1 Peter 2:16
As those who are free, not using your free position as a cover for wrongdoing, but living as the servants of God
In the lunchroom where I work, there was a poster stuck on the wall that seemed to be there almost indefinitely. Multiple times per day I would stare at that poster. In fact, it was fairly decent poster at that. It was a Blue Cross-Blue Shield program to help smokers stop smoking using various methods and proven technology.
The design was even nice, coming from a graphic designer's point of view. Simple, yet effective. Then just recently, when out of habit I looked up at the wall to see the poster, it was gone – with nothing to take its place. While that was a semi-shock in of itself, what was most intriguing was what was left behind the poster in its absence – a stained, cracked peeling wall. All the while, I had thought the nice, new paint on all the walls actually included this portion, but evidently, I was wrong. Seems that this important poster was actually covering the decay and faded paint.
What seemed to be the actual face, was merely the mask – and I was fooled!
Spirituality Does Not Cover Marriage Problems
Recently, a semi-high profile nationally renowned artist had shared to us that the marriage has been going through some very rough times. What I've been used to, even by very high-profile Christian recording artists, is that usually they put image and reputation over marriage. One individual in fact, told me face to face that his own marriage and wife will not "stand in the way" of success and him reaching his personal goal of being a millionaire.
But this person who recently shared their struggles has increased our respect for them by actually taking a step back from ministry – to focus on what matters most – marriage.
We've had multiple articles written, many Radio Shows traversing the subject, and quite detailed this catastrophe in our book, <em>Marriage for Today: A Practical Guide for Couples</em>, but we seem to find the devastating behavior continue to gain momentum. Couples in ministry, leadership or simply active in church are either falsely told, or have the wrong notion that getting MORE involved with church and ministry will somehow, magically, spiritually, fix their broken and decaying marriage.
And so they do more, pray more, sing more, preach more.... and in public view and others' view, they are increasing their spirituality and showing just how important "God" is to them.
They are, in fact, slapping a very important poster on the wall, only covering the very issues and battles that they are not facing. In essence, they are covering the problems and issues with what appears to be an important venue, thereby avoiding facing and dealing with the problems in the marriage directly.
In 1937, architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for industrialist Hibbard Johnson. One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining distinguished guests for dinner when the roof began to leak. The water seeped through directly above Johnson himself, dripping steadily onto his head. Irate, he called Wright in Phoenix, Arizona. "Frank," he said, "you built this beautiful house for me and we enjoy it very much. But I have told you the roof leaks, and right now I am with some friends and distinguished guests and it is leaking right on top of my head." Wright's reply was heard by all of the guests. "Well, Hib, why don't you move your chair?" Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan., 1992, p.14.
You Cannot Pray your Marriage Problems Away
1 Corinthians 7:28 Apostle Paul says, "such (married) shall have trouble in the flesh"
You battle the physical with the physical, and the spiritual with the spiritual. Marriage is in the physical, using your emotions, mouth, eyes, hands, heart, and brain.
As written in our book, "Spiritual warfare will never replace physical responsibility." It goes on to say, "You must absolutely fight in the 'here and now' to preserve your marriage. It’s NOT UP TO GOD. It is entirely up to you."
Abraham Lincoln once wrote, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
The Incredible author, historian, Christian apologetic and renowned theologian and scholar once said "There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant for man (i.e. Humans, B.V.) to be a purely spiritual creatures. That is why He uses material things like bread and drink to put new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it." (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 65)
So, what we must do is get back to basic, fundamental "taking responsibility." When it comes down to it, it's really not up to God to fix your marriage – it's up to you! Certainly God will help, but spiritual pixie dust never fixed real problems in real marriages. Only real solutions do that.
So, we encourage you to "face your giants" with the help and power of God. But the main thing to be encouraged by, is that you are not alone. When you and your spouse get things back on track, it will be both of you that is stronger. Remember, you cannot have a Testimony without a "test!"
But both of you will be stronger and can minister and help others who need the same direction, guidance and help – and watch God work!