MARRIAGE LIVE pt 5: Overcoming Together

Pastor Terry Inman

7-29-12

 

Marriage is under a diabolical siege. Social and political attempts to redefine it are only a recent case of what has been going on for the ages.

There is a dark adversary of everything that God has created for good.    God fashioned and affirmed marriage to be good. He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs.18.22

God reviewed all his creation and declared everything good. The only thing He said was not good was for man to exist unaccompanied. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2.18 (NIV)   

This is not a negative review on men or singleness. God simply wasn’t content with one human being and one gender. The bible says he created blessed and multiplied the plants and the animals. He wanted the man made in his own image to also be productive and prolific!

So he surgically removed some DNA from Adam, made some slight alterations and fashioned Eve. Adam was impressed. “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.”

Therefore a man leaves (releases) his father and mother and embraces (attaches) to his wife. They become one flesh.   Genesis 2.23 (NIV)    

The Marriage of one man to one woman is intended to be a reflection of God and His nature. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Gen. 1.27 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul says Christian marriage is a “mystery” that mirrors the relationship of Christ and His Church. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Eph. 5:31-32 (NIV)

God’s intention for a Christ-centered marriage is that our mutual love and respect will revel his glory in the world. The enemy would like to disfigure that image and strike at God’s finest creation.

Satan targeted the very first marriage. Right after the creation story Genesis three begins with the serpent’s seduction of the first couple.

This cunning schemer spoke to Eve causing her to question God’s instructions. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  The bible says this being was later cursed to crawl in the dirt.

The serpent wanted Eve to think that God was holding out on her and that she was missing out on something. She answered the first part of the question correctly but then things got distorted. She added even more prohibition to what God originally forbidden.   

“We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and (she added) you must not touch it, or you will die.’”  Genesis 3.2 (NIV)

Notice Adam is not in this conversation. They are not responding to this threat together. They are not fully using both of their God given strengths of reason and intuition to deal with this deceptive diatribe.

Most of Satan’s attacks against our marriage begin with distorted beliefs about our selves our needs and God’s intentions to meet those needs.

The serpent raised the argument to a new level of deception and distrust. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”   Gen. 3.4-5 (NIV)

Satan wants us to distrust God and His intentions for our marriage. When we fail to live according to his plan for marriage fulfillment we begin to think the grass in greener in other pastures. Maybe we married the wrong person? Maybe they will never be able to meet our needs?

One of Satan’s common deceptions goes like this. “God loves me and understands me. He is allowing me to entertain this physical or emotional infidelity because my spouse just doesn’t meet my needs any more”.

Here’s another lie I have heard. “God has shown me that my spouse is going to die and this woman or man will be my next lover.” Sometimes people are confused enough say that to someone they are attracted too.

Some are convinced that God is somehow making and exception for their immorality or infidelity because they have not been exposed. That is spiritual blindness caused by selfishness. It will catch up with you.

Did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook?...You’re not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire.  Rom 2.4-5 (MSG)

In his mercy God will not allow us to continue to violate our marriage. “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.” 1Tim. 5.24 (NIV)

The serpent’s lies are subtle. They often begin unrecognized and innocent. The bible says, Satan can appear as an “angel of light”. Jesus said, there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8.44 (NIV)

The bible calls Satan’s war games, “strongholds”. A stronghold was typically a high tower where combatants would fend off and enemy.

Paul uses this military image to talk about destroying Satan’s arguments. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Then he defines “strongholds” as pretentious arguments.    

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 1 Cor. 10:3-6 (NIV)

The metaphor here is from an ancient Greek debate called a diatribe. An argument would be raised and the opponent would systematically attempt to take it down.

Just like the serpent, Satan fills our minds with pretentious or phony arguments that may appear real but they don’t stand up to God’s truth. They are often false perceptions that come as the result of experiences.

Last week we talked about damaging words that stick with us and impact our relationships. We also bring to our marriages the good and bad things we have experienced in our family.

We can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies we may be holding on to concerning ourselves our partners or our marriage. Demolish these strongholds by countering them with God’s truth. The bible says the truth will set you free.

Now let me share with you some common demonic assaults on marriage. Satan is an opportunist. He seeks to get access through our vulnerability. This is typically the result of unattended brokenness or weakness. Let’s look briefly at four things then I want to move toward the solution. 

1. Unhealed wounds

2. Unmet needs

3. Unsuited roles

4. Unresolved conflicts

We all come into marriage with some unhealthy issues from childhood. We have also experienced wounding in one way or another. It is critical that we get some healing and freedom.

The bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psa. 147:3 (NIV)    

We need to take the time and effort to learn about and fulfill each other’s needs. For example the bible says that when we deprive each other of intimacy with become vulnerable to temptation.

"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1Cor. 7.5 (NIV)

Now us guys will probably remember to quote that one to our wives. However we may be depriving our wives of the attention, affection and communication they need to be responsive to sexual intimacy.

One of the best books ever written on understanding and meeting each others needs is, “His needs, Her needs” by William Harley Jr.  “The Five Love languages” is another good one by Gary Chapman. Another one that should be on your list is Love & Respect” by Pastor Emerson Eggerichs.  

Maybe you don’t read that much. Just try asking your spouse what they need in your marriage. Don’t assume you know. Your needs are totally different than your spouse.

Some marriages are compromised by unsuited roles. The bible says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2.18 (NIV)  “Suitable helper or helpmate” has been interpreted as someone corresponding or complementing him.

Too many couples are competing rather that complementing each other. We need to value our differences. My wife says if we are always supposed to agree one of us is not needed. The bible clearly defines diverse marital roles but never promotes domination or suppression of a spouse.

The Apostle Peter says, “Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.” 1Peter 3.7 (Message)

Finally as I mentioned last week one of the most common ways Satan gets a foothold in our marriage is though unresolved conflict.

We don’t know much about Adam and Eve’s relationship. We do know he blamed Eve for his disobedience. It didn’t go well with their offspring ether. Cain murdered his brother Able.

God warned him about his anger but he didn’t listen. “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Genesis 4.6 (NIV)   

We have to master how we deal with anger. The bible says, “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Eph.  4.26 (NIV)

Now let’s conclude with some solutions. Let’s evict Satan from our homes. Ask the Holy Spirit to expose the work of the enemy in your life and your marriage. Where are you vulnerable?  

The bible says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4.6 (NIV) Peter said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”     1Peter 5.8 (NIV)     

We don’t have to be his next victim. Paul says our problem is not really with our partner it’s with an unseen enemy. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6.11-12 (NIV)

Our weapons are truth, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and trust! Renounce the lies he has told you. Repent of the ways you have hurt your marriage. Seek your spouse’s forgiveness. Enjoy reconciliation and rebuild trust. Satan will abandon you and your marriage.

James 4.7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!  Satan hates marriages that reflect God glory!

We can Overcome Together!   They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.  Revelation 12.11(NIV)