The Baptism of Mdm Goh: When Simple Faith in Jesus is More Than Enough!

Mdm Goh BaptismI just returned from baptising an elderly lady, the mother of one of our members. From what I know, Mdm Goh Ah Lan was a very staunch Buddhist. At 82 years old, she was recently hospitalised for a weak heart and failing kidneys. Her condition was serious enough for her to be put into ICU twice! The Discipleship Group visited and prayed for her and I was told there was a presence of God in the room. Soon after, she gave her a life to Jesus. Don’t ask me what language she declared her faith in Jesus in; but she did. Don’t ask me how either. She just did! Two days ago, another pastor visited her and returned to share how sprightly and joyful she is. Chatting with her – she understands a little English – his conclusion was, “There is no doubt she is soundly saved!” Then came the request for baptism – that’s where I got involved.

Asked to perform the baptism in Changi General Hospital, I dutifully made my way there this afternoon. I really didn’t know what to expect, nor how I would communicate with her. I don’t speak Hainanese and she understands only a little English. That said, I had all my questions lined up in mind to ensure she understood what salvation and baptism meant. I was, as you would expect, in teacher mode 🙂

When I arrived, however, things didn’t go the way I expected. I found myself struggling with Hokkien and Mandarin, trying to communicate through her daughter, not a believer, as interpreter. All my well-crafted theological questions went out the door! I simplified everything to one question, “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins?” And even that sounded too much of a mouthful! But the dear lady gamely nodded her head and said, “Yes!” That’s good enough for me, I thought to myself, and proceeded to baptise her in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit! I can’t explain it, but there was such joy and peace on her face. She was visibly excited and thrilled that she was getting baptised, that she was proclaiming her faith in Jesus for all to see.

Communion was next. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I took my time to explain to her family members (non-believers) what the communion meal was all about. I made it a special point to share the gospel as I presented the significance of the elements. I believe it was especially meaningful to watch their mother partake of communion for the very first time. In the conversation that followed, the daughters commented how their mother had become more cheerful and energetic after turning to Jesus.

Sometimes I wonder if being too theological and doctrinal can be detrimental and unproductive when it comes to reaching the lost for Jesus? Quite clearly, Mdm Goh doesn’t understand everything about the Christian faith, much less theological and doctrinal positions of sin and righteousness. Yet, her simple declaration of faith in Jesus was enough. This shows that when the Holy Spirit draws a person to Jesus, there is no need for any argument or discourse at all. He does all the work and we get to participate in the joy of reaping the harvest!

In no way am I saying that there is no longer a need to present salvation accurately. What I am advocating is that we do not fall into a rigidity of a one-method mode of evangelism. Whether reaching out to someone like Mdm Goh or a college professor, we must always remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that through a heart of love and compassion, we may rightly direct them towards reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

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Don’t keep blaming the devil if it’s sin you’re struggling with

Well, Eve did it when confronted by God and so, I suppose we’ve been doing it ever since. In case you’re wondering what this is all about, I am referring to the blame game. Not just the blaming of others, but more specifically, that of the dark side.

“… the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'” Gen 3:13

Today, it’s still happening although in a slightly different form. Thanks to the deliverance ministry, we have a better understanding of demonic operations and how evil spirits (fallen angels) oppress and attack people. Also, in the gospel accounts, we read of Jesus casting out a deaf and dumb spirit (Mark 9:25) and a spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11). However, extending from these teachings, we have conveniently named spirits after every sickness or weakness.

Whilst it is good to be very aware of the spiritual battle we are engaged in, we must also be careful not to swing to an extreme (which we are all prone to do) and ascribe every weakness we struggle with to demonic activity and influence! For example, if you are plain greedy and can’t control your food intake, don’t blame the spirit of gluttony. Or if you can’t get off the computer, casting out the spirit of facebook will do you no good. Similarly, binding the spirit of drama serials won’t stop you from watching episode 318 of your favourite programme.

Forgive my overly dramatic examples, but I’m just trying to make a point and I hope you are getting it. Yes, the spiritual dimension is very real but you cannot pin everything on the imaginary demon you think is hovering over yourself. To do that would be far too easy, too convenient. And yet, we all love to do that because it gets us away from acknowledging personal sin and responsibility! And we hate to admit that because it means owning up to our own faults and weaknesses. More accurately, we don’t like coming to terms with how devastatingly and hopelessly sinful we are! Because if we do, we have to deal with it and it takes too much trouble, too much sacrifice, too much effort, and we’d lose too much face. And so, it’s easier to keep pointing the finger at some spirit which we cannot see. Honestly, if it were that straightforward, I would have cast out the spirit of laziness and the spirit of disobedience from my children long ago.

