Recently, I was asked to give a presentation to a group of women on the topic of investing in a “Godly Marriage.” Perhaps you’re wondering why.
No, of course you aren’t “wondering why!” It seems so obvious. Marriage as we have known it is under intense attack these days, so you’re probably assuming that when someone’s been happily married for as long as I have, there must be helpful little nuggets of wisdom that I can share with you– right?
But truthfully, there’s really only one thing that you can learn from the fact that Dan and I have been married for almost 43 years… That I’m old.
Sure, there are some things I’ve learned because I’ve been around for a lot of years. But if I were to tell you my story and what’s worked for me, or if I gave you “Ten Steps to a Godly Marriage,” it still might or might not be relevant for you because marriage is organic, just like our relationship with Jesus is, and the dynamics are always changing. Life circumstances are personal, and constantly vary.
Even in the best of marriages, some days are up, and some days are down. Your husband is not my husband; you are not me. In fact, even you and your husband are so different from each other– which is what attracted you to him in the first place, and drove you crazy later. We’re all uniquely individual, and God deals with us individually as sons, not robots.
Oh, don’t get me wrong! There are good ideas out there, to be sure… but there’s something else that’s far more fundamental– and necessary– for us to consider. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
When Dan and I began to educate our children, the first thing we automatically started to look for was a good, solid curriculum. (i.e. “What do we do, and how do we do it?”) But very early on, a friend challenged us to consider that what we needed to determine before anything else at all– including the curriculum– was, “What do we believe?”
What were the fundamental, non-negotiable things that we believe by which all facts are to be comprehended? What was “the plumb line” by which we would measure everything we learned and taught? That is, what was our worldview?
That’s the foundation we needed to build education upon, and everything else would be affected by that one thing.
Similarly, successful marriages won’t come simply from following patterns, steps, or other women’s experiences as good as they may be, but from what you believe… from your worldview. Patterns and ideas –the “curriculum,” if you will– always follow worldview. Always. Worldview shapes the structure.
Right now, as you know very well, there are far too many distorted ideas out there about what marriage is supposed to be. For good or for bad, every marriage is solely the result of what the individual believes about these three things, which form the basis of every worldview:
1. Who is God?
2. Who is man?
3. Which of them has the final authority– the final word– on anything?
For instance… does a woman really have the final authority to end the life of the baby in her womb because it’s her body?
Can someone rightfully choose to be euthanized because it’s her own life she’s ending?
Is it okay if she leaves her marriage when it isn’t making her happy anymore?
Can she self-identify as a man because she feels more comfortable that way?
Can she “marry” another woman because they’re both happier if they do?
Should we even care, or should we assume that since it’s her life, she can do with it as she wants to?
For the next few minutes, I’d like you to consider how worldview is affecting marriage in what is undoubtedly, “The Conflict of the Ages.”
Faith and worldview go hand in hand. Faith is what forms worldview and worldview in turn dictates how faith is applied. Unfortunately, evangelical Christians too often tend to compartmentalize their faith into some areas of life, while keeping it out of other areas. Worldview moves faith out of these compartments into a comprehensive system of belief that dictates every aspect of life, with no exceptions.
Don’t be fooled by the loud “anti-faith” claims we’re hearing in our culture today! The fact is, everybody has “faith,” just as everybody has a worldview. The question is, faith in who?
I have an acquaintance who is battling Stage 4 cancer and eternity seems imminent for her. There didn’t really seem to be much evidence of Christian faith, so in conversation I was relieved to hear her say emphatically, “We just have to have faith…” only to add, “We just have to believe in ourselves!”
And, alas, there’s the rub. Her humanist faith was forming a humanist worldview– man at the center. “Man” is her god, and holds the final authority–has the last word– on everything. But bluntly, to trust in man is nothing less than worship of the creature instead of the Creator that Romans 1:25 warns us about.
Like never before in our lifetime, today’s American culture reflects the clash of opposing worldviews: an anthropocentric [i.e. man-centered] worldview is waging all-out warfare against a comprehensive Theo-centric [i.e. God-centered] worldview. It’s the warfare over which one has “the last word” on anything– man, or God. It’s not new, of course. It’s always been, and always will be until Jesus returns to culminate His Victory.
But right now, the battle is raging fiercely around us, and sometimes there’s so much carnage, deep emotion, and smoke in the air that sometimes we can’t even recognize who’s on our side. Really! We’ve all been stunned with news of an acquaintance or relative who married their gay or lesbian lover… but even more, we’ve been stunned by the affirmation from so many Christians who give their approval, pleased over their own progressive ideas!
How did we turn from singing together that “Jesus Christ is Lord of all” (…Didn’t that kinda sorta mean that He has the last word?…) to giving affirmation to “whatever makes you happy” as the final authority on any issue?
Unfortunately, in this last generation, we are guilty of a severe lack of solid Biblical Worldview training– even in many Christian homes, schools, and churches– that has miserably failed to prepare this generation, by and large, for the current cultural war. How? By focusing heavily on curriculum (“What we do”) while grossly neglecting worldview (“What we believe.”)
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