We also had the opportunity to go to a marriage seminar via video cast. One of the speakers was a Pastor that I had just learned about when I posted a challenging quote in a message to a friend of mine.
Some of us (followers of Christ) need to suffer just to realize we are for real. " - Francis Chan
God always seems to prepare me for what he is going to teach me by making me jump forward then back up.
I don't know how much I thought about what that quote meant before I stuck it into my friends message. For me it was just about the fact that Tony and I feel called to do hard things. To give up hard things, to live a life that isn't easy but yet has great rewards. From that message my friend said so have you read his book. "Ah, no." I didn't even know this guy had a book, in fact I had no idea who this guy was at all - he could have lived in the 1400's for all I knew. So I got his book Crazy Love out of the Library and haven't even read it yet. Though I plan to.
As an aside before you go thinking I'm all spiritual, I struggle with being a Godly women daily, I struggle with waking up early enough to read my Bible and pray. But I do know when I commit that time to God my daily return is much better because I start my day focused on Christ and putting my day before him. When I am rushed and neglect my relationship with God my day does not start out the way it needs to start out.
Back to the marriage seminar and Francis Chan - He challenged everyone with living a married life that is focused on Christ and on our devotion to Christ. With the mind of our marriages to God's mission because our time on earth really is just a vapor. We are not promised any time at all on this earth and our time here is to be devoted to Him. He used 1 Cor 7:29-35. Which he says may be an odd portion of the BIble to use about marriage but the point here is to be "undistracted in our devotion to the Lord."
I'm pretty distracted much of the time. I think there are times I get distracted by the idea that I have a right to fight about something. Did Christ do that? Fight for no reason with no purpose behind it? Hmm, no.
One of my heros of the faith - Hudson Tyler once said that "Satan will do anything he can do to distract you from the word of God - even if that is rearranging the drapes." I that quote is so true! Hudson Tyler was a man that took on the nature, culture of the Chinese to witness to inner China - the only thing he brought with him was his Bible, matches and a candle. He dressed as they did and ate what they would eat.
During the marriage seminar while I agreed with Francis I also questioned some of what he said - questioned the reality of a marriage that does not have pointless arguments about who's turn it is to do such and such. Selfish arguments to be sure - but as sinful people we are bound to have these kind of issues aren't we? Is this guy for real? What does his wife look like - is she stuffing all this down?
So I thought I would check out who this Francis Chan is and I found some sermons on marriage that he did.
Christ Centered Relationship Part 1 Part one reminded me a lot of what he said at the marriage seminar
Christ Centered Relationship Part 2 Part Two Francis' wife Lisa speaks on submission this really answered my questions about her.
Christ Centered Relationship Part 3 Part Two Francis talks to the men about being the like Christ to their wife.
So many thoughts are rolling around in my head after listening to these messages. Maybe not the same ones that might roll around in yours once you are done listening.
This isn't a strange thought to me - as I already realized that my marriage is the best representation of Christ and the Church that many unbelievers will see, but I think I have boughten into the idea that a great marriage depends on how my husband and I feel about each other. A great marriage is going to develop out of me putting Christ in the forefront of my own mind. Then the devotion my husband and I have toward the mission of Christ on earth will spur us to show the world what that relationship looks like to others by being an example and out of that will pour a love and devotion to each other that is entirely based on Christ's love for His Church and our mission on this earth to that end.
Defiantly not something that can be done if Christ is not truly the focus of your marriage relationship. Or not truly the focus of your own personal devotion.