Thursday, March 18, 2010

Focus on Marriage Highlights...Finally!

To sum up the wealth of wisdom and insight into marriage the speakers at the Focus on Marriage conference shared would take more than a blog post...it would take a book, or two, or three, or more because that's what each of them have written! But instead of trying to rewrite their books, most of which I haven't even had the privelege of reading yet, I'm going to share the specific things God challenged, encouraged, and inspired my heart with at the conference through their wisdom. I'll break it up into a speaker a day for the sake of time and focus. I'll try to keep these posts short and sweet, but for those of you who know me well, you know how hard that will be;)...the short part I mean.

Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love)- okay, this guy just blew me away! I'd have to say he made the greatest lasting impression with his message. He was the first speaker, which was perfect, because he gave us such a profound truth to filter all the other marriage wisdom through. This passage of scripture was the focus of his message:

1 Corinthians 7:29-35- "What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

Right off the bat, Francis told us how unlikely this scripture is when talking about the good of marriage. In fact, the second half of the passage is often used to encourage people in their singleness. But if we dig deeper and see this passage for what it's really saying to all of us, here's the message, in Francis's words, "it's not about this life!", and that applies to marriage. Marriage can be a distraction from God's greater purpose for our lives or it can be a tool for even greater fulfillment of that purpose. In his words, with some of mine added in, make sure your marriage is focused on God and what He created each follower of His to do; sharing the good news with the lost and loving Him with all of our hearts and loving others more than ourselves! Don't just focus on having a great marriage, because that, in and of itself, is not living God's greatest purpose for us. He closed with the best news of all! When we, as individuals and in our marriages, are focused on our relationship with and purpose in the Lord, our marriages become greater than they ever could be if a good marriage alone was our focus. God delights in blessing us in our relationships, especially when it's a byproduct of loving Him FIRST. The points from the Corinthians passage that really sum up what God taught me through Francis are: "Let those who have wives (or husbands) live as those who have none...because time is short!" At first glance, these profound truths could seem discouraging to someone in an unequally yoked marriage with a non-believer, or even to someone in a marriage when one is growing in maturity and the other is swimming around in luke warm water. But I believe this is a call to us as individuals before anything else, and that God can and will still work in our marriages when we answer the call, regardless of where the other person is at. It may sound strange to say this, but my new and greatest marriage goal is to fall more in love with my Savior and my God and to live the abundant, fruit-filled life He has for me. I guess that about sums up what God is teaching me through Francis, but I can't wait to read his book too! And see, I told you short is not my forte...I'll try to work on that:).

1 comment:

D L McCarragher said...

Sarah,

Thanks for the post about Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love". That's an interesting take on I Corinthians 7. I agree that those of us who are believers need to "live as though we are single" with regards to the Lord Jesus and our relationship to Him. I am married to an unbeliever and have written a Christian book for women titled "Mission Possible". It is for women who love Jesus, but their spouse doesn't share their passion. I'd love for you to visit my website at http://www.Godmissionpossible.com to see what the book and ministry is all about. Look forward to talking with you in the future.
God bless...
Deborah McCarragher