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Summary: 7 of 8. Paul answered the inquiries & clarified the concerns of the Corinthian Christians regarding marriage. How are Christians to maintain God’s intent for marriage? Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...

MAINTAINING GOD’s INTENT For MARRIAGE(& Singleness)-VII—

1Corinthians 7:1-9

(Making Marriage(& singleness) Worthy of its Creator)

Attention:

For the first time, I saw a glimpse of just how Pharisaical I had been as a husband. I had not washed my bride with the water of God’s word. Rather, I had viciously attacked her in her weakness, using his word like a swift sword of justice. I also had downplayed my sin & excused my weaknesses.

Something finally clicked that night.

When Jesus teaches us how to love each other, he tells us to focus first on the sin in our own lives before moving too quickly to help others with theirs. He says, “First take the log out of your own eye, & then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Even if we think our spouse is 99% wrong, & we are only 1% wrong, we first should turn our energy & effort on our own sin — the sin closest to us, the sin we are responsible for.

I realized how ridiculous I was to poke at the speck in my wife’s eye with a plank sticking out of my face. I said to her, “All I’ve done is criticize & rebuke you. So, for the next year, I promise not to bring up any of your sins or faults. If you ask me a question, I will answer it honestly. But I will only initiate talking about my sin. For now, any sin I see in you, I will just pray about.”

I’ve made many promises in my life, & broken too many of them. But God helped me keep this one. My wife & I would get into an argument. As soon as I caught myself, I would shut my mouth & listen. I didn’t attack her. I would focus on receiving & embracing her correction.

It was hard. Often I was boiling inside. But when the conversation ended, I would go pray. I would start out complaining, telling God how he needed to change her. But eventually I would confess my own sin to him. Over time, I started to soften, break, & be humbled by how much God was constantly forgiving me. The radical mercy of Christ, flowing from the cross to me, began to change me as a husband.

It became easier to listen to my wife, easier to be compassionate, easier to admit my own faults. After weeks of this pattern, she rebuked me one day. I quickly admitted she was right. She stopped mid-sentence & said, “You know, this isn’t all your fault. I’ve sinned, too.”

It took more than a year, with counseling, to work through our baggage. But the tenor of our marriage changed over those months. For the first year or so, we had been in a race to defend ourselves & attack each other. We wanted to score the most points by landing the best rebuke. We wanted to win the argument.

Now, for the last fifteen years or so, we typically race to see who can repent first. Rather than rushing to the other person’s specks, we try to focus on our planks first. In the process, we have become more humble, because we are more conscious of our own brokenness & need for grace. We have become more gracious, because we are so much more aware of how much Christ is constantly forgiving us. We have become much more gentle, because we realize how tender it can be to get sin out of our own eye.

*God saved my marriage not by fixing my wife’s problems, but by helping me see my own & showing me mercy where I am wrong. After years of apologizing, extending grace, & learning, we now are far more likely to repent & forgive than to fight & scratch.

The above illustration is a quoted from ‘How God Saved My Marriage—One Formula for Fighting Better’ by Olan Stubbs, Aug. 14, 2017 at desringgod.org.

Olan Stubbs is director of Campus Outreach Birmingham, Alabama, at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. He is a husband & father of four. MAINTAINING GOD’s INTENT For MARRIAGE(& Singleness)-VII—

1Corinthians 1:1-9

(Making Marriage(& singleness) Worthy of its Creator)

If we are careful to nurture God’s Intent in our marriages, then they will NOT end up ‘on the skids’ as do worldly marriages!

Paul answered the inquiries & clarified the concerns of the Corinthian Christians regarding marriage.

Christians maintain God’s intent/design for marriage.

How do/can Christian couples maintain God’s intent for marriage?

6 focal points for Christians regarding marriage.

We have found that Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...

1. His DIRECTIVES(:1)

2. His LIMITATIONs(:2)

3. His AFFECTION(:3)

4. His AUTHORITY(:4)

5. His COMMITMENT(:5-6)

6. His GIFTEDNESS(:7)

7—Maintaining God’s intent for marriage(& singleness) demands a concentration upon...His GOODNESS(:8)

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