Monday, September 28, 2009


Who or what is first in your life? No, for real. When you get up in the morning, what is the first thing you think of? Is it yourself? Is it your family or spouse? Is it work, is it play, is it breakfast?

Our culture has clearly given their answer and it is: "me."
We look at ourselves first, second and third, then if we happen to take a fourth glance, we might look at others. This has created huge problems in our society. One of these problems is divorce. It sucks for everyone involved (except for maybe attorneys).

What are "irreconcilable differences" anyway? Is that just a nicer way to say, "inability to compromise" which is just a nicer way to say, "we're too stuck on ourselves to care about each other anymore"?

Marriage is supposed to be the ultimate sign of commitment, of sacrifice, of love. And in some cases it is. This love isn't easy, it isn't cheap, it doesn't happen every day. There are beautiful examples of it all around us if we choose to look. But, it seems to be less and less common; or maybe it is just drowned out by so many poor examples.

Paul spends all of 1 Corinthians 7 talking about marriage - actually talking people out of marriage. His reasoning? Marriage gets in the way of our relationship with God. He clearly makes the case that God should be first in our lives and having a marriage relationship gets dangerously close to being in the way of that. He says that marriage is a concession for those who cannot get by without it.

What a contrast to today! We focus more and more on ourselves, we live together but don't get married because of our focus on self. We get married, but then want out because of our focus on self. All the while our focus should be on God.

Recently I overheard a snippet of a conversation between a man celebrating his 18th wedding anniversary and a newlywed man. The newlywed asked, "What advice would you give to a newlywed so we have a happy marriage?" The veteran's response: "Take your wife to church."
The newlywed left dejected. He was looking for a secret to finding his happiness with his wife. He should have been looking for God's happiness along with his wife.

That's Paul's message too. A marriage isn't the source of unselfish love. It isn't the place where love is found or worked out or discovered. A marriage is the place where love is applied - love only comes from God. Without that source, we'll constantly revery to making ourselves first.

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