Building God-Glorifying Relationships In a God-Hating Society

July 29, 2008

It would probably be an understatement to say that most Christian single men and women eagerly desire marriage. However, if you were to abstractly view the culture of our world and everything it desires, it is virtually the exact opposite. Everything pure, wholesome and potentially a blessing to anyone that desires a Godly marriage is something that seems to be forever lost and indeed, is. We must only turn on the television to ABC or FOX and even the TV Guide Channel to see the subtle and blatant perversions of some type of relationship, physically or verbally. The lies that we see on television and in the public everyday affect the emotions and should stir righteous anger by the grieving the Holy Spirit in believers. Because we are in the world and not of the world, believers must continually separate and discern within ourselves what we truly desire in a relationship in accordance with God’s Word.

Through personal experience, I assume that most (single) Christians have seen movies and/or television shows that are of a perverse nature. Much of what is on the television screen regarding certain sitcoms, series shows and movies is a purposeful fabricated design and perversion to please the senses. It is created drama for your viewing pleasure; otherwise we would not desire to watch it. Virtually every scenario, particularly between a male and female, displays a heightened sense of emotional and sexual attraction that we may or may not personally experience. The part that most viewers don’t cognitively realize is that even though they are viewing a scripted scene, they are still viewing ‘real’ people on the set (so says the press anyway). The more viewing of these types of relationships that we see, the more we subject our emotions and thought lives to being affected by them. We begin to compare ourselves to a particular person or picture ourselves in a particular scene. If we desired to be in a relationship prior to viewing, we now desire more; at least the parts that are supposed to arrive after marriage.

After having observed some type of dramatic premarital or extramarital relationship for thirty minutes to an hour, it may cause us to feel as if we are lacking some type of drama in our relationship lives. Or specifically to Christians, it should cause extreme grievance in our hearts as it attempts to make foolishness of our obedience to God’s Word and what Jesus Christ says about relationships. If we are living our lives under the authority of Scripture, then a battle must take place when we are ever personally engaged with such television shows or movies that say “Sex outside of marriage is great” or “It is alright to cheat on your spouse.” The ‘freedoms’ that are presented in these relationships are simply lies to create more bondage to the flesh and to have you remain ignorant of the blessedness of a lifelong marriage.

Perhaps the most depressing part of our television culture is that it takes an increasing amount of drama and sexual scenes developed by writers and producers to even interest young viewers; the more sex and drama, the more viewers. In other words, the more sin and rebellion, the more interesting it becomes to watch. Why? It is not necessarily the drama itself or the sex itself that causes these reactions and responses. Rather, it is the powerful and inevitable comparison affect the shows and movies play to provoke a personal application to our lives. As sinners, we naturally compare ourselves to other people. We do not look for what we already have, we develop an envy strategy to pick out what we do not have and then compare accordingly. For example, you see someone kissing in a movie. We think to ourselves about the simple fact that we have either kissed recently or not; or never. We are naturally inclined to these things because God has instilled them in us. It is His desire that we experience them, powerfully, freely and blessedly, in the context of marriage.

What the culture of our favorite drama series, movies and sitcoms is sure not to represent is a relationship that is wholesome and God-honoring. It is less than a needle in a haystack, a virtual non-existence. This fact not only stems from our already wicked hearts, but has preceded each generation. For example, “as statistics show”, divorce is more prevalent today than twenty years ago. But, we don’t ever seem to do the research prior to that. Perhaps the ‘statistics’ prior to the 20th century are irrelevant. Divorce apparently has been happening since the fall of man. In fact, Mark recorded the Pharisees asking Jesus “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2). The Pharisees, already having an acceptance of this in their hardened hearts, provided the justification that Moses gave them in the law. They said to Jesus, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” (Mark 10:4) It is exactly what happens in modern day divorce. Nothing has changed. People still divorce for the same reasons today that they did three-thousand years ago. It is seen in television shows, movies and real life. Because of its popularity and ‘freeing’ nature, it is just as common as marriage (50+% divorce rate). But Jesus settles the dust of any justification on the issue by speaking clearly,
“Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. ‘But from the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, ‘and the two shall become one flesh’, so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’” Mark 10:5-9

The obvious and precious divider that separates true believers from unbelievers is, upon conversion, the possession of the Holy Spirit. It is, in essence, “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”(John 14:17). It is what convicts of our sin, righteousness and judgment in the world. Since the world neither sees nor knows Jesus Christ as far as blood-bought, righteous knowledge, they cannot and will not obey Him. It proves that this world is passing away, along with its passionate lusts.

Even though the new birth provides discernment to believers, it is only because of it that we can truly honor and glorify God in any relationship. Therefore, since we now know the things about relationships that God loves, we now learn to hate the things that He hates, because it does not bring honor or glory to Him; namely, the selfishness of defrauding one another emotionally and/or physically outside of marriage. It is clear that when such situations arise, we are not to be comfortable and nonchalant but discern, repent and take immediate action. Paul explains the serious matter that, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2).

As Christians, we are not to be ashamed of the Gospel and how it changes our view of personal relationships along with what we allow our eyes to see on the television screen. The flippant decisions made by our culture show just how easy it is to be in a relationship of any type, except one that honors God. According to what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians, it is difficult enough for true Christians to maintain purity. Due only to the Grace of God, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we are able to honor relationships and ultimately marriage for what ordained it to be from the beginning. Marriage is the precious china that our Creator has, in His Sovereignty and goodness, set into place to represent the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church. It is a powerful, yet delicate, sacrificial representation that truly only belongs to those who have been redeemed. Because of the blood shed on the Cross of Calvary, for the forgiveness of our sins in particular, we can now glory and humbly participate in the greatest act of sacrifice between two people on earth. It is merely a representation on earth, but mainly a preparation for the eternal marriage between the church and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, God Himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3

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