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November 2, 2021 6:00 am
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I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time. We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing.
The counselors created the safest environment we could imagine so that let us really talk one a much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation. Hope restored.com. The umbrella is a covering for you so when you are operating under the covenant under the covering of God.
What we have today are one or both parties in the marriage leaving the umbrella of wondering why the relationship is getting with Dr. Tony Evans talking about the joys and the difficulties it many couples have in maintaining a strong, healthy marriage.
He's our guest today on Focus on the Family your hostess books president Dr. Jim Daly, thanks for joining us I'm John Fuller, Jon. I know that there there are listeners who are struggling in some area of their marriage. We all do at times.
It's okay. It's part of the journey, some of it can be the result of the fast pace of life. Other times it's because of some area where we disobey God and you know what it's good to be reminded of God's design for marriage and what it means to have a kingdom marriage. I'm happy to come back to a tremendous broadcast with our guest and friend Dr. Tony Evans, who was married for 49 wonderful years to his wife Lois who passed away almost 2 years ago they modeled an incredible Christian marriage for those many decades. And what an impact for the kingdom for all of us to learn from it. We love this family were so grateful for their example in the wisdom that they shared for many years, especially through this broadcast and Dr. Tony Evans being here so often he is the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. These written books that reached millions of people and he's the host of the urban alternative radio show and podcasts to revisit a great conversation from a few years ago was Tony shared thoughts from one of his books published with Focus on the Family. It's the kingdom series of books and this one is called kingdom marriage, Tony. It's great to welcome you back to Focus on the Family will always good to be great to be with focus on the long history in great investment and support that you've been to me that my family ministry. So thank you.
Well it's a great combination. Tony, let's talk about marriage and when we hear in the news and even Christian research organizations will talk about the downside what the trouble is where were at the struggles were having in marriage. Generally in this country and particularly in Christian marriages that our divorce rate isn't much different from the world. Talk about the bigger theme of why marriages are struggling generally and why Christian marriages are equally struggling. While there are a lot of forces at work against marriages against it being the institution that the creator established it to be but unfortunately most marriages start in the wrong place.
Even Christian marriages because they start with happiness is the goal, and God did not create. That is the goal that was supposed to be the benefit and when the benefit replaces the goal when that benefit is no longer being realized. And I'm not particularly happy that I don't want necessarily to stay there. But if we can get the goal back in its proper place, which is what we call the kingdom marriage and then happiness becomes the result will now you get the benefit. Because you are hearing to the goal will state clearly what is that goal in a Christian marriage. What are we trying to be about as Christians, when God established the institution of marriage. He established it to reflect his image and expand his kingdom and out of that. He said I will bless them. So unless we are mirroring God's purposes and advancing his because we are not fulfilling the reason why he instituted the institution in the first place so that opens up the door for the enemy like he did with the first marriage to come in, create vision, separate us from God and create civilizational chaos, conflict and disintegration because as goes the family and the marriage is the foundation of the family, so goes the culture and we are watching that happen before our eyes, and it's shocking and the rate at which marriage has disintegrated and is up against the ropes as we often say here that yet that's what we walk in the door every day trying to do. It's why were doing this broadcast is to talk about making your marriage as powerful as strong as it can be, and I often say this Tony people outside of the community of faith are looking at seeing if were acting differently in it's kind like proof you believe in God by showing me your life that can be hard to do when were looking for that happiness ourselves as Christians being me focused rather than you focused the great beauty of what marriage was designed to be was that I could invest in another for their enhancement and development, and see the expansion of that reflected in the offspring and then reflecting that in their new relationships and they all spring so there is this proliferation of the image of God in history through the selflessness that marriage gives us the opportunity to demonstrate I know there's doctrinal differences in unit focus. We don't concentrate on the theological differences here, but I was talking to a priest from the Catholic Church and you say you know we thought about marriage for a long time for the last 2000 years, and he said you know, one of the things that we have in the Catholic Church is the belief that Lucifer is an enemy to us and to Jesus. He despises marriage because God himself put the divine nature in man and woman he created us in his image as male and female and it was a stench to Lucifer because why would God do that to humans and not to the Angels is that interesting.
