Matthew 19:8 Is Your Heart Hard?

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” Matthew 19:8

It is common for people to make up their mind about something and refuse to budge on it regardless of what others say or show. This is often done due to past experience or training.

In the process of holding on to a certain way to do something, many will often refuse to accept or see the correct way of doing something. It becomes all about themselves, rather than the correct way or rule.

When asked why Moses permitted divorce, Jesus told them that Moses allowed it because their hearts were hard and that it was not that way from the beginning.

Society allows for divorce for nearly any and every reason a person may give. This has become so prevalent in society that there is very little difference in or outside the church. Most divorces occur out of a hardness of heart towards one another.

In the same way that divorce is allowed inside the church, there are also many other sins allowed inside the church as acceptable.

People harden their hearts towards God’s word and make choices based off of their feelings rather than His word. Sin is justified as good or ‘not-so-bad’. They refuse to allow their hearts to be softened towards God’s word and truth, so that they may do what they want.

At the time a person becomes a believer, he is to become a new creation, someone different. The old things and ways of doing things must be put off. His heart is to be one of flesh, not of stone.

No believer should be hardening his heart towards God just to justify his behavior or actions.

Just as everyone does have sin in their lives, so do you. However, you must never justify the sin, ignoring God’s commands.

Choosing to obey God’s commands may be difficult or painful for a time, but it is always for your best interest in the end. Seek God’s Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you to make the right choice.

Do not allow your heart to become hardened against God’s word so that you may live in sin. This is not only with divorce, but in every other area of life. All sin is done out of hardness of heart and selfish desires.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will have a softened heart of flesh towards God’s word; that you will obey God’s commands; and that you will choose to turn from all sin.

Matthew 19:11 Acceptance Is Not Universal

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.” Matthew 19:11

Every time a leader speaks, there will be many things being said. Out of those words there will be things that people will accept and things people will reject. Some people will accept everything, while others will reject parts of what was said.

The amount accepted comes from determining how much a person knows and trusts the speaker, and how much information the person already knows. Often things are rejected because of past experience or lack of understanding.

Jesus had just told the Pharisees that God was against all divorce. They had a problem with that. Jesus then told them that not everyone can accept that word.

God’s ways are always far above the ways of sinful, selfish man. He sets the perfect standard for every person to live by. When people hear the standards that God has set, many reject them. In the eyes of the world, and many believers, it is difficult to accept.

In the eyes of God, every believer is expected to live a perfect, holy life as God has set. The bible is very clear as to how a person must live his life for God in this fallen world. However, many believers have taken on the mindset of this world and rejected parts of God’s word.

There is a remnant of believers who will accept of all of God’s word, regardless of how difficult it may be. They have the understanding that God is in control and knows what is best for them. These few- will not cherry-pick what they like or don’t like, but will accept it all. All of God’s commands are for every believer, not just some of His commands.

You may see some of God’s commands as tough to understand or to follow. Rather than toss them out, seek God’s Holy Spirit to understand them and the strength to obey them.

God’s love for you is perfect and so He will only ask you to do what is best for you. Instead of rejecting His word, embrace it and live it. Find out how it is the best way to live, regardless of how difficult it may be. God’s word brings life, not death, as does the ways of this world.

Can you accept God’s word to you?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you know God’s word to you; that you will accept and live by God’s word and standards; and that God will give you strength to obey all of His commands.

Marriage: Divorce–Never!

Torn fabric

Divorce is something that is extremely common. One cannot go anywhere without meeting someone who is divorced, in the process of divorce, or thinking about getting a divorce.

Statistics of America state that about 41-50% of all marriages will end in divorce. The average length of a marriage in the United States is seven years.

In the church, the statistics may be slightly lower. Their average can be found at about 38% get divorced or are divorced already.

These statistics are just with first time divorce rates. There are many people who have been divorced more than one time.

The reason for divorce are numerous, but usually stem around the following: infidelity, lack of commitment, conflict or arguing. Many finish with reasons of infidelity, domestic violence, or substance abuse.

