Marriage Blog: Faking Your Death

I read quite a few blogs and articles on marriage.  I’m always intrigued by titles.  Then one came across my screen…

Groom Poorly Fakes Death to Get Out of Wedding

Clicking on the link will introduce a small story about a poorly approached attempt to circumvent getting out of a wedding.  When I think I’ve heard it all, moments like these happen.

…Then my mind began to wander.  Thoughts began to form.  I then realized how often this happens.

People fake death all the time.  Let me explain…

When we get married, we’re bringing our family, our personal history (good and bad), and our present circumstances together with our spouse along with their family, background, etc.  Part of our getting married is navigating through all of that and learning to come together as a couple.  The other part is learning to die.

You read that right.

Death is a part of marriage.  Now most people think of death as the end of their physical life.  But the moment you take those vows, you are making a covenant with your spouse that his/her needs will be lifted up above your own.  When you put that ring on your finger, you pledged your love and identity to be with no one else but your groom/bride. The wedding is a place of death.  It’s a funeral of self.  Two people die and one is born.

So the question comes: What does it mean to “Fake Your Death”?

It’s when you decide that you’ll give the image of being married.  You’ll wear the ring.  You’ll play the part.  But in reality, you’re living for yourself.  You fake the “image” that your marriage is of the utmost priority. But it’s all about you.  The “death” is a lie. The marriage centers around your own desires without a single thought of your spouse.  As I’ve stated in so many blogs, selfishness is cancerous.  It’s the quickest way to fake one death (death to self) that will, ultimately, lead to another (death of your marriage).

Death to self in marriage, like with a relationship with Christ, is a daily decision.  Over the past 16 years of marriage to Anne has proved to me that every day I have a choice: Am I going to die to self or am I going to fake my death and live for me?  It’s the choice that so many marriages are struggling with.  How do I know that? Because every day I struggle wanted to live for me.  I want to do what I want.  I want my needs met.

This is where I look at the example of Christ.

John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

In his most vulnerable moment of his life, Jesus laid aside everything.  He knew that there was very little time before he’d be taken away. He was underneath an immense weight of pressure and stress.  He could have made everything about His needs that night.

But he laid aside His outer garments and put on the garments of a servant.  He served he closest friends when He was the one in need. What an amazing example of laying aside “self” in order to bless/serve/honor someone else.  What an amazing precursor to what would be displayed on the cross.

Imagine if we stopped faking “death to self” and we lived without selfishness.
Imagine two people married, decide to completely die to “self” and lived to serve Christ and one another.
Imagine if during our most vulnerable moments, we still decided “it’s not about me.”
Imagine having a marriage where no one waited for the other to step out and serve.  It naturally happens because that’s who you are.

I don’t know who you are or the state of your marriage, but its time to stop faking that you’ve died to the old life of self.  It’s time to lay aside who you were and who you’ve been.  It’s time to cast off selfishness and love your spouse the way Christ loves you.

Today, it’s time for self to die so that your identity with your spouse can live.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo #31Days – “Release His Work”

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We started a new series this month called “#31Days.” What “#31Days” means is we are encouraging everyone to take the challenge of encouraging someone via social network for 31 days.  Make sure you use the hashtag!

Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:31-36 For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?— the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

Come down from the “Mountain”

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After two days of running hills here in Omaha and praying over our next series at Kfirst…thoughts have been stirring.

Mountain top

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7

Growing up in church, there is a term we used over and over.

“Mountain-top experiences.”

I’m a pentecostal. I believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (gifts, fruit, ministry). I used that term “Mountain-top experiences” for those moments where it seemed like the presence of God is so thick around me.  It was as if a fog  rolled into and around my life and I had this greater awareness of His presence.  Those “mountain top experiences” are what we had sought at Sunday evening altars. I felt the call of ministry on my life there. I receive healing there. I remember moments of praying with friends.  I remember hearing my parents interceding over me. Those moments made me want more.

I remember time in church where we would sing and pray, desiring to be in “that place” with God.  We wanted revival.  In retrospect, I wonder if we should’ve stopped using that word and replaced it with the word “renewal.”  Why? Revival gives the connotation that something that is dead is being back to life. I really don’t remember people coming to Christ during those services.  What I do remember is being at an altar with my church family praying and seeking His face.  There is nothing wrong with that and I have great memories of those days. Like Moses going to the mountain of God, we were determined to seek Him and be consumed with his love and his presence.

Mountain tops are great moments.  They will transform your life. There are so many spiritual truths to grasp from from those that have the climbed amazing peaks of our world. From the mountain top, you’ll get new perspectives, views of unfathomable beauty, and experiences that will mark your life. I have dreamt of one day climbing some mountains and experiencing some opportunities that I have only seen on Discovery channel. Truth be told, mountain tops are great places to experience, but they are not supposed to be the place were we live.

I have a growing concern that the Church wants not only the “mountain top experience” but wants to live there. As nice as that my sound, it’s not where we belong. We want that Moses experience of being hid in the cleft of the rock to let the glory of God pass before us (Exodus 33:12-23).  We enjoy the sensation of services of unending worship and unyielding prayer (I don’t know what we limit worship and prayer to a church experience). But mountain tops were not meant to sustain life. Again, it’s not where we are supposed to live.

The mountain is a place were we are a recipient and an alien. It is a place to temporarily meet and receive. Jesus didn’t send us to the mountain. He releases us to the valley. Moses went up to the mountain to receive and bring down to Israel what he was given from the Lord. Even in Acts, they were in the upper (mountain) room and received in order to go into the world (valley).  The valley is where life happens.  The valley is where everyone lives.  But we, the Church, make it sound like living in the valley is a dark time in a person’s life.  But if we’ve received from the Lord on the mountain, we then illuminate the valley with that which we have been imparted with.

Isaiah describes beautiful feet.  They are not of those who live on high and have no connection with the valley below.  Beautiful feet are possessed by beautiful people who “bring” the Gospel (Good news) to the world. They don’t shout it from the mountain hoping others can hear what they are saying.  They don’t send out a random tweet/facebook status hoping the masses will catch the message.  They “bring” (Hebrew for announce, bear tidings, show forth, publish) news of peace and salvation.  They bring the declaration “God reigns!”

John 1:14 says “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  We start a holiday season celebrating the One that came with beautiful feet, dwelling among us, full of grace and truth.  We honor Immanuel (Christ with us). The one that came from on high to be the light in our darkness.

It’s time for the church to model the Son.

It’s time for the church to leave the mountain.

You’ve richly received from God.

It’s time to illuminate the valley.

Make your feel beautiful by be a messenger of illumination to the valley around you. Speak the good news of peace and salvation.  Proclaim “God reigns!”

Thanks for letting me ramble on vacation…