Lie, Lie, Lie
(An excerpt from the sermon)
Sermon Series: Relationship Killers
My parents were married for 49 years. The last three years of my mom's life, she lost the ability to walk. So my dad became her full-time caregiver. Do you know what love is? Love is action. Love is learning, in your seventies, how to dress a woman's hair, how to buy all sorts of contraptions so that your wife can be mobile in the house. Love is going down to the grocery store, picking up groceries, getting a call from your wife who can't take herself to the bathroom and racing back, leaving the groceries, coming back home and taking her to the bathroom. Love is changing bedpans.
See marriage is not supposed to make you happy all the time. It's supposed to make you more like Jesus. It's supposed to make you holy. It's to teach you selflessness. Sacrifice. It's supposed to teach you love.
Tim Keller says, the purpose of marriage is really three things.
There's companionship. We read about that in Genesis 2.
Then there's procreation. Psalm 127:3-5 says,
“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Children are a blessing from God. But do you want to know the deepest meaning of marriage?
Tim Keller says the purpose of marriage is your sanctification. That's just a big, fancy theological word for making you more like Jesus. What is the purpose of marriage? It’s to make you more like Jesus – more selfless, more sacrificial.
Jesus, the Bible says, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life for other people. That's what marriage is.
The first lie is that the goal of your life, if you're a single person, should be marriage. It's not. It's not true. It's not even biblical. Yes, marriage is a blessing, but singleness is also a blessing and a gift.
The second lie is that marriage is supposed to make you happy. It's all about you. No, it's not. It's supposed to make you more like Jesus.
But here's the third lie. This is for everybody, whether you're single, married, somewhere in between. This is a lie straight from the enemy, and he will make you think this.
The third lie is that prayer can't change things.
Now, I've told this story, but it's been a while and I'm going to tell it again because we just celebrated the 4th of July and I missed the days where you could just blow things up. In my childhood, you could go to the fireworks stand and you could spend weeks just blowing things up. It was great. So, one day, I got what I thought was a little red smoke bomb. You know these cute little things. You light the wick and a cute colorful plume of smoke comes up. So I go out to the middle of my cul-de-sac and I light what I think is a cute little red smoke bomb. I light it, I walk away. Then, when I'm expecting a cute little plume of red smoke, all of a sudden it's like a small scale scud missile goes off in my cul-de-sac. It was so loud and it was so violent. I was out of there faster than my self-esteem at a Zumba class. I was gone. I was so scared because what I thought was a little smoke bomb was actually a cherry bomb. If you don't know what a cherry bomb is, it’s like half a stick of dynamite. It blew out the windows in my neighbor's car.
Here's the thing, I had no idea the power that I was playing with. Now when you and I pray, we have no idea the power that we're playing with. The Bible says that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. We see Jesus break a loaf of bread, bless it, and feed 5,000 people when all He had was a little boy's Lunchable. That's the power we're playing with. When we pray to God, it's God's spirit at work, in and through us, through our prayers.
It's power and it's the kind of power that can actually change things.
You've heard me quote Mark Batterson a number of times,
“The greatest tragedy are the prayers that go unanswered simply because they go unasked.”
If you need God to show up in your life, then your first line of defense should be prayer. It shouldn't be your last resort. Specifically, I want to talk to single people right here. Maybe you're wrestling, maybe God has given you the gift of singleness, but you don't have a clear vision for your life.
Let me ask you this question: Have you prayed to God?
His power is available to you. One of the things I pray for my children, all the time, is that they would have a clear vision for God, because I believe that the clearer the vision you have for your life, the fewer the options you have, and the easier the decisions that you can make in your life.
Let me rephrase that: The clearer the vision, the fewer the options, the easier the decision.
If God gives you a clear vision, you know what you can say yes to and you know what you need to say no to. If you don't have a clear vision for your life and you're single or you're not ready to be married yet, maybe you want to one day but not now, ask God for a clear vision and He will show up. Maybe not today, but over time He will make that vision clear for you. He will show you your gifts, your talents and abilities, and how you can make a difference and use the season of singleness to impact for eternity.
Now, maybe you're a single person and you want to be married. Guess what you can pray about. You can pray for your future spouse. You can pray that God will send the right person at the right time, in the right season, so that you can come together and honor Him and make an impact together.
Have you prayed about who your future spouse will be? Have you asked God?
If you're longing, if your heart desires that and it just seems like it's never happening, the right person hasn't crossed your path, have you prayed about it? Maybe God's just waiting on you to ask. He's a good, good Father and He desires to give good gifts to His children.
But the question is, have you asked?
Now, for the married people, and this is why I really have this point here, counseling is ridiculously important. If you're married, I would encourage you to go to counseling anytime. If you want to divorce-proof your marriage. I've talked to hundreds of people over my 16 years of vocational ministry, the couples that do this simple thing, I have yet to see one of them, one couple, ever be divorced.
What is it? It's simply the couple that prays together. If you are a couple that prays together, I have yet to see, in my 16 years, and I'm sure they exist somewhere, but I have yet to find a couple that actually prays together daily and has ever gotten divorced. Because you know what? It's kind of hard to do stupid things, to do things that are going to destroy your relationships when you're praying together every day. Craig Rochelle puts it this way, if you miss one day of prayer, don't miss two with your spouse. Keep it short. Keep it simple. If you miss one day, don't miss two.
Just pray. Pray with your spouse. If you want to divorce-proof your marriage, if you want to have a marriage that actually grows and thrives, and your relationship grows together, one that's going to sustain even beyond when your kids leave the house and you're just there together, then simply do this, just pray together. You have no idea the power that you're playing with when you simply pray together, and for one another, and for each other's needs.
So don't believe the lie that our culture will tell you, that prayer doesn't actually do anything. No, I'm telling you, I've seen prayer do things time and time. I've seen prayer heal people. I've seen prayer bring kids who are far from God back into the fold. I've seen prayer heal marriages. I've seen marriages that were on the brink of divorce, come back. I've seen marriages that ended in divorce reconciled back together because of the power of prayer.
So pray. Pray that God would give you vision. Pray that God would bring the right person into your life at the right time. Pray together as a couple and watch your marriage and your relationships flourish.
Don't believe the lies. We have an enemy, and he loves to steal, kill, and destroy. He loves to twist God's word. He loves to lie to us and tell us that, hey, your prayers, they don't really matter, God's not really listening. No, He is listening. You've got an enemy who likes you to think that marriage really should be all about you and your happiness and your satisfaction, but God says no, it's about becoming more like Me. It's not about your happiness, it's about holiness. I want you to become more and more like Me. Don't believe the lie that if you're single, that God's done with you or doesn't have plans for you. Not at all. God's got great plans for you, incredible plans for you. So press into them and ask God to show up in your life.
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