Today, from Chuck Swindoll and Chuck Swindoll. Chuck Swindoll helps us understand how to hang on for the ride and how to resist the forces that are working against us.
He draws his counsel directly from the source. We're looking at Genesis chapters 2 and 3. Chuck titled today's message, Getting Back on Target. As long as there has been marriage, there have been these four principles, which I will give you in one-word terms. The first is the word severance.
Verse 24, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother. Severance. There's a second word, permanence. Severance is followed naturally by permanence.
See the word? And he will be joined to his wife. It's the idea of sticking to, clinging, in affection and loyalty. This is not a clinging vine kind of clinging. This is a wonderful and healthy connection and linkage. A permanent bonding is the idea.
Jesus goes a step further in Mark 10, verse 9, where he says, whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder or separate. In other words, it's to be permanent. Now, once again, you may sit there and say, man, Chuck, you're talking to somebody else.
I've already gone through two of these and neither one of them worked and I'm right now dating someone. Wait a minute. We're talking about now.
We're talking about the future. The other is another subject, what you have done. This is now about where you go from here.
One of the great mistakes Christians make is by constantly draining all the sadness and the wrongs of the past, forgetting that they are forgiven. And life goes on and on. From now on, there will be, if there is a marriage and for the right reasons, there is to be a permanence in the bonding. What God has joined, let no one separate. That's a magnificent kind of home to come out of, by the way. I am thrilled to say that both Cynthia and I came from homes where the moms and dads stuck it out, stayed together, pulled it off.
Neither had perfect marriages, but there was a commitment to the bond that made all the difference in the world, in the world, in the kids. Now, the third is the word unity. In the verse 24, they shall become one flesh, oneness, unity. Don't confuse this with uniformity. Okay? This is unity. Eve was not created to become a female Adam.
Okay? They were to be in union with each other. She was not to be a clone. She wasn't a vanilla shadow who lived in his wake, living her life in the sense of non-entity because she's now the wife of this strong man.
It isn't that. Unity is all about differences brought into harmony. There is a difference in personality.
There is a difference in interest. There are differences in tastes. I find sick marriages when there is a controlling partner and the partner doesn't give the other one freedom to be and to cultivate gifts and strengths and abilities that God's given them.
I can't speak for you, but I can tell you my story about ruined our marriage the first 10 years. I expected Cynthia to be a female Chuck. Can you think of anything more miserable than to try to be a female me? I wanted her to have my opinions. I wanted her to have my interests. I wanted her to think the same thing, the same taste. We were going in a similar direction, but I wanted all of that just exactly like I said because it was right. I wanted her to be just like that.
I will never forget the dark, dark evening in New England. We were there trying to make a ministry work and I was at wit's end and she sat on top of all the others. She said, you know, honey, I'd just like to tell you, had tears in her eyes, she said, I'd like you not to say publicly that we're partners. It may make you feel good and look good to say that, but it's not true. And I said, yes, it is. She said, no, it's not. I said, yes, it is. And she said, no, it's not.
And walked out, walked upstairs and closed the door. And I sat at the kitchen table and I thought. She's right.
She's exactly right. I did a quick pass and review of habits I'd formed and controlling almost neurotic things I had demanded. I went over some things where I'd virtually put her into bondage.
Every jot and tittle that I expected. And my style had been had become harsh and hard to live with. I'll never forget walking upstairs and open the door and I sat down on the side of the bed and she's crying.
I said, you're right. And it's not going to keep on. That led into about four years of the hardest work we've ever done as a couple. As I had to face my stubbornness and my unwillingness to bend my blindness, I discovered another woman in her life that I'd never seen before. I built a respect that I had never had before.
Doesn't mean I didn't lead the home. I led now freer and easier than ever because she felt loved. She felt believed in.
She felt I was in her corner. Years passed and I remember hearing her speaking to a group one time. We had started a little radio ministry called Insight for Living and she was describing how it came together.
And I realized if we're going to have this ministry, she's going to have to run it because I don't have the brains to run that that kind of thing. And she very graciously added that to her work world along with four kids and put it on a map, if you will. And she was speaking very graciously to a group. And she said, by the way, the best partner, the best part of all of this is that my husband is my partner. I go, oh, this is great.
This is so good, man. They didn't know the history of that. I just remembered back 15 years earlier when it wasn't true. You can say partner. You can call him a mate. But if there isn't a sense of unity, you can turn one person into a slave. Nobody's ever said it better than the late chaplain of the Senate, Peter Marshall. Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union, domestic, social, spiritual, physical. It is a fusion of two hearts, the union of two lives, the coming together of two tributaries.
