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Designed By God.

Eph. 5:1-2 "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God".(NIV)

These words at the beginning of the fifth chapter of Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus sets the tone for the instruction that follows. Paul is teaching on the relationship of Christ to His church. In order to help the reader relate to this relationship he makes a comparison to the marriage relationship.

Today may be a time when marriage relationships seem to be on the rocks for many people. People are looking for answers to deal with relationships. We look in our own little world for something to compare our own situation to.

Answers to our questions and direction for our efforts can be found in the "Book of Books".

Marriage needs to be motivated by Love. However, we must learn to love. Love is not a feeling first, but it does make us feel. Love is a commandment. It is a thinking condition. As a man thinks, so is he.

Prov. 23:6-7 "Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you". (NAS)

In the Scriptures we are instructed, commanded, to love our enemy, to love our neighbor, to love our mate. Love is not essentially an emotion but the product of the will. Love gives whether it feels like it or not. Love gives an investment in someone else other than self.

Matt 5:43-45 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…" (NIV)

God gave:

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him". (NIV)

Christ gave:

Gal. 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me".(NIV)

We should be careful of feelings. We cannot trust feelings as our standard for what we do. Knowledge of what God reveals and obedience to God's will result in a life motivated by love.

Love is giving from the heart. From the inner person we have a spiritual motivation.

Lust is the opposite to Love. It is getting what self wants without giving of self. Immorality, perverted sex, comes from a selfish heart which is a heart controlled by feelings for self gratification.

The marriage relationship is maintained with understanding. It cannot last if based upon the human option of feeling or not feeling. Marriage was instituted by God. It is a covenant that teaches the husband and wife the concept of giving and loving.

Prov. 2:12-17 "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God". (NIV)

Mal. 2:13-15 "Another thing you do: You flood the LORD'S altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth". (NIV)

Marriage is good and is the rule not the exception for man and woman.

Gen. 2:18, 22-24 "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)

Matt. 19:4-6 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (NIV)

Heb. 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral". (NIV)

Companionship is the fundamental purpose of marriage. It was designed by God to be that way.

It is that relationship in which the man and woman can let down self guards. It is the sharing of joys, tears, and the expression of the whole person in love. By this the two who are one are also whole.

Marriage is a permanent relationship. It is an example of security in an insecure world. The best teaching a man can give to his child is to be a good and loving husband to his wife, loving as Christ loved the church. The wife should follow the husband as the church follows Christ, not because of "duty" but because of the loving and giving nature of the husband. Then our children will see in action the true principles of what true love is. In seeing they will learn and in learning they will act towards others.

Eph. 5:25-31 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." (NIV)



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