In majoring in naming and casting out these fancy spirits, we have forgotten about the reality of the power and dominion of sin that operates through our Adamic nature. Make no mistake! Often, the so-called spirit of anger or spirit of lust is nothing but a manifestation of the work of the flesh in your life that you have not dealt with. And before you respond too quickly to blame your fallen sinful state and use that as another cop out, let us not forget that it was precisely for this reason that Christ came to set us free (Rom 6:18), that sin shall no longer have dominion over us (Rom 6:14)! And to deal with the evil spirits, 1 John 3:8 says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” That is why we strive to walk in the Spirit that we give no place to the flesh! For in the Spirit is where the victory is and where we will experience true liberty in Christ!

My dear friends in Christ, whatever you are struggling with, Jesus has done and taken it all at the Cross, disarming all power and principalities (Col 2:15) and securing a decisive victory for us who believe. When Jesus said, “It is finished!”, that was exactly what He meant. It is time you walk in that truth and stop passing the buck, giving demons credit when absolutely none is due to them. Instead, take personal responsibility for your walk as you lay hold of the promises you have in Christ. And to do that means to acknowledge your areas of weakness and failings, repenting and confessing that you may always walk in the light, giving the enemy no ground at all. To do that also means holding yourself accountable to others that they may help you in your times of possible compromise. This is what God’s community is about and it would do you well to get into a church that really means business.

Please, let’s stop this blame game. It’s time to wise up and grow up!

Jesus be the Corner of My Life

Wait a minute! Shouldn’t Jesus be the centre of our lives?!

Indeed, Jesus is to be the centre, and I have no issue with that declaration at all. In fact, the term, “Christ-centredness”, is well accepted in Christian-speak and circles. Even the contemplatives have a discipline called, “Centering Prayer”, a prayer method that develops deeper intimacy with Christ. Symbolically, it helps the believer picture and understand the place of Jesus, and how He is to be involved in every aspect of their lives.

Biblically, however, there is only one direct mention of Jesus being in the centre, and that’s found in John 19:18 – “where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” Not exactly great material for a doctrinal statement, is it?

Perhaps, it’s time to “move” Jesus back to where He really belongs … the corner 🙂

Before you baulk at the thought of relegating our Lord to such an obscure position, consider for a moment, the numerous verses that declare Jesus as God’s precious Cornerstone. Quoting Psalm 118:22 – The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone – Jesus (Matt 21:42), Paul (Eph 2:20) and Peter (1 Peter 2:6) boldly proclaimed the Person and Place of Jesus as God’s precious Cornerstone! And the last I researched, cornerstones are positioned – you guessed it – in the corner.

Let’s consider four key aspects of the cornerstone:

The cornerstone is laid first. Before anything can be built, the cornerstone must be put in place first. The question, “Is Jesus the centre?” is important. But the question, “Is Jesus first?” is critical! So often, we have laid in our lives weak and false cornerstones: dreams, relationships, money, career. And then, we try to fit Jesus in, somehow. If that doesn’t work too well, then too bad. Jesus will just have to left out of the equation. Little wonder then when it comes to important decisions, Jesus and His Kingdom do not come first. This is not to be at all! Jesus must be first and foundational in our lives!

The cornerstone provides the reference point. If we take our cue from worldly desires and pursuits, our choices and actions will follow. If our reference point is what the world says and how the world determines success and prosperity, this will be clearly evidenced in our lives. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to follow Him. And to do that, it means we align our everything with Him and what He stands for! If He is not the cornerstone of our lives, how will we know to seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness? Do we live in reference to Christ, and Christ alone? Or is Jesus only referenced in time of need?

The cornerstone strengthens the walls. When construction finally begins, bricks are laid on and from the cornerstone, and walls are raised up. This is not simply for alignment, but for strength and stability. If we build our spiritual walk upon worldly and popular theology, it might look good for a while, but will it stand the test of time? Is it not interesting that stone buildings that are centuries-old continue to stand firm through wars and devastation, whilst our modern spanky spiffy buildings collapse and fall at the slightest of tremors?

