Please read Eph 5:22-33. In these verses, the apostle Paul uses the marriage covenant as an example, or a type of the Believers covenant relationship with Jesus. Although these verses are certainly truthful and practical and applicable to marriage, they actually speak of a deeper, spiritual reality; which is our union with Christ.
In that same spirit, I want to talk today about renewing covenant relationships. Like Paul, I will use marriage as an example, but my primary focus is actually on our relationship with Jesus. So please listen with that in mind. These things will help your marriage no doubt, but look to the greater truth being presented.
Beautiful people do not a happy marriage make. A beautiful house does not a happy home make. Nice clothes; Nice vehicles; A nice body; Nice things; popularity; etc. - does not a happy life make. In fact, often times those are things people use to cover the true, inner, hidden reality of their life. Like putting a piece of tape over the engine warning light when it flashes in the red, people will often ignore the problem and purposely “keep busy” with other things so as not to face it. This of course never works. It just prolongs the inevitable destruction.
This is why so many marriages “suddenly” end after decades. They have gone along to get along, without ever deeply searching for the root of the problem; perhaps never even acknowledging there was a problem. Without ever slowing down to make their relationship a priority; without ever addressing the issues that need to be resolved; and taking for granted, that because they were in a legal covenant, that meant automatically and without effort they were in fellowship with each other. Which, of course, is not the case.
And so it is with the true Christian, the one in spiritual union with, or “married to” Christ Jesus. Do we, as Christians, in covenant relationship with Jesus, take for granted and assume that we automatically have fellowship with Him? 1Jn 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” If we walk in the light, we have fellowship with God.
Is our relationship with Him THE priority in our life? Luk 14:26-27, 33 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”. Have you done this? Do you still today?
Is there a difference between a saved person and a disciple? Look at Mt. 7:23. There are people who claim to be Christian; they claim to know Jesus; who are workers of iniquity, those who practice sin, - and Jesus said “I never knew you“. Who were those workers of iniquity? The following verses tell us they were people who heard Jesus’ words, but didn’t do them. They didn’t obey His commands; they didn’t practically apply what they heard. Are you one of these false Christians? Examine yourself.
Allow me to take a moment to address these false Christians: As you know, I have been using the marriage covenant as a type of the Believers relationship with Jesus. Now I will use those living together “aka shacking up” as a type of false Christians. People who shack up are pretenders (and living in sin). They want the benefits of marriage, but none of the responsibility. They give the appearance of commitment, when in reality, there isn’t any. They are still “free” to come and go as they please, to do as they please. There is no covenant - no obligation. False Christians are that way with Jesus. They want the appearance of salvation, and the fringe benefits of being Christian; but they want it on their terms - without commitment. They will still believe, act, live, speak, and do whatever they want to do. And if they do not repent, they will hear from Jesus “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.”, and they will suffer eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire.
Is there a problem deep down in your Christian life, that you will not take the time to search out and resolve? Ps 26:2 “Examine (investigate) me and prove me; refine my mind and my heart.” 2Co 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves….
There is a place for God examination and self examination in our covenant relationships. There is a place for taking inventory of our lives. True, there is a possibility of doing this too much; but I believe, that in today’s church, perhaps the danger lies in doing this too little.
Some of you may say, “I rest content in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t need to do this”. If you are truly content in your relationship with Jesus, than I can only say, that it still wouldn’t hurt you to do this. However, often times what we call contentment - in our marriage or walk with God - is at best ignorant bliss, and at worst self deception. Maybe we are only “content” because we won’t allow an honest self and honest God examination - because we are afraid of what might get touched. We’re afraid of what might be revealed and dealt with. Be assured, all such fear is demonic. To lay yourself bare before God and allow him to examine every sq. millimeter of your soul in order to purge away the thing that may be affecting your perfect fellowship, is the absolute best thing one could do.
So, Have you settled for status quo in your relationship with Jesus, and have you just been going along to get along? Outward appearance can be deceptive. Don’t take refuge in any outward appearance of success. Jesus called the Pharisees “White washed tombs full of dead men’s bones, and chalices full of extortion and excess”. These guys were the poster boys of religious success. They appear beautiful outwardly, but it is an illusion. It is not truth. The beauty only hides the corruption. It’s pretending. It isn’t being honest with yourself - or with God. Or in the case of marriage, with yourself or with your spouse…….. How do you treat your spouse?
In marriage, sit down with your spouse in peace and love. Examine yourself. Let your spouse examine you. Ask questions. Be ready to hear. Do not take offense. Be more ready to listen than to speak. Be humble. Be like Jesus. Take full responsibility for what you have done or have failed to do. Seek to rectify the situation. Pray together before and after. There is hope and healing in Jesus.
First, Go humbly before your God. Kiss the feet of Jesus, and wash His feet with your tears. Like King David, ask Him to search your heart. Is there unconfessed sin in my soul & body? Is there coldness, indifference, lukewarmness, or lack of love for Jesus or for others? Have I compromised personal holiness and Biblical moral values in any way? Do I abuse, or am I addicted to alcohol, drugs, nicotine, food or drinks? Do I lie? Do I cheat? Do I steal? Do I curse? Do I talk or joke about ungodly things? Do I live in sexual sin? Fornication of any kind, including the mind (pornography)? Do I dishonor Jesus in any way?
Do I yell & scream in anger and loss of control? Do I physically or verbally abuse my loved ones? Am I full of strife and a problem causer? Do I gripe and complain and murmur, and am I unthankful? Am I envious, covetous, greedy? Is money, sports, entertainment, popularity or worldly things more important than the things of God? Do I live like I really believe in God’s Word? Do I fear and reverence Almighty God? Do I live like I really believe in Heaven & Hell? Like I really believe in the Judgment Seat of Christ?
Do you want God to be serious with you? Then you need to get serious with God. No matter where you are with God - strong, weak, mediocre, or backslidden- there are necessary times of brokenness, humility, and self and God examination. When the fire is out or nearly so, it must be rekindled and revived. The flames must be fanned. And if you’re a false Christian, you need to repent and be saved before your time is up - which could be today.