Let’s Go the Distance
Over the years I have discovered that for the most part covenant keepers go through five stages of growth. In fact, because of the importance of these stages I even wrote a book about them, Separation and Divorce…A Journey In Growth and Development.
We begin our journey of faith with fresh vision and a determination to go the distance. We will not faint and give up our stands, no matter how long it takes! However, we are usually so intent and focused upon doing everything we can to see our marriages healed, that without realizing it, we make that healing an idol: something we never intended to do. One of the definitions of idolatry is: the worship of something created as opposed to the worship of the Creator Himself.
Scores of references to idolatry appear in the Old Testament. This shows that idolatry probably was the greatest temptation our spiritual forefathers faced. While we find bowing down to a statue no temptation, they apparently slipped into idolatry constantly. So serious was this sin that the prohibition against the making and worshiping of images was included as the second of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)
In the New Testament period the term idolatry began to be used as an intellectual concept. Idolatry became not the actual bowing down before a statue but the replacement of God in the mind of the worshiper. Colossians 3:5 points in this direction: “Put to death…covetousness, which is idolatry.” (See also Ephesians 5:5.) At this point the modern believer must understand the vicious nature of idolatry. While we may not make or bow down to a statue, we must be constantly on guard that we let nothing come between us and God. As soon as anything does, that thing is an idol.
In addition to material objects such as houses, land, and cars, idols can be people, popular heroes, or those whom we love. “Objects of worship can even include things like fame, reputation, hobbies, pride, and deeds done in the name of the Lord. Idolatry is a dangerous and deceitful sin. No wonder prophets preached against it so often and so strongly.” (From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Questions to ask ourselves concerning idolatry:
- Is our every waking moment consumed by thoughts of our spouse? What they did to us? What they’re doing now, who they are seeing, what they said?
- Does self-talk dominate our minds and cause us to make unwise decisions and do things we know we shouldn’t? Such as following our spouses to see who they are with or calling them constantly, begging them to come home?
- Although speaking the word over our spouses is vitally important, are we legalistically spending every moment possible, confessing scriptures over them?
- Are we forever searching for someone who has the “key” to setting our spouse free and bring them home?
- Do we spend excessive amounts of time on the web searching for ministries to help us or in Christian chat rooms?
On the other hand, as we begin to experience God’s healing power for our broken hearts and bruised and damaged emotions and begin to experience His peace, as time goes by we can become apathetic about the healing of our marriages. Again, something we never intended to do.
Another word for apathy is indifference. The definition for indifference that caught my eye is “marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something.”
Questions to ask ourselves concerning indifference are:
- Are we faithfully praying the word over our spouses?
- Are we so content with our life the way it is that our spouse’s homecoming would be bothersome or an intrusion?
- Do our plans for the future (short term and long term) include our spouses or are we only making plans for ourselves?
Both idolatry and apathy are extremes that we need to recognize as fleshly, repent of and then avoid.
Sometimes we lose things in our spiritual journey that are important to the restoration of our marriages. Joel 2:25 says “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust…” (NKJV)
The word restore is defined as “bringing back that which had been missing in order to complete an original purpose and calling.” God has a calling and purpose for each of our marriages which He desires to restore. Therefore, we must maintain our hope and joy during the process of standing and not lose these precious gifts.
God’s restoration involves more than bringing back that which is missing. He will bring back together all that we need to complete our mission as a couple. He even promises that our youth shall be restored as the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5)
We must not let the devourer consume our vision, courage and willingness to go the distance. Fight the good fight of faith and go through the open door to victory in 2017!