28th Jan, 2008

Sacred Marriage – The Greatest Challenge in the World

Sacred Marriage

In Gary Thomas’s book, Sacred Marriage, he opens with a chapter entitled “The Greatest Challenge in the World.” He begins stating his desire to change our world view about marriage – from one about romantic happiness to one of radical holiness (my words). As I mentioned in my first post about this book the cover of the book posits this question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

It is the greatest challenge in the world because we are putting two sinful human beings into the dreadful reality of how sinful they are. Although we are supposed to love this person we have married, we often find ourselves filled not only with anger, but also hate, and sometimes even utter apathy toward our chosen one, the one to whom we have pledged our lives. And, as Christians, we are called to love everyone selflessly and we find we cannot even love one selflessly.

I like the question the author reveals that many passionate marriages boil down to:

When did, “Please, God, change the world through us” suddenly become, “Should we watch Arnold Schwarzenegger or Julia Roberts?” I don’t remember any fork in the road or any flashing newon signs that pointed in that direction, but somehow, somewhere, it had happened.

The chapter closes with the theme of the book stated in another way: “This is a book that looks and points beyond marriage. Spiritual growth is the main theme; marriage is simply the context.”

Although we often believe marriage (or work, or success, or family, or good kids, or a great golf game) is the point of life, God has another plan. Just the other day a friend of mine reminded me of what follows Romans 8:28. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son….” In other words, all these things that work together for our good our doing that so that we will be more like Jesus. Thus, even a great thing like marriage isn’t marriage for marriage’s sake or for our happiness; rather, marriage is one of a great many things that God is using in our lives to make us more like Jesus. We absolutely must take our eyes off of our own pleasure and happiness, fixing them firmly on Jesus, to find the ultimate meaning and purpose of life – becoming more like Him.

Responses

This is a very good and timely post.

Divorce is 1/2 of all marriages in the US with the exception of those couples who regularly pray together. In a pole of couples who pray regularly only 1 in 300 divorce.

cb

That should have been “poll” not pole.

Long day today:-)

cb

I was just glad you didn’t call my post a pole cat. 🙂

Yes, CB, we need to be proclaiming the truth about marriage, God’s purpose for it, God’s heart for relationship, reconciliation and restoration, and how divorce and broken covenants grieve His heart. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi ! Thanks for recommending the book ! I bought it and have just started reading it today – it promises to be very thought provoking !! I was reading what the author said about romantic love being rigid as opposed to the love needed to hod marriage together which is elastic !! – which I agreed with really. I look forward to continuing the read. Too many mariages break up today because they say they are not happy anymore – there seems to be no reality about the commitment that is needed to keep marriages alive and the fact that sometimes marriage will be difficult. The truth is that we grow through the difficult times.

Where are you all now by the way ? Are you back in US ?
Helen

Hey Helen! Thanks for commenting here!

We are in the US, but we hope to be back to the UK on Feb. 15th. We are awaiting the processing of our visas.

Yes, if marriage was supposed to just be fun then we’d all be moving from marriage to marriage about once a year. 🙂

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