By Martin Cisneros
Our Biblical Anti-idolatry stance is an important aspect of our message where the Universal Restoration is concerned, in that no one will be restored to paradise with idols, nor will life with God come about through any means except through Christ Jesus and His Gospel. In speaking of the salvation and the restoration to God of absolutely all out of destruction and spiritual incarceration with the Devil and his angels, it's important to note what won't be saved: false paradigms, false religions, idols, false gods, and false sacrificial systems. The Hosea 2:18 Covenant and the mainstream Biblically-based Word of Faith movement have likewise to be carefully guarded against being means by which idols or Unbiblical traditional thinking tries to creep in, while at the same time, both are the curse and purging of idolatry, false religions, false gods, and false self-sacrificial systems. So basically, everything we say and do around here is about the Anti-idolatry aspect of our message, or besides the love of God, it's likewise a root from which all we share is growing. Few areas of life are as prone to idols, false sacrificial systems, and false world-views as the area of marriage.
First of all, if one wouldn't make a good caregiver, one wouldn't be a good spouse. Life's challenges are amplified when you've got someone else in the boat with you. Getting married means you're promising to be there for that other person, no matter what life may throw at the both of you, at you, or at them. Your own life may go straight to Hell in virtually the Baptist or Assemblies of God meaning of “Hell,” yet you are still accountable to this other person and still have a shared responsibility for their life as well as your own, and if the two of you were plucked out of the sky, one right after the other one, with you going down first, as though the two of you were ducks being shot by a hunter, allegorically, with whatever life may bring your way – doesn't matter how much the pity-party would be your drug of choice or even the gateway drug into other vices, whether psychologically or substantively. If you wouldn't make a good slave, then you wouldn't make a good spouse, 'cause what's the first thing people want to fuss about, sometimes, when you hear the occasional person talk about their spouse? Winds up being about how much of a dead beat this other person is, even if it's merely that they're in a prolonged season of not doing 50% of everything or of that one thing that drives 'em up the wall!
Guess what? You're THEM; that whiner about their lazy spouse you've previously run across, if you wouldn't be a good slave. Again, if you wouldn't be a good slave, you wouldn't be a good spouse. If you would be a mouthy slave, then you've already got an escalating fight on your hands before you've ever walked the isle to get married, 'cause marriage will bring that out of you, someday, if you've not dealt with yourself until you can slave away as a caregiver that could go the rest of your life without a compliment, without thanks, and baring the heat of incessant criticism! This is why the divorce rate is what it is, I promise. I'm warning you that if you and your significant other aren't able to be diligent caregivers 24/7, then you are not going to be happily married if you went into marriage not because you loved this other person, but because you wanted to be appreciated as an idol and for this other person to sacrifice themselves for the rest of their lives to your ego, as though you were an ancient Aztec that required a beating human heart in your hands to really brighten your day; for you to really believe in your sun god! Marriage only works for the humble, not for the assertive. Assertiveness will get you killed if you try to bring that into a marriage! I'm not saying you can't discuss anything, nor can things ever be your own way, but that the two of you have to be willing for absolutely nothing to go your way for the rest of your life if being married for the rest of your life to this one person appeals to you! (Neither are the inherent difficulties removed by polygamy.) This whole ministry is built on the premise of developing effective communicators of truth in love. Humble doesn't mean roadkill in any Biblical sense I've ever found, but it does mean your ego is on the back burner and that you're prepared to leave it there for the rest of your life on a moment's notice when you're faced with many of life's implicit ultimatums about the union OR your assumptions about your right to be right.
In Ephesians 5:28-29 we are told that husbands are to love wives as they love their own bodies. How many guys here do things with their bodies that aren't pleasant, even occasionally, whether we're talking sports, areas of grooming you sometimes feel are peculiar to you, with regards to it's cleansing, or with regards to it's fitness? Whether in sports or in personal fitness, we're taught to press past the pain and to distinguish profitable pain from injury. Profitable pain will bring about increased flexibility, speed, strength, appearance, increased “Blood flow,” greater youthfulness, and increased tolerance to the challenges of daily life. How many have ever worked out when you were already sore from a previous workout? Feels like the very last thing you would ever want to do, even when you're a seasoned athlete, but it's very often the way to speed development (and perhaps recovery time) because you're increasing “Blood flow” to the area you're developing and/or that was made weary by a previous day's activity. How many do very unacceptable things to your body where your appetites are concerned, as far as what your body would prefer of life's man-made sweets, man-made fats, man-made seasoning choices for food (man-made choices as in extra salt, msg, etc.), or where your sleep or recreational, or even entertainment choices would be concerned in order to bring out of yourself a healthier you that's readier for life's challenges?
