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Marriages often become disillusioned because we start to believe things that simply aren’t true. When that happens, we start to run FROM our spouse instead of TO them. We start to blame them instead of taking ownership for believing myths about marriage that aren’t true.

We build on the wrong assumptions and foundation then wonder why it didn’t produce what we dreamed it would be.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the ROCK. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the ROCK. (Matthew 7:24-25)

The goal is to build our relationships on the ROCK instead of sand. Storms are coming in your relationship! It isn’t a matter of IF but WHEN.

Below are four myths about marriage that can cause us to build our relationships on sand. One of the first things we must do is IDENTIFY the lie so we can REPLACE it with the truth.

Myth #1: Marriage is a 50/50 proposition.

Many people view marriage like a contract. I signed a contract on the lease for our house. There is nothing positive about a contract. It is nothing more than a list of what will happen if I don’t hold up to my end of the bargain. Marriages are often set up this way. We make a list in our minds of what we will or won’t do based upon the actions of our spouse.

We view marriage more like a contract instead of a covenant. A covenant is when I said “I DO” I meant it! A covenant goes ALL IN regardless of the response of the other person. A covenant loves you on your worst day. Anyone can love someone who loves them. It takes someone empowered by God’s Spirit to love someone when they least deserve it and need it the most.

That is what Jesus did for us. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Not while we had it all together. Not while we were worthy of it. He came and did what we couldn’t do so we could experience a relationship we can’t live without! It was an ALL IN love.

Real marriage is loving your spouse when they don’t deserve it and when they least expect it. The best way to do this is to remember this is exactly how God loves you. The very least we could do is extend to others what God has already extended to us.

Myth #2: Everything good in our relationship will automatically get better.

The honeymoon isn’t over when you celebrated for a few days after your wedding. The honeymoon is over when you wake up one day and realize you married a real imperfect person. We marry an image of a person only later to discover we actually married a REAL person. When you are dating, you are putting your best foot forward. When you are married, the real person comes out.

They say when you are dating opposites ATTRACT but when you get married opposites ATTACK. The very things that drew you to someone can be the very things that drive you crazy once you are married!

Marriage is best spelled W-O-R-K. Marriage is incredible but it takes work! You do not have an awesome marriage in a day but by what you do DAILY. It doesn’t automatically get better. Without constant attention, marriages drift. With purpose and intention, marriage can be incredible!

WORK at it. It is WORTH it. Future generations in your family tree can be impacted by the DAILY decisions you make to work at your relationship.

Myth #3: My Spouse will complete me.

There is so much pressure in our society to find Mr. or Mrs. “Right.” We begin to idolize and obsess over the need to find someone to complete us. News flash – two imperfect people coming together does NOT make a perfect union! If you are single, the good news is you don’t need someone to complete you.

A spouse is not meant to complete you but to complement you! Only God can complete you. “…God lives in us and His love is made COMPLETE in us.” (1 John 4:12)

What we idolize we will eventually demonize. No one but GOD can meet and exceed every expectation you could ever need in a relationship.

Stop running to a person to fill a need only God can fill. Your spouse can’t complete you, but they can complement you and help bring out the best in you.

Myth #4: My Spouse is to blame for the majority of our problems.

The blame game is old as the garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The man blamed the woman. The woman blamed the serpent. The serpent blamed God.

Marriage doesn’t create problems. It REVEALS them. “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war WITHIN you?” (James 4:1)

We believe the lies that our spouse is the problem so we need a new spouse. A new spouse or relationship won’t work. You must first look in the mirror and deal with what is WITHIN you.

You can go through all the relationships you want and blame others for them not working out. There is only one common denominator in all of your relationships – YOU!

Hope can enter the equation when we stop blaming our spouse and cry to God saying, “Lord, change me!”

Sand or The ROCK?

I pray you can bust through these myths and discover relationships the way God intended.

Identify the lies. Replace with the truth. Build on the ROCK.

