Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When Sinners Say "I Do" - Dave Harvey

Sovereign Grace pastors put out some good books. This is no exception. I've been wanting to read this book since it came out about a year ago. Then one of my friends who is newly-married told me that it was fantastic - and was changing her marriage already.
No one really wants to hear the information in this book - but it is so good. Again, a great book to read in light of the gospel - the grace and Cross of Jesus!
"To be a good theologian and therefore a good spouse, we must study God as he really is. We must get our understanding and interpretation of God and reality from Scripture (p.22)" The beginning of knowing anything about sin and why it is so horrible - is to know God. The more we know who God is the more we will know how sinful we are - but how welcomed we are by His grace.
"Marriage is set within the world – and within your home and mine – as a reminder, a living parable of Christ’s relationship to the church." (p 27). I said this a while ago on this blog that this was my biggest fear in getting married - was that people might look at my marriage and see a strained view of the gospel. But, grace is big. I am a sinner - sometimes I think I'm not (I guess, but that is pride, therefore I am a sinner).
"It is very important to our Christian lives to be suspicious of any claims to righteousness we bring to our relationship with God. It is in Christ alone, and in his merit alone, that we trust. True humility is living confident in Christ’s righteousness, and suspicious of our own. p 63" I love this definition of humility. I said to someone the other day that I am glad I'm reading all these marriage books - seriously - do I think I can work my way to a right relationship with God - it is still all grace.
"Needs are not wrong, we all have them. They exist as daily reminders that we were created as dependent beings. in fundamental need of God and his provision for our lives. But, maintaining a distinction between genuine needs and those needs invented by a self-indulgent culture is essential for a healthy marriage. " (p 74) Needs, expectations, etc - how often do I think about what I can offer the other person - people I see all around me - those in need - or is it just what I need that matters? My life should be about being a servant to other people - not about getting my needs and expectations met.
"Be merciful even as your Father is merciful (Luke 6.36) Mercy is a unique, marvelous, exceptional word. God’s mercy means his kindness, patience, and forgiveness toward us. It is his compassionate willingness to suffer for and with sinners for their ultimate good. Sweet marriages are built on mercy dispensed" (p 79, 82) As I've recently taken a personality test - I have grown in mercy. Now, let me tell you this is none of my own doing. Over the past few years I have prayed that God would work mercy in me because I have received much mercy. Not that personality tests mean everything - but God is gracious in letting me continue to receive mercy and is enabling me by His grace - to show it to others. I still have so far to go! :)
"Would your spouse say you sympathize with weakness? That you extend to him or her the mercy Christ has lavished on you in light of your weaknesses? Or do you sit in judgment?" (p 93) Oh, our marriages would be so different if we shared with our spouses the same grace that God shared with us. Jesus was able to sympathize with us - knowing our burdens - let us turn our faces towards our spouses in their times of weakness and struggle - and point them to a ever-loving Savior.
"God’s purpose for reproof is not to achieve a hassle-free marriage, but to inspire repentance unto godliness. And repentance and change simply take time. We must be committed to the entire process of helping each other grow in godliness through life." - (p 127) - The entire process. I seem to be committed to telling others what is wrong in their lives - not seeing them through. That is work of mercy in my life by a gracious Father. Thank you.
"Meekness has nothing to do with being weak or passive. Meekness is power harnesses by love. It is an expression of humility that will not bristle or defend when challenged about motives. In fact, a meek person realizes that he could have selfish motives and must evaluate himself. This fruit of the Spirit helps us govern our anger, restrain our tongue, and maintain our peace. Tozer said the meek man will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings. In marriage, to be meek is not to be weak or vulnerable, but to be so committed to your spouse that you will sacrifice for his or her good. A meek person sees the futility of responding to sin with sin." (p 130) I have known for about 7 years that this is what I need in a husband - someone who leads with meekness - not with shouting, anger, tyranny. But, I pray now, having read this paragraph, that I would become more meek - seeing what I want to see in my future spouse also in myself.
Thanks Laura for telling me how good this book is. It is a definite must read for everyone getting married (yes, even in the engagement period) and also for those who have been married for 50 years.

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