Train with this thought continually before your eyes: The soul of your child is the first thing to be considered. In every step that you take about them, in every plan and scheme and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, “How will this affect their souls?”
– J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents
Archive for the 'wisdom' Category
“The Lord does not measure out our afflictions according to our faults,
but according to our strength,
and looks not to what we deserve,
but what we are able to bear.”
~George Downame (1560-1634)
“In these columns I have been seeking to express truths about marriage that come into direct conflict
with our own usual understanding of it. It is those “myths” in marriage that get us into trouble because
we follow our own idealized vision and not the marriage that is actually before us; the one God has
given us and the one that is asking so much of us just now.
The tenth myth might be put this way: “my home is the place of my refuge.” That is, it is a castle
where I may retreat from the world, a kind of haven from the struggles and pressures and tensions of
the world. I return there to be recharged and refreshed and sent forth out into the world again.
In a certain sense that is true. Our homes are to be places of rest and love and hospitality; places where we can just be ourselves and find relaxation and the restrengthening of our lives. But if we see that as the sole function of the home in our lives we will fall into the common misunderstanding that is often described in the words, “a man’s home is his castle.”
Mike Mason* likens the home to a “monastery”, that is, a place in which people are changed from one
type of person into another; a school where vows have been taken and life is ordered toward the
developing of the spirit and the soul into something higher and finer. If we follow that analogy then the
home becomes the harder sphere as opposed to the workplace. How easily we think of the workplace as where the really tough decisions and actions take place. That’s where the action is and the home is easy. The home is soft and lovely to us and requires little of us. But that is to invert God’s order. God puts the priority on the home and calls us to establish that and focus on that first and then to go into the fields of labor. In fact, in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 24:5, a man is told not to engage in
outside activities, like war, for the first year of his marriage so that he can be happy at home with his
wife. That is, he is to make the necessary adjustments and give careful time and attention to the laying of the foundations of the home. War in Israel’s history was to possess the land and/or defend it from its enemies so that there could be marriages and homes established in it. To give up the marriage and the home in order to fight the war would make the battle pointless.
If we continue along Mason’s line of the home as a “monastery”, we would understand more about the
nature of our vows in marriage. When a monk or a nun enters monastic life they take vows of poverty,
chastity, and obedience. Our vows at the alter in marriage are similar. We no longer own anything
ourselves, even our own bodies. Everything we have belongs to our mate, It is a vow of poverty.
This is also a vow of chastity because we forsake all others in favor of our own. We give up covetous
desires of other people and devote ourselves solely to our mates. We become a “one-women man,” or a “one-man women,” and we delight only in that one whom God has given to us and to whom we have
taken sacred vows. It is a vow of chastity.
We also take a vow of obedience in the sense that a true marriage obeys God’s order for the institution of matrimony. We are not only committed to each other but to marriage itself as it is outlined in the Scripture. That is a call for husbands to live in self-sacrifice and in self-denial as Christ did for the
Church; laying Himself down for it. (Ephesians 5:35) It is for wives to obey the biblical mandate to
follow the leadership of their husbands and to throw a support under things they do and to be a genuine helper to them.
When we begin to see the home as a “monastery”, that is, a training school for the soul, we will not
resent the pains and sufferings and sacrifices that come along. We will realize “no pain- no gain.”
When deprivations may come to us or some visions of our own have to be scuttled in favor of our
spouse, we will remember that God is shaping us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ who laid
down His very life for us.
Let us not see marriage as simply a place for the fulfillment of our own desires for pleasure or for rest
and refuge, but as a finishing school in which God is working with the soul of His people so that they
become more like the example of Christ that is found in the Scriptures. Also, after years of marriage an
obedient couple not only resemble each other but they resemble the Lord Jesus in new and exciting
ways because they have been in the “monastery” of the home.”
*Mike Mason, author of The Mystery of Marriage
“I have been trying to set out some of the more common ideas that plague marriages and seeking to expose them to the light with the goal that our Church shall have within it the most dynamic and happiest marriages anywhere. Today, I share with you something I often hear when asking an engaged couple why they would like to marry each other. Often I hear, “We are so like each other.” Then after the wedding and some months have gone by, I hear them day, “We have discovered how really different we are from each other.” The myth of marriage here is that marriage requires common interests and similar personalities. Actually the step of finding out how different your mate is a place of real growth. Now you are relating to the person whom you actually married not the one you saw through rose-colored glasses. And that person is very different from you. But the differences are something to celebrate and thank God for. They are God’s tools to shape and refine you. They stretch you to experience life in some new and wonderful ways, so that you are to build upon your differences. Rejoice in them and use them to add variety of interest and perspective and attitude to your life. As much as you can, try to find out why your mate feels the way he or she does about certain things, and as far as possible enter into that world. Then you will discover a oneness that rises out of the diversity. That is the strongest oneness of all. A key difference between you is your maleness and femaleness. That is the polarity on which God wants to build, therefore make the most of this difference. Seek to be as much the man as you can be and as much the woman. Let there be no blurring of the lines and the consequent loss of this blessed polarity. That means cultivating manliness and femininity for all you are worth so that your mate can delight in you as the precious gift God has prepared. A danger sets into marriage when a husband and wife cease being attracted to one another. Work at being as attractive to your beloved as you can be, accenting the differences God has put within you. The polarity is the essence of your union. Your marriage is built on this difference. Differences are not something to wish away in your marriage. There are great treasures to be enjoyed and for which to be profoundly grateful.”
Our pastor writes to our church weekly in addition to the Sunday sermon. I found this weeks meditation particularly encouraging and convicting. Just thought I’d pass it along.
Myths of Marriage
By Pastor Glen Knect
“For our meditations I want to present for our thought and discussion, some of the common myths people believe about marriage with what I think the reality of marriage is. Reactions and responses are welcome!
There are myths of marriage that keep us from entering into the real joys of this good gift. Our misconceptions bind us, but the truth will set us free to enjoy marriage even more than we have already. One such common mistake is to think of the purpose of marriage as being our happiness. When we think in this way we can be readily disappointed when there are crosses to bear, struggles to endure, and painful disappointments to undergo. It seems that our marriage then is not fulfilling its promise to us and something must be wrong with our mate or with us. But the goal of marriage is not our happiness but our oneness. Jesus taught us this when He said, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:62)
The happiness that comes from marriage is a wonderful by-product, but it is just that. The end in view is our oneness. When we fulfill the purpose of God in this way, He rewards us with happiness and blessing. To seek after oneness is costly. It means being drawn out of our isolation into close fellowship. It involves the sacrifice of the ego, so that human pride is crushed until it has no life of its own anymore. It means being stretched so that one is hardly recognizable to one’s own self. But the end is being achieved. God is creating pure lovers with no agenda of their own, whose goal is to love this one other person as “they love themselves.” The very times when marriage is the most stressful are the times when God is putting pressure on us through our mates to give up our independence and our willfulness and submit wholeheartedly to Him in the thing which our mate is asking. That is often the time we most feel like reneging on our commitment. We want to back away from such a demanding intimacy. But God won’t let us. He is at work and the work is only half done. We are not yet the lovers God wants us to be. In these times our best solution is to yield our rights and complaints and let God shape us as a couple into the oneness which will reflect His image most closely.”
I listened to Pastor Wilson’s sermon (#1446 Loving Little Ones II) today and was particularly blessed. Just wanted to pass it along to all the non Moscow Kirkers. I’ll tackle Part One tomorrow. 😉