THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (10) – THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE (5)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Christian marriage (5)”. Her main scriptures are taken from the Books of Romans and the Psalms. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:16, 17)… “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore” (Ps 133:1-3).
God has commanded His blessing on the home that has welcomed Him and has protected the unity of the Spirit! That marriage, that home is ‘good and pleasant’. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is free to flow down, from God the Father to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit, to the husband, to the wife and to all the children. This is a precious anointing, the seal of God upon that home. That family is blessed with salvation and eternal life. The blessing of God is sure! God has commanded His blessing and it can never fail! This is the ideal marriage and perfect family! This is our desire! God will grant us the desire of our hearts! Amen!
MARRIAGE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Christian marriage is different than any other. It is a marriage ‘made in heaven’. It is a marriage between a man and a woman, who both are believers in Christ. The physical part of the marriage lasts ‘until death do us part’. But the spiritual effects abide forever, to bless the next generation. The marriage has God in the center. They recognize and honor the presence of God the Holy Spirit in their home. Both husband and wife are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, there is much abuse of power and ignorance of true love in the marriages. The devil takes advantage of the ignorance and attacks the marriages. But God desires to bless the Christian marriages. Marriage is designed by God to be a ministry. The Bible has clear marriage guidelines. These commands apply only to the believers. Unbelievers may try to apply the Biblical precepts to make their marriages better, but they are not able to obey God’s Word. For the children of God, the Bible is their Life Manual. God’s Word is written to us, sinners saved by grace.
In the marriage set up, there are two basic rules: Submission and Love! The wives submit to their own husbands (as Christ submitted to God the Father). The husbands love their wives, not in their own way, but ‘as Christ loves the church’. In Christ, the husband and wife are equal before God. Their salvation experience is the same. But in marriage, these simple rules must be obeyed for God to bless them as a couple. Both these actions are basic spiritual attitudes that abide until the end of their lives as a married couple. They both must glorify Christ, our Lord! Submission and love are inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives both the husband and wife the power to obey. Submission to the human authority is always done for Christ’ sake. In the area of marriage, the wife submits to her own husband ‘as unto the Lord and in everything’. Marriage is a great testing ground. The truth may be hidden outside but is revealed at home. No one can pretend when he (or she) is naked. The husband and the wife cannot totally deceive one another. The wife’s submission proves that she honors and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and that she is saved. By her actions and words, a rebellious proud wife proves that she is not a child of God. The husband who is always selfish and harsh proves that he is not born again. Selah!
BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Eph 5:18-21). “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc 4:12)
God commands all His children to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When you get saved, the Holy Spirit comes into you as a ‘sample’, a deposit guaranteeing the fullness later. But once you are filled with the Holy Spirit your life will radically change. Your marriage will change. It will become ‘a threefold cord not quickly broken’. That is the perfect marriage ‘ministry’: husband, wife, and the Holy Spirit. It is a picture of the Holy Trinity! The devil cannot break that marriage. Do you want to be free from the fear of divorce? Then both of you be filled with the Holy Spirit and let your union be in the presence of the Holy Spirit! You will talk and sing about Jesus. You have the confidence to witness about the testimony of the Lord in your life. Despite difficulties, you become full of joy. You become spiritually focused! You become a grateful person, giving thanks to God always. A proud man in the past, you now become humble, joyfully submitting to others. People will notice that. They will be attracted to you. You start to minister grace to them. You become a source of inspiration to many! The born-again believer who is Spirit filled makes an excellent husband and a wonderful wife! This is an ideal marriage! But many believers are too complacent. Once they have received the deposit of the Holy Spirit they do not press unto fullness. They are saved but they lack this authority and power to witness for Christ. Without the fulness of the Spirit, their lives, their ministries, and they marriages remain a struggle. They lack this peculiar glorious confident powerful joy, the source of all godly success. Therefore, child of God, be filled with the Holy Spirit!
