"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." Matthew 9:38
Little girls love fairy tales. They love the stories of the beautiful princess who falls in love with prince charming that ends with happily ever after. And so from a young age, girls will dream about this type of relationship. It starts with any Walt Disney movie with a princess (literally take your pick), then goes to the Barbie and Ken phase. From there the teenage years begin and young girls are bombarded by secular media and its spin on how to find your “prince charming.” Magazines and movies target teen girls telling them the secret to finding Mr. Right. And that secret is most of the time centered around improving appearance, sexual technique, or promoting non committal relationships. Sadly, young women still have that inner little girl in them that yearns for their prince charming. So they follow the example of our world when it comes to courtship.
In the same manner, little boys grow up wanting to be the hero. They want to be valiant and strong like comic book heroes. Ive yet to meet the little boy why will claim they want to be the villain when they grow up. So boys look to super heroes, and then to sports figures, and as they enter adolescence, secular media becomes the predominant influence as is the case with girls. How do you become a real man? Our worlds definition of a real man paints more of a villainous picture than heroic. To be a real man according to the world today, you have to have the biggest muscles. To be a real man, you must be a “player” in the sence that you never commit to a woman. You simply lead her along with the goal of seeing how many women you can bed down. A real man today is defined by secular media as a ladies man, not a one woman man.
This sets up our backdrop for where this lesson is going. It prompts the stage for the all to common scene that we see in 21st century relationships today. Holding standards high and keeping pure so that a man can be that hero and a woman can be that princess has been prostituted and watered down to cheap and fleeting intimacy. My heart breaks when I look at the state of relationships in our world. Particularly in the lives of people I know. Never before in the history of our world have we had more of an open window to the lives of each and every person alive today. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have made it the norm to just air facts about life that only ten years ago would have been shameful to tell to the closest of friends.
A little over a year ago, I was scrolling through the updates portion of Facebook where everyone who is a friend of yours just posts what they are up to. To my surprise and delight, I saw that two friends from my youth had just gotten married. I had no idea that they were even dating, but their status read “married.” Over the next year, it was always a joy to see their status updates. She was always posting how she had the best husband and he always had tons of pictures of them happily together. They even had a child together. But not long after, I began to see a decrease in the posts coming from this couple. Pretty soon they stopped all together. And then I realized why. I had failed to pay attention to a minor detail on their page. Their status had changed indicating that they were no longer together.
What happened? From the looks of their Facebook posts, it looked as if Prince Charming had married the fair princess and happily ever after had become a reality! Being in ministry, I see this far too often. Even within the internal workings of ministry itself. I cannot tell you of how many pastors that I have heard of that had to leave the ministry because their marriage completely crumbled. More times than not due to infidelity. If Godly men who are leaders in church are falling prey to this, it makes you wonder just where in the world are we going wrong?
Why is marriage today view as more of an agreement between to people rather than a covenant? I believe the answer is because we are blind to our own spiritual blindness. You see, in warfare, when an enemy sets a trap, and you see good men being deceived or killed by that trap, you reevaluate things. You recognize the enemies strategy and make plans to avoid it all together. In football, if the opposing team is running the same trick play to score against you, if you are smart, you recognize the other teams plan of attack and build a defense against it. In other words, you learn from past mistakes and make corrections as to avoid them in the future.
What is ironic to me is that this is how we have grown as a society. We always learn from past failures in order to keep improving. Thats the American way. When something goes wrong in our world, we set out to fix it. We have scientist working on finding a cure for every disease known to man, and progressing daily. We are building bigger and more efficient automobiles and ports of communication. Every aspect of our culture is one of correcting the past for improving the future. But when it comes to the state of marriage, it is rapidly dying and growing weaker by the second. And instead of pin pointing the areas where we are failing, our society promotes these failures as almost a good thing!
If you dont believe me, just flip on your television set! Its a scary thing and a sign of the times when you go from watching television shows like Father Knows Best, which centered around a functional family unit, to show like today conveniently titled, “The New Norm”, which is a show about people in dysfunctional and broken relationships yet made out to be hilarious and normal! We are actually embracing the snares of Satan which are aimed at destroying families and making them stapes in our world! As the tv show says, broken relationships are the new normal in our world. Satan has not had to change his tactics, because we as a people have not wised up enough to learn from our mistakes.
His plan started in the beginning in the Garden. The first lie Satan ever convinced us to believe was that we can be like God.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4.
Basically, Satan appealed to Eve’s selfish nature. That she should think of herself and her wants and desires as utmost important. And if she is not happy, she should do what makes her happy. Because goodness knows, the grass is always going to be greener on the other side….right? I mean isnt that why so many people so easily cheat on their spouses? Because he or she is not living up to expectations and the field begins to look much greener in other places. But wasnt there a time in which the husband or wife in question was the green grass? Is the grass always going to be greener on the other side? Here is a bit of truth for us that would believe that lie….
