Marriage, Family, and Beyond - Marriage for a Lifetime – The Foundation of Commitment

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, he shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no one separate. Matthew 19:4-6

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Today is week one of a five-week devotional series entitled, “Marriage, Family, and Beyond.” We have just recently celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is just around the corner. So, it seems fitting to provide such a series as this. This series is for people building toward marriage, married couples, and those whose marriages didn’t work out. It is for those who hope to have children, have children, and those without children (or raised children) who seek to bless the children in the sphere of their lives. It is for all of us who want to be better equipped to bless the next generation by being people of faith who pass their faith forward. It is for all of us who want to be kingdom people with great relationships in all areas of life including the church, the family, the neighborhood, the workplace, and the world (marketplace).

We hope the “Marriage, Family, and Beyond” devotional series will encourage you, challenge you, and guide you as you seek to walk with God in these all-important areas of life. The series is a compilation of separate weeks of Devotional material. They were selected and put together because they all contribute very nicely to this emphasis. This series has five weeks of Devotional material with two weeks having six Devotionals and three having five.

Week One: Marriage for a Lifetime. Week Two: Raising Kids to Live Fully. Week Three: Passing Our Faith to the Next Generation. Week Four: God’s Faith Filled People. Week Five: The Stewardship of Relationships. We begin Week One, Marriage for a Lifetime, with the following:

Marriage is probably the most fundamental relationship of mankind. How marriages go, so go our families. How families go, so go our communities. How communities go, so goes our world. Marriage is not something mankind came up with; it is something that God built into the fabric of human life. It is obvious to everyone that reproduction is a vital component of life for all species here on earth, including human beings. However, God’s plan of marriage for human beings lifts human life to a level far above the rest of creation. Today’s Scripture is a statement by Jesus about marriage that includes quotes of Moses from the book of Genesis where God’s original plan for marriage was first recorded for all mankind.

It is interesting that before Jesus quotes what Moses has to say about God’s plan of marriage for mankind, he first quotes him regarding the creation of mankind. He says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” The next three words Jesus quotes are: “For this reason.” These three words connect the fact that God created people male and female in a very direct way with his plan for marriage. The reason he created them male and female is so that they could be married and he instituted his plan for marriage because he created them male and female. It goes both ways.

Now let’s take a closer look at God’s plan. There are three parts, and they are given in the order that they should take place. The first part is: “a man shall leave his father and mother.” A man and a woman leaving their parents’ family units and inaugurating their own family unit is traditionally accomplished through a public marriage ceremony. The second part is: “he shall cleave to his wife.” In being publicly pronounced as a new family unit they go forward as husband and wife bound fully together in a close relationship of love. The third part is: “the two shall become one flesh.” After a public wedding ceremony that signifies the “leaving” and “cleaving” aspects of God’s plan, they become “one flesh” in sexual union on their wedding night. So, in a public declaration of commitment one man and one woman inaugurate their own family unit, enter fully into a close relationship of love, and consummate their oneness in the intimacy of sexual union.

When God’s plan for becoming married is followed by a man and a woman they enter into a lifetime of commitment to each other. Marriage according to God’s plan has commitment as its foundation. You can have sex without marriage. You can reproduce without marriage. But without commitment you do not have a marriage.  The commitment of marriage begins with being obedient to God’s plan for how a man and a woman begin their marriage. The commitment to marriage begins as a response to God and it continues as a response to God. Jesus finishes his statement on marriage with these words: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no one separate.” A man and a woman who follow God’s plan for getting married recognize that it is God who joins them together as one in marriage. From then on, every day is a response to God to do the hard work of maintaining their union of marriage in wonderful and amazing ways that will make them truly inseparable and allow them to successfully live out their commitment to God and each other in a lifetime of marital oneness.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, thank you for your wonderful plan for marriage. I am glad that you are a redeeming God. Show me how to go forward in my life in ways that align me with your marriage plan more fully. Grant me grace, strength, and hope. I love you, worship you, and bless you. Amen!

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