Chuck Wysong brought a fire hose sermon on marriage to GateWay this past weekend. I say fire hose because of so much volume of excellent material covered in such a short time. It is hard to get a drink of water from a fire hose at full force. This is one sermon to talk through, discuss, question and work out for a long time to come. In keeping with the subject of marriage for this week’s blog, take a sip of these thoughts from one little drinking fountain.
It has often been repeated by media, office talk, and social circles and from America’s pulpits - 50% of marriages end in divorce and it may be slightly higher “in the church.” I would venture to say this statistic is deeply embedded in many minds. It was in mine. Studies by a number of social researchers have found the divorce rates declining each year since its peak in the 1970-80’s. One point this research reveals is the rate has never hit 50% in the past 30 years. Reasons for the decline in divorce span the spectrum from feminism, delayed marriages, to active church attendance and seemingly everything in between. Statistics also show the divorce rate is lower in communities of faith. Jesus Christ does matter! When divorce does happen factors such as sudden economic hardship, long term poverty, substance abuse, education, youthfulness are often cited. Whatever or however your socio-political perspective maybe, we Christ-followers have a big stake in the success of marriages. One aspect of this is in the influence we have in our culture.
Jesus Christ shapes culture by redeeming individuals who live lives characterized by grace and mercy thus transforming relationships. This is also part of our marching orders here on earth. In a world desperately needing good and loving relationships, we can be of great influence. We as Christ-followers should have the best and strongest marriages. But that takes work and commitment as the forces of darkness will do whatever is necessary to assure our failure. Chuck Wysong lays out a framework to combat these forces of evil. It is not the only pattern out there but is one worth putting into practice, particularly if you do not have one you are currently using. A great way to engage the pattern is to do it with other couples in a small group.
I have learned the current generation of Millennials is not asking if Christianity is true. They are asking if it is real. Truth has become individual and variable but what is real is the deal. If it is real, then it is worthy of consideration and adoption. Colossians 1:9 speaks of we believers “walking worthy of the high calling of Jesus Christ.” It is God’s heart that every Millennial walk in intimate relationship with Him. If Millennials see the goodness, the deepness, the satisfaction of our faith-based relationships, especially marriages, then perhaps they will go from casual observation to seeking, and then ultimately to participation. Let our marriages “walk in a manner worthy of the high calling of Jesus Christ.”