Isn't that beautiful? The coming together of two tributaries, which after being joined in marriage will flow in the same channel, in the same direction, carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation. It's union unity. Distinctive as two rivers that converge and become one, making the rapids even stronger and the river even deeper.
Fourth and in line, these, by the way, come in order because there's severance. There can be permanence. And with permanence, there can be a unity.
You can develop it knowing you're not going to walk out on each other. And with that sense of unity and oneness, there could be intimacy. Intimacy.
The man and his wife were both naked. And we're not ashamed. You know what isn't here? Self-consciousness. That's not because there's no shame. They were all about the other person.
Isn't that great? And there are no carryovers from hurts in the past or abuses from former life. No hang ups, no embarrassment, no uneasiness, no trouble at work that flows over into the home. No diseased past that hasn't been cured or somehow healed and corrected and made functional rather than dysfunctional. There's no dysfunction.
They're together. And the sexual union is the most pleasant, fulfilling and freeing of the experiences. Grant Howard says it so well in his book, The Trauma of Transparency. Adam and Eve were naked, yet without any sense of shame. This does not mean that they have no sexual desires.
It simply means that they have not learned that sexual desire could be directed toward evil ends. They looked upon the sexual organs in the same way we regard the hands or the face. They were comfortable with each other.
There were no barriers between them. Here for the moment was that delicately balanced combination of truth and transparency. I love that line. Here for the moment was that delicately balanced combination of truth and transparency that the world now struggles to understand and achieve. You know how off target we've gotten men? I mentioned intimacy. We all think sex.
That's only part of it. When one is intimate, there is intimacy of conversation. There is intimacy of discussion.
There is intimacy of silence. There is intimacy of pastimes. There is an intimacy of caring, of grief in the midst of loss. There is an intimacy of partnership and suffering. And yes, there is intimacy in the bed. That is just an outflowing of the intimacy of two lives.
That's it. Our world misses it, perverts it. Why? Because of chapter three. Curtin closes on chapter two and you go, oh, forever.
May it last forever. And then the snake shows up and the tempter with his soothing and appealing voice and his direction toward their curiosity and before you know it, she takes and eats of the forbidden tree and Adam like a dunce eats. Where was Adam when she was tempted? How come he wasn't protecting her? How come Adam didn't say, no, no, no, get out of here?
He doesn't. And of all things, she surely, having been told by Adam of the instruction, surely she knew. And she offers him and he takes and they both tumble and fall. Sin transpires and changes everything. It's all changed. You can't tell the difference by looking, but you can by watching what they do.
Verse seven. The eyes of both of them were open. What an amazing thing. They weren't blind before. But now they see in a whole different light. The eyes of both of them were open and they knew they were naked.
How weird is that? It's true. They are so other minded. They didn't know they were naked in chapter two. It wasn't about them. Now it's all about them. I mean, it's all about how they felt at that moment there.
This this well, there are three things that occur. Number one, they become self-absorbed. They knew they were naked. They. Adam's now focusing on Adam. Eve's now focusing on Eve. So they're self-absorbed.
Instead of being other conscious, they're self-conscious. Second, they withdrew from one another. Before there was this harmony and unity and intimacy and cleaning, cleaving to one another and leaving parents.
Now there's the withdrawing from one another. Instead of enjoying each other's company, they get busy making their own aprons. They don't. Adam doesn't make one for Eve.
She doesn't make one for him. Look at it. They knew they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. There's a sense of shame.
There's no reason for shame. But they now, their minds are darkened. Their wills are changed. Their emotions are different. And they pull back.
They withdraw from each other. They saw everything as God saw it. They thought his thoughts. They had his perception, his mentality. Now they're ill at ease with each other.
They aren't free anymore. They immediately cover up. Transparency has fled the scene. Now to make matters more complicated, along comes the Lord God. Verse 8. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
See, he's been doing that for an undetermined period of time. He would meet with them, and they would walk and talk together. And now they hear him, and would you look at this? The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. So third, they ran and hid from their Creator.
How dumb is that? You can't hide from omniscience. They're hiding behind the trees God made.
He's got x-ray vision. Sin has entered, and fear replaces joy. And now there's distance, and alienation, and discomfort, and uneasiness, and a whole sense of shame. And God says, Adam, where are you?
Now, don't misunderstand. He's not at a loss. He's not going, where could he be? He's saying, why are you there? You've always been right here. Eve, what are you doing out there? Verse 10 is the first recorded words of a sinner in the Bible. Don't miss them.
