This is my first blog post, and I know that right away I might be stirring up a hornet’s nest. But for those who know me, you’ve kind of come to expect me to make a spectacle of myself, right?
So, here goes.
While there are several reasons why those in the world don’t believe God loves them—evil they see in the world, pain they and those they care about experience, other evidences which they interpret as proof of God’s absence—there’s one tool every married believer can use to minister to every person you encounter:
A healthy, growing marriage.
Most of us are familiar with the passage at the end of Ephesians 5 regarding marriage. But I challenge you to read from verse 21 to the end again. No matter which version you use (KJV, NIV, ESV) look for the six phrases like “as to the Lord,” “Christ … the church,” and “the church … Christ.”
A godly, growing marriage is the primary witnessing tool married Christians have today.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand there is scriptural provision for righteous divorce. I understand there are circumstances in which it would be sinful to stay in a marriage (cases of abuse).
But ask any unbeliever. Ask any person, young or old, who thinks that scripture and the church are both hooey (yes, it’s a word). Eventually the subjects of infidelity, adultery, even child abuse within the church will surface. The fact that the divorce rate within the church rivals that outside the church. That many couples who claim to be believers simply can’t stand each other and every one who knows them knows it.
The bottom line? The world doesn’t believe God loves them because they see the condition of our marriages and families. They see that we don’t love each other. That we are unfaithful. That we lie. That we are unkind. That we withhold love, don’t listen, and often relegate our mate to that of last priority.
We, who claim the name of Christ. We, who proclaim God is love, too often aren’t loving to each other. The world sees it. Our kids see it. Our personal testimony suffers and with it the testimony of the church at large.
Do you want to witness to a society that’s bound by lust and hatred, to those who are slaves to their own wounds and pain and ignorance?
Grow your marriage.
Our marriages are supposed to be a living demonstration of Christ and His love.
You want your co-worker, a dear friend, a beloved family member to come to Christ?
Strengthen your marriage.
Our marriages are supposed to show the world the power, passion, and pursuing qualities of God’s love.
You want your children to believe that God loves them? That He can do anything? Heal anything? That His love is powerful and transforming and covers a multitude of sins? That God’s grace is bigger than every sin He knew we’d commit?
CULTIVATE. YOUR. MARRIAGE.
Our marriages are supposed to prove God’s love is present and active in our everyday lives.
Now I’m really going to step on some toes. Prayerfully consider making the following changes, even if only for a season of growth or healing to take place.
The extra money you were going to send to a ministry? Invest it in your marriage: therapy, a retreat, great resources and teaching. The missions trip you were going to take, a whole ten days out of your year? Cancel the trip and give that time to your marriage. The prayer meeting or Bible study you attend every week praying for others and encouraging others? Stop going, and pray for your mate, encourage your mate, instead.
Let those in the world around you, those in your extended family, your children—let them see God working miracles as He works them in you and your marriage. Let them see God’s love in action through how you treat your spouse. Let them see the changes, watch your love grow, and feel the difference of “before” vs. “after.”
That’s proof which cannot be refuted. And when someone asks (or if you’re like me, even when they don’t) you can say “God’s love is real. God’s love grows. And God’s love is for you.”
They might not believe that, but they won’t be able to argue with it.