I’ve performed hundreds of weddings and done way too much marriage counseling. Though I’ll stay the course, I admit I’ve toyed with the idea of not doing it anymore. Why? I’m weary of perjury. Read on—C.S. Lewis’ observations just may save your love.
“Justice…includes keeping promises. Now—everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death… To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride or bridegroom or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price—that is, they were imposters, they cheated. If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them—who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest—their promise—already made—constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice—not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep. It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another—unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.”
Marriage’s forgotten glue is the truth of the promises heartily declared in front of witnesses and God. We still musn’t take the Name of the Lord in vain—which has everything to do with vows and little to do with profanity. Tragically, the value of a couple’s wedding vows have so diminished that their promises need only hold until one decide’s they shouldn’t anymore. Even the witnesses to the “I do’s” merely see themselves as guests and no longer as a threat of mass accountability. When people operate by any lesser truth than that of God’s immutable Word, integrity has no constraints and accountability holds no terror. The proof is in the perjury.
Actor Peter Graves, when asked how his 50-year marriage lasted so long, forcefully replied, “We promised!”
Yes, we did.
“Jesus loves us not because we’re good, but because He’s Jesus.” —Pastor Kevin Green
We can’t escape this fact anymore than God can escape Himself. Jesus loves broken people like us because He does as He is, and for no other reason.
That is tremendous.
“Many years ago I asked the Lord why He called me to ministry and He answered me very clearly. He said, “This is how you will worship Me, and bring Me glory...” —Pastor Roger Ullman
What is your calling? Not sure? What do you love to do that benefits and blesses others? That’s a much easier question to answer. And that’s your calling, and it’s your spiritual gift—given to you to happily give away to others. It’s how we worship God, and it’s how we glorify Him in this messy world.
Give ’em heaven.
“Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, they reject the Bible because it contradicts them.” —Paul Harvey
“My truth” is just another way of saying “The real thing offends me.” Actually, the real thing saves you, and it’s plain as the print on the page.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked…is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself—the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also (except in rare moments of grace) beyond our desiring…” —C.S. Lewis on the Sermon on the Mount
Revel in this, for there is nothing greater—then go love others the same way He loved you.
(It’s okay—He will help.)
Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006
Back from ministry in Ireland—high time for another great quote.
Jesus prayed for all His future followers—us—that we may be “one” as He and His Father were one. What did He mean? What should we do? C.H. Spurgeon had an idea…
“Are you alive by the life of Christ? Does God dwell in you, and do you dwell in him? Then, my dear brother, give me your hand. Never mind about a thousand differences if you are in Christ and I am in Christ, we cannot be two—we must be one. Let us love each other with a pure heart fervently. Let us live on earth, as those who are to live together a long eternity in heaven. Let us help each other’s spiritual growth. Let us aid each other as far as possible in every holy, spiritual enterprise, which is for the promotion of the Kingdom of the Lord; and let us chase out of our hearts everything that would break the unity that God has established. Let us cast from us every false doctrine, every false thought of pride, of enmity, of envy, of bitterness, that we, whom God has made one, may be one before men, as well as before the eye of the heart-searching God. May the Lord bless us, dear friends—as a Church, make us one, and keep us so; for it will be the dead stuff among us that will make the divisions. It is the living children of God that make the unity; it is the living ones that are bound together. There will be no fear about that—Christ’s prayer takes care of us, that we shall be one…” —CHS
It’s not an ideal—it’s just what He asked His Father to do with us. No wonder He taught us to pray “Thy will be done”.
“Let God be responsible for the consequences of your obedience.”
“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”
Obedience is your sermon. Preach away.
Have a great Sunday!