Marriage is an important issue for Bible believing Christians; perhaps that was the reason why when Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz told U.S. Maxim magazine June 2011 issue that Marriage is a "dying institution" got a sharp responses from many pastors. Read this article to get more insights into Marriage.
“MARRIAGE FULFILS THE NEED FOR HELPFUL COMPANIONSHIP IN BUILDING GOD’S KINGDOM”
By St. Sopai, Haliya, Andhra Pradesh.
(Photo: Just for presentation)
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).
God gives us a good explanation of just what it means to be a “suitable” helper. In determining a possible marriage match, it is very important to know what a fit helper should be like. Fit companions in the Bible are marriage partners who are equally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14). She was to be one who could share man's responsibilities, respond to his nature with understanding and love, and wholeheartedly co-operate with him in working out the plan of God.
1. Three Biblical Requirements to be “Helpful Companions” and to be equally yoked: The following three biblical requirements must be fulfilled by the spouse in building God’s kingdom.
1.1. A couple must be Christians: They must share the same faith that means both should be completely committed to Christ. However, a maturity in Christ is a necessity to have a mature marriage. A man or a woman who is not interested in praying or meditating to God in secret or in large groups to build a relationship with God before marriage, will not suddenly be committed to God after marriage. In here, we will discuss the different levels of maturity:
1.1.1. A Nominal Christian: A man or a woman who used to go to the Church but is not committed to Christ is often called a nominal Christian or one who looks good on the outside but the heart is unchanged by the Word and Spirit of God. A nominal pretending Christian is more repulsive to God than a pagan: Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spin you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-17). Therefore, a nominal Christian as a potential marriage partner is completely out of the will of God.
1.1.2. A Baby Christian: Indeed, it is actually much different from a nominal Christian. A baby Christian definitely changes since he/she is in Christ. The different between a nominal Christian and a baby Christian is that a nominal Christian will be like the Pharisees – self-righteous and not interested in real Bible study, personal prayer and increasing compliance to the Word of God. However, a baby Christian will change because God has called him into a relationship of salvation, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry on to completion” (Phil. 1:6). A new Christian will change over time because God promises every Christian will “be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). The Bible teaches plainly that baby Christians are most eager to change. The easiest way to tell the difference between a nominal Christian and a baby Christian is not primarily, how they live on Sunday, but the other six days of the week.
1.2. Marriage Partners must have a Demonstrated Desire and Ability to Solve Problems: They must have such ability in life God’s way, as described in the Bible. If only one person is committed to solving problems God’s way, there will still be a mismatch and much grief. They both must be a prayerful couple together. God’s way of living demand the Bible is the only standard for life and conduct.
1.3. Both Spouses must be willing to Work: If a marriage couple is going to pull together like a good team of oxen, they must both be willing to pull together. If one spouse is lazy and one has a good work ethic, they are not equally yoked. For example, one Ox cannot pull the plough if the other is lying down. Therefore, both spouses must be willing to work and the same time they must perform the task together for building God’s Kingdom.
2. If I Think I Can Change Him or Her, I Must Think Again: We have seen three biblical requirements and like millions before us, we are thinking. I may say, “I know, but I will change him or her.” There may be really a very foolish and proud thought. Only God, through the working of the Holy Spirit, can change a human heart, not the working of any man or woman. God alone is in complete control of changing hearts and not any man or woman (Ezekiel 36:26-38).
3. Are Two Non-Christians Equally Yoked? It is frequently no. if we put a yoke on two wild oxen, it will never work until they are tamed. Likewise, two self-centered people cannot become one in harmony, when they both want to go in different directions, and then can’t solve problems correctly. There are examples in Scripture of marriage mismatches like Abigail who was a good woman but was married to Nabal whom the Bible calls “harsh and evil” (1 Sam. 25:3), and a “scoundrel” (v. 25). There are countless marriages today that are filled with heartache, simply because they did not heed God’s wise advice and command to an equally yoked.
It is the need for the marriage to be held according to God’s wise counsel, advice since there was no other way than God’s way for a perfect marriage, and there will never be any other perfect way for marriage to be done than God’s way.
Note: This article was contributed by Mr. Sopai, an English Teacher at V.S.R. High School at Haliya, Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh, India. After obtaining M.Div from Kerala and M.Th from Tamil Nadu, the author is currently pursuing Ph.D in Biblical Studies from University of Jerusalem (Tamil Nadu). The author, who hails from Lialaipi in East Maraland hopes to obtain his Ph.D degree by March 2012. We thank him for contributing this article.