Here we go: two blogs in two days! Apparently being forced to be still while trying to recover from hurting my back has allowed my brain cells to flow again. Feeling MUCH better today! Seems like maybe that forced "rest" has benefited more than just my physical well being.
Saturday night at Love Worth Fighting For, Kirk Cameron delivered two different sermons on marriage. He left no room for doubt that he was a sold out man of God. He started the night off with his humorous side and did the run down of his time on Growing Pains. He quickly got the star struck fever out of the way and got down to the HEART of the matter.
The first talk with based on the truths presented in Fireproof. Watching that movie was a turning point in taking our marriage from the path of destruction to the success that it is now. Though our "issues" didn't include pornography, the movie still taught us so many lessons about fighting for marriage by transforming our relationships with Christ FIRST!
Kirk spoke about the things Caleb (his character) and Catherine were battling and where the breakdown of their marriage was coming from. He specifically talked about why Caleb's original attempt at doing the Love Dare failed because his heart hadn't changed.
Specifically, Kirk described 3 keys to making every marriage fireproof. Granted, I admit what he had to say wasn't "new". There weren't bells and whistles and promises of quick fixes. However, what he did do was fire us up as Christians. THAT is the TRUE key to marriage----being sold out for Christ!
Key 1: "The heart of my problem is the problem of my heart!" He spent a significant time explaining that marriage is impossible without God as the center. Attending church isn't good enough. Believing in Christ isn't enough. You have to be completely sold out and have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. We are incapable of real love without the indwelling of the spirit. Our heart is naturally deceitful and selfish (which is why we can't always operate according to our feelings). Only God can clean our hearts and open them up in the right capacity that allows us to truly love someone else. The "Love Dare" only began to work for Caleb once his heart had been transformed by allowing Christ to take hold of him. The beginning attempts of "winning his wife" back were fruitless because his heart was still the same.
Key 2: You can only change yourself, NO ONE else! ---- isn't that the truth! Anyone that has been married any amount of years should already know that changing your spouse is pretty much impossible. I think finally learning THAT truth is what transformed my own marriage. I can't change the things I don't like about Kevin or the things that drive me crazy. My responsibility is to control how I react. I can lovingly influence him by my actions, but that change comes from him. It's also true to the opposite! Our prayer should never be "change my spouse". It should always be "change me". I should start the day praying "God, give my husband a new wife and let it be me!". The most remarkable statement he made during this part is how he talked about change comes from God because HE RESERVES THAT PRIVILEGE! Change will come when you are welcoming the Holy Spirit to guide you together. He WILL bring about the change needed because He is directing both of your hearts closer together. I think this is what WE are currently experiencing and WHY our own marriage is become stronger every single day!
Key 3: You ABSOLUTELY must have a plan to wage war against sin!!!! This is the one that I think spoke to me the most. I "knew" the other two because we had learned those the hard way. It was just encouraging to hear them and inspire us to keep at it. Number 3 was "new". Granted, I know we have to flee from sin and guard our hearts and marriage. I just had never thought about having an actual plan. That is something I hope that Kevin and I are able to think about and come up with. Sin is abundant and it has ONE result. Destruction. If we don't wage literal war against it, it WILL destroy our marriages and our families.
The first thing that must happen is that we have to rid evil in our own hearts FIRST or it will destroy what is precious to us. We are blocking the blessings of God when we allow our hearts to be full of sin. First: confess. Second: Identify the sin and wage war against it. Pray for God to reveal stumbling blocks and then allow Him to rid it in your life. Third: Replace that "bad" with good! Transfer your desires to something wonderful and beautiful . FUEL THAT FIRE so that is consumes everything else. Caleb's battle was with pornography in Fireproof. Once his heart had been changed HE WAS STILL tempted! Temptation doesn't go away, no matter what your sin is. He had to physically remove that temptation and replace it with something beautiful. He literally destroyed the computer that was the source of his addiction and put in it's place gorgeous flowers to remind him that his wife mattered to him more. He sought out an accountability partner to make sure he stayed on track.
It all comes down to the fact that an excellent marriage is determined by YOUR OWN HEART, not by what your spouse does or doesn't do for you. I think marriage is about loving Christ so much that it flows through you, TEACHING you how to truly love and be loved by another person. Marriage is about two becoming one. God designed it that way. IF you are focusing so greatly on being more Christ-like, then it will naturally spill over into your marriage. It will become less about meeting YOUR needs, but more about meeting the needs of your SPOUSE. The amazing thing that happens is that in that process you end up drawing so close together that your own needs consequently get met. It's amazing like that. That is when it becomes of God's design. That's when it moves to extraordinary!