 

holding hands
We are currently in a relationship series at Elevate Church. It’s one of those topics you could do every Sunday because we ALL need help for our relationships. You can’t live on this planet without being in relationship. At the end of the day, we are the sum total of our relationships.
The problem in most relationships is not that fights occur. There will be fights, arguments, and disagreements. After all, you did marry a human being. Two imperfect beings coming together doesn’t make a perfect union. All couples fight IN their relationships. Few truly fight FOR their relationships.
Susan and I can both be pretty stubborn people. We’ve had our fair share of heated arguments. One of the biggest differences and what’s helped us over the years is fighting FOR our relationship. Neither of us are content with surviving in marriage. We don’t always get it right, but we strive to have a relationship that thrives instead of simply making it through another day.
Maybe you are ready to throw in the towel. Maybe you have already settled and thought “this is just the way it’s going to be.” No, it doesn’t have to be that way!
One of you or both must choose today to begin fighting again.

Here Are Three Ways You Can Fight For Your Marriage Today:

1) On Your Knees.

It’s time to fight like a man – a man of God. It’s time to fight like a woman – a woman of God. Grab each other’s hand and get on your knees together. Cry out and ask God to do what you can’t do on your own. If your spouse won’t, then start today and get on your knees and pray for your spouse. God can do more in a moment than you could ever do in a lifetime of nagging or manipulation.
2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” When you don’t know what to do or where to go, it’s time to drop to your knees! It’s time to say, “God, I can’t but YOU can!”

2) By Faith and not feelings. 

Your feelings will lie to you. Your feelings will tell you – you are better off with someone else, nothing is ever going to change, the grass is greener on the other side, etc. Don’t believe the lies!
IN CHRIST – you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4), God will complete what He has started in your life and marriage (Philippians 1:6), He has promised you a HOPE and a FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11).
When Jesus enters the equation, your best days are ahead and what was impossible now becomes possible through Him!
Love includes feelings but is more than a feeling. Choices lead. Feelings follow. Sometimes the best way to love is by faith. Your feelings will eventually follow. Don’t ride the roller coaster of feelings. Live and love by faith.

3) In the Spirit and not the flesh. 

My flesh has gotten me in trouble over the years. I’ve said things I shouldn’t, done things I regret, and I’m sure much worse. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Whose relationship wouldn’t be better with these in them?!  This is a by product of being filled with God’s Spirit. It is something you must yield to every day. It’s humbly coming to God and saying I’ve tried it my way but now I want to do it your way. The pathway is surrender. Surrender your bitterness, anger, regrets, and anything else that is holding your relationship back from all God has.
Believe it or not, God cares more than you could ever imagine. He wants to provide hope and healing but you must let Him.

Never Forget This 

If you want what few have you must be willing to do what few do!
All couples fight IN their marriage. Few fight FOR their marriage.
Fight today and every day FOR your relationships. The greatest thing you can do for your kids and grandkids is have a healthy marriage. The greatest thing you can do for future generations of your family tree is fight FOR your marriage. It isn’t about just what happens today. Future generations will be impacted by your choice today to fight FOR your marriage.

It is WORTH the FIGHT.

What are some of the other ways you fight FOR your marriage?

All throughout life we face things that make us say “Why Bother?”

– You take a stand in your world, and it seems to have no effect.

– You pray for an unsaved or wayward loved one, but there is no change.

– You spend a lot of time & effort seeking to help someone who turns against you.

– You do good to someone, & there is no return.

– You strive to keep a testimony before an unsaved mate who only grows more difficult as time goes by.

– Or even when it comes to daily tasks of emptying the dishwasher or washing clothes. It can get so exhausting that we begin to say – “why even bother any more?!”

In Luke 5, Peter had an instance where it seems that nothing made a difference and he was getting no where.

He fished all night and caught nothing! I’m sure he thought, “Why Bother?”

Luke 5:5 says, “Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night & haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. 

The phrase that makes all the difference – BECAUSE YOU SAY SO.

If I had fished all night & caught nothing, I would be selling my nets, not washing them to get ready to go out again!

True fishermen DON’T QUIT.

Doing this went against everything Peter had been trained to do. Jesus was asking him to do something that didn’t make sense and others thought was crazy but he did it any way.

Peter knew something that we forget. When our Master says to do something, the best response is – BECAUSE YOU SAY SO I will trust and obey.

You will NEVER regret putting God FIRST.

Luke 5:6 says, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”

FAITH is the bridge between what is and what could be.

WHEN they had done so.” Not when they prayed so, or believed so, or thought so, or argued so.

The miracle didn’t happen until Peter took action!

Verse seven says, “So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come & help them, & they came & filled both boats so FULL that they began to sink.

God steps in when we step out.

Keep throwing the net out. Keep building what He’s called you to build.

