God’s plan for renovating a house into a home calls for some specific behaviours and attitudes, which serve as bricks or building blocks for the relationship. Some of these bricks are contributed by the wife and some by the husband. Regrettably, both sets of bricks can be substituted with cheap imitations. These may seem to be adequate and acceptable at first, but over the long haul, they cause great damage.
The reality of crumbling marriages in our world should cause God’s people to stand up and take notice. Thankfully, the Bible provides clear direction regarding the proper materials it takes to build a lasting marriage.
The air today is filled with the shrill cry of “my rights.” And in the centre ring of this loud arena is the home—more specifically, the marriage bond. Mate-swapping, group marriages, and living together without official marriage commitments are realities no longer carried out under the hush-hush blanket of shame and disgrace. Is monogamy an outdated concept?
Damage to a marriage can begin even before the vows. Among the greatest threats to a new union are the young bride and groom’s thoughts about what life with a new spouse will be like. Expectations often lead to broken dreams, as invariably, young couples fall into the trap of looking forward to a non-existent reality. However, there is no ideal marriage this side of sin. Instead, marriage promises a lifetime of two people striving together for maturity.
Changes are never cheap. Renovating a house is expensive…but restoring a home is infinitely more costly! No one ever worked through a difficult, hurting marriage without paying a very high price. This fact alone causes many partners to refuse the process. The pain of changing is, in the opinion of many, too great to bear. But for those who do change, how sweet it is!
The institution of marriage has fallen on hard times—divorce rates are soaring, men and women are testing the marriage waters by living together first, to say nothing about society’s attempts to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. But marriage is a divinely designed institution, and if marriage is to thrive in an increasingly hostile culture then we must first consult the architect of marriage…God.
Desiring to get the job done or meet other expectations, a congregation can lose its primary objective: to ascribe supreme worth to our supreme Lord. Worship is more than meditative contemplation, the passive enjoyment of great music, or listening to a well-delivered sermon. Worship requires participation…a response…praise and service, celebration and action.
Few things steal a church’s joy like discouragement…especially if that discouragement comes not from outside circumstances but from inside instigators. Scripture tells us that we are to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). But far too often we choose instead to speak words that dishearten, hinder, and deter each other from living the life God intends.
Out of every continent, country, and nation, He is reaching out to build His body, the church. But the church is not only universal in scope; it is local as well. In these places, music and message mingle to refresh sagging spirits, confront wrong, point the way, model the truth, help the hurting, hold out hope to the discouraged, rescue the perishing, and care for the dying.
We have examined the Scriptures to find out what we are to be involved in between now and when Christ returns. But what is the Lord doing? What is He concerned about during this present time? The answer is clear, according to the New Testament. It’s the same project He’s been working on since the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18), and that is what He has been doing.