Francis Chan refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Forgotten God,” an aspect of the eternal God that most believers spend little time considering, much less relying on. We study the creation story and explore how the Father spoke reality into existence while forgetting that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the water.” We understand that we live in a world at war but forget that the only offensive weapon we are given in this fight is the “sword of the Spirit.” We understand that God is with us while forgetting that God is in us through the Holy Spirit. We learn to rely on our own wisdom, our own reasoning, our own gifts and abilities and are surprised when our lives seldom look different than the atheist down the road or the Buddhist next door.
As you may know, Patty and I lead the Marriage Ministry at Colonial Hills. People are often looking for a quick fix, a checklist of what they need to do, when in fact we need to be seeking the power for a great marriage, the Holy Spirit. I must admit, it is a recent revelation. Last year, I started thinking about Marriage from these three viewpoints; the purpose of marriage, the power for marriage, and the practice of marriage.
Scripture provides several purposes for marriage. These include fellowship, procreation, protection from sexual sin, and sanctification. Genesis says, and this is God speaking, that “It is not good for man to be alone…so we will create a helper suitable for him.” God created woman as a helpmate for Adam and created the first marriage, a covenant relationship where they could be open, trusting, and vulnerable. He uses the covenant marriage as a place where children can be raised, where sexual union can be enjoyed, and where we can grow more and more into the image of Christ.
The practice of marriage includes all the techniques and tools that can be used to strengthen a marriage. Whether it is improved communications, understanding the differences between men and women, learning your spouse’s Love Language, or learning better how to fight effectively, these tools are often critical to a healthy, long term marriage where love rules and respect is present.
What is often overlooked is the Power for Marriage, the Holy Spirit. When we consider that a marriage reflects Christ’s love for the church, we must admit that the Holy Spirit is not only overlooked in marriage, but in our Christian walk in general. As Jesus was preparing his disciples for his ascension, he promises that he will not be leaving them as orphans, that the Father would send them “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit” who would “teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” That Advocate is just as present in the modern-day believer as he was two thousand years ago to the apostles. That advocate is the source of power for the Christian walk, including your marriage.
This Sunday we will be exploring the fact that God is still with us. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit we have access to the wisdom, counseling, and encouragement of God. Through the Holy Spirit we have the power to overcome sinful patterns, live with assurance, and take steps of love and faith we would never be able to take otherwise.
In being filled with the Spirit we have the ability to love and respect others sacrificially, treat others as better than ourselves, and walk in fellowship with others in a powerful and influential way. I am looking forward to seeing you Sunday.