Today I'm continuing in a series of posts based on Hebrews 13 and a post I did in 2013 called "10 Signs of a Mature Christian." Let's continue on in Hebrews 13 and look at what it tells us about being a mature or rather a maturing Christian.
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'
So we say with confidence,
'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid,
What can man do to me?'" Hebrews 13:4-6
Mature Christians are:
Honorers of marriage.
Are you an honorer of marriage? Is your local church a place where marriages are supported and marriage is encouraged to those who want it?
The writer of Hebrews says that marriage is to be held in honor by all, married and single. Why must marriage be held in honor? Well, in Ephesians chapter 5 the Apostle Paul showed us that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Married people are to demonstrate a profound mystery. A married man and a woman are to display a beautiful and complex aspect of God's love and the Church's devotion through the object lesson called marriage. Marriage is to be held in honor by all because it is a tool for showing Christ's glorious, sacrificial, unending love.
So, what does this mean for single people?
I believe that single people can honor marriage in a variety of ways. For those singles planning on being married one day, this passage will have you honor your future marriage. Singles, imagine having to tell your future spouse about your sexual and relational failures, because we all must be honest with our mates. Imagine the future hurt you may bring to him or her, imagine the shame of having to confess that. Honor your future marriage by keeping your marriage bed pure before you ever get into it.
Singles can also honor marriage by supporting marriages. Singles, do you actively cheer on and support your married friends? Have you ever watched the kids for them so they could invest in their marriage? Have you ever prayed for their marriage that it would glorify Christ? There are many ways to honor marriage even if you intend to remain single.
Married people, do you view your marriage as a means to glorify God or as a means to be happy?
We must aim to make Christ glorious in our marriage. This involves fidelity. We must remain as faithful to our wives or husbands as Christ has been to the Church... which is completely. Jesus said that looking on another woman with lust is adultery; do you guard your heart and eyes to keep your marriage bed pure? Do you enjoy your own marriage bed? So often we focus only on the negative side of this command, and we should, but how about enjoying the purity of your own marriage bed? If your thoughts are captivated by your own wife's body, your own husband's skin, then it is harder for your mind to have time to think about somebody else. Don't just remove a thought, replace it with a pure one. A healthy sex life is a key to honoring your marriage. Marriage is SO much more than that, but let's not forget that. It is dying to self, it is putting her/his needs above yours, but it is also delighting in your spouse.
The final thing I leave you with to help you honor marriage is this: Honorers of marriage NEVER, outside of physical abuse, encourage someone to abandon their marriage. I have seen Christians sit in the pew one day and then encourage divorce the next. This is wrong! We must honor marriage. Marriage is not easy, there will be valleys if you stay married long enough, but honorers of marriage encourage those in the valley to keep on going. Honorers of marriage don't let go of their marriage and help others to hold on to theirs, too.
Is your life marked with a holy discontentment for Christ and a deep contentment with Christ? Are you struck by the disease of materialism and the love of money?
Contentment is a hard virtue to own, but is a key Christian principle. Contentment is difficult because it gets to the crux of one of our chief loves: money.
We are implored to keep our lives free from the love of money. This is so hard to do and so hard to identify, yet so important. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had to follow Him, but the young man didn't because he had great wealth. But this isn't just about the wealthy, the love of money hits poor and rich alike.
We are to fight for contentment because it shows what we love and what we trust. In times of trouble do we trust God or our savings? When it comes to where our extra effort goes does it go toward pursuing more of God or more money?
Mature Christians are content because they know that their security is not found in cash but in the God who will never leave them nor forsake them, in the God who is their helper.
So, how do we do this?
To those young people starting off I say make contentment a goal right away. It is so much easier to begin with contentment than it is to lower your "standard of living." Begin with an un-extravagant lifestyle that prioritizes giving rather than spending. This is a wise thing to do. For those of you that have already begun the rat race of living for more and better stuff, this is the time to take inventory of what you have. This is the time to ask where your heart lies. I don't believe, necessarily, that God is calling you to give up your things, but if the thought of doing that strikes fear in your heart then I think the disease of materialism and the love of money already has you.
Contentment is a treasured possession of the wise and maturing Christian. The content man or woman can shake their heads at the hoards waiting in line all night and day for the latest iPhone. The content man or woman knows that the only thing they don't have enough of is their Lord and they will pursue more of Him with what pastor Matt Chandler calls a holy discontentment.
We must press on to Christian maturity. Let us begin be loving marriage and fighting for contentment in Christ today.