Concord and Your Marriage

December 15, 2008

I am reading through Gary and Besty Ricucci’s book Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace for the sake of my own marriage and the marriages of any couples that I might have the privilege of counseling prior to saying “I do”.  In the first chapter Ricucci speaks about the important role that the local church plays in the health of a marriage. He says:

“The local church is the biblical home for Christian marriage, the indispensable context where love and marriage are to be lived out. Without the church we will be squeezed into the world’s mold.”

He then goes on to write about three provisions God grants as means of protection for your marriage within the context of the local church:

  1. The church is the place where men and women exchange wordly independence for biblical humility. ”  The gradual erosion of the family happens under the influence of an independent man or woman blinded and controlled by his or her pride. Being self-sufficient and self-absorbed comes as second (sinful) nature to most of us. But the Scriptures make it plain that each of us need “others not only beside us but ahead of us and even over us”. Pastor John Piper reminds us that “sanctification is a community project”. The purpose of the church is to help us press on in our Christian faith, to become fully known by others as we walk in the light of Jesus Christ, and confess our temptations, sins and struggles to one another as we pursue true greatness – humility and servanthood.
  2. “The church is the place where marriages are fed and supported with truth.” There may be many resources in the world for your marriage, but too many lack substance because they are not rooted in biblical truth. Ricucci reminds us that “the Lord has established the church as the central depository and dispensary of truth”, and our G0d-given context for this truth is a local body of believers.
  3. “The church is the place where marriages are helped in seasons of need.” Serious trials will assault every marriage. Even without the external pressures of job stress, financial difficulty, rebellious children, illness, every marriage faces the internal conflict that rages because two sinners have entered into the covenant of marriage. We all need other believers to embody the love of Christ to us in the midst of our difficulties and struggles.

It is good to be reminded that in our desire for a healthy marriage, the diagnosis on the road to health begins with a deep, organic connection to the local church. And we should remember that simply being present at church doesn’t mean that we are sufficiently connected and rooted in the life of the church.

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