12 Aug Marriage: for Happiness or Holiness?
This weekend I attended the wedding of my friends Mike and Emily, which was lovely. They have a relationship that relies on and glorifies Christ. The pastor performing the ceremony gave a message about how the purpose of marriage is to glorify God. It was a really well thought out message. I also speak on the subject of relationships and marriage a lot when I speak about homosexuality.
I am asked all the time by friends, families, pastors, and the congregations where I am speaking about how we should respond to the issue of homosexuality. Many people want to get out their weapons, and start a political campaign. Others want to just “love people as they are” and accept their sin as a “lifestyle of love.” Some want to condemn but do nothing to help them find redemption. None of those options are glorifying to God, and none of them are what Jesus died on the cross for.
Marriage the Way it Was Intended
Ultimately my belief about homosexuality (being that it is not the way God created us, and a sin to act on those desires) is rooted in the way that God created marriage. He created marriage to be a picture of Him. The bride and groom represent God and his church….whom he says is the Bride of Christ.
A Godly marriage is a picture of the Gospel in which the husband loves the wife so much that he literally gives his life for her (Ephesians 5:25). It becomes clear that God’s intent for marriage isn’t for our happiness and fulfillment. It is to bring glory to God by choosing to love, serve, and die to ourselves for the sake of our spouse….even when we don’t feel like it.
When I speak about homosexuality, I talk a lot about the roots of any homosexual relationship being idolatry. When two people of the same gender enter into a relationship, they are relying on this person to find their ultimate happiness and fulfillment. They are even finding their hope in this person. And anything that we find happiness, fulfillment, and hope in is something that we are worshiping. And God has a word for worshiping anything other than Him: Idolatry. And it is a sin that leads to death.
But why is our culture spiraling out of control in this area? Why have we so easily accepted a sin that leads to death? How do we lead people away from that sin?
The first way is to love them so much that in us they see the irresistible grace of Jesus (because we need the understanding that what they need first and foremost is Jesus. He’s the one who convicts them, heals them, and saves their soul…..not our morality that we push on them). But it goes way beyond that. If we want them to believe the message of the Gospel, we have to show them the true picture of marriage: a picture of marriage that is beautiful, self-sacrificial, and redemptive. A picture of serving. A picture of God himself.
Sometimes when I sit down across from a gay man in a coffee shop, I have a really hard time explaining to him that his relationship with his boyfriend is nothing but idolatry and he needs to repent. Why? Because that same idolatry that is the center of his relationship is the same idolatry that I see in so many heterosexual marriages. Even Christian marriages in the church!
Repentance for Us
I meet with Christians regularly who are single, dating, engaged, or married. And it is obvious for most of them that their spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or future partner whom they don’t even know yet is someone that they are worshiping. Do they know that they are worshiping this person? Usually not. (Matthew 13:15 says that sometimes we are blind to our own sin). Will they admit that they are worshiping this person? Probably not. But as I listen to their life and their heart, one thing becomes obvious. They are relying on this person in their life to find their happiness. Their identity. Their fulfillment. And ultimately their hope. And that is nothing but worship. Nothing but idolatry.
So how can we expect LGBT community to repent of their idolatry within their relationships if we are not willing to repent of ours? We can’t. And that is why they are not repenting. That is why they don’t believe in the Jesus we believe in. Because we confess Him with our lips, but our hearts and our actions are far from Him.
If we are going to see any redemption to our sexuality crisis that is around us, it starts with us. We have to model to the world that ALL of our joy, fulfillment, hope, and identity comes through Jesus…..not through relationships.
We have to raise the bar on marriage. Not for other people…..but for us Christians. We start by repenting of the idolatry which we in the church have made marriage and relationships to be.