If you think that the grass is truly greener on the other side as it pertains to relationships….it is only because you havent jumped the fence and ruined that greener grass yet. The common denominator in every failed relationship is you.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon ran into this, “The grass is greener”, mentality. He got married not once or twice, but seven hundred times. Solomon had seven hundred wives. And when Solomon had found no satisfaction in marriage, he just started accumulating women to be at his beck and call to fulfill his desires. So in addition to seven hundred wives, Solomon had three hundred concubines, which were basically glorified prostitutes. One Thousand Women. One Thousand different relationships. King Solomon did not want for hair color, shape, personality, or bedroom fantasy. He experienced relationships on every level with all kinds of different women. And in the end, Solomon says of his pursuit of happiness in relationships……its all vanity…..meaningless. Because total fulfillment in a persons life can never be found under the sun. For that eternal satisfaction is found over the sun with our hope place in Christ.
King Solomon says, “The grass isnt greener on the other side, because I jumped to one thousand different lush fields….and ruined every one of them. Because the problem was never them, but it was me.”
The grass will never be greener with someone other than your spouse.
And if it is, it wont be green long after you get there.
Its almost comical people who end up having multiple marriages after multiple divorces. People who keep trading in one spouse for someone new that catches their eye. What is the one constant in all of their failed relationships……the only constant is them. Which should be a red flag that maybe the problem isnt that a woman cannot satisfy, but that you are looking for satisfaction in the wrong place. Marriage, biblically speaking, was meant to be for life! It is a mirror image of Christ and the church. The husband represents Christ in marriage and the bride represents the church.
So if ever someone says….
“Well, you just dont understand my spouse.”
“If you knew my spouse, then you’d understand why it can never work.”
Yet if marriage is the image of Christ and the church, I see one in that image that is unbelievably disobedient. I see one partner that is constantly falling short and disappointing. And I see the other partner, through disappointment and heartache, being unbelievably faithful and demonstrating unconditional love. The exact image of the relationship Jesus has with us. We stray. We disobey. But he is always there. Jesus never walks away from us. We walk away from him. The problem with marriage today is that we model our relationships more by the blueprint of pop culture rather than those found in scripture.
God is after our ultimate joy!! God doesnt tell us to save ourselves for marriage, avoid lusting after others, and to continually seek him to be a kill joy!! God tells us to do relationships a certain way because he designed marriage!! He knows how it is suppose to work!! And he knows the pitfalls of cheap intimacy! Satan on the other hand is against your joy!! So naturally, he is going to promote everything contrary to scripture and try to make it as appealing as that piece of fruit was to Eve in the garden. Just one bite. Just think of your desires and nothing else. Satan preaches the same deceptive message that he used with Eve thousands of years earlier. Satan still preaches. For proof, look no further than television, movies, music lyrics, and pop culture of today. Look at what the world tells a woman and what it tells a man. Because as long as our eyes are set on chasing our own momentary, fleeting desires, like a dog chasing its tail, we will never be satisfied. And our eyes will constantly be jumping from meaningless things and never setting our hope on the source of real love and joy, Jesus Christ.
I dont know who is reading this post. And I dont know the state of your marriage. Maybe someone is thinking about marriage. But I can be quite sure, given the statistics of our world, that someone reading this may have their sights set on a very unbiblical and Satanic view of how relationships should work. And it really doesnt appear as Satanic at first glance, because its become our new normal.
Little boys who dreamed of once becoming the hero who persevered by strength through the hard times to emerge victorious have proved that they are just weak and pathetic men. Although the world would praise their lack of commitment and bed hopping as commendable, the God who made them points out that they are but selfish little children who throw their hands up in selfishness at the first sign of distress. Marriage isnt for little boys or little girls. Marriage is for men and women of God. Its for men and women who love Jesus, and want to experience just a taste of that unconditional love that is so foregin to our world this side of Heaven. There are no problems so large that cannot be overshadowed by the cross of Christ. The strong ones are not those who will stand with puffed up chests and noses in the air. The strong ones are those found on their knees daily.
To the couple who may be seperated…..Jesus can mend the wound. To the spouse who was betrayed…..Jesus can teach you forgiveness. To the marriage that may be dissolving…..Jesus can make all things new. Where is your hope? If its in your spouse, sooner or later you will fall. But if its in Jesus, there isnt a storm you cant weather. Remember the parable of the two houses in the Bible?
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24.
Every Sunday school teacher always points out the obvious. That the rock represents Jesus and the man built on the rock didnt lose his house. But they never point out one practical truth…..although the man on the rock had the house that remained intact, he still had to go through the same storm as the man who build his house on the sand. They faced the same exact storm. The only difference was the man on the rock of Christ had the strength to weather the storm.
Have you gone through a storm? Are you currently in the midst of one right now? If so, ask yourself where your house is built. Where is your hope? If its in anything other than Christ, it may as well be on sinking sand. It is my hope that the words of Christ will become a rock in the lives of many who are sinking in their lives right now.
Ive never ran into the couple who had weathered a hard time in their marriage and regretted sticking it out and making it work. But I have know many people who ended their marriages with the thought that their life would be better, only to realise years later that they gave up far to early and scarred not only their lives, but the lives of their children in the process. The greatest testimony and witness any parent can give to a child is the example of unconditional love and to teach them that when the going gets rough, thats when you love that much harder. Arent you glad Jesus doesnt treat relationships with us like we treat them with one another?
I will never pretend marriage is easy. But I will always preach that it is God’s gift to us that is to be treasured and protected. And if more people would pour their hearts into it, who knows how deep and beautiful it could get.