The cornerstone holds up the building. As construction progresses, the cornerstone not only provides strength to the walls, but also holds up the entire building! What we marvel as an architectural feat is grounded upon a humble, obscure, unnoticed stone in the corner! That is what a victorious walk in Christ looks like. People will observe the strength of your life through good and bad times, and wonder how you hold it all together. But it’s not you at all! It’s the Cornerstone that you are built upon: Jesus! The truth is, a life built upon Jesus will weather the toughest of storms and still stand tall and strong!

Let me state once again that I have no issue with the statement, “Jesus be the centre of my life”. However, in making Him the centre, I must be careful that I have not rejected Him as the Cornerstone of my life. Without realising it, I may simply display Him as a centrepiece that is attractive and generates conversation. Without doubt, Jesus is glorious and worthy of all conversation, but that is not the point of debate. The issue is more fundamental and foundational.

Ponder this, if you will: “In today’s popular brand of Christianity, has the centrality of blessings, success and prosperity become synonymous with the centrality of Christ?” If so, it is time to change the refrain and begin to pray, “Jesus, be the Corner of my life.”

Related Post: Jesus be the Santa of my life?

I Am Blessed of God and You Can’t Reverse That!

As a young boy growing up in a Chinese culture, I was taught to always reject any negative word spoken against me, supernatural or not, with the Cantonese words, “Choy! Choy! Choy!” Up until today, I don’t even know what it means at all. It didn’t even occur to me to wonder if Christians should resort to such pronouncements … hey, as long as I was not cursed 🙂

Many years later, as a growing Christian, I was told to say almost the same thing, except it sounded a lot more Christian … “I reject that in Jesus’ Name!” Not wanting to be cursed, I dutifully and diligently applied that teaching. For example, if someone would remark, “Don’t get caught in the rain. You will fall sick.”, I would immediately say, “I reject that in Jesus’ Name!” You may laugh at this silly example but I really believed I could be cursed with falling sick if I didn’t promptly and reject that in the name of Jesus.

Thankfully, my understanding, conviction and position have all changed.

Gal 3:29 tells me that if I am in Christ (and I am!), I am Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise God made to him in Gen 12:1-3.  In that promise, blessings and curses are clearly mentioned. God told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.” It doesn’t take a scholar to decipher what this means at all. Whoever curses Abraham will be cursed! God didn’t ask Abraham to reject anything, or declare anything at all. Instead, God will do everything on Abraham’s behalf! As a faith descendent of Abraham, this applies to me too. How cool is that?!

The clearest account of this in operation is found in Numbers 22-25. The children of Israel (Abraham’s physical seed) was on the move and Balak was terrified that Moab would be defeated next. And so, the leaders of Moab and Midian contract a prophet, Balaam, to curse Israel. Note what God says to Balaam in Num 22:12, “You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” Consequently, in Balaam’s first prophecy, he promptly declares in Num 23:8, “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?” In the second prophecy, he says in Num 23:10, “[God] has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.”

Israel didn’t even know what was going on! Balaam knew that he simply cannot reverse what God had already declared; he couldn’t undo God’s blessings! And if Balaam had cursed them, the Abrahamic Promise would kick in and he, and those whom he represented, would be cursed by God.

When I understood this spiritual dimension and promise, it was so very liberating. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me or about me anymore, whether in front of me or behind my back! In and through Jesus Christ, I have been blessed by God, an heir of the very same promise that God made to Abraham. I simply cannot be cursed by someone else! If anyone is crazy enough to try that, he brings a curse upon himself. If you don’t believe that, go ahead, try it and see if you are not cursed in return 🙂

Now, although there is no need for me to religiously (or superstitiously) reject a curse, I must be careful not to accept one. To accept a curse is to believe to a degree of conviction that what has been pronounced over you is true. For example, someone may say to you, “You are useless and will never amount to anything!” If you know who you are in Christ, let that remark pass. It means nothing at all for you know you are significant in Christ and will be used to God’s glory! God’s truth will prevail over the enemy’s lie. But if you consider it, agree with it, believe and receive it within your spirit, your faith in that declaration will yield its own negative fruit and consequence.

Now, this sounds really good, but I am also promptly reminded that I must watch what I say against another brother or sister in Christ or God’s chosen nation, Israel. The same principle applies. If I bless them, I am blessed. If I curse them, I am … yes, you guessed it … cursed. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will ear its fruit.” Indeed, what I sow, I shall also reap.