MAMA PUT HAS NOW BECOME DOMINO PIZZA
This is another picture to understand the filling with the Holy Spirit. A man starts a little roadside ‘restaurant’ called ‘Mama put’. Let’s say that he makes good pizza. But he struggles with his business. He lacks strength, wisdom, and resources. It is hard to find new customers and to satisfy them all. Then one day, Domino Pizza company tells him to become part of its organization. They will train him and sponsor him. He agrees with them. The little ‘Mama put’ changes signboard and now it becomes a branch of the international chain called Domino Pizza. Immediately his business is better and makes great profit. The customers of this organization come to his restaurant because they trust the name. His little effort to make pizza has been swallowed by a great organization. The man is not passive. He is not lazy. He still bakes pizza but now, the impact, the profit is so much greater! In the same way once the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, he becomes part of the eternally blessed Work of God. His little vision of success in life and marriage has been absorbed by the greater vision that never fails! Filled with the Spirit he now learns to listen to the voice inside him. He listens and obeys. The world will continue to lie and deceive. But the believer learns how to reject the outside voice and obeys the internal voice. In the same way, you need to become blind to the visible, temporary things of the world. And you need to see the reality of the Spiritual things, invisible to the natural eyes, but so clear and wonderful to the eyes of the Spirit! Our Lord said: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Your life will change! Your ministry will change! Your marriage will change! From Faith to Faith! From Grace to Grace! From Glory to Glory! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!
GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:25-32)
In trying to explain what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we need to consider now one of the greatest hindrances to this holy command. The same God who commands: Be filled with the Spirit is the same who commands: ‘Grieve not the Spirit of God’. We remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person! He is not a force or an influence. He is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. It is only a Person that can be ‘grieved’. An object or an influence cannot love, therefore it cannot grieve. The word ‘grieve’ is a deep feeling. It is a lover’s word. Only love can grieve. Love grieves when she is betrayed. To grieve it means to experience extreme sadness, sorrow, and mourning, because of the loss of something precious or the death of a loved one. It is an intense mental and emotional suffering described as a ‘spiritual internal bleeding’. Grieving manifests as depression or anger. These are reactions to the loss experienced, a manifestation of the regret of broken dreams. Men grieve…
There are three forms of sinning against the Holy Spirit: ‘resisting, quenching, and grieving’. It is only the unbelievers who can resist the Holy Spirit, by refusing to listen and obey the preaching of God’s Word. Stephen said to the religious unbelievers who were ready to kill him: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Ac 7:51). To resist it means to fight, to oppose an enemy, to refuse to be changed by another. The believer cannot resist the Holy Spirit who is already inside his heart. But the unbeliever resists the Holy Spirit who is trying to convict him of sin so that he can repent and be saved. If an unbeliever resists the Holy Spirit to the end of his life, that becomes a sin unto death. It is a tragic sin that God cannot forgive (Lk 12:10). Another form of offending the Holy Spirit is to ‘quench’ Him. This is God’s command: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies” (1Thess 5:19, 20). To quench is to extinguish a fire. Without the passion fire of the Holy Spirit, the heart becomes cold and weak. The testimony of the Christian is fading away. Only a believer can quench the Holy Spirit. It applies to ministry. It relates to the sin of jealousy when a believer hinders the zeal of another believer in serving God. It also happens when a believer refuses to believe prophetic words. Often, revival has been quenched because of this sin. Dear child of God, be careful and protect your heart! Serve God for His glory alone! Do not try to impress people. That is when they have an opportunity to hurt you and to quench the Spirit in you. Once the Holy Spirit is ‘quenched’ you become spiritually weak. You lose the zeal to serve God and the passion to please God thru your ministry. Do spiritual warfare! Be wise! Watch and pray! Stay humble and faithful!
What does it mean to ‘grieve the Holy Spirit’? One of the symbols for the Holy Spirit is a Dove. This bird is gentle by nature. It does not fight. It does not defend itself. It is easily scared. If you are rough with it, the dove will leave you and fly away. If you can imagine a scared dove, you will better understand the command: ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit!’. In the text above (Eph 4:25-32) you see that the Holy Spirit is grieved by a believer who refuses to repent and be sanctified. Apostle Paul warned us ‘not to receive the Grace of God in vain’ (2 Cor 6:1). The Kindness and the Favor of God comes to us so that we repent of all sin (Rom 2:4). When you refuse to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, to humble yourself and repent, the Grace of God is powerless to help you. It becomes a wasted gift. That grieves the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit leads into all truth. He hates sin. He leads in the process of sanctification. He helps the believer to ‘mortify the flesh’; to die to sin, to Satan, and to the world. As believers we are commanded to speak only words given by the Holy Spirit. In this way, we ‘impart or minister grace’ to one another. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph 4:29). God uses the believers’ kind words to spread the effect of the Grace of God. When the believer refuses to cooperate with the process of sanctification, he grieves the Holy Spirit. Specifically, lying, unforgiveness, bitterness, wickedness, and uncontrolled anger grieve the Holy Spirit. These unrepented sins permit the devil to take ‘a place’ in your heart. That is considered spiritual adultery. The Holy Spirit is a Lover, jealous and grieved. He will discipline the stubborn ‘bride’.
