Saturday, November 10, 2012
Welcome to Day 314 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Job 35:16, “So Job opens his mouth with empty talk…”
(Thanks a lot Elihu… Sheesh!)
Job 36:2, “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.”
16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.”
1 Corinthians 7:10, “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”
32 “I would like you to be free from concern…”
“An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided.”
39 “But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes…
but he must belong to the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 8:7, “But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”
Lots to chew on in today’s readings… Elihu continues his assault on Job. Paul writes about marriage, single life and divorce issues.
People often ask me about divorce. Not just me, but pastors everywhere… often looking for me to “endorse” their decision to leave their spouse.
Even though the Bible does give some direction on such matters, the bottom line is Jesus said, “Moses permitted you a certificate of divorce because your hearts are hard.”
Obviously it is very difficult to recover if your spouse has cheated on you… And no one wants to live with someone who is abusive or an alcoholic.
And I’m not here today, really, to address those matters…
Those situations are always complicated and difficult and hurtful. I mean, really… who am I? I know the scriptures, yes, but I never tell anyone they have permission or grounds to leave their spouse. No matter how obvious the circumstances might be.
We always contend for healing, forgiveness and restoration.
But the statement that stood out to me today is, “but he must belong to the Lord.”
He MUST belong to the Lord…
That is in the context of a woman remarrying after her husband has passed away… But even before one marries, that their potential spouse belongs to the Lord is key. If you are a Christian, it’s vital.
I have known too many people who have married someone who is on a different page spiritually… often underestimating the importance of the spiritual side of marriage.
The “two becoming one” is a spiritual principle, not a legal matter. (Paul addressed it in the context of a man becoming “one” with a prostitute…)
Even if both parties are Christian, the flavor can matter deeply. One was raised Baptist. The other, Catholic. One was raised Pentecostal. The other Methodist. One was raised with no church experience, the other was Lutheran.
What typically happens is there is a gulf between belief systems and how the spiritual side of life is lived… what church to attend, etc… how the kids will be raised? More often than not, the wife ends up attending church alone, and gets discouraged over time…
And the issues of life often grow out of these differences…
I can’t tell you how many times someone has come to me about similar issues.
No matter how many times people are told not to be “unequally yoked” they do it anyway… To me, unequally yoked doesn’t necessarily mean “believer and unbeliever.” (Although Paul certainly drew a distinction referring to “darkness and light.”)
That’s why I said “being on the same page spiritually” beyond believer/unbeliever. There can be some pretty dramatic differences in expression within church practice and belief.
Spiritual gifts, for instance… What about Communion and other such matters?
I’m a big picture guy, not one to tell people what to do. (I have an opinion, usually a strong one : ) but I’m not quick to interfere unless asked. People can’t usually hear it anyway. There are times I feel obligated to state my position anyway, but again, it usually falls on deaf ears.
I recently had someone tell their spouse that the only reason they married them was because “Scott talked me into it.” I had no idea I had that much power! It somehow went from me giving them the courage to take the leap (again) to talking them into it. Such is life.
All that to say this, “he [and I would add, “she”] must belong to the Lord.”
Lord I pray for all those out there struggling with issues of marriage, singleness and divorce… Bring healing, forgiveness, restoration and contentment to each situation.