Together Forever Vol.6

 

Thank God for Easter

Dear friends, Easter reminds us of God’s plan for the salvation of man. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on Jesus and the humiliation He was subjected to on that cross for you and me. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to identify with His suffering, no matter what you might be experiencing in your marriage right now. Jesus did not remain on the cross forever, neither did He remain in the Tomb beyond God’s appointed time. That incredible, power that brought Him up from the dead is available to us. No wonder Paul prayed, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable with His death.”

 

 

The Royal Exchange

When Christ hung on that cross, an exchange took place. The Lord laid on Him (who knew no sin) the iniquity of us all, and imputed on us, His righteousness. Not only did Christ pay for our punishment, but also, He clothed us with his righteousness and made us “complete in Him” who is the head of all principalities and power.

 

Therefore, no matter what the enemy may be speaking to you about your marriage; no matter what you may be experiencing with your spouse at this time, remember that we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our troubles. Going to that cross wasn’t easy for Him at all. Remember how He wrestled in the Garden? The Bible says the prospect of what He was going to face on that cross was so daunting that He wrestled in prayer to the point of producing great drops of blood. Yet the Bible declares that whatever may be happening in your marriage right now, you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

 

Resist the Devil

When Jesus told His disciples what was going to happen to Him, how He would suffer in the hands of evil men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day, the devil attempted to use Peter as an evil intermediary – to stop Jesus from fulfilling the purpose for which He came. Let’s read this Biblical account in  Matthew 16: 21-24 - “from that time forth Jesus began to show His disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death. Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way (an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me); for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men” (Amplified Bible).

 

Jesus actually called Peter ‘Satan’. I would to God the Holy Spirit would open our spiritual understanding to be able to comprehend what this could mean to each of us. Before I explain this any further, I’d like to remind us of the role that the enemy Satan, played in the fall of man. The Bible puts it this way (Gen. 3: 1-7): “Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he (Satan) said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.

 

 

Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles.” (Amplified Bible)

 

Eve had no business entertaining the devil in the first place. If she had resisted the devil, the world wouldn’t find itself in the present situation. The Bible does not say we will not be tempted or tried in our marriage relationships. That is why when we were making our marriage vows, we committed ourselves “for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health.” This vow suggests that the journey through marriage is often not a smooth one. There will be trials and tribulations. Hence the Bible tells us to “count it all joy when (we) fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trial of (our) faith works patience…” James 1:2-3

 

Jesus Himself was tested and tried “in all points, as we are”, yet He did not sin. When the devil tried Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus RESISTED THE DEVIL. He used the word with authority - “IT IS WRITTEN.” And when tried in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing this was what He was called to do, He willingly submitted to the will of the Father. There are quite a few lessons for us to learn here. One of them is that we must learn to distinguish between the temptation of the devil to cause us to sin or walk in disobedience, and the trial of our faith. Whilst we are to RESIST THE DEVIL, and he would FLEE FROM US, the trial of our faith, of our stand in our marriage, and our relationship with God, must produce STEADFASTNESS, PATIENCE and HOPE. The Bible says our patience must have “its perfect work”.

 

The Key

Beloved, the Bible says that because our faithful High Priest, Jesus, has gone through these trials and temptations, He understands how we feel, and is able to give us grace to overcome. If we are to succeed in overcoming the trials we face in our marriage, we must learn from Jesus’ example. How did He overcome the devil in the wilderness? He used the word –

 

 “IT IS WRITTEN.” Dear friends, how much do we use the WORD OF GOD against the devil when we are tempted in our marriages? When the devil first suggests the idea, for example, to end the marriage, do we entertain him like Eve, or resist him like Jesus?

 

We all know that it is in our thoughts that the “battle” first begins; and as we entertain these thoughts, they grow and produce fruits of unrighteousness.

 

Again the devil can come to us through the suggestions of very close friends and associates like Peter to Jesus. Peter tried to stop Jesus from fulfilling the will of the Father – the Eternal plan of Salvation. He was being sympathetic; trying to show Jesus how much he cared for Him. “NO, Jesus, you wouldn’t go through all that suffering”. Is that not how some of our friends, family members and acquaintances try to talk us out of our marriage relationship? And look at this same Peter who cared so much; before A LITTLE MAID, he denied Jesus – I DON’T KNOW THIS PERSON. May the Lord help us in Jesus’ Name. We need to be careful about listening to people, “sympathisers”, like Peter, who would like to talk us out of our marriages. Their suggestions come in different forms: “You don’t need to put up with that”; I wouldn’t take that if I were in your shoes”…etc. What we need to do with such suggestions is what Jesus did with Peter’s “ get thee behind me” – the “cup” which my Father gives me to drink, shall I not drink it?

 

God is the originator of marriage; it was His idea that it wasn’t good for man (or woman) to be alone. Jesus said (Matthew 19: 4-6), “He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this reason a man shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh… So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate)” (Amplified Bible).

 

Jesus reminded the people that it was by reason of the “HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS” that Moses suggested giving a bill of divorcement. But in the beginning, it wasn’t so.

 

Safe Landing

Dear friends, we may not have the promise of a smooth ride, but we are assured of a SAFE LANDING. God promises that He will be with us when we pass through the waters, and through the rivers. He assures us that even if we walk through the fire, we shall not be burned (Isaiah 43: 2). So beloved, whatever you may be going through in your marriage, hang in there, and trust the Lord to bring you supernatural deliverance, in spite of what others may say to you.

 

Together Forever Series
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© 2014 Ngozi Okike