Well you will note that the site never bothered that until he got married that they didn't show up until he was brought on the scene because Satan was well aware of Jesus's dominion statement in chapter 1 of Genesis male and female, since he knew that was coming down the pike. He knew he had to destroy that institution. So he timed his move to destroy the institution because he was after owning civilization. I mean that is powerful to me. What a way to look at it. What a reason for us to be more diligent and to understand the spiritual battles that are occurring for our marriages because if he can obliterate marriage. He's got us right will absolutely of the size of the nation is the size of its family's written lives in the saga of the family is the stability or instability of that marriage relationship and if we can get back and we must get back if we don't salvage our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all societies to God's definition, purpose for marriage which is kingdom oriented with happiness being the result you know when you look at the illustration of kingdom. You have a great story in the book talking about Queen Victoria. That really caught me explain what Queen Victoria became Queen. About 18 years of age and she fell in love with the Prince Albert and they teamed up as the kingdom couple of England to work together in order to promote and to produce well-being in that society. When they teamed up as a unit. Not only did Anglin advance, but through their nine children and 42 grandchildren who then went out and impacted Germany pressure they went out and impacted Canada through their marriages so we had a kingdom couple raising kingdom kids having kingdom impact from a societal standpoint through their children and grandchildren, which is exactly the replica that God had in mind when he established his kingdom marriage first and declared that I want you to be fruitful and multiply by way fruitful and multiply. Didn't just mean creating look-alikes fruitful and multiply meant to replicate my image so that when those kids grew up and expanded. I would be multiplied and replicated in all the new locations that their family lineages went to so it was powerful to read that story. Back when Albert died she remained unmarried and would regularly dress in black every day morning the loss of that partnership and the impact that it had that shows what a solid kingdom marriage can do in a society where you think it could do for the kingdom of God. When we know that the destruction of our marriages is a spiritual issue and not merely a relational issue, then we will seek to address it spiritually and not just relationally well and that is an observation I made and I don't know who started this, but we talk about the marriage covenant rather than the marriage contract. The state that demands a contract and so we sign a marriage license that virtually means nothing today for me.
It's no different. Unfortunately than registering your car because of the way the state is so redefine marriage that it doesn't mean marriage anymore but covenant marriage what it means to be a believer and make a commitment to your spouse describe that contrast and what we need to be about in the faith community. Well unfortunately the word covenant is got lost, it is the key word in Scripture to discuss how God administers his kingdom program in marriage is a kingdom program a covenant very simply, if a divinely created bond covenants have five ingredients to them. First of all, God sets the standard for what the covenant is which is why God said, let no man put asunder what I have joined together.
Don't let a judge overruled me because this is my institution so you will get to define it. Secondly, covenants have a chain of command per square there's 11 three since Christ is over. Every man a man is over a woman and then he goes on to say parents over children when you break the chain, you lose the blessing which is why Satan went to even skip Adam he would even skip Adam to reverse the roles so that all hell can break loose in the home. Then they all rules by which the covenant operates a husband is given a set of rules that he is to follow the wife the same when they obey the rules they get the involvement of God when they disobeyed at least before the sanctions, the blessings and cursing were tied to the obedience. Finally, the fifth point of every covenant of inheritance where they would be long term implications. That's what Obama talks about to the third and fourth generation. Look at the covenant as an umbrella when it's raining, you have a number. The job of the umbrella is not to stop it from raining become available. Do that to stop her from writing when you, the umbrella is a covering for you so when you are operating under the covenant under the covering of God.
What we have today. One or both parties in the marriage leaving the umbrella and wondering why the relationship is getting wet as a create word pictures to think about that when you look at that piece you also talk in the book kingdom marriage about unity and the need for unity in the bond of marriage, and I would think you listening right now. If you're struggling in your marriage.
This is probably one of the core issues and we all face the moment I think where that unity doesn't feel solid where you're not in sync year may be nipping at each other's heels because something's amiss. Talk about unity. What destroys unity and how to keep unity.
Well, let's define unity.