For the first time, a sinful homosapien speaks. I heard the sound of you in the garden. That's true. And I was afraid.
That's true. Because I was naked, that's not the whole truth. I disobeyed. I ate from the tree you told me not to eat from.
Naked, yeah, but I disobeyed. He doesn't say that. Two realities we're forced to face, we'll never escape them because through one man sin entered into the world and death on all because all have sinned. First of all, here's a reality. We would rather lie than admit the whole truth. We are experienced as liars. We know how to do it. We learned it from our parents. They learned it from theirs. We all have learned it from Adam.
We'd rather lie, we'd rather do a half truth than the whole thing. I have disobeyed. And he doesn't say that, he said I was naked.
And will you notice God's question? Who told you you were naked? That's always made me smile a little. If you have your shirt off, do you know it? I mean, if I got a zipper that won't go all the way up, I won't even wear that garment until I get that fixed.
If I got a button that's missing, I know every missing button. And sometimes I'm embarrassed when somebody points out, you know, your zipper's open. I know. But he said, he said, who told you you were naked? And before Adam can lie again, God says you eat from the tree? Face it.
Call it what it is. And Adam, when he gets cornered, verse 12, says, the woman you gave me. She's alone, and you came up with the idea. And I wouldn't be here if you hadn't brought her along. And the woman says, it's a snake.
And he deceived me. Why don't they just say what happened? The second reality we all have to face, we would rather blame someone else than take full responsibility. I could correct two things in any marriage. It would be, number one, from now on, all of us would tell the truth, hard as it is.
Second, none of us would ever again blame somebody else, ever. See, we work out techniques, so we manipulate the situation. Casey Stengold, manager of the New York Yankees, once said, the secret to managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are still undecided. It's all part of the manipulation. We got a deal where we work it out. Man, we keep this group out of there and that group there.
We cover this area, we don't cover that. You know, that's just business. That's just good business, Chuck. That's how we do business. You know, that's the way it works.
No, I don't know. I know that's the way others do it. Just say it. Don't spin it. I disobeyed God. I disobeyed you directly. Eve, I disobeyed.
I even gave it to him and he ate. No excuses. You know what, a relationship with God starts right there. This is so good. Great closing point. God's seeking them, knowing already what they've done. Isn't that great? God doesn't hear them and go, oh!
I never knew that. God goes, Adam, you've eaten. But he seeks Adam. He comes to walk with him in the cool of the evening. He still seeks our worship.
He, the lover of our souls, reaches out and says, I know all about you. Come on. Don't lie to me or yourself any longer.
Don't blame anybody. Come just like you are. We've preserved the final minutes of today's program to hear Chuck Swindoll lead us in prayer. If at all possible, please stay with us. We're talking about God's design for marriage. Chuck titled today's message, Getting Back on Target, and this is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, no advice, no counsel, surpasses the kind of wisdom offered in the Bible. And for husbands and wives, it's so important to consult the author of marriage. Along those lines, I'll remind you, Chuck has written a daily devotional that provides the same kind of direction for life and relationships. It's called Wisdom for the Way, and this substantial book contains a chapter for every single day in the year.
Think of all the competing voices you hear throughout an average day, from daily news sources to the constant stream of trivial information online. Well, this devotional, Wisdom for the Way, will guide your thoughts and help you stay on target, and it's available for purchase when you call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org slash offer. These daily programs are made possible because people like you give generous gifts, and through your support, people all over our country and even around the world are learning to place their trust in God. For example, I was encouraged to read a note from a listener in Indiana who said, I first found Insight for Living while sitting in jail. Chuck helped me realize I need God in my life, and now I'm 40 months clean from all drugs.
Well, thanks for making these moments possible. As one who financially supports Insight for Living, you play a significant role in providing these daily programs to men and women who are searching for the truth. To give a contribution today, go to insight.org slash donate, or call us if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. And now, as promised, here once again is Chuck Swindoll. Let's bow our heads. All lies, let's stop it.
All blaming, let's quit it. Lord, I'm through running. I'm no longer blaming anybody else for where I find myself. Here I am, God. Deliver me from this rat race.
Break the habits that I've formed that are hurtful. I acknowledge that Your Son paid the price for my sins. Every one of them, I can't change my sins or my nature.
If I have Him, I've got a power I don't have in myself. I take Your love. I take Your offer. I come to the cross just like I am. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You, Lord God, for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your plan. Forgive us for messing it up. Take us from here to where we need to be. Since it's never too late to start doing what's right. In the name of the Lord, our God, our Maker, Jesus. Everybody's sin. Amen. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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