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Gary Thomas: A Lifelong Love

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2022 10:00 pm

Gary Thomas: A Lifelong Love

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 15, 2022 10:00 pm

Could closeness with God breathe passion in your marriage? On FamilyLife Today, Dave & Ann Wilson host author Gary Thomas--who helps you chase down spiritual purpose for closeness that lasts a lifetime.

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Hey real quick before we get to Dave and Ann this is Meg Robin and my husband David is the president of family life and we tell you all how thankful we are for you. Each of you who listen and follow along with us at family life now.

One of things we love the most is getting to hear directly rather than person or someone emailing family live or singing in a prayer request some of the life James is happening because of family life today and other things. Family life does. And Steven and Rachel are a couple that were really struggling in their marriage. They told us how overwhelmed the pressures of life words, crumbling them, they begin to listen to family life today and was giving them some glimpses of hope, the way they described it as when one of them was doing well.

The other one wasn't what they were sticking with it and they heard about family lives, we can remember on one of the programs and decided to go and they shared how they really doubted whether marriage could really be restored. But God met them that we can and they kept diving and kept growing Listening to family life today and now they love telling other people about it and pass it on. We love hearing stories of people who are experiencing isolation in their lives, growing toward oneness, and as they are growing toward oneness impacting others has still been here with. Let Steven and Rachel experience just finding a lifeline through different family life today at the sentence or conferences that have come alongside us and helped us so much when we desperately needed it and we tell each of you who are listening about an opportunity to join us this month. Specifically, any gift that you give will be matched by some very generous dinners with family life, who if you give your gift will be double to set. We just want to invite you to join an outlet that you and hear more about that. That's coming up later on, or you can go to family life a lot of couples I talk with is a passively broken up. Not because there's been some big sin or something they can overcome. It's far more pedantic. They're just bored with each other and what that tells us is that we were made for more than each other. We were made for a mission and that mission is the kingdom of God.

Welcome to family life. Today we want to help you pursue the relationship and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life, family life, here's the question that all the world wants to go 41 years.

What's the secret to lifelong marriage. Jesus of course is that I know it's Jesus and I estimate that what is hard work, work. I think likely put a lot of hard work, intermarriage and laughter laughter. I don't know. I want to ask your Thomas is in the studio with us today because he wrote a book called a lifelong love. So there must be some secret that Gary does. Gary welcome back to Philip today. Thank you is always fun to talk to you and obviously the subtitles discovering how intimacy with God breathes passion into your marriage.

Now you've written over 20 books, one of the classics was sacred marriage. It feels like as I read this there is some sacred marriage in here but as you know, you think about that question. What is the secret. A lifelong love really focuses on how just what it says that intimacy with God is what breathes passion intermarriage so I would answer your question by saying the magnificent Obsession yeah I know you open the book we had at term. What is that by that I mean Matthew 633 I'm stealing a phrase from a guy who's been dead 400 years ago, so he can't bring to Matthew 633 when Jesus said seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then there's this promise in all these things will be added unto you as well.

There are two things I found it really breathe new intimacy and passion into a lifelong marriage. The first one is purpose.

A lot of couples I talk with is a passively broken up. Not because there's been some big sin or something they can overcome. It's far more pedantic there just bored with each other till they know each other stories that they know each other's patterns.

There's nothing new to discover and they're just bored as I just don't want to be bored the rest of my life and what that tells us is that we were made for more than each other. We were made for more than marriage and if we put marriage at the center of this is what will fulfill me.

This is what will complete me. This is what will excite me were going to suffocate her marriage by asking too much of it because we weren't made just to be married. We were made for a mission and that mission is the kingdom of God kind of right Jesus you said intimacy with God, and I think the question a lot of couples asked is okay so what does that really look like. I know when we wrote vertical married.

We had the incredible privilege to go on the today show and they didn't tell us whether NASA were like walking on there.

We said that we don't know three host relay whirling ago first question Craig Melvin asked which I thought was genius question goes. Hey, so your books all by almost lost your marriage, your tenant and you pray little prayer of repentance you bring God in everything works out is that is that when bring Jews in your marriage. I thought that's a great question because love people.

Thank you Perlow prayer I go to church proof.

Everything works.

How would you define intimacy with God in marriage, two things. First is mission and purpose seeking first the kingdom of God means number one I don't wake up thinking about my own agenda.

What will make me comfortable. What will make me happy. What will make me rich.

What make me feel important. It's my life is yours. You've given me your spirit you give me the promise of eternity.

I have fellowship with you. What can I do to build your kingdom on earth, how I get more people to know about you, how to get more people to surrender about you and what that does. They visit draws two people together in a way unlike anything else. I often tell guys you know if you want to get your wife to respect you offer yourself to be used by the Lord, because God will honor that.

