Laying The Foundation For a Thriving Marriage
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Jeremiah 30:18-19
Sunday 3rd May 2015
As we begin this year’s Family Convention, my message today is primarily directed towards married couples. However, this message will also be relevant and of immense benefit to you as well, if you are interested in getting married. God originally designed marriage to be enjoyed and celebrated – He never designed our marriages to be average. Sadly, many of us are not living up to the full potential that God envisioned our marriages for. With this message, I intend to challenge you to take your rightful place in your marriages, so that you will begin to enjoy the blessings of a thriving marriage.
The foundation scripture for this series is a prophecy foretold by the prophet Jeremiah concerning the nation of Israel as recorded in Jeremiah 30:18-19 and these words can become our living reality today, if we give God room to work within our homes. It reads: “Again, GOD’s Message:“‘I’ll turn things around for Jacob.I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes.The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations;the mansions will be splendid again.Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows;laughter will spill through the doors.Things will get better and better.Depression days are over. They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish.The days of contempt will be over” (Jeremiah 30:18-19 MSG).
Let’s begin by examining the full meaning of the word ‘Thrive’. These include words such as: ‘grow vigorously, become prosperous, increase in bulk, grow luxuriantly, flourish, boom, expand, become greater, become larger, fly high, and lastly, making significant progress. Words such ‘Again’ and the prefix ‘Re-’ in our foundation scripture suggest that there is hope and a future for marriages, regardless of the state of some of our marriages. However, in order to see the fulfilment of these words in our marriages, our disposition must agree with and believe in God’s word.
In order to rebuild a marriage, we must consider the foundation. Psalm 11:3 puts it this way: ‘If the foundations are destroyed,what can the righteous do?’The strength of any building structure is its foundation. Ignoring the foundation is tantamount to a non-existent building. Unless the foundation is strong and stable, the building cannot stand. Conversely, most of the difficulties and issues we are tackling in our marriages can be traced back to the foundation. Questions such as ‘On what have we built this family, marriage or relationship?’ could help in shedding light on what may be wrong and could be the first step in putting things right. May God grant us the wisdom to strengthen our foundations in Jesus name! (Amen).
Our foundation scripture again highlights a truth that I want to draw your attention to: ‘I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes. The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations’. It all begins at home – if our homes are not rebuilt, not only will this adversely affect the community, but also the society and the nation, ultimately.
The issues confronting our world today are not as a result of shortage of teachers in schools or poor governance, but that of dysfunctional families. If marriages can be put right, then ultimately our world will become a better place. Psalm 145:4 reads: ‘One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts’(NIV). Our role as spouses and marriage partners is to be a role model that our children and the next generation can look up to and emulate. Ours is a society that have despised and shunned marriage as an institution. Hence, we must take a stand, otherwise we risk not giving the next generation the example and the picture they need to see.
Notice how much is at stake when a rebuilt home is standing, as underscored in our foundation scripture: ‘The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations; the mansions will be splendid again. Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. Things will get better and better’. God has promised to rebuild the home, and if this will become our reality in our families, then things will have to be done His way. As good as principles are, we cannot ignore the foundation of God’s word. In other words, our marriages will need to conform to God’s original intention for it to thrive and blossom.
We must continually remind ourselves of God’s definition of marriage - It is the union between a man and a woman; between Adam and Eve, founded on God’s love. Any foundation apart from love (God) will not result in a thriving marriage. Furthermore, if a marriage will thrive and be successful, each spouse in that marriage must diligently follow and obey God. That is, the degree of the success of a marriage is directly correlated to the degree of a successful Christian life. A God-fearing man or woman is a God-fearing husband or wife. If a person is lackadaisical in their relationship with God, that attitude will eventually spill over into every other area of life. The fear of God will guard a person’s heart from certain ungodly practices and alliances. The corollary is also true; a person who disregards God’s word will also disregard God’s position on marriage.
The words of Jesus in Luke 6:46-49 underlines God’s principle on obedience to His word as relating to laying the foundation for our homes: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”Remember that in life, there will be storms and flood. So the big question to ask is this: ‘On what foundation have you built your life and your marriage on?’A disregard for God’s word is comparable to a house with no foundation at all. Is it possible that the difficulties that we may be experiencing at home could be traced back to a negligence of God’s instructions in relation to our marriages? To save yourself further heartache and discomfort, why don’t you consider building your life and marriage on what God has said in His word?
In being in agreement with God and His word, you have an advantage in building or rebuilding and sustaining your home – it can otherwise be defined as Holiness, without which there is no wholeness. God’s simple instruction for marriage can be summed up thus: Husbands, love your wives, and wives submit to your husbands. If this simple code can be adhered to, our world will be a better place. The prerequisite for this is found in Ephesians 5:21, which read: ‘submitting to one another in the fear of God’. A person who doesn’t fear God can easily disregard and disobey God’s word.
Ephesians 5:22-24 further reads: ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything’. An indifference to this scripture by a wife for insubstantial reasons such as a having a better paying job or a more intelligent mind will not suffice in the long run. It eventually leads to friction in the home. Going further, Ephesians 5:25-27 reads: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish’. As a husband, our roles must continually be to love our wives just as Christ loved the church, unconditionally. If this simple instruction is adhered to by wives and husbands, our homes will be a much happier and peaceful environment, and this would eventually have a positive effect on our world.
Unfortunately, our disregard for what God has instituted in His word is affecting our homes leading to pressure, irritations, pain, frustration and hopelessness. In order to rebuild however, we must live according to God’s standard, and this would lead to the resolution of many of the anxieties in our homes.
The word of God must be the absolute authority in our marriages. As Christians, we are born of God – it is our DNA and our spiritual genetic code, hence we cannot live without it. How is it possible then to disregard what the word says, and expect to enjoy life in our families?
When we turn away from allowing God’s word to rule our hearts, it becomes easy to be ruled emotionally and by our feelings. As mentioned earlier, this includes: pressure, irritations, pain, frustration and hopelessness. This emotional pain leads you further away from God’s word, and could lead you further away from the exclusivity of your marriage, if care is not taken to re-focus, forgive and re-connect with your spouse.
Can I remind you that the foundation for a thriving marriage is in God’s word? If we can re-calibrate our hearts to this bedrock and obey what the word of God says, our marriages and ultimately our world will become better for it. God’s word is the basis for our victory and a thriving marriage –let’s build our homes on the Word!
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