God is in the net breaking, boat sinking, life transforming, and miracle working business!

Why Bother? BECAUSE HE SAID SO.

WHEN you do so, don’t be surprised when God steps in to do the impossible.

Here are three voices that can keep us distracted. Today, I want to share about the one voice that really matters. There is only one voice that matters for all of eternity. There is only one voice of approval that matters. There is only one voice of significance that matters. The Voice that matters most:

The Voice of our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 3:16-17 says,  “After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened & he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove & settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Before his public ministry. Before people were healed. Before the blind could see. Before thousands were fed on a hillside. Before the WORK, God reminded His Son and reminds us – we already have His affirmation.

We don’t work FOR His approval. We work FROM the approval we have already been given.

Before you win or lose, God has turned his face toward you and He is pleased.

When you know where to look and whose voice to listen to our lives become less complicated.

I have nothing to prove because I am already approved.

Never forget this – In Christ, WHO you are matters so much more than WHAT you do!

God’s Voice is so powerful that He literally only needed to SPEAK the world into existence. (Genesis 1)

God’s voice is also like a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12-13) He gets close enough to us to have a relationship with His children.

God is always speaking. Will you take time to listen?

Revelation 3:20: “Look! I stand at the door & knock. If you hear MY VOICE & open the door, I will come in, & we will share a meal (communion) together as friends.

You already have His affirmation. Stop and take time to  LISTEN for what is already yours.

God is ALWAYS speaking. We rarely take time to LISTEN to His voice.

Where are you facing a dead end right now? Financial, emotional, relational? It may feel like a wall, but it’s not really a wall. It is a door.

God can see a path that you don’t know about!

Jesus said it best – “My sheep listen to my VOICE; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

 

Trust His VOICE & Follow His Way.

What voice should I listen to? What voice really matters the most? We are talking through these things the next few weeks at Elevate.  I believe one of the most important things we can do is learn how to stop and listen to the right VOICE.

Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my VOICE; I know them & they follow me.”

Sheep had to listen to the voice of their shepherd because they aren’t very smart and can’t see far. That is one of the reasons followers of Jesus are often referred to as sheep. We aren’t as smart as we think we are and we can’t see into the future like we think we can.

Why this is SO important: The VOICES we follow will determine where we are going.

Notice I said follow not just listen. Some people are following in a direction today based on things that were said to them or about them years ago.

The reason it can become so hard to hear the ONE VOICE that matters is because of other voices we listen to every day.

THREE voices we listen to instead of the ONE Voice that Matters Most:

1) The voice of our enemy.

John 10:10 says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal & kill & destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich & satisfying life.” Make no mistake about it – you have a REAL enemy that wants to steal your joy, kill your witness, and ultimately destroy your life.

Revelation 12:10 refers to Satan as the great ACCUSER.  Satan wants you to think before you sin that what you are about to do is “no big deal.” Then after you sin, He accuses and convinces you that it is a BIG deal and God will never forgive you or can’t use you.

The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin bringing you closer to God. The voice of the enemy is SHAME and condemnation wanting to pull you further away from God.

2) The voice of other people.

John 12:43 says, “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”

The quickest way for us to forget what God thinks of us is to obsess over what others think about us.

– Paul knew to follow Christ He would have to give up the praise of people. Galatians 1:10 says, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

Life has to be about MORE than how many “likes” you get on Instagram or how many people follow you on Twitter.

Seeking the praise of people can lead to pride. Pretty soon we forget we were made from dirt & rescued from sin!

Seeking praise of people can lead to discouragement when we don’t receive from others what we think we deserve.

Seeking praise from people can be utterly exhausting. Constantly living under the pressure of what others think of you.

The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. That is a fact! So if you need to brag, brag about that. If you get down, remind yourself once again that God is pleased with you because you are His child. (Period!)

3) My own voice.

Isaiah 53:6 says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
 We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
”

If I am honest, I can be my own biggest obstacle to the destiny God has for me.

We can blame Satan or other people all day long. The bottom line is we often are our own worst enemy.

We get so caught up in what is WRONG with us that we miss what is RIGHT about God. We get caught up in our own MESS that we miss our SAVIOR. We focus on what we FEEL about ourselves instead of what we KNOW about God.

What voices are you listening to today?

Make sure you choose to listen to the right VOICE. It will no doubt determine where you end up one day.