Unity is oneness of purpose not sameness of persons when I do a marriage. A lot of times that the couples have the unity candle and so the man will take of can woman take her candle. They will light the big unity candle little than a blow out the candles. I explained it and that's not correct you like the unity candle, but you keep your candlelit because you don't lose your uniqueness in order to have unity so many couples are spending time trying to blow out the other person's candle that it causes discord in the relationship with that uniqueness is intentional for both of you would say one of you would be a necessary talk about at what that looks like practically to blow out your spouses candle. What is that look like the responses candle is trying to make them into your image to fulfill your desire preferences. Even though that is not how God made them so you wind up contradicting God by changing your mate unless it's something that God says is wrong, but then differences the personalities of likes of interest. They like the Costco you like the house warm as she likes to click you like what makes us that's okay because none of that is simple, so people are free to be themselves in a football game. The lineman is not the wide receiver. Why was he would not the quarterback of the one goal that everybody's going to the same goal with a uniquenesses. This is really a reflection of the image of God, one God, composed of three coequal persons. The father is not the son, the spirits, not the father that they work in unity, 20, purpose, hassle if you establish the purpose and keep the freedom of the uniqueness you accomplish the purpose and you have unity even though you maintain strategic differences so that key would you say the key threat to unity is as to whether the accepting that uniqueness apart from sin yeah you know, sometimes Tony adhered Focus on the Family will hear from married couples. One of the married spouses now talk about.
Typically, the wife is calling saying my husband doesn't do this doesn't do that isn't good at spiritual training of the children can be very faultfinding and maybe for good reason. So when that wife is justified calling these things out. What is a better way to handle it. To maintain that unity.
What first of all, she should let them retain the man because we what we try to do is outline the biblical role because what most men eat Christmas don't understand is that they're asking for submission that they are unwilling to give themselves God calls men to be submitted to him and therefore to say to him I want to submit to you with all of my heart. It would help me to submit letter to you if you would fulfill this role so that I can submit at the highest possible level you discarded via because that's what he wants. Given what he wants but do it in such a way that you get what you need and when those two can connect the second thing is, is there a person who he respects an elf who is willing to hold in response was with a local church comes, it is the body of Christ with will be holding men accountable because the men are supposed be passes in the home. If you call your pastor's name or you calling his name. The wrong person.
Is it in your household. So accountability and encouraging that accountability is also critical to our attorney. I put in the hot seat so know, especially those of us in leadership, we can say the right things.
We know the word but I want to dig in with you and lowers your wife and just ask you how is this worked out in your own marriage. Are there times when you and Lois are kinda struggling in this area or have you really dial dance well first of all when I am inconsistent in my role that I have set the stage for her to be inconsistent in hers. So when I do not ask the question have I created an environment in which she is responding to me this way that I am better able to address it. When I simply push it off on her and don't take responsibility because the definition of the kingdom, and the man who accepts responsibility on the God Adam where are you not out of anywhere y'all you are responsible when I feel asked that question I am exacerbating the situation when she fails to ask that question and not responding to Tony Evans like God is asked me to respond am exacerbating is so we fail when that question goes on asked and answered we succeed when that question is asked and answered. And as you're describing this process Tony I was I was thinking we been very fortunate. We been married for over 30 years and I gotta say I've never seen the differences between us. Thinking about your unity candle illustration I don't think those differences have been more pronounced than ever before me is that the case for you, Lois, absolutely because you are for ever learning a person which is what they select on the beach, married to the take a lifetime to fix it because you ever learning things that to discover and in different scenarios, that can provoke all things that you thought were addressed alone. Yeah so it is. That's why Paul calls marriage a sanctification environment because the goal of marriage spiritually is to transform us more into the image of Christ is when we talk of booking a marriage about the phone call wanted to get rid of the phone in second Corinthians chapter 12 because it was needling him to death. A lot of times we feel that way about our basement needling us the debt and we want you to want to change mates or change circumstance you want to change something God said no I want to change it.
I want you to see me working in it to transform you because you going to see more of me in the needling until you get to where I want you to be so look at the eve of the fourth as an opportunity for growth. Tony, I'm in a dig in here because I think those emotions that that a person feels in the marriage, especially the marriage that is grown cool and distant. We need to talk about what that feels like and what they're experiencing and how they can get back to a place where there honoring the Lord so described that marriage where the communication is not happening. The unity is not happening. Husbands withdrawn emotionally because he's tired of the being needled and maybe she's pulling back because she's tired of giving of yourself in certain ways and never getting the love that she's expecting just described that environment a bit and then talk about how you can begin to sanctify your marriage as you said, where you can begin to get it back on course with God because there's a lot of lonely Christian marriages and we hear from you every day and we want to be here for you to speak to me in that way just role-play with me. Well, God has a phrase to address this because he experiences it with us because it returning to your first love is in Revelation chapter 2 love and first love is little difference between two love is to compassionately and righteously seek the well-being of another to first love is to passionately and righteously seek the well-being of another is the difference between compassion, love, and first passion.
