Monday, February 6, 2012

Does Your Marriage Have Issues?

The message at my church (Healing Waters) this past Sunday was about the woman with the issue of bleeding for 12 years (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48). As the woman pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus, she was healed.

I believe just like this woman, many marriages suffer from ongoing issues. For many, the issues are prolonged and seem to get worse rather than better over time. Some marriages even get to a point in which the issues are elevated over the relationship. You might even say the issues take on a life of their own.

Essentially, your problems are magnified and the relationship with your spouse is minimized.

I thought it was incredibly powerful that Pastor Dennis also spoke about laying down idols during the same service. Anything that is elevated above your relationship with Christ can take the form of an idol. He said the thing you fear the most becomes an idol because it takes preeminence over the fear of the Lord. Your job, your car, your boat, your relationships, or anything you fear losing can become an idol.

I began reflecting again how this could be applied to marriage. I believe if we surrender anything to God, He will heal it and make it whole again. Could it be that many marriages suffer because our issues have been elevated to idols? Although this may seem like a strange notion, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you center your life around these issues?

  •  Does your identity and self worth depend upon whether these issues are resolved?

  • Does your spouse feel like you place more importance on the issues than the relationship?

Issues are cyclic in nature. The issues you, yourself experience will trigger issues in your spouse, which will in turn trigger more issues in you. Just like the lady who bled for 12 years, it can be incredibly draining on the life source of your relationship. Perhaps you feel like your marriage has spiraled into hopelessness, and no one understands what you are going through.

Jesus longs to heal the issues in your marriage. Mark 5:34 says, "And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." God is looking for you to have faith. Faith that is not based on how emotionally drained or defeated you feel. He wants your faith to rise in spite of everything you are facing.

It is interesting that the woman bled for 12 years. Twelve is a number that represents "government," or more specifically, God's divine government. The ancient Greek word for government is politeia. The Greek-English Lexicon says that a meaning of politeia is "the conditions and rights of the citizen, or citizenship." Philippians 3:20-21 says, 20 "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

As Christians, or citizens of heaven, we must exercise the "rights" that flow from Jesus Christ. A citizen is given rights, but essentially the citizen must make the choice to exercise those rights. God's divine government operates through grace. The woman who bled perpetually was considered an unclean outcast under the law. No remedy was available to this unclean woman under the law. II Corinthians 3:6 says, "who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." The woman realized by revelation of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was the solution she longed for. She allowed God to take authority and rule over her issues.

I believe many marriages end in divorce because the spirit of the law governs above the Spirit of grace. Shame and condemnation result from unfulfilled expectations that are set by our own unachievable perfectionistic expectations. Surrender the issues in your marriage so that God can heal them. Choose to embrace grace, and choose to love your spouse, flaws and all. Focus on the intimacy of your relationship and watch your issues dry up!


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