Abuse

With these types of statistics, divorce is a reality in this world. It is something that is found outside and inside the church. Very few people are not touched by divorce in some way or another, either they have been through a divorce or they know someone who has.

Knowing this, I want us to take a look at what the Bible says about divorce.

In the previous posts I looked at what marriage is. It is one man and one woman put together to become one (Genesis 2:22-24). Many will say that this is just the Old Testament and does not apply to us today.

The Pharisees came to Jesus asking about divorce and if it was lawful or not to do. Jesus repeats what was said in Genesis in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10. With those words that the man and woman are to become one, He also adds:

Matthew 19_6

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Matthew 19:6)

The leaders wanted to know what Jesus had to say about divorce and He tells them that it should not happen at all.

“For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 NASB

God hates divorce! It should not happen.

Why does God hate divorce? It is because He is a God of LOVE. He is Love. He wants His people to be people of love.

Divorce is not love. There is no love in divorce. There is no forgiveness. It is only hatred and selfishness. It only brings about pain and suffering for selfish reasons.

Love has absolutely no room for selfishness or hatred.

Some will say that divorce happened in the Bible and that Moses made provision for divorce. Jesus had something to say about this:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way form the beginning.” Matthew 19:8

Stone heart

It was only out of the hardness of heart that divorce was ever allowed. This, again, does not show love. Love is soft and kind.

Now I know that there are some out there saying right now that I just don’t know or understand their situation. There are some that are being verbally, emotionally or physically abused, or some combination of all three. They will say that divorce is their only way out of the situation.

I do know that abuse does occur. I agree that it is horrible and can be life-threatening. However bad a situation is does not in any way allow for divorce. The only situation that Jesus says that allows for divorce was for sexual immorality–a spouse cheating on the other spouse sexually with another person.

Even then, divorce does not have to be the answer.

Think about life as a believer. Jesus promised that there would be persecution of every believer. He never promised that following Him would be easy or fun. He only promised that it would be worth it in the end.

Think about this situation: As a believer you are persecuted and abused–physically, sexually and emotionally. Does this give you the right to strike back in anger and hate? No.

Think about Jesus. He was perfect, never did anything wrong ever. Yet, He was abused, persecuted and killed upon a cross. Jesus endured whippings and beatings and a crown of thorns put on His head. Then as He was put upon the cross, He had to endure the pain of nails being driven through His hands and feet. And He had to endure the punishment of all sins of every person for all time. Then to top it off, His Father, whom He had been with for all eternity, turned His back on Him and struck Him.

Jesus crucified

How horrible! How wrong!

Yet, as Jesus was upon the cross He prayed that the Father would forgive them because they did not really know what they were doing. He forgave them of what they had done wrong.

And the whole reason for going through all that suffering was so that you may have life and be forgiven of your sins. This is real love.

You, as a believer, are to be just like Jesus–full of love and forgiveness. If you are going through persecution as a believer, does that give you the right to deny Jesus to get out of that persecution? NO! You are expected to endure the persecution, love your enemies and forgive them, just like Jesus did with you.

No where in the Bible does it give a believer the right to sin for any reason at all. Yet, many want to divorce, just because ‘we are incompatible’ or ‘he/she is abusive’ or for some other reason. None of these hold up under the command that no one should separate what God has put together.

Marriage may or may not be easy. Guaranteed there will be times that it will be difficult. There will be times that will seem like the most horrible thing on the face of the earth. Yet, marriage is supposed to be about love. One is love the other, no matter what.

Wedding vows with ring

Going back to the vows. Many said that they accept the other ‘for better or for worse’. This is often forgotten or ignored. You promised to live together for better or for worse, now wanting to get out of that promise because something is worse. You are to keep your vows before God. He will hold you accountable for every vow you made.

The other thing to remember is that with God all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). God can redeem your marriage. He can also give you the strength to endure all of the abuse that you may be going through. He can give you the love you need to love your spouse, even when that love is not returned and hate is given.