In the area of marriage, communication is extremely important. The husband and the wife should desire to know each other intimately and in all areas of life. They should know each other’s minds, emotions, and plans. No person knows another without communication. Only God knows your heart without talking. Dear wife, please help your husband to understand your pains and your joys. The same applies to the husband. Make specific times for intimate heart to heart fellowship. Talk to one another! This is a common mistake in marriage: to keep silent when you are offended by your spouse. That pain will eventually go deeper and will become bitterness. Watch the borderline! The Holy Spirit can comfort you in your pain but will be grieved by your bitterness. The Holy Spirit’s main purpose is the glorify the Son of God. He wants that Jesus is glorified in your life, thru your actions and words. This holy process is called ‘sanctification’. Once you refuse to cooperate with His plan and purpose, He will be grieved. That will affect your life, your testimony, your marriage, your family, and your ministry. I know that it is not easy to trust another human being. We are afraid of becoming vulnerable. We are selfish and we often break the trust. But marriage is a good school to learn how to open your heart and trust another. Pray for one another. Apply the Word of God daily. This is the only path to a successful godly marriage. It has worked for me. It will work for you!
What are the main ways as a believer, you grieve the Holy Spirit?
*You ignore or you forget the Person of God Holy Spirit! To ignore it means to intentionally not listen or give attention to somebody. The greatest insult to a teacher is to ignore his words. God punishes a believer when he insults or mocks The Holy Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:20). Dear child of God, you should know that your body ‘is the temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor 6:19). This is how you became born again. The Holy Spirit has sealed you for salvation. If you forget this revelation, if you refuse to listen to the voice of God in your spirit, and you choose to live your life ‘in the flesh’, you will grieve the Holy Spirit! It is good to remind yourself and your spouse daily, that the Holy Spirit dwells in you. He is a Person. When a pregnant woman forgets that she is pregnant, and does things that may harm the baby, that is a sin! How much more the believer who is filled, or ‘pregnant’ with the Holy Spirit! This is our testimony in Father’s House Bible Church: Because of the danger of ignoring the Holy Spirit, we always publicly and openly acknowledge the Person of God the Holy Spirit in our midst, in every service. You too, do so at every family altar in your home!
*You ignore God’s Word and prayer. It is the Holy Spirit who inspired the people to write the Bible. “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit… All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16). The Word and the Spirit are one! Once you neglect the Bible, the Holy Spirit will be grieved. The Holy Spirit is also called as ‘The Spirit of Grace and Supplication’ (Zech 12:10). Supplication means prayer for more Grace. Once you neglect prayer, the Holy Spirit is grieved and Grace is restrained.
*You grieve the Holy Spirit when you love His power, gifts, and blessings more than His Person. In that case, the Holy Spirit will be grieved and angry. He will withdraw some of the blessings. He will ‘block’ your way to progress in life and limit your prosperity so that you can some back to God (for a greater understanding read Ezekiel chapter 16 and Hosea chapter 1).
*You refuse to repent of every known sin. Repentance means a changing of mind and behavior concerning sin. You cannot repent of all sins at the same time. Repentance is not a legalistic religious exercise. The Holy Spirit will lead you step by step, pointing a particular sin. You respond by repenting of that sin. Immediately you do so, the peace of God will be restored your heart. The process of sanctification goes on. If you refuse to repent of that particular sin, even if you ‘repent’ of another, the Holy Spirit, your Heavenly Teacher will be grieved! Your fleshly repentance will not bring peace to your mind. There is a difference between godly sorrow that leads to repentance and to salvation and the worldly sorrow that leads to death (2 Cor 7:10). Sin in general, and doubt in particular, grieve the Holy Spirit. Sin is an offence against God. There are only two options: sin or holiness. Because God’s Spirit is holy, of necessity, He hates and punishes sin. That is why Jesus died! Because of our sins! As a believer, learn to hate sin! Run to Jesus! Go to the Cross! See the price the Son for God paid for your sins! Repent! Be free!
