Summary: The reality is that every follower of Jesus has a mission. I hope and pray you are seeking faithfulness over happiness. I pray you know that the power of what you seek is found in the person of the Resurrected Jesus.
Today is Mother’s Day. On this day we honor the women among us who have or are raising children. And this is a worthy thing. Mom’s deserve our respect, attention and honor. But I would like to take a look at something Jesus said, that will broaden your perspective on this day, or at least I hope that it will. Jesus said this as recorded in Matthew 12:50, “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Do you see what Jesus does here? He broadens the definition of family in one statement. For those of us who are followers of Jesus our physical family is the secondary, and our church family is the primary. In other words, if we’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day as followers then we should primarily be celebrating women among us who are the Spiritual mom’s in our church.
This doesn’t mean that mom’s are not important. The opposite is actually true, just as our mom’s are honored, as they should be, our Spiritual mom’s are to be celebrated, too. Now when you take a look at Titus 2:4, “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children” We see this mothering aspect from a Spiritual perspective. And this has everything to do with what we’re going to be talking about for the next few Sundays.
Today we are beginning our series on marriage and Jesus followers. We're going to be discussing Hebrews 13:4. "Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery."
Today we’re going to discuss faithfulness over happiness. It's no secret that marriages break up every day. Many times selfishness is the core motivator. I know it sounds harsh to say this, but, it doesn't matter how you coat it, it's pure selfishness many times that destroys marriages. I wish I had a dollar every time someone said, "God just wants me to be happy," in a discussion in which they were justifying their break up. Let me make this as clear as I can, that's bull crap. This doesn't define God as mean, hurtful, and punishing. God is love. The truth is there's no mention in the New Testament that what God wants for your life is your perception of happiness. The Bible does tell us that God wants you to be filled with joy. And there's only one way to experience the joy of God, by following His Son Jesus.
Here's the irony. We receive joy when we're faithful to God and to our human relationships. We've talked about this before in our first session on defining love. Genuine love is faithful and joy is the result. But our selfishness intervenes sometimes. A person can become obsessed with their happiness. When this happens to a person, they will try to find something that will encourage their happiness; often believing that they 'find' it in another relationship.
The Bible calls the things we use to pursue our happiness, idols. James 4:1-3 is an outline for why we suffer conflict in our relationships. When our motive, the reason for why we do what we do is to pursue pleasure or happiness, then we're worshiping an idol.
To pursue faithfulness over happiness there are three questions we should ask ourselves consistently to make sure we are not seeking idols, but, instead seeking after Jesus. I believe married Jesus followers should consistently reflect on these questions. Honest reflections of these questions have strengthened my marriage to Kristi and our personal answers to these questions have enabled us to weather tragedy together like losing a son, and nursing another through bone cancer. We are deeply committed to each other and our faith in Jesus, not because we're more special or holy than any one else, but because we've reflected many hours together on these questions.
Do I love Jesus more than my stuff? This may seem like an easy answer on Sunday, but, ask this question of yourself every day. How would your life be different if you loved Jesus more than your stuff every day of the week? Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
I attended college in Edmond Oklahoma about thirty minutes from Oklahoma City. A couple of years after I graduated, the city was rocked by the bombing of the federal building in 1995. This terrorist act took place almost across the street from where Kristi and I were married at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Today where the federal building stood is a monument, a park and a museum, dedicated to the victims and survivors of that horrible day in April, 1995. In the park is a tree: a sprawling, shade-bearing, 80-year-old American Elm.