With this, we understand why Jesus teaches us to love and to bless no matter how ridiculous that sounds or how difficult it might be. Especially with those within the household of faith, we must always seek to bless and not curse, regardless how we have been hurt or disappointed by them. We must remember that we are all blessed by God and heirs of the promise of Abraham! This is so critical and yet often so lacking in Christian relationship; marriages, in particular. How sad and devastating it is when a husband curses his wife, and the wife in turn curses her husband. No wonder that marriage dies!

Today, I rest in the assurance that I am hidden in Christ, that if God is for me, there is none who can stand against me. It is more profitable for me to meditate upon and appropriate the blessedness of my state in Christ than for me to listen to the lies and condemnations of the enemy, through his agents, and believe, even for a moment, that I might be cursed. Indeed, I bask in the confidence of God’s blessings, cover and protection. I can just hear Him warn my enemies as He did Balaam in Num 22:12, “You shall not curse Henson, for he is blessed.”

A Positive Church Experience Is Nice But Not Enough

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This has become a concern as I interact more with various Christians facing challenges and difficulties in their situations and spiritual walk. In the course of our conversation, I would always ask them where they worshipped at. This would indicate at least three things to me: one, if they belonged to a local church; two, if they are regular in their attendance at this community; and, three, if they are actively involved in the life of this community.

Without prompting, these would proceed to describe their church experience, and it would usually sound like this: “Oh, I enjoy the fellowship. The worship (referring to the time of singing) is wonderful and touches my heart. The messages are really good and I am always blessed by the preaching of the Word. The pastor is very nice and friendly.” In other words, on the surface, everything sounds ok to me … you are blessed and having a great time in this church.

And so, I ask the next question, “Why aren’t you talking to your pastor or church community about this problem you are facing right now?” And almost always, the reasons given do not necessarily line up with the positive church experience described, ranging from “I don’t feel a connection or belonging,” to “I don’t think it would be right to discuss this with my church,” to “My church doesn’t teach us to handle such challenges.”

As I thought about this, I realised something about this rather common occurence: All these may have had a nice, positive church experience. But the main question that must be asked is, “Have these grown in the Lord at all?” Sadly, from what is shared and observed, I don’t think so. This may sound overly harsh, but it is the truth. The scary thing is that these can quite readily quote Scripture and spew Christian slogans as well as any other believer. But they go on living compromised lives, basking in the feel-good messages of God’s love and grace. They are deluded and deceived into thinking that as long as the church experience is positive, they are ok. NO, IT IS NOT!

I believe these are not isolated cases that I have come across in my limited sphere of ministry. Given today’s consumer culture that has crept into the Christian community, more and more are going to church for that feel-good factor. This explains the musical-church phenomenon that is so prevalent amongst believers as they scout for the best speaker, the message, the ambience, the experience, the goose bumps, the worship team, the children’s ministry, the youth ministry, and the menu for Sunday lunch. If they feel good about it, they stay. And if they don’t feel good, it’s time to be ‘led by the Spirit’ to look for another church.

In case anyone misunderstands me, or the point of this article (rant), I am not begrudging anyone of a great time in the community and fellowship of believers. As a pastor, I definitely do not wish for my congregation to be dragging their feet to church, or dreading another Sunday morning, or another sermon preached by yours truly (God forbid!). But more than just a positive church experience, my deepest desire is for each to grow and mature in Christ.

To this end, I am challenging and provoking us all to reflect and ponder more deeply what our faith is really about. Is it just about having a good time, being entertained and feeling good about ourselves? I think not! We have been saved from sin and judgment for a plan and a purpose! Hey, Jesus paid a high price for that! The spiritual journey is about growth and maturity towards the image of Christ. Along the way, we must be meaningfully engaged in the ministry and mission for the sake of Jesus and His Kingdom.

Don’t be fooled that everything is fine just because your church experience is fun and happy-clappy, or if bank accounts are full and life appears good. The Pharisees and the rich of Jesus’ day were all deceived into thinking they were the ones more favoured and blessed of God. We could as easily fall into the same trap.

