Living Holy (Whole) Lives—Family
This semester in chapel we are in a series entitled, “Living Holy (Whole) Lives”. Today we will focus on the family.
The family begins with the marriage relationship. We see God’s intent for marriage early in the Scriptures in Gen 2:24—a passage often quoted in weddings, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
God shows us in this passage a number of things:
• that in marriage a man and a woman begin new life together—and this new relationship is even closer than that of the parent and children,
• that this relationship is not temporal but permanent,
• and that sexual intimacy is approved by God in the marriage relationship.
There is much wisdom here that if followed will bring wholeness. Even while newly married couples would be wise to seek counsel of their parents, this new relationship needs SPACE AWAY FROM their parents to thrive—there ought to be some physical distance, and financial and emotional independence. The umbilical cord needs to be cut and both parents and their adult children who are marrying need to be ready for this new kind of independence.
Also, sexual intimacy is intended to be experienced in a committed relationship—the husband is to “hold fast” to his wife. “Hold fast” can be translated STICK, FASTEN ONESELF or CLEAVE. Without the security of a committed relationship, intimacy of any kind will be short-circuited. Without an assurance of stick-to-it-ed-ness in the marriage relationship, the real self—fears and weaknesses—can never be fully disclosed because the relationship is continually vulnerable to the threat of one partner leaving for greener pastures.
So, there is wisdom here in living by Gen 2:24. I’m reading a book right called Sex, Romance and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney and he notes that this passage is interpreted in a distinctly Christian fashion in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul quotes Gen 2:24 then says, “This mystery [of being one flesh] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The remarkable thing about this passage is that marriage between a man and a woman is meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church and not the other way around. That is, the relationship between Christ and his people is the proto-type. Christians should seriously consider this God-given, holy design for our marriage, and mirror it. We should resist the designs for marriage that we are offered by Hollywood and by our culture that based on self and it’s not based on our needs. Happiness is a wonderful by-product of marriage, but it is not the main purpose for it.
In my own marriage, I as a husband am instructed to love my wife, Michelle, as Christ loved the church. What does this love look like? Christ loved his people by coming to earth, by modeling a life of perfect devotion, by dying for our sins, by praying for us and by one day returning for us. Christ’s love was an intentional love, an initiating love, a sacrificial love and a caring love. Does Michelle experience this kind of love from me? Does she feel more like a wife or a mom? Does she feel pursued by me? Do I know what she likes—the places she hopes to see, the books she would like to read, the gifts she would like for Christmas, the ways I could help with the kids and around the house? I need to proactively ask and learn these. What are 10 specific ways that I could love my wife this week? I need to make these happen and be as intentional—even more intentional—with her as I am in my professional life.
Prayer: Father, I pray that our marriages would grow in oneness—that our marriages would grow in unity of purpose and of love. I pray that they would be marked by a humility rather than pride, by mutual submission rather than subjugation. Father, may our marriages serve as relationships that promote wholeness in both partners and in the children who live under these marriages. Amen.
Campus Crusade for Christ