The main reason why the Holy Spirit is grieved is because He loves you. “He said, “Surely they are My people, children who will not lie.” So, He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity, He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so, He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them” (Is 63:8-10). As you read these words, do you feel His pain? He has been with you all the way. He has helped you to come to Jesus. He has witnessed your salvation. When you fell into sin, He helped you back on your feet. Both of you have a testimony of walking together. To grieve your best Friend is the most terrible sin. He has the right to fight back, to win your heart again. That is why no backslider is happy in the world. God cannot lose His lambs. He will chastise you. He has no other option. Love fights and love wins!
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Always remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person. He has feelings and plans for you! To grieve Him is not a joke! It is a terrible sin! Sin requires repentance! The Holy Spirit is God! He never repents! You are the one who needs to repent! The earlier you do it the better! Once the Holy Spirit is grieved, you sense a deep sadness in your heart. It comes with a feeling of disturbance, loneliness, anxiety, and restlessness. The fear of God will manifest. You know that ‘something is wrong’ between you and God. You lose the appetite to study God’s Word. You lose interest in prayer. You get ‘tired’ to go to church. These are all warning signs! No believer should feel like this. A child of God loves the Bible, prayer, and Church services. This is his normal spiritual healthy environment. Once you feel disturbed like this, stop everything! Run to God! Run to Jesus! Call His name! Fast and pray! Repent of the sin of grieving the Holy Spirit! Do not argue with God! Repent and invite Him back to you! Give yourself no rest until you restore your peace with God! After that, learn your lessons! Remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit! Depend on Him for everything! Keep close! Acknowledge Him! Testify about His work in you! Selah!
You must decide to be ruled and led by the Holy Spirit. It is like a man enrolling in the army. From the moment he becomes a soldier, he has no will of his own. He must obey his commanding officer. Rebellion in the army is punished severely. Just accept the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and He leads you to spiritual maturity. You must trust and obey Him! Depend on His Word and power! Abide in the Word of God! Persevere in prayer! To become a mature believer there is a price to pay. Maturity is never by accident! To have a testimony of spiritual success in life and in your marriage, you must sacrifice a lot! Flesh must die! The Spirit will rise! This is the royal way of the Cross! There is no other! To the glory of God! Amen!
IN MARRIAGE AND LIFE, LOVE NEVER FAILS
God is Love! God showed us what love is. It is not just words. It is not a poem or a song. Love is the most practical thing in the universe. If love does not change your life, that is not love. God manifested His Love at the Cross. There you see Family Love! God the Father sent God the Son to die for sinners. That they may live, and they may love! To God, Love is Life! Love is the seed of Life! Love is fruitful! Love is infectious! Love is a Command to be obeyed! Love never fails! Love never dies! (1 Cor 13:8). Love lives and works and changes everything! “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. The love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jon 4:7-11). Love does advertise itself, but it is not shy. Love reveals itself and shines in the darkness. Jesus died on the Cross, during the day, in the presence of many people in Jerusalem. Go to Calvary and see love displayed! God reveals Himself thru His Love! Have you felt the power of the Cross? Love is the Engine of Life, and the Heart of Faith! “CHRIST’S LOVE compels (controls, guides) us because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died (to sin)” (2Cor5:14). In Christ, the law of spiritual progress is “Faith working thru Love” (Gal 5:6). For a successful marriage, you need to be baptized with the Compelling Love of Christ! You will arrive to the place of perfect Love when you are fear free. Love is bold like a lion! “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:18, 19). “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8). In Greek, the word ‘fervent’ means to love intentionally, intensely, constantly, and deeply. This is an ‘expensive’ love. The price was paid with heartache and tears, but the reward is glorious victorious joy!
THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:1-6)
The unity of the Spirit is essential to the Body of Christ. This unity is spiritual and not natural. Jesus died for our sins to make us one, to be part of His Body. He sent the promised Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). That is when the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, was ‘born’. Before then, they were individual believers living together but they were not members of one Body. The Holy Spirit baptized the many believers into one Body. We are many and have different gifts. But if you are truly saved, you have become part of a bigger vision. You are an organic member of one Body! “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12, 13). This Baptism of many believers into one Body of Christ is called ‘the unity of the Spirit’. No man can create this unity. No religion or denomination can create it. It is purely the work of the Holy Spirit because Jesus died and rose again. The unity of the Spirit proves the power of the Gospel.
It was our Lord’s specific prayer that the believers should be one in Him. In His High Priestly prayer our Lord said to the Father: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me” (Jn 17:20-23). His prayer was not only for His immediate disciples but for all the believers, to the end of time. That includes you and me. The unity of the Body of Christ is the reversal of the curse that God placed on the world when proud men started building the tower of Babel. God recognized the fact that unity produces strength. But that unity was of the flesh, and it was a provocation to God. This is the story: “The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So, the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (Gen 11:5-8). Please observe that it was the Trinity that cursed that unity of men. God said: “Let Us go down…” God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three separate Persons eternally united into one. The unity of the Spirit is always stronger than the unity of the flesh. At that time, God confused the languages of the people to scattered them. Since then, the people of the world are separated by languages, tribes, traditions, and national identities. The word ‘Babel’ means ‘confusion’. Up till today, the people in the world are all confused and divided. The word ‘confusion’ describes a lot of activity and noise when nobody understands what is happening.
Let us apply this revelation to the family set up. A marriage between worldly people is based on confusion. There is lot of talking and activity, but the husband and the wife talk but do not understand each another. They are one body in the flesh, but they are not one Spirit. They do not have one vision of success for the home. That is why they quarrel. Therefore, they cannot cooperate or help one another. The God who decreed the confusion at Babel, to stop men’s rebellious unity of the flesh, is the same God who reversed that curse and blessed men with peace. “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor 14:33). God is the Author of Peace and true unity of the Spirit in Christ alone. This loving unity of peace is unique. It manifests in the living Churches and in the Christian homes. We are commanded to jealously guard and protect this peculiar unity of the Spirit bought with the Blood of the Son of God. In the area of marriage, the couple does not create the unity of the Spirit. But they are to be careful to maintain it. They should be sensitive to the keep ‘the bond of peace’ between them. During arguments, it is better to lose the battle and keep the peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Honor Him more than your opinions. Every husband should be able to confidently tell his wife: “My dear wife, ‘Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1Cor 11:1)’. To imitate it means to follow closely, to take that person as an example in character, speech, faith, and behavior. This is a spiritual ‘imitation’ and not just an outward behavior. The purpose of this command is to keep the unity of the Spirit. The unity is of the Spirit and not of the flesh. In Nigeria, when going out together, to a celebration, the husband, and his wife dress with the same material so it is easy to identify them as a married couple. This is nice. I like it! But the unity the Bible talks about is of the Spirit, it is internal and not outward. This unity is what the devil attacks most of the time. The devil wants the couple to ignore the unity of the Spirit, and each should become a separate person. They remain married but they are lonely in their marriage. That is a sad home. That is the reason why the married couple should do spiritual warfare. We can never retire from being soldiers for Christ! The couple who has won the victory to maintain the unity of the Spirit is rewarded with supernatural peace and prosperity. Their marriage is not mature, a ministry and an inspiration to many. Have you seen a philharmonic orchestra? They all play their instruments but under the direction of the conductor, there is unity and beauty and power! This is how the Christian marriage should be!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which, you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful…” (Eph 6:10-18)
Spiritual warfare is necessary for a successful Christian testimony and Christian marriage. Concerning spiritual warfare, most Christians go to extremes. Some ignore it and others are overconcerned about it. Wisdom tells us to stay in the middle. This is the test of maturity in a believer: he comes out victorious from each spiritual battle. Selah!
The Bible reveals that there is an enemy of God called Satan, or the Devil. He hates God with a passion. He hates God’s work and wants to destroy it. He attacks the children of God. The devil cannot destroy their salvation, but he can damage their testimonies. He is involved in all backslidings. He attacks the Christian marriages. Directly or indirectly, the devil is involved in all the cases of divorce.
