The Dancing Puritan

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Someone to Live Out the Gospel With: Thoughts on Marriage


A few years ago I was preaching at a church in Florida. It was a Saturday evening and I had just completed my message. After church people kept telling me about the meal that I would enjoy on Sunday after the morning service. The Pastor was going to smoke chicken and he had a long-standing reputation for being a great cook.

Image From: http://www.bbqislandinc.com/Smoking_bc_12.html
I stayed with the Pastor and his wife at their home. My room was upstairs. From my window I could see the patio and the smoker. From that smoker--smoke rose and danced around just outside my window.  The smell was fantastic and continued throughout the night. Going to sleep with the smell of  chicken smoking was a sweet way to drift off into a land of banqueting tables filled with beautiful arrangements and smoked chicken as the centerpiece.

I was not disappointed the next day when, after church, we came to the table and enjoyed a wonderful meal.  The chicken glorified the cook. The smell from the smoker had given a correct witness to the source of the smell.  The chicken was great because the cook had done his job well.

Marriage puts off an aroma. The smell wafts up, out and all around. You can smell it when you enter a home.  It reaches your senses when you see a couple at a restaurant.  Sometimes the smell is bitter and sometimes it is sweet.  The fact is that even the best marriages are bittersweet. Your marriage is putting off a smell?  The smell is designed to glorify the creator of marriage.  Is the aroma that flows from your marriage telling the truth about the one who created marriage?

What an arena marriage is for Christians to display the gospel! Two people struggling with sin issues live together in the midst of many challenges. There is ongoing sickness, trouble at work, trouble in relationships, fear and doubt. Sometimes we do not respond, as we ought.

How do you respond? The gospel informs, fuels, directs and is to saturate your every response. Is there any arena where you have more opportunity to display repentance, faith and forgiveness than in your marriage? Is there any arena where you need the power of the gospel any more than you do in your marriage? Is there any arena where you will have greater opportunity to impact others with the gospel than your marriage?

Your marriage provides an ongoing gospel platform. Your children will know, best of all, how you respond to frustration, stress and to being sinned against. Your neighbors will be able to smell the aroma that is coming from your home.The young couples at your church will learn much about marriage from watching your marriage. The folks that sit around your table will get more than a good meal they will get a living illustration of the gospel.

Why don't you sit down with your spouse today and clean the slate. Forgive one another. Thank God for your spouse. Ask God to display the gospel through your marriage. Find one way that you can serve your spouse today! Work hard to cultivate a sweet-smelling marriage. Get the gospel deep into your heart and mind.  Pray that your children, neighbors and friends at church will see something of the greatness of Christ and smell the sweet aroma of grace by watching your marriage.