Great Expectations (excerpt from book I’m writing on marriage)

In the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations the main character Pip believes that his benefactor is the wealthy eccentric Miss Havisham.  Later on in life he finds out that his benefactor was actually a criminal that he had shown kindness to in the past.  His initial reaction is one of disgust and disappointment that this criminal named Magwitch was his benefactor yet he still felt obligated to help him and he does.

As I sit here writing today my wife and I are celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. I can truly say that my wife had Great Expectations as far as our marriage was concerned and everyone should have Great Expectations when it comes to marriage. However those expectations should not cloud the reality of who you are marrying. The person you are marrying no matter who they are is flawed. Accept this fact they are flawed. The word of God tells us (Rom 3:23) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

One of the biggest problems that arise in marriages is that we expect perfection from imperfect people. The person that you marry no matter who they are is flawed. However when you come in contact with the person that God has ordained for you to marry. God gives you the inner strength and grace to overlook their flaws.

I often say that, People are People and Folks are Folks. So why is it that we expect so much out of others? When we are totally honest with ourselves we let ourselves down way more than others. Especially when it comes to our spouse, I can honestly say that I’ve let myself down numerous times in 34 years of marriage.  Forget about what my wife may or may not have done. I’ve done an excellent job of messing things up myself.

Our expectations when it comes to others should always be tempered. It is only through the Holy Spirit that any of us are able to be at our best when it comes to how we treat ourselves as well as others. We all have issues and flaws and we should always be in prayer. God is able to help us and keep us in check only if we yield to him.  The other thing is people let you know who they really are and if you look you’ll see.

I was not the person that I should have been when I was dating my wife. It was totally unacceptable for me to even think of having pre-marital sex with my wife.  When you consider that my Dad was a Minister I knew better. I was not listening to the Holy Spirit I was lusting and allowing Satan to lead me down a path that I knew that I should not have travelled. I truly believe that pre-marital sex creates a foundation for numerous problems that eventually surface during a marriage. If the two of you have sex prior to marriage chances are high that adultery will surface during some point in your marriage.

It amazes me how people expect things to work out right in a marriage when it didn’t start right. If you and your spouse have sex prior to marriage, what makes you think that the two of you will remain faithful throughout the marriage? When we search the scriptures we find that sex is mandated even commanded by God for husbands and wives. It is even tolerated for men and their concubines as we study scripture. It is never acceptable for those who are unmarried. Our society has accepted even condones pre-marital sex but with God not so. (Hebrews 13:4)  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

When we go against God’s commandments and mandates for our lives we must face the consequences from doing so. I can truly say that I wish that I had kept myself to myself until I was married. While I know that God put us together we came short of his glory by engaging in pre-marital sex. More importantly it was my responsibility to be the head even before we were married. At that time in my life I was not leading a life that was pleasing in God’s sight. To this day I am still experiencing the consequences of my sin. Yes I repented yes over the years I have grown closer to God and he has delivered me from the person that I used to be. I am forgiven, I am no longer that person, things that I used to do I don’t do anymore, places I used to go, I don’t go anymore. I am a totally different person.

Sin and the consequences of sin are not popular topics even in many of our churches today. There are consequences for our sinning, God forgives sin but the consequences as a result of sin we must still face. Let us look at David once again and see the consequences of his adultery. (2Sa 12:7)  Then Nathan told David: You are that rich man! Now listen to what the LORD God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul

(2Sa 12:8) and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more.

(2Sa 12:9)  Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.

(2Sa 12:10)  “Because you wouldn’t obey me and took Uriah’s wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace.

(2Sa 12:11)  Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on.

(2Sa 12:12)  What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see.”

Our expectations are often unrealistic when we look at our own sin and the consequences of them. A person I know came to me one day and said that every time his girlfriend spent the night he had problems praying. I’m like “Duh” As someone in leadership in the church you of all people should know that God is not pleased with you and your lifestyle. It is not appropriate for you to be having a sexual relationship with her not alone her spending the night and the two of you are not married. I told him they either needed to get married or cut the relationship off. In my studies I found something interesting.  The following scripture shows us how far we have strayed from what God expects of us.

(Deuteronomy 22:28)  If a man finds a girl, a virgin not engaged, and lays hold on her, and lies with her, and they are found,

(Deuteronomy 22:29)  then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife. Because he has humbled her, he may not put her away all his days (MKJV).

(Deuteronomy 22:28)  Suppose a woman isn’t engaged to be married, and a man talks her into sleeping with him. If they are caught,

(Deuteronomy 22:29) they will be forced to get married. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and can never divorce her (CEV).

