RiverLife Weekly #30: Marital Discipleship
Recently, I read this illustration of marriage: A wedding is unlike buying a Ferrari – gorgeous, expensive and plenty of engine power that we are to maintain and keep up to standard forever. Instead, marriage is like buying a build-your-own-vehicle kit. It will take a lifetime to build together. We will put things in the wrong places and make mistakes. But eventually, as we depend on God’s grace, we will create something with beauty and purpose for the journey together.
Marriage is the most intimate of discipleship relationships. It is a place where two disciples put their faith into practice, create healthy boundaries, show self-discipline and practise love, even when the other doesn’t clean the floors as promised! Learning to see another person as God sees them and loving them more today than yesterday takes faith, commitment and courage. With the Holy Spirit’s enablement, disciples can build homes of hope and forgiveness together, where we demonstrate the reality and restorative power of God’s faithful love through all the seasons of life.
The Cross stands at the centre of a Christian marriage. To have biblical and God-centred marriages, as God intended, spouses must first and foremost be disciples of Jesus. Marriage is in essence a call to discipleship, requiring one to die to self (Luke 9:23).
Jesus couched His teaching on marriage and divorce within His teaching on discipleship (Mark 8:27-10:52). His point is obvious: marriage is a form of discipleship. Accordingly, what is said of discipleship applies to marriage because discipleship is expressed in it. It is in marriage that we live out what it means to deny ourselves, take up the cross daily, follow Jesus’ life and lose our lives. The modern view is that marriage is intended for happiness. Jesus tells us that marriage undertakes the journey to Calvary, a call to be made perfect through dying to self and suffering.
God’s Word is the agent for ongoing cleansing in marital discipleship (Ephesians 5:26). It is the instrument by which the husband may contribute to his own spiritual growth and that of his wife. Marriage is a sanctifying process where each disciple is committed to build unity in the presence of unique differences. Marriage is meant to make you holy.
When two disciples are married and learn to love each other in obedience to Jesus, their marriage acquires redemptive significance and becomes a signpost, pointing others to God and the age to come. When children experience a loving relationship between parents that reflect Kingdom values; that makes them want to embrace a relationship with God, like their parents. Such a marriage points to Christ’s relationship to His Church and is also a witness of the vitality of His resurrection and power.
Pastor Ben KC Lee