And then he fills you with his spirit and you get credit when we became empty-nesters.

Lisa started joining me for a lot of my premarital sessions I've been doing this for a while and we met with this couple for the first time and you know how sometimes men God is just moving your meeting with the couple and you know it's all God measures I was getting connections. I got her back on the got his background what they needed to work on. We walk away and this was like how you really good and I'm not immediate sometimes you know I thought of not even helping a couple all is just one of those times where the spirit was very present. Moving mightily and so I say just offer yourselves to God and he gives you new reasons to appreciate each other, you discover new things about each other women if you thought your husband looks down on you, but when he sees you stepping out in courageous faith and he sees God using you to encourage others, or to teach others to bless others that he sees a whole new side of you that's the best way to fight off boredom is not to live for yourself. Selfishness is boring. That's why Hollywood marriages and famous marriages don't make it because you can have all the money in the world you still get bored with selfishness. But the most beautiful people in the world that get to spend five hours a day training for the next movie still have their marriages break up because even beauty gets boring. Wealth gets boring as we were made to have eternal purpose and if were not living for eternal purposes. There's this natural restlessness in our soul was made for more than this, the tragic error is that then we said, well, I married the wrong person. If I married someone else, then I would have this exciting life or someone who is more fascinating but the reality is, none of us are so fascinating that we keep somebody enthralled for 50 or 60 years five or six dates.

Yeah, five or six years.

That's a challenge. 50 or 60.

No way.

So the first big thing is having a mission that we were made for a mission.

We should be married for mission. It is totally wrong to think. Let's be single for Jesus, but married for ourselves.

Matthew 633 is given to Mary's and singles. I think we should get married if we think that's what helps us serve Jesus more not to serve Jesus last look at you guys have been married 37 years and so what is that look like practically you notice how you live that out.

You have me sit together. What's that look like over the years well in the number of times vocationally. We've made the decision what's best for our gifts in the kingdom of God and I might be leaving a home that we love her city.

We love or situation we love and Lisa's been marvelous at this because God has this call on our lives. What's the best place for this. She's a Northwest girl we grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We lived in Bellingham Washington which is like 20 miles below the Canadian border. I could literally do an 18 mile run, crossing streets twice along the bay going by some water. I mean it. It was beautiful and then I got a call from a church in Houston, Texas, which Lisa refers to not also affectionately cement city where it really is something everywhere and it's flat in the no hills, but she's thinking Gary, I really think that God can use year. We want to go and so that sort of been her attitude. Now I've seen it reverse I've seen husbands do this for their wives. I know one woman had a great ministry and her husband was what kept it going. He ran her book table. He did all the administration sometimes couples work together.

There's a story here of a couple that they had been married three or four years and they just were bored and and they said is a solid is and then they were asked to take charge of the youth group that was troublesome. You drove them to their knees, and I love the things that we had a reason to pray. We are praying for our survival and Esso by focusing on something outside of their marriage they saw new side of each other and it drew them together. I love what she said when we failed. At least it was our failure and we succeeded.

At least it was our success.

But this joint ministry really did draw them together and build intimacy in their marriage that's so interesting because we talked to so many couples who are empty-nesters and their kids are out of the house and now they're looking at each other thinking now what now what we do report their board and I don't have a mission beyond we raise the kids. That was our mission. Yes, it was holy and would focus and they really are born there like okay I guess were done we really sunset and you assisting when we first got married 41 years ago, six months in and said to me marrying you is the biggest mistake.

Well, I remember now that was part of the part of our early stuff in our vertical marriage book, but we didn't realize what happened is we go to our first ministry we are on staff with athletes and actions University Nebraska, and the chaplain of the sports themes. The first guy I met on the football team who is a believer, was married is a senior married. He says to me hey there several guys on the team that are married. Could you and and lead a marriage Bible study I looked at him because he didn't know the back story that my wife is just said to me, I will be married yet.

I was like they like what a marriage Bible study.

You want us the radio show. Could you guys do that and I'm thinking were the last couple you want leanness thinkers were not doing well but what I say yeah we do it so and I leave this marriage.

Bible study and we didn't realize it at the moment what happened mission.

We knew together God to give us a mission and our elevator marriages get better are the aorta Sadie when you said Egger.

Like that was your one and we been doing it ever since. But that outward focus to do what God calls to do seek first the kingdom literally transformed us and you're saying that's one of the keys are the ingredients to a lifelong absolutely because God's kingdom never ends. And there's always new exciting things to go forward. The work is never done. And so you have a reason to get out of bed as I would you say to the couples listening. Maybe your that business couple one of you is a business person how you say, okay, here's the community. How do we help them understand that life isn't just about making money, it's about making disciples.