Just as your walk with God as a believer is not always easy, you walk in marriage may not always be easy, but it is worth it to love and fulfill your vow. Who knows? God may change the heart of your spouse and bring the spouse around to change his/her ways to a way of true love.

Rough path in forest

Divorce does not allow for change. It does not allow for love. It does not allow God to be the center of one’s life. It only brings about death and separation.

Do not allow death and separation to destroy your marriage. Hang in there and trust God to turn things around. Pray daily for strength and love to keep moving forward. Trust God to make the needed changes in your life and in the life of your spouse.

Now with this being said, I will say that there may be times when a spouse may have to move out to be safe from harm. Moving out is not getting a divorce, but staying safe. It still holds on to the hope that God will turn the marriage around.

Also if your spouse is an unbeliever and wants to get the divorce, than you are free to allow the spouse to get the divorce and you are released from your vow. However, you must not be the one to initiate or choose to get the divorce. Fight for your marriage.

Prayer with bible

I will be praying for your marriage. Praying that God will be the center of both of your lives and the center of your marriage. I will be praying that God will give you strength to love your spouse no matter what happens.

A New Series Study

Wedding shoes

All over the world there is one thing that every nation has–marriages. Over the years the views and the way marriage looks and is considered has changed.

Recently there has been a lot of debate about what marriage is. Every where a person looks there are people who are in marriage, but are struggling. Divorce is a common action that occurs. It is rare to meet a couple who has been married more than a few years with only one spouse.

With this in mind, I have been led by God to do a study on marriage. I want to look at what marriage is, what it is not, some things that make a marriage work, some things that will destroy a marriage, and also divorce and remarriage. In all of these questions I will strive to use scripture to back what I believe God says about marriage.

Whether you are someone who is happily married or one who is struggling in a marriage, you may find some benefit in this study. Those who are still single may learn to know what to look for and expect in a marriage.

I will say that I am no expert on marriage, nor do I have a degree that gives me any thing extra. I am just a man who has been married for over 27 years to one wonderful wife. I am also a believer in Jesus and strive to live my life the way Jesus lived His. God has given me the ability to share what He has taught me over the years through this blog and I want to share some of what I have learned or experienced in marriage.

I hope that you will join me in this journey and be willing to share it with others who may also need this information. May we all grow stronger in the Lord and in our marriages or marriages to be.

These posts will show up, Lord willing, each Monday until it is finished.

Malachi 2:15 Do Not Be Unfaithful

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15

Some of the people had been asking why they no longer had God’s favor. God had removed His hand of favor from them because they had become unfaithful with their wives. Ultimately they had divorced their wives, causing greater damage and harm. Through Malachi, God gives the warning to not be unfaithful in marriage.

Divorce is a common activity in the lives of couples all over the nation. It has become so common that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Sadly, this is also true for Christian marriages. At times this statistic is lower, but it is because fewer people are getting married and are just living together, still in sin.

Every believer belongs to God, both in body and in spirit. There is nothing that does not belong to God, when one is following Him.

One thing that God wants is for children to be brought up knowing God. When there is divorce, there is a breakdown in really knowing God. God is known for love, care, selflessness, patience, forgiveness, perseverance, and service. It is about the other person.

In marriages, people often forget about God’s principles and how they are to act and react. One or the other runs around being unfaithful. Or one of them is abusive in various ways causing the desire for divorce.

During the Old Testament times, a woman who was divorced had nothing to live for. No income, no house, and no favor. For the husband to divorce her, it was abuse. God did not want it, and still does not want it.

As a believer you are to be faithful to God and to the one  you are married to. This is for both men and women. God is a God of love and forgiveness. You must also be like Jesus and be for love and forgiveness.

Watch yourself in your life. Keep a guard on what you say, think or do so that you cannot be accused of being unfaithful to either a spouse or God. To be unfaithful to one, you are unfaithful to the other.

Are you being faithful today?

I pray today that you will be faithful to God and your spouse; that you will allow God to guide your every action; that you will treat your spouse as God treats you; and that God will help you make your marriage strong.