“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
Don’t we all want an amazing marriage?
If the Internet is any indication, it sure seems that way. When I did a Google search using “amazing marriage,” I quit after ten pages of non-stop references. Obviously, husbands and wives are hungry for an amazing marriage.
There were articles, books, and websites about everything from amazing marriages to amazing proposals to amazing weddings. I found advice on how to have everything in marriage be amazing—from sex and communication to dates and getaways.
Now these things are good and important to marriage. And I’m sure there are helpful tips in some of those articles and websites that could help us have a better marriage. But if we want to know what is guaranteed to make our marriage amazing, we must turn to God—who created marriage—and see what He says in His Word.
So what does God say we need for an amazing marriage?
As I did my research I discovered something eye-opening.
The people in the Bible are often amazed by what God—including Jesus—did and said. The word “amaze” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means “causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise.” They marveled at what they saw God do.
Now, we know God created everything and knows everything about everything. But there are two times in the Bible where God is amazed—both in the New Testament, with Jesus.
The word used for Jesus’ amazement in the New Testament is “thaumazo.” It means to wonder, marvel, or be astonished.
What would cause the all-knowing Jesus to do this? Colossians 1:15-17 tells us: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
What was it that led Jesus to be amazed?
The first occasion is found in Luke 7:1-9. As Jesus enters the city of Capernaum, a centurion commander of the Roman army sends some of his soldiers to ask Jesus to heal his servant. And so Jesus followed them to the commander’s home.
But when the centurion saw Jesus coming, he sent friends to tell Jesus that He didn’t need to come to his house, for he didn’t feel worthy to have Him under his roof. He said he knew that Jesus could heal his servant from afar with only a word.
And here is Jesus’ response: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. Turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well” (Luke 7:9-10, bold mine).
Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s great faith in Him.
The second occasion is found in Mark 6. Here Jesus is in his hometown of Nazareth, teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
Some of the people were amazed at Him: “…many who heard him were amazed” (Mark 6:2, bold mine). Why? The answer is in Mark 6:2-3: “‘Where did this man get these things?’” they asked. “‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.’”
Their amazement at Jesus was not positive.
We read about Jesus’ response to the people of His hometown in Mark 6:4-6: “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith” (bold mine).
Jesus’ amazement here at the people is also not positive.
In the first instance, Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith. This man had a limited understanding of Jesus, yet he believed Jesus had the power to do what He said.
In the second instance, Jesus was amazed at the Jews’ lack of faith. They thought He was just a hometown boy—certainly not the Son of God.
The focus in both cases was not ultimately on Jesus’ miracle or His teaching ability. Both stories centered on the persons’ faith or lack of it.
What matters to God is our faith.
Now, we’re not talking about the world’s concept of faith. We hear over and over again that if we just have enough faith in ourselves we can do anything. But is that really true? Is that faith?
When I was a boy I wanted to play baseball in the major leagues. I really believed I could. I practiced for hours a day. And I played Little League baseball for several years.
When I got to high school, I tried out for my school’s team. But I didn’t make the cut. And, needless to say, I never played professional baseball.
Was it a lack of faith that kept me from doing it?
No. I was cut because no matter how much I practiced and how hard I worked, I could never hit a curve ball. There were many guys who could hit, field, and throw better than me. So despite my faith in myself, I didn’t deserve to play on that team.
God tells us what faith is in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
But this is not a faith in ourselves. Hebrews 11:3 says: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.” True faith is in God alone—the all-powerful God who created everything with a word.
The rest of Hebrews 11 gives example after example of individuals who trusted God and received His blessings and everything He promised them. This is the faith of the centurion.
And this is the key to an amazing marriage.
God wants us and our marriage to be just as blessed as all these people of faith we see in His Word. But in order for that to happen, we must put our full faith in Him. We must trust our marriage to Him completely.
God also tells us in Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” That is what we saw with the people in Jesus’ hometown. They did not have faith in Him. That is why He did not bless them as he did the centurion.
The secret to an amazing marriage will never be found in a book on how to communicate better, have better sex, or have more exciting date nights. Yes, these can be helpful. But the way to have a truly amazing marriage is found in the Bible. There we find the instructions from the designer of marriage Himself.
We must have faith in God to believe He wants us to have an amazing marriage. We must trust that He has provided all we need to have that amazing marriage. And we must have the confidence that we will find all we need in His Word. We cannot do it ourselves. We cannot do it without Him.
We must exercise our faith by studying His Word together and believe He’ll clearly reveal to us what He wants us to do. Then we must commit to put what we learn into practice.
How do you have an amazing marriage? By faith in the One True God who brought you together in the first place. When you both seek Him and follow Him by faith, you can be certain the results will be amazing.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. Talk about what God taught you through it.
♦ Think about the two examples when Jesus was amazed. Which better describes your faith—that of the centurion or that of the hometown people? Do you have complete faith in Jesus and His Word? Do you trust the world’s wisdom first? Are you somewhere in between?
Being “in between” is really having no faith at all. If you are lacking in faith, ask God to give you more faith. (See Mark 9:21-24.)
♦ Remember that you and your spouse are one in marriage (Mark 10:6-9). God brought you together to help each other be all He created you to be and to serve Him. Commit to each other that you will do that this week with His help.
♦ End your time together in prayer. Ask God to give you an amazing marriage. Ask Him for help to be faithful to read His Word regularly and understand how to apply that Word to your marriage. Commit to Him and each other to follow Him each day in faith.
Until next week, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,
All Scripture is from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash (CC0), cropped/text added.