We spend lots of time trying to figure out how to be better spouses and have better marriages, but what for? Do we refine ourselves and our marriages to simply have better lives or is there some grander purpose we need to tune into?
I would certainly argue the latter: we aren’t called to follow Christ simply for our own pleasure. In fact, when we signed up to follow Christ we actually gave up all hope of normalcy as the world defines it (Matthew 16:24-25). We are called to follow Christ for two reasons: to experience his grace, and to extend His glory (an idea I first heard articulated by David Platt in his book Radical).
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
William G.T. Shedd
We need to un-dock our ships and get out on the open sea; the storms are greater but it’s what you’re made for!
Lift your eyes and see His plan
The truth is, most of us will never catch our breath enough to even consider this grander calling. We will spend most of our time and energy squashing sin and fixing mistakes – totally forgoing the great call our God has given us. Most regrettably, some of us may spend our lives seeking worldly things and desires for their sakes alone, completely forgetting how we’re called to live outside of ourselves.
Selena and I face this challenge daily. We can sometimes get so focused on our own desires that we forget we’re not called to live for ourselves. When we lift our heads and see God’s desires, we are strengthened by the work He allows us to do and our goals seem less important.
Experience God’s grace, extend His glory
When we experience God’s grace fully, the only logical reactions are to worship Him more and tell people about the Gospel. Proof? Just think of the last time you were really excited about something… could you hold it in? I know I can’t.
Example: I love a good cheeseburger… in fact, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had is at a local joint down the road from our house. Naturally, I go there often to relive the awesomeness. When someone asks me where to get a good burger in town, I light up and enthusiastically describe the awe and wonder I found just down the street! They’re seeking it and I have found it.
It sounds silly, but the Gospel operates similarly. When we have experienced the full awe and wonder of Christ’s redeeming work and God’s love for us, we can’t help but light up when someone expresses a desire for truth and meaning. We also can’t wait to extend grace toward others who need it.
How can we minister through our marriages?
God wants to use our marriages to glorify Him in many ways. Of course, you and your spouse need to pray and discern what God is calling you to do personally. Here are just a few examples:
- Mentor and disciple other couples or individuals
- Raise children that value God’s kingdom and contribute to His work
- Adopt an orphan
- Lead a Bible study or small group
- Make food for neighbors
- Feed someone who is hungry
- Care for widows and widowers
- Take a younger couple under your wing
- Open your home to sojourners or those who need shelter
A movement of lay-ministers
When we live for God we are ministers of His gospel, period. You don’t have to be a vocational pastor or licensed priest, we are all lay-ministers of Christ (“lay” comes from “laity” which means common people). Ministry is a byproduct of knowing God intimately and allowing Him to pour out through us.
I long for the day when Christian married couples en masse minister through their marriages. We aren’t called to simply love each other fully and end our mission there. Let’s explore our callings and live to see Christ change our world through the work He does in our marriages!