1 of this series, I posited that a Christian home must be built with Solomon’s admonition as a bedrock principle: “Through wisdom a house is builded; and by understanding it is established.” (Provs. 24:3) In that post I set forth the wisdom needed for a right resolve in our worship, and wisdom for a right resolve our walk. Continuing in that theme: Third, we need wisdom for a right resolve in our witness. By the way, James reminds us that “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God Who giveth to all men liberally….” (James 1:5) In chapter 3 James identifies God’s wisdom as characterized by that which is “pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) So, we will need God’s wisdom for a right resolve as a marriage mate to have a witness in and through our home-life that will be Christ-honoring.
An artist wanted to paint the most beautiful picture in the world, so he sought out his pastor and asked him: “What is the most beautiful thing in the world?” “Faith,” answered the pastor: “You can feel it in every meeting of the body of Christ and find it at every altar.”
The artist then asked a young bride the same question. “Love,” she replied, “for it wipes away tears, turns poverty into riches and makes much of nothing. Without it there is no beauty.”
He then asked a weary soldier the same question. His answer: “Peace is the most beautiful thing in the world. War is the ugliest. Wherever you find peace, there is beauty.”
“Faith, love, peace,” the artist mused. “How can I paint them?” Entering his door, he saw faith in the eyes of his children and love on the countenance of his wife. In the home, he could sense the peace that faith and love had built. So, he painted the picture of the most beautiful thing in the world, and when he had finished it, he called it “Home.”
Our witness, in our Christian homes, should reflect the living epistles that we are called to be, so that our witness will impact the unsaved people with whom we have to do, the church family with which we worship, and the business world we are engaged with in our daily living. And, would you believe, our witness speaks to a world of unseen—but no less real—angelic beings? Our obedience to Christ is “because of angels,” as Paul says. (I Cor. 11:10) Wisdom from God’s Word that will make our witness count in this age in which we find ourselves cannot be over-estimated. We have unimaginable opportunities to let our light shine in the darkness of our age. For this witness, we will either be rewarded or see our efforts consumed by the flames of judgment as wood, hay and stubble. Work on your witness and work on the witness that your home echoes.
Next, we need wisdom for a right resolve concerning the world. We can either “use” the world or we can “abuse” the world. (I Cor. 7:31) In our Christian home, it is incumbent upon us to use the world in a wise way for God’s glory, all the while carefully guarding against the worldliness that will swallow us up if we fall in love with it. William Wordsworth wrote, “The world is too much with us: late and soon, getting and spending we lay waste our powers: little we see in nature that is ours.” Henry Jowett asks: “What is worldliness? It is human activity with God left out. It is life that is horizontal only, and not vertical. It is ambition without aspiration. Its goal is success, not holiness…God is not denied, He is just ignored.”
In the building of a Christian home in the 21st century, there are opportunities in this world through technologies that would be unimaginable to our forefathers. But along with the opportunities come many pitfalls in a world that has 7 billion plus inhabitants—yet has shrunk in size so that we can go anywhere on the earth, in a matter of seconds, with just a few touches on our keyboard. Youth coming of age in this hi-tech world face unprecedented challenges. Consequently, parents are faced with a mountainous home-terrain. Cell phones are ubiquitous. What teen does not have one? And, computers. Without a system of safeguards, young people in today’s Christian home can be quickly devoured and ultimately destroyed by unseen and unknown wicked plotters who, without scruples, can lead an unsuspecting young person into a dark abyss from which there will appear to be no way out.
“Ye adulterers, and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)