This week we begin a new series entitled, “The Importance of ….” We will look at several things God tells us in His Word that are important for us to have the marriage He desires for us. The first of those is Scripture–God’s Word to us.
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” – Psalm 18:30
Have you ever noticed what we do begins with what we think and put into our minds?
The motto (slogan) of IBM is “Think.” It was created by Thomas J. Watson in 1911 when he managed the sales and advertising department at the National Cash Register Company.
Watson brought the slogan with him when he became general manager of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) in 1914. The company grew so much under his leadership that he became its president in 1924. He changed the company’s name to International Business Machines–IBM. The company trademarked the slogan name “Think” in 1935, fourteen years before it even trademarked the name “IBM.”
Why was the idea of “think” so important to Watson and IBM? He explained in an interview: “The trouble with every one of us is that we don’t think enough. We don’t get paid for working with our feet–we get paid for working with our heads.”
Well, long before Thomas Watson and IBM, God Himself told us about the importance of what we think. It is vital to our lives and our marriages. God makes it clear that what we think will determine what we say and do. And this will determine what kind of marriage we have.
God, Who created us and knows us better than anyone, tells us throughout His Word the importance of what we think.
We read in Proverbs 23:7: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB). This is why God tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (bold mine).
God also tells us what is important to think about through Paul’s letter to the Philippian church: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, bold mine).
Paul then gives them further instruction and a promise in Philippians 4:9: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” The instruction is the same as that given in James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
The promise is that God will be with us and bring peace to our lives and marriage. Jesus said it this way in John 14:27: “‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’” Isn’t that what we want for our marriages? I know I do.
The way to find the peace of God is in His Word. It is fine to read books about marriage as long as they are based on God’s truth and not man’s ideas. Man is sinful and fallible, and our ideas change all the time. But God is perfect, His Word is perfect, and it never changes.
All throughout Scripture we read that God’s Word is trustworthy. Here are just a few examples:
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).
“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (Psalm 119:160).
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5).
We are also told that God is unchanging.
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Since God is so trustworthy and unchanging we can be certain that what we read in His Word—the Bible—is true. It must be the basis for how we live.
If we don’t have the truth of God’s Word as the foundation for our marriage, we will fall prey to teachings that may sound good but are wrong. These may come from a number of sources, ranging from sincere yet misled individuals to outright deceivers. But no matter the source, the results will be disastrous.
A solid foundation for our lives and marriage is found when we focus our attention on the Word of God. And to do this, we need the right materials and the right tools.
It all begins with committing our lives to Christ as Savior and Lord. He is the beginning of all truth, as we read in John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (If you want to know more about this, please read this page on our website: Meet Jesus.)
We find God’s truth in His Word. Jesus prayed in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” It is God’s Word that allows us to become sanctified—which means to become like Christ Jesus. And it is this Christ-likeness that allows us to have the marriage we desire.
We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 this important truth about God’s Word: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Here we are assured first that everything we read in the Bible is from God. Therefore, it can be completely trusted and is absolutely true.
Second we are told how God uses Scripture in our lives and marriage. He teaches us about His design for marriage so that when we follow it we can have a joyous marriage.
When we try to follow some other plan for marriage God rebukes us; He convicts us that this is not right, and it will lead to terrible results. He does this for our good.
Next, God uses His Word to correct us. He sets us back on the right path to a blessed marriage.
And, finally, He trains or instructs us. When we are back on the right track, we are open to doing things His way. And we are again ready to listen and obey Him.
It is through His Word that God makes us ready to enjoy the wonderful marriage He has planned for us. We will be ready to serve Him together and enjoy together His promise of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As you can see, God’s Word is vitally important to our marriages. It determines how we think about everything.
As what we think will determine how we live, it is crucial that what we think about comes from God—in His Word…the Scriptures…the Bible.
When we read or hear something we’re unsure of, we must test it against God’s Word. His Scripture will never lead us astray.
The Word of God will always give us the truth. The question is, are we listening?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. Discuss together what things God spoke to you about and how it applies to your marriage.
♦ God’s Word truly gets to the heart of the matter, out of which proceed the issues of life. Here are some more Scripture passages not included in this week’s teaching but that relate to what we’ve discussed. Study them together and discuss what God is saying through them.
Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Colossians 3:1-3: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
1 Peter 1:13-15: “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
♦ Discuss together the importance of God’s Word to your lives and marriage. Here are some things to think about:
◊ If you read something about marriage in the Bible which contradicts what you read in another book, would you reject what the book says and follow the Bible, even if the other book was a “Christian book”? Remember that the Bible is not on trial; the other book is. If it contradicts what the Scriptures say, stay with the Scriptures. This is why it is so important that you know God’s Word.
◊ Learn to read everything from a God-centered perspective. The only way to read that way is to be so immersed in the Word of God that when you read something false, you immediately recognize that it is a departure from the truth.
◊ Be careful when you read or hear phrases such as “I feel like…” or “I sense that….” Many times these are used to describe what a person “thinks” is the truth without any reference to the Scriptures. These kinds of phrases are stumbling blocks to knowing the truth. Be careful of using these terms yourself without the Scripture to confirm what you say.
♦ Discuss together what things you put into your minds. Include things such as what you watch on TV, what movies you see, what material you read (books, magazines, internet, etc.), and what music you listen to. Does it fit God’s criteria that we discussed in this week’s teaching, especially as found in Philippians 4:8? Discuss what you need to do in response to your answers? How can you help each other with this?
♦ Close your time together in prayer. Ask God to help you bring every thought into subjection to Christ and obedience to Him. Ask that only loving, pure, honest thoughts will be in your hearts and minds resulting in His peace filling your hearts and lives, surrounding your home and wherever you go. Ask Him that in our age of incredible moral pollution, He will help you to keep your lives pure. Ask Him to guard your minds and hearts, and give you the strength for today to feed your souls with good things, while keeping away from that which is harmful.
Next week, as we continue this “Importance” series, we will look at our words and the impact they have on our marriages.
Until then, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the IMPORTANCE OF… series:
The Importance of Words in Your Marriage
The Importance of Love to Your Marriage
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked (NASB) taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
Photo by Neely Wang for Lightstock.com. Used by permission.