“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” Song of Solomon 2:15
Song of Solomon depicts the beauty of marriage. As foxes could destroy a vineyard and therefore needed to be caught and disposed of, we must be diligent to protect marriage against anyone or anything that would threaten it.
Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
I was reminded of one of God’s great promises this morning that stands in opposition to the lies that Satan would have us believe. The promise is found in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 and will defeat the following lies we often let ourselves believe.
Lie # 1 – I will never succumb to this temptation or commit that sin.
This is a lie grounded in the sin of pride and self-righteousness. When we feel like there is an area of our life that is beyond the reach of Satanic temptation, watch out. That is exactly where he will attack. Instead of taking such a prideful stance, we need to be humble and realize that we could very easily fall. We need to be aware of Satan’s attack and be prepared to depend upon God’s help. We need not put ourselves in situations that would lead to temptation and sin. A better attitude is “There but for the grace of God go I.” God says, “take heed lest he fall.”
Lie #2 – No one understands what I am going through.
This is a lie that Satan wants to use to cripple us with a “woe is me” outlook. The truth is others have experienced the pain, the struggles, and the temptations we are currently facing. We are not alone for “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” And the best news of all is Jesus is our great high priest who “sympathizes with our weaknesses” and who “in every respect has been tempted as we, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Lie #3 – God has abandoned me in my struggle.
Absolutely not, “God is faithful” even we are not. He will never leave us forsake us.
Lie #4 – I cannot handle these struggles anymore. They are too difficult.
The struggles we face are difficult but God will “not let you be tempted beyond what your ability.” If you are facing pain and and temptation God will set a limit on it that will not surpass what you can bear. I think most of us wish that God did not put so much faith in our ability! But the truth is, our ability rest not in us but in Him for if we are in Christ, Christ is in us and He has the ability to handle what we think we cannot!
Lie #5 – I have no options but to give in to this.
Not true! Not true at all! Not only does Christ in us give us the ability to stand against Satan’s attacks God will also “provide the way of escape.” Think of Joshua. When his boss’s wife tried to seduce him, he found the way of escape and ran and did not stop running! Flee if you must but find the way of escape. God has provided it!
Lie #6 – I can’t go on anymore so the best thing for me to do is give up and give in!
Satan wants you to give up. God will empower you to never give up and promises to grant you longsuffering and then reward you for it. God says that no matter what pain, temptation, struggle, or disappointment you are facing, you are “able to endure it”!
“Even when Christians face morally confusing situations, they should never think that they have no options other than sinful ones. There will always be a morally right solution that does not require disobedience to any of God’s moral laws” ESV Study Bible Notes
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:24–25)
There is a pattern of love in marriage ordained by God.
The roles of husband and wife are not the same. The husband is to take his special cues from Christ as the head of the church. The wife is to take her special cues from the church as submissive to Christ.
In doing this, the sinful and damaging results of the Fall begin to be reversed. The Fall twisted man’s loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. The Fall twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness in some women and brazen insubordination in others.
The redemption we anticipate at the coming of Christ is not the dismantling of the created order of loving headship and willing submission, but a recovery of it. Wives, redeem your fallen submission by modeling it after God’s intention for the church! Husbands, redeem your fallen headship by modeling it after God’s intention for Christ!
I find in Ephesians 5:21–33 these two things: (1) the display of Christian Hedonism in marriage and (2) the direction its impulses should take.
Wives, seek your joy in the joy of your husband by affirming and honoring his God-ordained role as leader in your relationship. Husbands, seek your joy in the joy of your wife by accepting the responsibility to lead as Christ led the church and gave himself for her.
I would like to bear witness to God’s goodness in my life. I discovered Christian Hedonism the same year I got married, in 1968. Since then, Noël and I, in obedience to Jesus Christ, have pursued as passionately as we can the deepest, most lasting joys possible. All too imperfectly, all too half-heartedly at times, we have stalked our own joy in the joy of each other.
And we can testify together: For those who marry, this is the path to the heart’s desire. For us, marriage has been a matrix for Christian Hedonism. As each pursues joy in the joy of the other and fulfills a God-ordained role, the mystery of marriage as a parable of Christ and the church becomes manifest for his great glory and for our great joy.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Prayer pursues joy in fellowship with Jesus and in the power to share his life with others.
And prayer pursues God’s glory by treating him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer, we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and his bounty, our misery and his mercy.
Therefore, prayer highly exalts and glorifies God precisely by pursuing everything we long for in him, and not in ourselves. “Ask, and you will receive . . . that the Father may be glorified in the Son and . . . that your joy may be full.” Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to.
If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don’t just get up one summer morning and say, “Hey, let’s go today!” You won’t have anything ready. You won’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned.
But that is how many of us treat prayer. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready.
We don’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned. No time. No place. No procedure. And we all know that the opposite of planning is not a wonderful flow of deep, spontaneous experiences in prayer. The opposite of planning is the rut.
If you don’t plan a vacation, you will probably stay home and watch TV. The natural, unplanned flow of spiritual life sinks to the lowest ebb of vitality. There is a race to be run and a fight to be fought. If you want renewal in your life of prayer, you must plan to see it.
Therefore, my simple exhortation is this: Let us take time this very day to rethink our priorities and how prayer fits in. Make some new resolve. Try some new venture with God. Set a time. Set a place. Choose a portion of Scripture to guide you.
Don’t be tyrannized by the press of busy days. We all need midcourse corrections. Make this a day of turning to prayer — for the glory of God and for the fullness of your joy.
From Desiring God, pages 182–183
A wife tends to find her husband irresistible when he
- learns to create an environment of affection that clearly and repeatedly expresses his love for her;
- sets aside time every day just to talk to her with undivided attention and interest;
- is completely honest and open with her;
- provides financial support for her and;
- is committed to the moral and educational development of their children.
A husband tends to find his wife irresistible when she
- learns to join him in a sexual relationship they both find satisfying and enjoyable;
- becomes his favorite recreational companion;
- maintains overall appearance in a way that he finds physically attractive;
- manages household responsibilities and;
- understands and appreciates him more than anyone else.
From Willard F. Harley, Jr. – www.marriagebuilders.com