DAY 1 - INTRODUCTION: A PERSONAL JOURNEY
The focus of this study is the design for marriage from God’s perspective, which makes sense, because He is the One who created man and woman to unite in this holy union. Our title, Marriage is a Ministry, communicates our belief that the foundation for a successful marriage requires a ministry mindset. Both husband and wife are now in the ministry, ministering to each other with God’s intended purposes and goals. God did not put us here on planet Earth expecting that we would figure out marriage on our own. The Bible, God’s Word, contains complete information to guide us in all areas of the relationship.
In His Word, God shows us not only His purposes for marriage, but also how to establish a foundation for successful marriage. Through this study, you will learn the nature of true love, mankind’s greatest companionship need. And beyond that, you will discover other companionship needs unique to a husband or wife because, as you know, men and women are different. Aren’t we? By now, experience should have taught us that we are not just physically different, but also very different emotionally.
Understanding what God’s Word says about companionship needs is foundational; without this, we are left to our own ideas of what we need, or what we expect from another person. The attitude, “I think ______ is what I need”, produces many non-biblical expectations of what we believe a wife, or husband, is supposed to give in the marriage relationship, and then we find ourselves in trouble. Only as our true, God-given companionship needs are identified, and met according to His plan, will we experience fulfillment in marriage.
Before this study concludes, you will learn vital information about Priestly Leadership. This is a God-given role for the husband, but equally important information for wives. Ladies, be inspired by the pivotal importance of your biblical role, which is to support your man in the ministry that God has anointed him to fill at home. By doing this, you will help your husband succeed, and help him believe that he can, by God’s grace, become a godly leader and trust God to supply all that he needs for success.
God wants to show Himself faithful; He loves showing off, He really does. He wants people to see His goodness, to glorify Him through marriage so that others who are struggling will pause and wonder, “What have they got that we don’t?” God is calling us to be a light in this dark world.
Marriage is a Ministry has solutions for your problems, answers to those questions you have been tossing around in your thoughts. If you have been born into God’s family through salvation in Jesus Christ, He calls you His child, and has put His Holy Spirit within you to teach you from His Word, the Bible. You have all that is needed for success. Your part is to desire to fulfill His will in your marriage. This is the formula for reaping the blessings of God; do not lose heart and continue to press on.
Galatians 6:7–9, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
After years of counseling, I have observed that most Christians are ignorant of what God’s will is for them in marriage.
DEPEND ON GOD
God wants you to be fully assured that He can provide whatever you need. As you read the following verses, claim His promises in faith.
2 Peter 1:3-4, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Peter says that God has given us “all things that pertain to life”, which includes all the necessary tools for building a biblical marriage. Our instruction is God’s Word and, as it promises in verse three, it is by “HIS divine power” that we will succeed.
Our source is “His divine power”: power is dunamis (Greek), which translates as dynamic strength, or ability to do what only God can do.
When we are born again by faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14), and the power that raised Jesus from the dead begins working in us (Eph. 1:19-20). But do not fail to notice that all this can only be accessed “through the knowledge of Him.”
We partake of the divine nature and promises “through the knowledge of Him”: knowledge is epignosis (Greek), which means thorough participation in acquiring knowledge.
Knowledge of Christ powerfully affects the believer, and comes only through salvation and abiding in Him and His Word. To abide means “to dwell in” and indicates more than just head knowledge, or having an intellectual understanding of Jesus. It means receiving the Word as truth, and then being obedient.
It is important to understand that as we abide in Christ, we not only gain knowledge that can change us, we also qualify for “great and precious promises” from a God who is 100 percent faithful. And, as a “partaker of the divine nature,” you truly have access to supernatural wisdom and strength for your marriage, according to His promises.
Write out what God promises in these Scriptures:
Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
How do these truths affect your attitude or disposition toward your marriage?
What principles do you see in these Scriptures, and what is promised to you?
Galatians 6:7–9, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
2 Peter 1:3–4, "…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Now, considering your own marriage, are the methods you are using as a couple, your attitudes, expectations and communication, all based on biblical principles? Typically, people copy the good things their parents did, throw out the bad and make up the rest. So, most of our choices are based on personality and past experience. Since both husband and wife did not have the same types of examples, each brings a past into the present, and then they wrestle through trying to work out a mutually acceptable approach to marriage. But mutuality is never achieved because of their different personal viewpoint, and many destructive habits can be formed along the way.
Understanding all this, we should be eager to learn the first key principle for an effective marriage: It is essential to depend on God’s Word. Such logic as, “I thought if I was doing the job better than my parents, my marriage would be better than theirs,” is not uncommon, yet is not a foundation for success. The foundation on which marriage must be built is the Bible, and the process for success is application of God’s wisdom. And God wants each spouse to know that He has provided all the necessary information and grace to “anyone” who truly desires to do His will.
What does God say in these verses about following Him, or following your own wisdom?
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
In this Scripture, Paul gives a command to WALK a certain way, on a certain path:
Colossians 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
How are we supposed to walk? If you are walking that way, how will it affect your marriage relationship?
Paul makes an important comparison in verse 8. He says BEWARE, which literally means “be-aware and continue to be-aware”.
Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
What is the danger? What is the source of this danger? According to this Scripture, what do we need to beware of?
Where should we be getting our information, wisdom, or instruction?
These verses are filled with examples of possible consequences. Identify and list them, both the good and the bad.
Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Colossians 1:10, “…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
Colossians 3:17, " And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Apart from God’s Word, power and wisdom, we cannot be the spouses God desires us to be. If you have any doubt about being a child of God, turn to Appendix B: “Committing Your Life To Christ” and follow the guidelines from His Word on how you can come into His family.
Believing that God created man and woman, and that He is the designer of the marriage relationship, let’s go to the very beginning of the Bible to learn about His will for us as husband and wives.