As the Holy Spirit is a Person, the devil is a Person. The devil has a personality. He thinks and he speaks. He is a thief and a liar. He makes plans how to ‘kill, steal and destroy’ (Jn 10:10). The devil attacks all the believers and the married couples. He wants you to forget God, the Bible, prayer, and fellowship of the brethren in the church. He wants you to lie to one another, to keep secrets. He wants you to be angry and unforgiving. He divides the husband and wife in the area of money, sex, and the pattern of raising their children. The devil is the author of all sins of adultery, pornography, divorce, and violence in the homes. All bullying, insults and verbal abuse have the devil behind. To have the victory you need to expose, confront, and fight these sins. You need to draw closer to God and in His name, fight the devil. This fight is to the finish! Child of God, you should fight for your life, for your marriage, for your family! In Christ, the victory is sure! Halleluiah!
Dear believer, on your own you do not have the wisdom or the strength to defeat the devil. He is a master of deception, division, and manipulation. It is only in Christ that we have the strength to defeat the devil. Because our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross, for our sins, the strength to defeat the Devil is found in our union with Christ. The Devil is called ‘the accuser of the brethren’ (Rev 12:10). He was bold enough to accuse the godly man Job before God. He is the one behind all negative words, complains, quarrels, and accusations in the marriage. He is an enemy of your sanctification. The devil knows that sanctification is God’s will for you. He will try to quench your desire to mature spiritually. He will distract you so that you do not study the Bible and you do not pray. Marriage becomes a battlefield. Many people have become skillful in the ‘art’ of quarreling and fighting, thru their marriages. The devil is not an imagination. He is not a joke. He succeeded to deceive and conquer Adam and Eve, the perfect couple created by God. How much more he can hurt us, who are born sinners. Our only Hope is found in Christ alone! That is why we preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected!
What is the solution? Watch, fight, pray, and rejoice! Repent of your ignorance about spiritual warfare and the existence of the devil. Ignorance is a tool of the enemy. For the success of your marriage, you need to watch and pray “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor 2:11). Be careful with the unity of the Spirit in the marriage and in the Church! Unity is strength and maturity! “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace… until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:3, 13; NIV).
Put on ‘the whole armor of God’. Truth is a belt that holds everything together. You need to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Eph 4:15) always. ‘Love rejoices with the truth’ (1 Cor 13:6) and it is grieved by lies! Every lie is a defeat and gives the devil a point of contact into your life and marriage. You need to protect your heart, your emotions with ‘the breastplate of righteousness’. You need to be sure of your salvation, of your imputed righteousness in Christ. If the devil deceives you that you are still a condemned sinner, you will always feel guilty and spiritually weak. You will give up the battle. You need to walk with the shoes called ‘the preparation of the Gospel of peace’. Each time you preach the true Gospel, you walk, and you make progress. With your left hand lift the shield of faith! It is to protect your heart. It quenches the fiery poisonous arrows of the devil: doubt, fear, anxiety, and wicked sinful thoughts. But Faith is stronger than all. All these are defensive weapons designed to protect you during external attacks. The only weapon used to actively attack the devil is called ‘the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God’. With the right hand you lift it and throw it at the enemy. Our Lord defeated the devil in the wilderness with the spoken Word of God. We need to do the same! The Word of God spoken, prayed, prophesied, or preached in the power of the Holy Spirit is the most powerful weapon, able to destroy all strongholds and attacks. Because of the reality of spiritual warfare, all the saints of old prayed without ceasing. This is how they conquered the enemy and set the captives free. This is how they became established as servants of Christ! There is no other way. Pray with faith for yourself, your spouse, your children, your pastors, and for your ministry. Effective prayer is one of the greatest tools of encouragement designed by God. Our God is the Only Living God, and the only prayer answering God! Prayer a gift from King Grace! The more your pray, the greater your courage and boldness shall be! “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Ps 118:15; NIV). This is a prophetic verse we shall apply to our marriages and homes. The Lord’s right hand, the hand He uses in battle, has defeated the enemies of our marriages and homes. As married couples, as parents and children, we shall rejoice. We shall praise God with singing and dancing. Other people will hear and come to Jesus! This is our faith! This is our testimony! Glory to God! Worship the Lord!