We are created in God's image for relationships. In fact, we are designed to become more holy because we are in relationship with others. Now that may sound crazy to some but we are discovering together what it means to live in the Christ-centered, counter-cultural community. So, we strive to live our one and only life in God-honoring ways. We believe a life dedicated to Godly pursuits creates personal transformation, which is our next Wheatland value.
Truthfully, all of our relationships reflect who we are becoming.
The relationship trend over the past one hundred years is toward the pathway of least resistance. We want things to be simple and easy. But, relationships are hard work. They require us to address our selfishness. If all we want is someone to love, appreciate or respect us we are working from selfish motives. There will never be enough. But, we are to be working from a desire to become more Christ-like. We are to be personally transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are not to fade into the self-focused culture but stand out as examples of what it means to work through the challenges of sin in our lives and overcome the obstacles sin produces. Sin can never be satisfied. It can only be crucified.*
The Apostle Paul revealed this truth to the Christian community in Rome. Rome was the epicenter of self-fulfillment culture. Yet, God called Paul to preach Christ and Christ-like living to the Roman community. Yes, Jesus healed and comforted people but he also confronted and convicted them of their sin. Paul identified the way we reveal the sins we need to work on perfectly in Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. OUCH!
Think on this.
Where is the place of your dissatisfaction? What recently got your goat, ticked you off or made you blow your top? Paul would say, it isn't them. It's you. Because you do the same thing. Work on you before you try to work on someone else. Jesus said it only as a master can, You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5 NASB)
I believe marriage is designed to make us more Christ-like. Marriage can be the proving ground or battlefield of our personal transformation. Over time we become more committed to our covenant because we've received the benefits that come along with living a life of holiness. We reap the benefits of the presence of God in our lives like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. It's easy to become more devoted, connected and generous because we live each day in holiness's reward. Husbands and wives help each other work through our short-comings and what the bible calls sin. I believe this is the way God designed it to be.
Challenges bring out the best or worst in us.
Challenges reveal areas we need to work on. You can usually tell how long someone has been a good friend or married by listening to how they talk or complain about their friend or spouse. Ugly situations in life can make us ugly people. But, Christ-like people can make life more Christ-like. Don't ever underestimate the power of positive example. And when you have two friends or spouses that are seeking to grow in holiness, it really does become geometric. You inspire each other. You lift each other up.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)
*Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More than to Make us Happy? Gary Thomas. 2015