Over the years it has become less and less important for a woman to be a virgin when she gets married. There was a time when young ladies wore white as a symbol of their purity that they had remained chaste up to that time.  Now that seems too outdated and out of fashion. Remaining a virgin until marriage symbolizes your obedience to God.  When you lose your virginity before marriage you follow after Eve. Just as Eve allowed Satan to cause her to question, doubt, and disobey God, you have done the same.  To the women who read this book every man that you have sex with in a sense you marry them. Also just as Eve received from Adam in the spirit realm as well as physically you receive from each man that you lie with.

(Mark 5:9)  And He asked him, What is your name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many.

For some of you women reading this book you are many because numerous times you have disappointed and disobeyed God by having sex outside of marriage. You were neither wife nor concubine of the man and men that you had sex with. The word of God tells us (1John 3:24) And he who keeps His commandment dwells in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave to us (MKJV). (1John 3:24)  If we obey God’s commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him (CEV).

I’m going to pause here to minister to those women who are hurting. You may have had too many when it comes to men. You may be married and for one reason or another, things have never been right. Just now as you were reading this book the Holy Spirit has convicted you. You may need to divorce men that you never legally married but physically and in the spirit realm you did. You may need to repent of premarital sex with your husband both present and past husband. As God is convicting you, Satan is also condemning you. However the Lord says. (Isa 1:18)  Come now, and let us reason together, says Jehovah; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. (Act 17:30)  Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now He strictly commands all men everywhere to repent.

We have such great expectations when it comes to marriage.  For many they are way too high. In today’s society we have disregarded the commandments of God when it comes to sex and male- female relationships. Not alone the fact that the homosexual lifestyle is becoming more and more acceptable.  How can we expect good wholesome marriages when we don’t obey God’s commandments? 

The key to a good even great marriage is to follow the mandates of God’s Holy Word. We didn’t create marriage God did. So our expectations should be tempered both husband and wife should realize that they each bring their own baggage of sin to the marriage. Returning to our scripture (Deuteronomy 22:28) Suppose a woman isn’t engaged to be married, and a man talks her into sleeping with him. If they are caught, (Deuteronomy 22:29) they will be forced to get married. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and can never divorce her (CEV).

Notice here that the man can never divorce the woman if it is found that he has taken away her virginity. Yet in (Deuteronomy 24:1)  When a man has taken a wife and married her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorce and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 

To the women reading this book I believe to some degree virginity is sacred. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit once you accept Jesus Christ as savior and lord of your life. You are consecrated to him and on your wedding night you take your pure consecrated body and consummate a Holy Covenant physically via the act of sexual intercourse. Whenever you have sex outside of what is acceptable by God you are entering and consummating and unholy covenant one that is in total disobedience to God.

There are way too many sexual activities going on by people who consider themselves Christians.  If you are not having sex in a manner that is acceptable to God then there is one of two words that apply to you, fornication and adultery. So you are either a fornicator or an adulterer. The best sex that you can ever experience is that which can only be found in marital union that is acceptable to God (notice how I phrased that). Sex outside of what God allows is not what it is cranked up to be. If you enjoyed pre-marital sex better than sex in your marriage then there is something wrong with you. Your wife or husband is fine you are the problem.  If you compare your husband or wife to people that you had sex with outside of marriage. You have a problem, if the Holy Spirit is inside of you, those memories of past sinful pleasures should be unpleasant. There is nothing enjoyable about sin. If you have not done so you should humbly repent of every sexual thought or act that you ever had that you know displeased God. Allow God to make you the person that he wants you to be, please God and not the lusts of your flesh. 

Not to badger you women but I feel that it is so important that you respect and cherish yourself.  Stop settling for less then what God has for you. In society there is way too much emphasis on what a man’s income is or what they have accomplished. You should realize that the man that God has for you may not reach his zenith until after you all are married. In some cases you may be married for many years before he really hits his stride. He may never graduate college or he may decide to go later on in life.  The most important thing is that the God in him cries out and longs to be connected to the God in you. I’m not talking about a physical attraction or some type of emotional feeling. I’m speaking of something deeper than that.

Today it is so easy to mess up when it comes to marriage and who we choose to marry. Sometimes as the Al Green song goes we’re just tired of being alone. When we reach that point that’s when we most likely mess up. Don’t forget what dad said “you can wait until you’re 61 to get married and marry the wrong person you married a day too soon”.

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