Covenant Love

This year in church, the pastors have been focusing on whole life stewardship. Earlier they preached on financial stewardship. Today Efrem started preaching on relational stewardship.

Marriage was the topic of the day, since that's the first human relationship created in the Bible (before God created other familial relationships, friendships, even the church, He created marriage. Marriage is the place where God first wants humanity to see and experience His love). There's been a lot of discussion about marriage in recent years. Very little of it has been helpful. We can't really enter into a discussion until we know what marriage is. I know not everyone is going to have the same understanding on this. My understanding is that when God created man, He said:

"It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24, NIV)

Pastor Efrem pointed out that "for this reason" refers back to God's mandate in Genesis 1:28 to "be fruitful and multiply." That doesn't mean to have a lot of kids, but to multiply who God is in this world, to spread God's fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, justice, etc.).

Marriage wasn't ruined when the gay rights movement came on the scene. Marriage was ruined long before that. Evangelical Christians have had a divorce rate the same as the rest of the world for decades (over 50% fail). Marriage was ruined when the serpent duped Adam and Eve into believe it was about them instead of about God.

Marriage has never been a place to get our own needs met. A marriage where one spouse thinks that getting marriage will rectify their shortcomings or heal their wounds or meet all their needs won't work. Marriage isn't about us; it's about God. That's why He so often uses the image of a bride and bridegroom when referring to the church's relationship with Him. God is about covenant love (His love for us will never change); he created marriage to be about Covenant love. Very little can go well until we get marriage right.

And since it's Mothers' Day, I'll close by thanking my mom for giving me an example of what that love can look like. Like any mother, mine wasn't perfect all the time, but she did a good job of loving us, loving Dad and loving God. I love you, Mom.

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