Many men and women tell their biggest lie on their wedding day. He (or she) stands before a minister, family, and friends to commit his life to a partner. He says, “I promise to love, honor, and cherish you in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, for as long as we both shall live.” Then, before long, he is divorced or wishes he were.
Maybe you are one of those people in an unhappy marriage. You may sit in a pew every Sunday morning singing that your God is so high you can’t get over Him, so low you can’t get under Him, and so wide you can’t get around Him but back at home you and your spouse have agreed that even God can’t put your marriage back together. What a contradiction! In fact, that’s more than a contradiction; it’s sinful. Given the fact that our own strength is limited, it’s not hard to understand why marriages aren’t surviving the pressures of the twenty-first century. But we don’t have to rely on our own finite powers. With Christ as our enabler, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). When Paul wrote those encouraging words to the church at Philippi, he wasn’t saying that he could fly on his own power if he chose to, but he was promising that everything Christ commanded him to do, Christ would enable him to accomplish.
If I had the athletic ability of Hank Aaron, I could hit many home runs. If I had the musical ability of Mozart, I could create beautiful music. If I had the mind of Einstein, I could solve difficult equations. In other words, if I had the ability those men had, I could do what they did. That is what Paul was saying. Christ gave Paul the ability to do everything that He commanded. Because Christ commanded that marriages be permanent, each believer has the ability to accomplish God’s will for marriage. The problems and challenges that marriage involves should cause us to seek and apply the power of God, not divorce our spouses.
I enjoy a good game of basketball. In fact, I’m unstoppable . . . when I play alone. When unopposed, I can make any play and shoot any shot. One day, I had an opportunity to play “one-on-one” with former Dallas Mavericks’ star forward, Mark Aguire. Suddenly, I wasn’t playing as well!
My ability isn’t tested when I play without opposition; the test of my ability is how good I am when the other team steps onto the court. When I went up to shoot with 6 feet 6 inches’ worth of opposition in front of me, the true measure of my ability was revealed.
So it is with marriage. Conflicts shouldn’t destroy the union; they should show the power of Christ within us. Because Christ never asks us to do what He has not already given us the ability to do, marital conflict can be the area in which we show the difference Christ makes.