It's about worshiping God. Not not mammon so to speak.

So husband and wife are working together. How do we use this vocation to build God's kingdom. Maybe you're the sports couple on one of you as a coach or something that is not just about winning games. It's about worshiping God or your the musical couple. It's not just about making music.

It's about celebrating the creator of music or the arts community.

Whatever gifts or influence or natural affinity you have is a couple instead of saying what we want out of this day saying how can God take us this unique couple unique gift unique platform and use it to start building God's kingdom instead of our own life is different. Again, we want to get away from this single for God and married for ourselves. We should get married. For God, what if your spouse isn't cooperating.

Like I'm not into this mission. Yeah, maybe they're not even a believer. Clearly, that alone or delete this kind of make do well part of your mission that keeps you there. According to Paul is to represent God and to model a Christlike spirit, hoping to bring them into the kingdom.

So you do have a solo mission and and that's that's the sad reality and that that happens somewhat, but I think your mission before God is still what gives you commitment to your marriage, even if your spouse doesn't share it. I'm not pretending that's the same it's not there's going to be a loneliness there. But Paul does say but here's what I want you to hang in there because maybe your example in your faith will lead that person to the Lord that I still think there's a power in it to get if your spouse is in a believer to have that conversation. I think I see the gifts that you have are pretty magnificent and I'm wondering to have this conversation. I'm wondering what it would look like for us to be a team together impact our world together to make a positive influence together like what we passionate about what a week good at. I think those are just fine conversations to have to and if your spouse is in a believer. They still have gifts they still have passions, they still have strengths and how could you pair those then with your strengths in your love for God so we talked about the first part of this obsession the kingdom of God was still apart will seek for seeking God and his righteousness.

Now Jesus isn't talking about marriage, but it's amazing how practical it is with marriage because again as a pastor.

Most people come in.

There's a character issue that's assaulting their marriage.

So I'm seeking first his righteousness. I'm dying to the things that destroy most marriages, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language line. Those are all things listed in Colossians 38 and if I put on the righteousness of Christ, we could say Colossians 312, compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, patients, and love those things build a marriage so I'm rejecting the things that push a woman or man away and I'm building the things that make him want to be around me and so by pursuing righteousness will create the kind of person that somebody actually wants to be around. So how do you pursue put on righteousness.

I think a lot of listener like I want that.

How do I access that even listening to David and Wilson with Gary Thomas on family life to a will get back to that conversation in just a minute, but first, as you can imagine, we've had to make some tough choices again this year with everybody else and were hoping that through the generosity of people just like you, we can continue to reach your home and all the homes that need help and hope for the relationships that matter most. Now this is an especially unique and critical time of year to donate because we had some friends of the ministry come alongside us and offered to double your monthly gifts for 12 months up to $300,000. When you become a monthly partner right now so that means if you give $25 a month. The impact is actually $50 a month if you get 50 it becomes $75 getting it becomes 100 you get the idea.

And on top of that when you give this month as our thanks to you, will send you a bundle of resources including two books, one not part of the plan by Kristin Clark and Bethany Beale and a lifelong love by Gary Thomas who are hearing from today so you get to become a monthly partner have your gift doubled for a year impact families for the glory of Jesus and get a bundle of books good on top of good on top of good you can give right or by giving us a call at one 800-3583 29 that's one 800 F peasant family L as in life, and then the word today.

Right now, back to David and with Gary Thomas and how we can pursue righteousness and marriage first step I think is humility to recognize that we have areas to grow.

What I find is that were so often hyper aware of were spouse needs to grow and just blind where we do if you're not humble you don't think you need to grow an enemy just if I could have a general challenge if every time you have a conversation with your spouse you think the situation be fixed. When you get your act together when you stop doing this you start doing that. It's the classic case of Jesus saying you've got a log in your eyes, trying to take the speck out of your brother's James reduces we all stumble in many ways. So the Bible tells me I stumble in many ways, and every person listening to this broadcast stumbles in many ways. If you're not aware of how you stumble a parable of Jesus was written just for you. So in humility recognize okay what errors and then then to accept that you had a funny up. I was in a funny episode was kind of sad.

Right after 9/11. This is going back when people started traveling to get really shut down the airports phrase it was just different, and then with in the early days of TSA is practically a strip search and there were long lines at the airport.

It's one thing when you traveling for vacation in the summer but you guys do this to when you're traveling every weekend just about I just them being hassled to my bags are being torn apart and being the light I was getting surly spirit.

It just was not honoring to God and just I get through and so on. The first sons. Lisa started traveling with me. We get to TSA and she says Kansas is you like what well you're impatient you're cynical you being negative and critical that she's not who you are and I she was being my mirror and I realize I wasn't there to represent Jesus. I wasn't praying God's or someone I can encourage in the line. It was just getting through here is want to get done. Stop bugging me don't hassle me and instead of being defensive. I could say wow. Okay. Thank you. What you're saying is true.

