How Much Of Christ Is In Your Marriage?
Please Read 1 Corinthians 7 if you wish to follow what I am about to write.
I want to talk about the famous passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 7 which most Christians today believe to be the commands about marriage and things concerning marriage. I want to disagree with this (except for where Paul directly refers to the Lord commanding something about marriage) and say that I believe that Paul does give Spirit filled advice and discusses important issues concerning marriage , but that his answers to the Corinthians about the matters they wrote to him about marriage, are not an end in themselves. His answers are not an end in themselves. He did not write a table of commands like Moses and hand them to the people of God to be followed as such. If all the Bible is to Christians is a book of rules and regulations, then we are not on the ground of Christ, but back in the Old Testament on the ground of Moses and we are then Pharisees and are required to obey every last command in order to earn our salvation, which we know the New Testament is clear in pointing out that God is done with the old by THE CROSS OF CHRIST. And now, in this dispensation, CHRIST IS ALL! So, behind Paul’s answer lies a principle. And if we can see the principle, we have got the answers to the questions concerning marriage.
MARRIAGE IS ABOUT REPRESENTING CHRIST
All in all, we have to conclude that the marriage relationship was created by Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world to represent something spiritual—- to represent Him and His Church. Marriage is an expression of Christ. It shows the relationship between Him and His Church and Body. It represents Him as the Head of His Body. And in every other way possible, it represents CHRIST! CHRIST IS EVERYTHING.
So taking this up, Paul in his answer to the Corinthian believers in their questions to him about marriage, writes from the standpoint of CHRIST and all things representing CHRIST.
CHRIST IS THE PRINCIPLE
As he goes on in this chapter 7, he comes to the point where he says clearly that the things he is saying is to “secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 cor 7:35)
Paul says that to have an undivided heart for pleasing the Lord is what matters, not pleasing husband/wife.
He is saying in this whole letter that what is most important is CHRIST BEING FORMED in us! What matters is pleasing Christ! And when pleasing Christ is what matters, then our own interests are RULED OUT! The Cross has ruled out all of our own personal interests for this life and for marriage.
Now what matters is whether CHRIST is being formed, ministered, and represented in us and by us in our marriages.
And since we are to represent Christ, this principle for marriage proves true by the fact that Christ is/was undivided in His heart to the Father! Though Christ loved us and loves His Bride, the reason He poured out His soul unto death was in order to PLEASE THE FATHER!!! He did nothing out of selfish ambition! He did nothing out of selfishness. He was self-less! His personal interests were totally given up and ruled out!
We also see this picture in the book of Hosea. Hosea had ONE interest in marrying—– it was to PLEASE GOD and to fulfill the interests of GOD, not HIMSELF.
If we are in marriage and have the mindset that it is about US and what we want out of it, we will be divided in our heart for the Lord. Our own personal interests for marriage will divide us from the Lord!
But if it is all about Christ and being conformed to His image and doing that which pleases Him, we will be utterly devoted to the Lord and His interests and will be conformed to His likeness by way of marriage! Christ will be ministered, expressed, and represented by us if we truly die to ourselves and give the Lord His rightful place in our lives and heart!
HOW MUCH OF CHRIST?
If we are seeking something in marriage that is about us, and what we want, what we desire— we will most likely be found unhappy and possibly bitter and resentful towards our husbands and maybe even the Lord because we are not getting what we want and our expectations are not being met.
If we want to know what we are really doing in marriage, let us consider the following questions:
- How much of Christ is represented in our anger towards our husbands?
- How much of Christ is in our expectations from our husbands?
- How much of Christ is being expressed in our behavior?
- How much of Christ is ministered in our bitterness, selfishness and unforgiveness?
- How much of Christ is represented in our being offended?
- How much of Christ is truly in seeking a divorce or separation?
- How much of Christ is in us?!
MARRIED TO AN UBELIEVER
If we look at 1 Corinthians 7:14, it says that if we are in Christ, and our spouse is not, that our spouse is consecrated in us and that our children are holy. If you look up the Greek word for consecrated in the verse—- it has the same meaning as being set apart and hallowed and purified. I believe that here Paul is taking the fact that us as the Church are in fact nothing good in ourselves, and by our UNION WITH CHRIST IN SPIRIT, we are made righteous! When two people are married and one becomes born again, Paul is saying that the unbeliever is set apart and purified by being joined to the believing spouse—because remember, God sees a married couple as “one flesh”. He sees us as ONE. Not two separate people, we are one by marriage. This is how God sees us in Christ— we are ONE with Him in Spirit, therefore God no longer sees our sinful nature, because Christ has done away with it in His Cross! And Paul’s advice to any believer who has an unbelieving spouse that wishes to leave, to let them go, because the believing spouse is to represent Christ in their life, and it would be against the Spirit of Christ to try to control or force someone to stay against their own wishes. But this is not a command, and he is not commanding anything except what the Lord has commanded already in His Word about marriage. He is basing all of his answers and advice on the principle that CHRIST SHOULD HAVE HIS PLACE no matter what!
CHRIST IS TO BE ALL
This truly leads me to believe that all the conflict in marriage with an otherwise loving husband, is all due to our own interests!!!!!!!!! We are selfish! We want what we want out of our marriages and we are so mistaken here!!!!!
We ought to be so different and changed by Christ dwelling in us that what our husband does means absolutely NOTHING when it comes to us pleasing Christ and ministering, representing, and expressing Christ in our lives and marriages.
I say “we” because I AM GUILTY TOO! The Lord keeps showing me how my own interests are bound up in my marriage and how it leads to conflict, strife, anger, bitterness, and resentment! All because I want something from my marriage that doesn’t have anything to do with CHRIST!
Most times, we are unhappy/upset/bitter at our husbands because they are not doing what we want them to do in some way, shape or form. How much different would our reactions be to our husbands if the only thing in our heart was that the Lord should have His rights in us, and our seeking to please Him? What if all we really cared about was the Lord’s interest in our marriage, and His desire to conform us to the image of Christ?
In order to get to this point we have to first surrender ALL to Christ as Lord, and accept His death as our own, and consider ourselves alive unto God in Christ—— and offer ourselves unto His interests in our lives and marriages. And then it is a gradual process of the Lord showing us our own personal interests that we need to let go of. And His Spirit in us will let us know when we are wrong, and open our eyes to see Christ in a new way that will lead us on to grow in Christ as our old man is put off and away forever!
KEEP YOUR EYES ON CHRIST
The whole point I am trying to make is that when we get so focused on:
- our marriage
- making it better
- having our husbands be a certain way
- or treat us a certain way
IT IS A TRAP! Whatever distracts us from focusing SOLELY ON CHRIST is a trap! When we get our eyes onto something other than Christ, we will not grow spiritually at all because in order to grow spiritually, we have to continue to see Christ inwardly in our hearts! (2 Cor 8:18).
And what matters most is how much of Christ is truly being formed in us, and being manifested, expressed and represented in our lives! That is what matters.
Can we honestly say that our only interest for our marriage is for the Lord?
Let this search our hearts to seek the Lord to create in us an undivided heart that is focused on Him and His purposes for all things!!!!