I know a woman who's unhappy in her marriage. She doesn't look at her husband the way she used to. She doesn't feel the things she used to. Is it what God wants for her to live out the next 40 years of her life in a love-less marriage?
I'm devastated that she would be thinking these thoughts out-loud. Of course it's not what God wants! I'm heart-broken that they have to struggle through this, and that right now she may not really even desire to submit to God and trust Him to fix things.
But then, when I'm not expecting it, I start looking at my husband and thinking, "I sure don't feel the things I used to"....."It's not all it could be"......and suddenly I'm frustrated with my own marriage, irritated by my husband and the choices he makes, thinking about all of the things I wish were different in our relationship.
So, is my marriage on the rocks? Thankfully, no.
But isn't that just how Satan works? It doesn't take much to get us off track....we don't have to slip into some horrible sin...all satan needs to do is get us to take our eyes off of what God has done for us, and start looking around at other people and what they have (or seem to have), take our eyes off God's goodness and start looking at what could be, what else is out there.....
That's how the fall of man happened. Adam and Eve were in the perfect Garden of Eden. God had given them everything they could ever want. They walked and talked with God.....and He said they could have everything in the Garden except one thing.
And one day, satan convinces Eve to take her eyes off of all the good stuff God had given them, and to focus on that one thing they didn't have....what could be.
I read something recently that identified this American attitude driving much of our economy today: We are always afraid that someone else is getting a better deal than us.
Insurance companies are counting on the fact that every few years, you're going to start wondering if you can get a better deal on coverage somewhere else.
Cell phone companies know that you're going to want a cooler phone with cooler functions and sooner or later, you'll be in their store to upgrade to something better.
Credit card companies bank on the fact that sooner or later, you're going to start looking for a better interest rate, better perks, better deal.
So the next thing you know, Adam is dissatisfied with what God had given them, and he's following right along.
I'm reminded of Galatians 6:1: 1Dear brothers and sisters, if a brother is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
Okay, most times I read that verse, honestly, it sounds kind of silly....I mean, how often am I going to help someone who's struggling with say, an addiction to alcohol or holding a grudge against a roommate who doesn't do their dishes, and suddenly fall into the same sin myself? But then, when I start considering the kind of sin I usually struggle with most, things like self-centeredness, pride, gossip, laziness....I realize how easily influenced I am by those around me. If I'm around someone who likes to gossip, it's much easier for me to slide right into sin. One of my favorite friends is one who I can call and we can laugh about laying on the couch and eating brownies instead of being active and productive. When someone is a complainer, I feel like it gives me license to complain about my own life. I'm so easily influenced.
That's why, in a Community, sin has to be taken seriously.
To draw from my life as the parent of children.....when one kid gets lice at school, the whole class is checked, they start putting all the personal items in plastic garbage bags to keep them from being infected, kids are sent home. It's contagious. You do everything you can to contain it.
We need to be there for friends caught in sin - whether that's pride, worry, self-centeredness, a bad attitude about their marriage, frustration with the Church.....but maybe we need to start checking our own hair for little bugs....put a big plastic trashbag around our hearts and minds to keep sin from jumping from one head of hair to another.
We don't give up on our friends in order to save ourselves....I've been praying like crazy for my friend's marriage. But we need to be careful to not allow ourselves be distracted by satan. It can be so subtle.....I'm reminded that maybe I need to pray more urgently for protection for my own marriage and family as I reach out to others, fixing my eyes on Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.