Priority in Marriage – Living Simply, Yet Focused

Priority in Marriage

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:12

Picture an equilateral triangle with three sides of equal length. At the very top is Christ; at one of the base angles is “husband” and at the other is “wife.” A remarkable thing happens when the husband and wife begin moving toward Christ at the top of the triangle: The distance between them gets shorter and shorter. As soon as both spouses reach Christ at the top of the triangle the distance between them has disappeared.

Geometry helps illustrate something the Bible communicates in words: The entire Christian life, marriage included, is centered on following Christ. As important as marriage is, it is simply one dimension of the Christian experience. Whether single or married, Christian’s have one ultimate priority—the same priority Paul described for his own life: counting all things as loss except for pursuing a deeper knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:7-14). So in marriage, being the best spouse is not the priority. Being “the best” follower of Jesus is.

When it comes to marriage, asking “What would Christ have me do?” is always first.

A Single Thought: You can get second things only by putting first things first. C. S. Lewis

Living Simply, Yet Focused

Look at the birds of the air….Consider the lilies of the field… —Matthew 6:26, 28

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin”— they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars, and the moon— all of these simply are as well— yet what a ministry and service they render on our behalf! So often we impair God’s designed influence, which He desires to exhibit through us, because of our own conscious efforts to be consistent and useful. Jesus said there is only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that is through focusing and concentrating on God. In essence, Jesus was saying, “Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.” In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). We cannot discover the source of our natural life through common sense and reasoning, and Jesus is teaching here that growth in our spiritual life comes not from focusing directly on it, but from concentrating on our Father in heaven. Our heavenly Father knows our circumstances, and if we will stay focused on Him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually— just as “the lilies of the field.”

The people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and “the lilies of the field”— simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold and shape us.

If you want to be of use to God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ by staying focused on Him, and He will make use of you every minute you live— yet you will be unaware, on the conscious level of your life, that you are being used of Him.

We all have the trick of saying—If only I were not where I am!—If only I had not got the kind of people I have to live with! If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion. The Shadow of an Agony, 1178 L


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