So what God says is when you fall in love with me your Christian life is gotten cold, like maybe marriage is gotten cool. He gives three things to do to set the place on fire again. Number one he says, remember from where you have fallen go back to your dating days in your mind. Think of how it was because that's how it can be because you have seen it be that way and that's a house on fire the house on fire sometime too much my right okay he says I want you to think back.
This is positive.
Recall because you often forget that many says the second thing I want you to repent in the Bible you only repeat the one thing sin so to leave your first love is not only negative and bad. It's also sinful because he want you to repent of it so you have to say for what ever your role has been in contributing to the coolness I have sinned against God have sinned against my mate and I want to be restored that's conversation between husband and wife. We have a cool relationship. I know what you know what we know it, but let's discuss what we remember when we first met, let's just talk about that a little bit and let's both express our sorrow and our sin before God that we will let that fire die out to give the third thing he says repeat and do your first works over again. You remembered it you repented of wondering from it and do it all over again. So you actually have to go back in time to advance in time with the memory as they are sparking it with repentance. Is there recovering from it with the renewing and redoing is there. You have now lit a match and when you light a match and attach it to the right substance. It'll blow up pretty quick to become a fabric in its in a practical example for me and that is when Jean and I when we were dating I live down in San Diego at the time and she was up in Orange County says about a 90 minute drive and I remember on a few occasions. She worked at a veterinary 24 hour veterinary clinic so she would work the evening shift and I was that man wonder she's getting dinner and there would be times and I would get her dinner drive at 90 miles I buy only the hot end of the hats and all was in at them, but I drive is 90 miles picture something up nice and hot in the ticket to the clinic for her to eat and that you know I I gotta say I don't think outside the box, like for me to Lois response to surprises.
She likes but not that which you can anticipate, but what were you thinking about that I mattered in but I didn't expect and you can see the light come on when the unexpected happens without the godly comes from left field and definitely didn't expect. I didn't anticipate we go will we go wow. That's what Obama calls suddenly out of nowhere God moves what would a man. Suddenly the woman is suddenly to speak into the surprise element which means you were thinking about me in a nonnormal way and what that doesn't say that lighting a match is get the flint going and when we do those kind of thing the for that other person matters.
The other thing is a big biblical word edification buildup because a lot of couple spent a lot of time arguing. But suppose every day you found a phrase that was an investment phrase I am investing in you I'm going to say something or do something that builds you up because a lot of people been taught from the floor up by the marriage conflicts want to create a new habit that will be a surprise right there that you do criticizing me, but you actually building me up. You are affirming me your validating me your accepting me your complementing me your calling and at unexpected times you writing a note when that's not your normal thing and you are building me up. That's what God says he will do for one another with the pleasure that comes with that. Why do we as couples negate or ignore doing that. I mean that it is a good thing and it actually brings the giver a little pleasure to not a lot to make their mate feel better. Why are we so negligent about doing it because we take the other person for granted like we take God for granted. Even though his mercies are new every day.
So not to take the institution or the person for granted get convicted just talk about it is I think the key to keep it from becoming dull and secondary and that takes a lot of discipline that Tony this is your book and that were doing this together with Focus on the Family kingdom marriage and I've got a couple of other key areas. I wanted again to like humility and the need for humility in marriage than nihilism and that thing that traps us. I want to go a little deeper in that regard. Can you stick with this and will talk about that next time to be with you.
I'm holding to that only some great insights from Dr. Tony Evans get your copy of kingdom marriage, which really dresses God's plan for man and woman in marriage and other helpful resources. All the links are in the episode in general.
We appreciate the support of so many friends of this ministry who helped Focus on the Family to strengthen marriages.
That's a large part of what we do here at focus. You can further our efforts by requesting Tony's book from us here and at the same time putting resources right back into building God's kingdom we know it will be an encouragement for you, or maybe give it to an engaged couple or young married couple with a generous financial gift of any amount today will send you this book as our way of saying thank you and the support team in our number is 800 K in the word family or click the link in the episode's diversity to provide a link for her to our free marriage assessment on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family to be with his skin tomorrow, as will your part to the conversation with Dr. Tony Evans once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. When a woman discovers her husband struggled with pornography. She needs a practical plan. The latest book from Focus on the Family aftershock but professional counselor Joanne Conti will help you through the seven steps of self-care and to learn how to deal with the emotions involved in the discovery of your husband's addiction.
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