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Occasionally there is some public breast-beating by ministers ruing the statistics that non-believers and believers divorce at about the same rate. There is a deceptively easy reason for this. But in any event marriage is such a complex relationship that in talking about it we always leave out something important. Here, alone, e are talking about divorcea and how it is a final breakdown.
Marriage as flesh
First, the scriptures say the “two shall become one flesh.” While this union is not a simple co-habitation in the eyes of God, it may actually not be much more than this. It is, after all, just the flesh.
In the beginning the flesh is usually enough to keep the pair together. They marry with pretty much the same goals – a family, a house in the burbs, a decent job, and a few kids. Sometimes their common goals are a life as missionaries or even as members of the armed forces. Those common goals keep them together for a long time.
If the goal is sex alone, by either couple, the union is doomed from the start because the Bible says, the flesh profits nothing. It has no permanence, so the value of marriage must be in the other extended relationship it brings to the couple, and their world and the world to come. Marriage does have eternal value.
Man, in contrast to animals, in three parts
Man is made up of three parts – body, soul and spirit. The bodies come together but clearly not the spirits, and consequently not the souls. In most families mother and father are opposites – she is creative, he is a math whiz; or he is the farmer and she can’t grow chives in the window sill; or she is an engineer and he is a psychologist. This helps the kids have a better view of the world than two alike-people.
But no one can have, nor should they have, a union of souls. God saves souls and each one is distinct in His eyes.
Then there is the Spirit. This is where the rubber meets the road. After the children are schooled, married and gone, this marriage faces a new stress – what is the common goal – retirement, travel, self-indulgence, golf, amusements, games? Do they have a common life of set goals. One prominent marriage counselor says every pair should have a regular discussion about the family “mission-statement.”
At this point, the union breaks down.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Agreement is gone!
While Amos spoke these words to indicate how the Christian should pattern his life with God, the rule applies everywhere. The marriage cannot last if the direction of their lives is not parallel. Parallel goals means agreement. Non-parallel goals means that even a small degree of difference will, over time, send them off in different, and conflicting directions.
It may be be evident as the paths begin to part, but that is the time for re-examination. Look to God for the answer. Men most often will blame the wife, marry #2 and live to regret it because they fail to look at their own faults.
The second marriage for men is almost always a disaster.
The wife may hit the bottle or have an affair. Again – an answer in the flesh does not work. The new rule in America of hole digging is – when you are at the bottom, stop digging.
Saving the marriage means being totally honest
Go back to where your paths diverged and be cruelly honest with yourself first and then each other. Divorce is not necessary, and it is a horror for even the most agreeable couple. It does not need to happen.
An event in my life demonstrated to me one of the major duties the Holy Spirit has in this world – that of bringing believers together and empowering them to minister to each other. Back in 2008 I was a missionary in China at the very time that nation suffered an earthquake which took over 1/4 million lives. I was in an airplane when the earthquake struck so I completely escaped any ill effects but the event became an important milestone of Chinese life.
When I returned to the States I learned that a well-known California family had lost their child, a Chinese baby through a freak accident. The Lord showed me (more accurately the Holy Spirit showed me) – that this child was now reunited with the original Chinese family – a great home-going for them all.
How exciting. But of course the grieving Californians could not know what I’d been told. I have no contacts with these people so completely forget my revelation.
Then I moved to Texas where I joined a modern charismatic church. The pastor one morning told the congregation that this Chinese child’s father was his personal friend. After a month or two I approached him and told him what the Lord had revealed to me. I asked him if he would please tell the grieving father, even though now it is 2 years later. Then I completely forgot about it.
Many months later I asked if he had talked to the father? Had he told him about what God had told me? NO he had not.
Frankly it shocked me that this pastor would not care enough for his friend to ease his pain with this revelation. In fact, I was so put off by it, I left the church entirely. Then I moved to another town and the entire thing was lost to my mind once more.
Then someone brought the earthquake up again. I asked God – why didn’t he tell his friend, the father? The Lord made it clear “the father already knows!”
I was relieved but then I saw what God was doing. He wants His church to minister revelation and truth to each other. When that happens, the Real Church happens. Look at Acts 2. They are all in an upper room, in one accord. Out of this upper room came a massive 5,000 souls revival including a large number of foreigners (that is they were all speaking diverse languages) were taken into the church in one day. A crusade followed when many were sent out, miracles were common. Out of that original unity came the greatest single move of God up til that time.
And that is what God wants now. No – He is not giving revelation to just anyone. Non-believers, mockers and the hostile are not included in the revelation of truth. But if God’s people will come together they’ll find themselves being effective beyond their wildest dreams.
Right now, angels are gathering people together – people who believe the word of God, and then there are groups of people called tares in scripture who don’t believe. This is before the final harvest.
Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
If someone in your church does not agree, let them go. If you no longer agree with what is being done in your church, you go. God has new barns and will deal with the nay-sayers.
We lost that unity and still don’t have it back, but the call of God and the potential is still there. When we are all on one page God will show up and do mighty things. It requires us all to be in total agreement with the word and the will of God.
Can any two walk together lest they be agreed? Amos 3:3
If you are tempted to, don’t ask God to rifle through piles of tares to drag them out and into the Kingdom. Not all people are going to be saved. Only those who do God’s business God’s way! We are to pray that those who have not made up their minds will be sought by God, but as for the rest – Let them go. His business and yours is the Kingdom.