Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marriage: Truly ONE, Truly TWO – Part 4

Truly One - Becoming New in Christ

While many in and out of the church find themselves drifting apart from their partner and sensing they are too distant to change course, followers of God have hope in knowing there is no individual too far to have a new chance at oneness. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17. That's a completely inclusive promise to "anyone" who longs for the "old things" of life to pass away and be made new. Old habits, events, relationships, decisions, lifestyles. So a husband and wife can clear away "old things" and experience a new chance to become truly one flesh, they must be clean in Christ. The same God who created marriage to be born of two individuals who cleave and "become one flesh" also extends a promise to them to experience individual newness of life. We find a beautiful promise in the book of James. When one spouse will "Come near to God," then "he will come near to you," James 4:8, and as the two move toward their Maker, they draw closer to each other. They come to the oneness of marriage as new creatures in Christ and because they long to know their God.

Truly One - Behaving with Fruit

A godly marriage is not easy, even impossible apart from the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in and enables those who follow God. In fact, when the Holy Spirit lives in us, God expects that a fruitful life is the outcome. Thankfully, fruit depends on our powerful God and not our weak flesh.

It seems like too much to ask, to blend a life with another and have it result in harmony and unity of purpose and life, but "the Spirit helps us in our weakness," Rom. 8:26. Instead of resignation to a marriage of emptiness or conflict, we are guaranteed help and victory. We always find sympathy from the world to persist in doing life our way, keeping our "baggage," and moving our own direction, but it won't take us to a place of oneness only be explained by the Divine. Once we're released from living according to our human instincts, we "are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in," us, Rom. 8:9. Once in the Spirit, the natural outcome is His fruit, qualities of "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control," Gal. 5:22. It's not easy to apply those qualities when canoeing, and it's even harder to apply them when living day to day life as a husband or wife. Only the Holy Spirit makes it possible for each "one" to behave with spiritual fruit.

Marriage is not an easy undertaking. I don't know about you, but I am certain that if the Holy Spirit was not in me, producing fruit in our home, there wouldn't be much of what Galatians 5 describes. But if God is who He says He is, and I believe HE IS, then I know that, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness," 2 Pt. 1:3a. That gives me great hope that I can behave with fruit in my marriage!

Tomorrow is our last day of considering what it takes to take individuals who are who they need to be, Truly TWO, and make them Truly ONE. I hope you'll join me.

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