Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church

Commitment in Partners

Longevity in marriage is based upon commitment.

Commitment is usually a joke about single men and their reluctance towards marriage. But the sad truth is that it is often the wives who divorce their husbands and break the commitments of marriage. Yes it is true, that many divorces are due to adultery on the part of the husband, but the point is that commitment is meaningless forĀ  both men and women in today’s society.

Marriages break up for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they hate each other. That can be for any number of reasons. Personalities were miss-matched in the beginning; or one becomes abusive to the other; and sometimes partners break up due to circumstances beyond their control.

Keeping marriages together should be the goal of both partners. Certainly, couples needs to understand the compatibility of one another before making marital commitments. It is not enough to have common ground. They need to learn how to be friends before marriage. They should learn positive speech and behavior between one another to prevent potential abuse.

Commitment as a life value effects every aspect of our lives. When we enter the working world, those who have learned to finish what they started will be valued as employees in honoring their work contract, or will be more successful as entrepreneurs in not quitting when it looks like potential failure, or in establishing a credit report that makes them trustworthy in borrowing money. But the biggest value in their learning the importance of commitments is that it matters to God.

There are several factors of commitment that matter to God. Since we are made in the image of God, we are to reflect the Lord’s character. One outstanding characteristic of the Lord is that He is a God of His Word. When He makes a statement it comes from eternity and cannot change.

Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Ps 119:89 KJV)

When He makes a promise, He keeps it.

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Cor 1:20 KJV)

God’s character is faithful.

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Thes 5:24 KJV)

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. (II Th 3:3 KJV)

There was a time in our western culture, because of this understanding of God, that it was considered to be a virtue to be a person of one’s word. A few generations ago, many business deals were made simply on a word of promise and a handshake. The more legalism needed in contracts, the less trust there is
because of the fear of faithlessness. It is still a virtue to keep your word. As a teacher I try to honor every word I make. Sometimes to my own hurt. I have
foolishly offered a lot of money to kids in a challenge to motivate them in accomplishing some task. They have succeeded and I paid up. If I didn’t, the motivation to try harder would be lost. It is my desire to teach the kids by my own example to be people of their word.

Another area of commitment that matters to God is in families. Most children will grow up and get married. If these kids are already being raised in a broken
home with a single parent, they are being set up for divorce in their own marriage to come. It is a statistical truth that children of broken homes are more likely to divorce than those from homes that stayed together. Of course, statistics are only generalities and there are always exceptions. But the exceptions do not undermine the general truth.

Marriage is a spiritual institution created by God to teach us about our relationship with Him. Today this has been forgotten. Many people today think marriage
is only a convenience for 2 people to live together, which is why the world is trying so hard to change the meaning of marriage. The heart of marriage is summed in these words:

“and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:24 KJV)

Marriage is a spiritual law of unity. All of God’s creation functions upon this principle. Every living being is a composite of millions of cells that function in unity so the systems of bodily life can operate. The new birth of Christianity is the operation of this unity. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, but our spirits are joined to His Spirit.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Cor 6:17 KJV)

The apostle Paul explained the new covenant to the Roman Jews through the example of marriage. While married we are bound to our partner until the death
of our spouse, which frees us to marry another. Christ died to the “marriage” of the Old Covenant to free the Jews to join in the New Covenant (Rom. 7:1-4).

This picture of marriage to Christ is further expounded upon to the Ephesians as Paul encourages husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph. 5:25-27) and concludes with the reminder that marriage is becoming one flesh as is Christ with the Church:

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32 KJV)

And, of course, the Bible ends on the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9).

A man is different from a woman, yet the mystery is that they can become one flesh. God is eternal and a Spirit, whereas people are created and different from
God, yet the mystery is that we can become one spirit with the Lord.

It gets back to what Jesus said to his disciples, regarding following Him:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28 KJV)

The foundation of marriage is commitment. Apart from adultery or genuine abuse, all conflicts and disappoints are meant to be worked through. If one holds commitment in a marriage vow as non negotiable, then one has the chance of success.

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