Not Just a Ball & Chain Marriage

Message:  In Romans 7 Paul makes another comparison of the law to marriage. He reminded them that marriage vows were bound under the legal law that could only be released by death. Paul specifically uses the death of the husband as his example because in those times women often didn’t have the right to consent in the first place. She was given in marriage and the only thing that could release her was the death of her husband. Paul used this example to show them that the death of their flesh released them from their marriage to the law and allowed them to be joined to another- Jesus. What I love about this analogy is that it reminds us that our salvation is not just a freedom of the Jews from the law, it was also a marriage to Jesus. Where obedience to the law was a duty, marriage to Jesus made it become personal. This kind of faithfulness is something we understand because we are committed to a person, not being held hostage by a set of rules. The nature of mankind is to look at rules and find loopholes to justify our disobedience, but in the context of marriage we aren’t obeying rules, we are honoring ourselves and our spouse with our faithfulness. This is what our relationship with Jesus should look like. We are faithfully committed with a desire for a meaningful relationship that grows and deepens. In comparison, many Christians have a relationship that resembles those who are miserable and unfaithful in their marriages. They are the ones who refer to their spouse as a “ball and chain”. They are not emotionally invested in the relationship and they either grudgingly maintain their faithfulness, or they pretend to be faithful while sneaking around, lying and cheating. This comparison prompts me to think about my attitude toward faithfulness. Sometimes doing the right thing feels like a chore or a burden. It’s a fight that needs to become a heart change. Imagine how it would feel if our spouses were grudgingly accommodating to us. They don’t really want to do things for us, but they grudgingly do it out of obligation. This would not feel like a loving relationship and this is what I want to examine in my own commitment to Jesus. What acts of obedience am I doing in a state of obligation only that my heart needs to follow? Obedience is a good starting place, don’t get me wrong but the relationship and the burden of obedience takes on a different direction when our hearts are matched with our obedience. I remember when this hit me in my own marriage. There were things I didn’t do because it made my husband mad. Not anything big, just things I knew irritated him. For a long time I stopped doing those certain things to avoid being on the other end of his irritation, but as I matured in the relationship I avoided the things he didn’t like because I loved him and wanted to honor him. Although the act was the same the heart was different, and it caused our relationship to flourish and grow. This is the heart I want to have in my relationship with Jesus. Not to just avoid making him mad, but a heart to honor him. This is love and this is matu

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