It is common knowledge that the number of divorces has been on the rise. It used to be that society frowned upon divorces and that kept marriages intact. In the West, the Christian influence within society discouraged divorce. Our traditional Asian culture also discouraged divorce. Today, however, with secularism on the rise, the Christian ethic of the West has been eroded. Our Asian values have also been affected and replaced by Western openness. Although this sounds like a world phenomenon, the staggering truth is that it is also happening in the church. Christian marriages are under attack!
For sure, a church wedding doesn’t guarantee the success of any marriage. We have seen too many Christian marriages end up in divorce. Why is this so? Perhaps, our marriages are only IN church, but not IN Christ! For this to happen, we must first have Jesus IN the marriages and this can take place at one of three levels as we will learn from the familiar account in John 2:1-11.
“Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.” John 2:2
It’s nice to have Jesus present at the wedding or in the marriage. But it’s not going to help very much if Jesus is limited to being a bystander or a spectator; or if He is only invited into certain situations and decisions. The rest of the time, He is no different from the rest of the crowd. Yet, that is what happens in many Christian marriages. The couple may merely desire a church wedding, or for God to bless the wedding. After that, life goes on as usual and Jesus is only invited back in times of trouble or crisis. I hope your marriage isn’t like that.
“And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’” John 2:3,4
Running out of wine at a wedding feast is no small thing for the Jews. It is very embarrassing and a loss of face. In some marriages, the couple is already facing a strain in the relationship but everyone chooses to keep quiet because it is too embarrassing to talk to anyone – it’s a loss of face. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother knew it was time to get Him involved!
To involve Jesus in our marriages means to allow Him full access into our lives, our decisions and our situations. Jesus is given full control of the marriage, beginning with the husband’s and the wife’s own personal walk with Him. Is Jesus involved in your decisions and situations? Do you consult Him on every issue? Do you seek Him for the plan He has for your marriage? Don’t wait until your marriage hits a brick wall before you involve Jesus.
Make no mistake! A Christian marriage is not one where two Christians are involved. A Christian marriage is one where Christ is involved.
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’” John 2:5
Here comes the crunch! Involving Jesus also means being willing to receive and carry out His instructions. This does not mean merely using a few Christian pet phrases and quoting it every now and then. It means total obedience to everything Jesus says in His Word. It is when Jesus is involved and His instructions are heeded that real positive change takes place from the inside out!
What did Jesus say to do? He asked the servants to fill six water pots. Six is always the number of man, signifying human effort. These water pots were used for purification, something which water did on the outside. Often, we can try to work at it on our own, attend marriage seminars and workshops, etc. Not that these are not helpful, but they tend to focus on outward behaviour modification instead of inward transformation.
When Jesus’ instructions were obeyed, He turned the water into wine, firstly signifying an inward cleansing by the blood and then, of even greater significance, the ushering in of messianic abundance! That’s what marriages need today – an inward change that brings in the fullness and abundance of God! Whatever He says to you – love, submit, forgive, be humble, sacrifice – do it!
Three levels of having a marriage in Christ – which level is yours at? Invitation? Involvement? Or Instruction? Don’t let your marriage contribute to the rising divorce statistics. Instead, make a firm decision today to invite Jesus back into your relationship. Involve Him in every area that needs His light and healing. Then commit to obey His instructions that you may see true change from within and experience the fullness of marital life as He has promised (John 10:10).