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“In the same way, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it—just as Messiah also does His community, because we are members of His body.”
—Ephesians 5:28-30 TLV
Yesterday, I shared a layer of information, for greater insight as to why portions of the letters from Paul to the Ephesians, Corinthians, and others have continued to cause confusion and conflict in the church, community, and our homes. The same is true of some parts written in the letters identified as 1 John through 3 John.
Why do some of these authors’ words keep the riptides of chaos churning? Why do men and women, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends keep tussling over the language, interpretation, and perceptions drawn from these and other letters? Remember what I said yesterday, context is required for perfect understanding.
Let’s go back to what many people would call the beginning of mankind, what others would call the beginning of the Israelite genealogy, or what some would simply call a great cautionary tale. Let’s look at the foundation of our issues—the screwup in the Garden of Eden.
Adam, Eve & The Curse That Haunts???
For those of you who read the book of Genesis, you know that it is said that God cursed the serpent, Adam, and Eve (Chavah) for their sins committed in the Garden of Eden. The curse on Adam and Eve created friction and struggle between husband and wife, where there would be difficulty in unity—just as God later disrupted the plans for the Tower of Babel through separation of the people and division of their languages. You can’t bypass God to get what you think you’re entitled to.
Adam and Eve chose flesh and to reason within their mind, without deferring to and reconciling all with God. Neither took responsibility for their decisions. Eve blamed the serpent for her failure and Adam blamed God and Eve for his. Even with Eve making a choice that went against God, Adam had a choice to hold her accountable and defer to God—choosing obedience to Him over the temptation of the flesh.
God created them to be partners, stewarding and managing together. However, they were to be united under one Mind, His. They were to put Him first above all things including each other. They didn’t choose Him. They listened to the serpent. They put self before Him, flesh before Him. So cursed they became.
This is still our struggle today.
If we’re to break the curse we need to remember who we are and how we’re to live and love God, ourselves, and each other. We have to remember our original design, purpose, and relationship. We have to live putting God first and always, and deferring to Him in all matters. Then we must live accordingly and with accountability. Tomorrow, let’s dig deeper into what that truly means. Until then, let’s begin to wrap up our time today with some reminders.
If You’re Married or Engaged
If you are married, engaged (or planning to be) then you must remember that you are not the master of your spouse. You are not their god. If you can’t see them and treat them as equal partners, not just in division of labor, but in matters of the heart, then you need to turn to God for redirection. And just as you aren’t their master, their lord, their god—they aren’t yours. You are not the tail that they wag and vice versa. We will dive deeper into this in a day or so.
When it comes to people outside of your marriage, you must remember that no other person should ever have priority over your spouse. They should never ever be in a position where they could cause disruption on any level in your relationship. They shouldn’t have access to you like your spouse does. There shouldn’t be a familiarity and intimacy that even comes close to what you share with your spouse. You are responsible for creating, reinforcing, and maintaining healthy boundaries.
Just like you don’t want Satan involved in your relationship with God, keep that raggedy jerk out of your love life with your spouse. Satan might tempt, but you choose to be faithful or stray. You can only entertain the temptation if you’re giving him your attention. Remember Adam and Eve. They got it wrong.
If You’re Single and Want Marriage
If you aren’t married or engaged yet, but you’re thinking about one day making that leap—begin living your life like you’re an honorable and faithful husband/wife. Be that faithful bride of Christ. Be what you dream of receiving. Begin living with those reminders that I just shared above for married and engaged people. Look at this as a long term boot camp. Your heart and mind need to be dialed in, aligned, and prepared for the attacks that will come your way.
You will be tempted, but are you relying on God or your own devices to see you through?
Give God your whole heart so that it can be aligned with another heart that complements yours, and yours theirs. If you’re looking for a person to complete you then you need to postpone marriage until you either allow God to fill your gaps, or you rely on Him to get things done along the way. Don’t think that marriage can fix you or the person you love. Just like children can’t fill those holes, neither can your spouse. It comes down to you and God working it all out, deep down in the trenches. So make sure you’re in this to win this soldier!
What We All Must Do
Even if you have no desire to marry or remarry, you play a role in this construct and how it’s portrayed. We all must rewire our thinking about marriage and this narrative that plays out as man ruling woman, and woman sheepishly slaving to man as though she’s a farm animal. Also, stop seeing marriage as man being the sole provider of all things and in all ways to the woman. It puts both in a position of lack.
It isolates and separates both people. It leaves you vulnerable to attacks by the enemy. It’s a recipe for disaster. It also contradicts the Genesis narrative, the story of the Proverbs 31 wife, and numerous examples compiled in the Bible, and other religious texts. As I reveal and explore in my Seek Him book series, nothing in that distorted arrangement (I mentioned) that people keep pandering, looks like God and His marriage design. We have perverted it. We have cheapened it.
Just as someone doubted the words that God spoke through the prophets, and chose to modify to their liking—someone has done the same by doubting God’s desire for man and woman to rule this Earth as equals, side-by-side, with woman representing the true intention behind the word “ezer” and not what man devalued it to be. If God used the word “ezer” to describe Himself, then why have we perverted its meaning and chosen instead to use it to make the woman small and insignificant? It’s because of what’s in the hearts and minds of man, and if God’s not in it then we know it just ain’t right!
That means we must realign and get back to where God wants us. God did not bring you together as a couple for you to neglect, abuse, belittle, take advantage of, and hurt each other. That’s not the type of relationship He wants to have with you so it can’t be what he wants for you and another. You must choose to either follow God or the “enemy”. You can pray for healing and do your part for restoration, or do nothing and watch everything wither and die. It’s your choice. We have options. So choose!
I look forward to tomorrow’s chat. I will warn you now, it may sting some of you a little harder than others. The truth has that effect. Like rubbing alcohol on an exposed sore. Just breathe through it. I’ve been praying on it. I got a little anxious but I reminded myself to breathe and let go to let God!
I want you to read the prayer below with passion and conviction. Even if you aren’t in a relationship right now. Pray it with a focus on your future. Pray with an understanding that you are first and always His bride. Declare God’s love and protection over you, your significant other, your relationship with them, and your relationship with God!
Father, I pray that Your love, as demonstrated through and by Your son Jesus Christ, touches and warms my heart and the heart of the one I love—that we treat and love each other the way You love us, and how we should love ourselves. I pray that we put in the time and care to nurture each other the way that we are supposed to care for and protect our own bodies; that when we see something is wrong we work together, with You, to do everything in our power to make things right—surrendering what we can’t, to You.
Father, I want to protect and be protected, with a focus on protecting our relationship with You and our union together. It is my belief, Father, that no one should be able to penetrate a relationship, when a couple is united in Your love, and devoted to living the life You have gifted. It is our choice to let that person in. It is our choice to give into temptation. I pray that we keep our eyes and hearts focused on You, Lord. Keep us pointed in the right direction Father. I praise You today and each day. Amen.
I pray that you are blessed, that you see and embrace your blessings, and that you are a blessing to others. I love you all!
Copyright 2021-2022. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved. BreakingBreadWithNatasha.com
Music: Quiescent In Time by Shane Ivers – https://www.silvermansound.com