November 8, 2016

Keeping True Love Alive: Part 1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

How can you rekindle the passion in your marriage? Distracted marriages become disconnected marriages, and disconnected marriages derail and fall off the tracks. The writer of Hebrews gives us the secret to keeping true love alive in this passage.

First, focus on Christ to meet your deepest needs. The Bible says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….” (Vs. 2a) The Everyday Version puts it like this, “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” In other words, don’t look to your spouse to make you happy. Focus on Jesus. When you focus on Jesus to meet your deepest needs, it takes the pressure off of the relationship with your spouse. Only Christ can meet your deepest needs. Your focus will determine what you follow after. It will become a magnet that will attract you to it. You get to choose your focus; but, once you choose, it will draw you to it. If you focus on Jesus, He will draw you to Himself and enrich your marriage.

Second, get rid of distractions. Hebrews goes on to say, “So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way.” (Vs. 1b TEV) When we allow distractions to cloud our focus, we begin to aim at the wrong targets. Psalm 4:2b asks, “How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?” There are only two targets worth aiming at – loving God and loving others. That means our primary target is relationships. Are you focusing on your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse? Have you allowed distractions to deceive you into thinking that they are more important than God and your marriage? At the end of your life, all that will matter to you and me are faith, family and friends.

Third, eliminate anything that can entangle you. Look again at the counsel of Hebrews. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” (Vs. 1b NIV) Destructive and hurtful words are like poisonous arrows. They leave bitterness and pain that can be lethal. James 3:8 says, “… no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” If you want to keep the passion alive in your marriage, you must eliminate poisonous verbal arrows. So, how do we handle conflict? We’ll look at seven rules for wise fighting in tomorrow’s blog.