That's not how I want to be. I want to represent Jesus, everywhere. I am not just something to TSA line and so it just trying to take a step back when your spouse says that because what the magnificence obsession also represents Lisa isn't just my wife, she's my sister in Christ. She's filled with the Holy Spirit. She has the wisdom of God's word as my sister. She can encourage me.

She can challenge me. She can even confront me at times because our our relationship as brother and sister in Christ is eternal. In a way that our marriage isn't. My wife hates it when I speak that we have to be married and have it I'm just going by what Jesus my wife is when you are about how you were praying and you felt like God told you that Lisa is your sister. I don't know how powerful was for you but when I read a tale like this powerful moment for you was really the third element of the magnificence it works about worship where yeah I was not been the best of husband's is about being charitable. And I was praying and God challenge release isn't just your wife. She's my daughter and I expect you to treat her accordingly. He's applying first John 31 behold, how great a love of God is given us.

We should be called the children of God, and I claim that as a single man that's my identity.

I'm God's son and forgot to say yeah and leases. My daughter and suddenly everything is. Especially when I got kids as if you want to get on my good side. It's easy be good to one of my kids praise make them laugh Beale true and loyal friend and I love you as you want to get on my bad side being mean to one of my kids yell Shane mom make him cry make him feel like dirt.

My blood pressure will go up if I even hear your name because I'd much rather you mess with me than one of my kids and when I realize that my wife is God's daughters, she's my sister in Christ and that God feels about my wife. Just as I feel about my own daughters with a holy and pure passion. Everything about my marriage changed yeah and one of the things they took me years, I think, understands what you're talking about is your wife or your spouse can be your mirror.

In some ways I think God gives spouse to us to sharpen us to become like Christ. So they see things they say things I used to hate it when and would call out something almost like your example TSA where I wasn't representing the righteousness of Christ.

I would get resentful and I start to realize, not us a gift from God.

He wants me to become like his son and my wife is the gift the greatest gift she sees everything and so how do we respond when our wife or our husband calls something out there that is hard for us to hear how to respond because we want to be like Christ but were often not live in a way a life changing reorientation for me Dave with this was recognizing who's my hero. If Jesus is my hero. I want to live every day for people to worship him to acknowledge him submit to him and celebrate him if my hero and somebody says there's a chink in my armor I would say my hair is out of place. People kept saying that we don't have any tears are that much out. Then I'm going to take offense, but if Jesus is my hero.

In summary, says you're not reflecting Jesus perfectly. Here's what you can do it more. It's sort of like a coach giving you a tip you are holding the golf club to tight loosen up your grip and you have a better swing okay if this helps me make Jesus look better to the world that I want to stop having this surly attitude or this critical attitude of this arrogant attitude. The problem is for most of us were our own heroes and and Jesus sets us free from that, it really does set you free. When you realize okay is not based on my righteousness. It's his so I can admit got some real weaknesses but Jesus is taking care of them and I want to argue about me. Let's worship him. Let's talk about how great he is not how bad I am and so I don't have to defend myself. I just re-point people back to us. If you live by the magnificent Obsession that is your obsession look at the glory of God the wonder of his plan. The beauty of who we is so marriage comes about serving him together becoming more like him. Together, and worshiping him together as I hear that term. I love it like the magnificent Obsession with God, and I think back to all the times that we struggled in our relationship and marriage.

It's when I've taken my eyes off of that magnificent Obsession of God and what I've done. I'm just gonna confess and I've said this before but I started looking at Dave, trying to get him to meet my needs for him to become my obsession, but what I was doing was I seeing all the faults all the ways that he was not living up to my expectations or what I felt like God was calling them to do and really what I started doing is putting my eyes on myself and the needs that Mark being met, and I really think we can do this in a marriage, and so question today where is there obsession is that with God is it with your eyes on him that he is here magnificent Obsession. I think that's a good question that we need to ask on a regular basis that Steven and Wilson with Gary Thomas on family life to let me remind you, you can get his book a lifelong love. When you become a monthly or you can give us a call at one 800-3583 29 the 2000 F peasant family L as in life and in the word today. If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations like the one you heard today.

We love it if you tell them about the station. You can also share today's episode from wherever you get your podcast while you're there. It really helps that if you rate and review us, not tomorrow.

David and Wilson are going to be talking again with Gary Thomas about how when we get frustrated in our marriages, which all of us do. We can use that frustration to pull us closer together with our spouse. Instead of pushing them away.

That's coming up tomorrow on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby was the back next time for another edition of family life, family life today is one of family life crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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