Monday, March 30, 2009

We're SO Different!

"God's plan is for great diversity, but with no division in the body of Christ. The same is true in the marriage relationship. Think of yourself and your spouse as two puzzle pieces fitting together. God created us to complement or complete each other. That's one purpose of marriage.

A second purpose is to place us in a situation in which change is demanded.

Our differences _when understood, appreciated, and allowed to be used by God - are those things God created for the great purpose of conforming us to the image of His Son (or, as Proverbs puts it, to sharpen one another). What do you get when iron rubs against iron? Heat. Sparks fly. But if the pieces are rubbed in the right way, they inevitably sharpen each other."

This quote comes from a book, Opposites Attract by Jack and Carole Mayhall. It's been a great reminder for Bev and I as we work through issues and in particular the place of the gospel in our marriage. Too often our differences become the problem and we end up attacking rather than sharpening each other.

What if we truly believed our differences were actually ordained of God for the purpose of growing us in Jesus personally as well as corporately? If we believe God is sovereign then that means He brought us together with our differences intentionally. He wants to do something to and with us that is more important than us. We "get on each other's nerves" not because God is out to make us miserable but to make us more like His Son.

I think we give up too soon.

It's hard work. Who wants to admit to sin and pride? It's easier to put up with or tolerate our spouses than to put on Christ and learn from them.

The Apostle Paul had great concerns for how the gospel was to honored among those who claimed the name of Jesus. Romans 12 is a clear picture of Paul's passion for the honor of Christ personally and relationally. For example when he says in Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment... and again in verse 10, Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. These are not mere platitudes but expected out workings of the gospel in our lives. I love the phrase, "Outdo one another in showing honor." The implication is to think more about the other person than yourself. What would that look like in a Christ centered marriage? How would that affect the way we see our differences? To see as Jesus sees, to love as Jesus loves, not primarily for our sakes but for Jesus' sake. All of this occurs in the context of Paul describing the body of Christ as consisting of many different gifts and how we are to view each other.

What better context to work out and appreciate differences than our marriages?!! May God grant us a renewed desire to appreciate our differences and use them for His glory.


Erika Robuck said...

Your blog is a gem. Thanks, Mr. J.

Jerry McFarland said...

Thanks Erika and give my love to the family!!