Ephesians 5 implies we should apply the same diligence to bring out of our wives their hidden athlete, holding them back when we discern from the Holy Spirit through the Written Word of God that the pain they're reacting to is injury rather than soreness to be worked off, pushing them when they're beyond the point of screaming uncle, refusing them everything they'd want when you're both in a season of a mutually-agreed-upon-goal being worked towards, and providing them with beneficial regimens to bring out their potential and the fullness of what Christ gave them when they embraced His Lordship over their lives and through their lives! Men, you are there as much as a personal trainer for these women as you are there to be their best friend, lover, defender, champion, guide, teacher, encourager, reputation builder, slave, and everything else it would mean to be their caregiver, when they need you the least and when they need you the most. Don't be all caught up in all you want to do and then when your marriage is falling apart, suddenly you're going to indulge in a false sacrificial system of trying to appease someone you now want to think that they're your idol. Be their hero and their spotter on life's weights that they have to lift on a daily basis. Trim the fat out of your own ego, your own entertainment, your own life's ambitions, and daily affirm every promise of God for your household with her, keeping her mental diet in check, keeping her heart secure in God and in her marriage, and refuse to be salted by life's riches, worries, and cares while your wife's hurting and needing your undivided attention, 'cause this isn't normal lifestyle soreness, but is genuine injury this time from having been pushed too much by some daily task or tasks, by you, and/or by some combination of things, events, seasons, or life's hectic pace!
Neither husbands nor wives need to be in idolatrous situations over their entertainment, their world-view, their spending habits, their diets, their daily thoughts, or what they seek to make them feel good or to give them rest outside of their God and their spouses. Kids can't be either your idols or a part of your sacrificial system to God, to one another, or to your families, and with being a LIFE-TIME responsibility, they should only be brought forth into your home by mutual consent, otherwise adoptions and birth control exist in situations where there's not foreseeably enough money to bring on a team of nannies and tutors to assist in their training, coaching, development, and integration into your lives and into society. Even if Scripture indicates they're a reward from God, they're neither His only reward and means of imparting life eonian for the deeds done in the body, nor are they a reward to any household that isn't together enough financially and in terms of personal development and unity, as well as unity of purpose in having and developing them into advanced maturity. It's unfair to say that because some couples have really wild numbers of children that therefore all couples should have a couple of children, or more, of their own! As each believer in Christ isn't the same and they don't occupy the same office, positioning, seasons, or expressions within the many-membered Body of Christ, so too are no two marriages going to be alike because of where they're set in the Body, what the grace of God is upon them as a couple, or what their office and expressions of God's Eden are supposed to live and look like!
For some couples, children were the very thing to cement them together, while for other couples, though they do their best to never blame their children, and though there's several factors that go into why people divorce, children can be the very doom of a marriage. It wouldn't be from who they were, nor anything they did, but if the towing strength of that marriage unit is a maximum of 10 and the children add the .5 of additional pressure, beyond factory specifications, to the engine of that marriage, it MAY blow apart, while it's still true that the children weren't directly responsible and that it wasn't ANYTHING that they said or did, but merely because that marriage couldn't pull the load of a child as well as everything else they were working through together. A lot of couples require their first decade together virtually on a deserted island to be able to smooth things out before there's enough unity and a working out of their own needs, maturity factors, and how they mesh and compliment one another before children can come into a blessed home and be a part of the giant bear hug of the ages! People still divorce after nearly a decade of marriage and even pretty far after a decade of marriage, but some couples have known each other all of their lives and decide to get married and are divorced their first year! Couples really need an extended time together to develop their roots together. It's not about developing their individuality, nor about how long they've known and put up with each other, but about how much time they've had to bare fruit WITH each other AFTER they've been God's hybrid for a while, living under the same roof, eating the same meals, studying the same Scriptures, etc., before adding the extended season of chaos of babies and really young children as permanent residents of the only home they're able to go home to and relax at with one another! Marriage is a hybrid plant that takes longer to heal together as one and to share the same sap and root structure, consistently, than most couples realize that decide to throw fruit (i.e. children) at all of the tenderness of their newly made hybrid life and newly made symbiotic, hybrid lifestyles.
Couples need time, together, to gain revelations of the mysteries of their Covenant from God, if God really gave it to them, before their Covenantal pact and faith in one another is put to those ultimate tests of fruit-baring and developing a micro-community around them in the form of either a family, or a new business, or a new charity, or a new ministry, or some other new life's purpose that they may begin with each other. You can't put maximum pressure, expecting maximum yield on a newly made hybrid plant to either force a oneness where it isn't yet healed into, or to speed the process of oneness, or to speed the process of fruit-baring through that newly made hybrid plant. They are still a new hybrid that's healing before it can begin the process of being in development into [what will ultimately be] a mutually training unit, and then ultimately as the mind-body coordination is starting to kick in, and a relationally fit picture is emerging that reflects the imagination of the strongest, Scripturally-based romantic in that relationship that's dreaming God's dream for that marriage, figuratively speaking, then we'll see all of the Ephesians 6 forces of darkness falling before that maturing hybrid as a new community of faith is advancing in treading on serpents, scorpions, and all of the power of the enemy, with nothing by any means harming them as they consistently take new ground in their hybrid growing fruit and seedlings, in bringing new water and nutrients through their deep root structure into their new community, and their lives are eons of heaven on earth to the glory of God the Father, through Christ Jesus, our Lord.