The Mystery and the Locked Garden

No man is complete by himself.  Every man needs companionship.  To meet this need, God ordained marriage and provided Adam with a wife.  Marriage is the closest form of companionship possible between two people.  In fact so close, that the two actually become one.

From the beginning, the Bible reveals 7 principles about marriage, all of which still apply today:

  1. God Himself initiated marriage at the beginning of human history.  Adam had no part in planning it.  Without divine revelation, man cannot understand it, much less make it a part of his experience.
  2. The decision that man was to marry proceeded from God, not from the man.
  3. God knew the kind of helper that the man needed.  The man did not
  4. God prepared the woman for the man
  5. God presented the woman to the man.  The man did not have to go in search for her
  6. God ordained the nature of their life together.  It’s end purpose was unity
  7. Jesus upheld God’s original plan of marriage as binding on all who would become his disciples.  It is still in force today.

In his letter to Ephesians, Paul calls marriage a mystery.  In the Song of Solomon, Solomon compares it to a locked garden. God alone holds the key. Within the context of marriage, we grow and are able to meet each other’s needs intimately as no other relationship.  We become something sacred and holy to God! The first thing to do in preparation is to surrender yourself fully:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”Rom 12:1-2 NIV

To offer yourself to God in this way means that you no longer claim ownership or control!  You yield your decisions over to God in alignment with His Word. Paul shows us how this unfolding of God’s plan to your renewed mind will be progressive.  He uses three words: good, pleasing, perfect! Remember that God gives His best to those who leave the choice to him! Once you offer yourself to the Lord as a living sacrifice, the results are that your body is made holy by the blood of Jesus.  Then, as your mind is being renewed by the Holy Spirit, you are in a position to go! Next, your attitudes and actions are a focus as God conforms you into the image of His Son. This was the main emphasis of Jesus in the Sermon in the Mount.  The Law of Moses focused largely on outward acts, while Jesus emphasized internal attitudes.  Right actions inevitably flow from right attitudes. All behavior comes from belief; that’s why Jesus dealt with our hearts.  Our attitudes and how we perceive things cause our actions. There are 4 specific areas of attitude that are laid out for us to cultivate as we desire to enter into God’s plan for marriage:

  1. Your attitude towards marriage;
  2. Your attitude towards yourself;
  3. Your attitude towards others; and
  4. Your attitude towards your parents

The two biblical requirements for marriage are reverence and humility.   Are you prepared to approach marriage with the reverence that it demands? Do you see it as a sacred mystery, formed from eternity in the mind of God, and revealed to man for his measureless blessing and benefit? (Eph 5:25-33 NIV)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”   This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Do you see what Paul is saying here?  Human marriage is an earthly counterpart of the relationship between Christ and His Church.  The union a man enjoys with his wife prefigures the union Christ will have with His Church – a union in which God, the Creator, and man the creature, will be joined together in an intimate, perfect, eternal oneness.  This can only be done by supernatural grace. A sense of self-worth is one of the most important elements in you making a success of your life, not least in your marriage. Through the new birth, you become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).  But, you can’t really love others if you cannot love yourself I have come to realize the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, money or power, but self-rejection.  When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then we look for power, money, success, people as attractive solutions. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us “His Beloved”.  Being the “beloved” expresses the core truth of our existence.  When I accept this, now I am able to love others as I love myself.  Wholeness is needed for your marriage!

Paula White Ministries

Author Paula White Ministries

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