All said, praise God if you are really enjoying church and Christian fellowship! But don’t stop there. Ponder the following questions, and allow the Holy Spirit to search deep to reveal what is truly in your heart …

  1. Is it primarily all about you, your emotions and your desires?
  2. Have you placed church experience above your relationship with God?
  3. Do you worship God for who He is, or only for what He can do for you?
  4. Is worship defined as a good song that brings tingles and tears, or a response to the awesomeness of God?
  5. Do you know and agree with the vision and mission of your church?
  6. Are you contributing, with God’s help, to the fulfilment of this vision and mission?
  7. Is it just between you and God, or are you connected with others who truly love Jesus?
  8. Are you willing to be held accountable, allowing others to speak the truth into your life?
  9. Is confession and repentance something you do regularly?
  10. Are you a taker or a giver?
  11. Do you ask “what’s in it for me?” or “who/what/where have you called me to serve, Lord?”
  12. Do you enjoy church only for yourself, or do you derive joy from serving God and others?
  13. Do you get upset and think of leaving when things don’t go your way in the church?
  14. Are you following the crowd, or truly being led by the Holy Spirit?
  15. Do you read your Bible? Do you know and abide in the Word?
  16. Are you a hearer and a doer of the Word? Are you applying all you are learning?
  17. Are you one who professes faith with no works to show for it?
  18. Do you only talk Christian but not live Christian?
  19. Are you growing and maturing spiritually?
  20. Are you pursuing a life of holiness by His grace, or presuming upon His grace with a life of compromises and excuses?
  21. Do you love Jesus as King and Lord of your life?
  22. Are you one of the multitude, or are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?
  23. Are you willing to surrender, to yield, to deny yourself, to take up your cross and to follow Jesus?

I’m Surrounded!

Have you ever felt totally and utterly overwhelmed before? You try to keep your head above the water but your mind is just cramped full of details and questions. Try as you might to escape these thoughts, there just seems to be no way out. You are crying out for answers and all you experience is this oppressive sense of the entire room closing in on you! All too soon, you are surrounded and hemmed in by fear and anxiety.

That must have been how Gehazi, felt too when he went for a morning walk with Elisha, only to see the city entirely surrounded by the Syrian army! Immediately, he says to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” It must have been a scary sight! They were totally surrounded by horses and chariots. And it would only be a matter of time before the army closed in on them. However, whilst Gehazi saw and reacted in the natural, Elisha saw something else in the spiritual, and coolly replied, Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16

Gehazi must have wondered, “Hello?! It’s just the two of us. Who else is with us? If we don’t start running, we are dead ducks!” At the request of Elisha, the Lord opened Gehazi’s spiritual eyes and the young man couldn’t believe what he saw … he was still surrounded, but this time, by a far greater number of the Lord’s army, horses and chariots blazing with fire! (2 Kings 6:17)

Whether you are an executive braving the corporate jungle, or a homemaker trying your best to keep your house and children in order, you know what I am talking about. There are just those days when you feel totally surrounded and overwhelmed by the ridiculous demands and pressures of life. You look at the “Syrian army” around you and are so tempted to say, “It’s no use! I’m totally surrounded. I might as well give up!” DON’T!

The enemy wants to keep you in the natural, but you need to understand that the battle is in the spiritual. If your eyes are continually fixed on the problem, it will appear larger and larger until it consumes you! Do you not see that this is the ploy of the enemy? He wants to surround you, to besiege you, to starve you, to weaken you and finally, to kill you.

“‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Instead, ask the Lord to open your eyes that you may see! Ask Him to reveal the truth of His presence and protection over and around you. In Psalm 125:1&2, the psalmist declares, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” (emphasis mine) In Zech 2:5, God Himself declares, “I will be a wall of fire all around [Jerusalem], and I will be the glory in her midst.” YES, people of God, YOU ARE SURROUNDED … not by the enemy … but by the power, by the presence, by the abundance, by the grace, by the love of God!

I know it’s not easy when you are in the midst of a trying time and everything seems to be closing in on you. In the narrowness of that moment, call on the LORD and ask Him to open your eyes that you may have the right perspective to be strong in Him. Learn from the psalmist who said, “I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6&7, italics mine.)

Indeed, if God is for you, who can be against you (Rom 8:31)? Do you not know that the battle is not yours to fight, but the Lord’s? Do you not know that the heavens have been opened over you, that every spiritual resource has now been made available to you in Christ? Do you not know that whatever the enemy throws at you, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God? If not, then ask the Lord to open your eyes that you may see!

As God’s children, the safest and most secure place is in the Father’s arms, where we are constantly surrounded by His everlasting love.

My dear friend, no matter how tough a situation (or a person) may be, nothing is too difficult for the one who places his trust in God. Pray for the Lord to open your spiritual eyes to see Him for who He truly is and that you, being wrapped in Christ and His righteousness, are totally safe in His arms because He surrounds you completely. And then, walk in the freedom and victory He has already secured for you by the precious blood and through the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the cross!

Marriages in Christ

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.

1.  Invitation

“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.

2.  Involvement

 “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.
3.  Instruction

 “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).