Labor of Love

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:7

Merry Christmas to you all! May your hearts and your homes be filled with joy and peace as you worship our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Light has come!

Photo: Hilde Vanstraelen

The Genealogy of Grace

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,
the son of David, the son of Abraham…”

Matthew 1:1

Do you ever wonder why the book of Matthew starts out by listing all of those hard-to-pronounce names instead of getting right to the good stuff about the birth of Christ? As it turns out, the genealogies in Scripture serve very important purposes, one of which is explained in the following Q&A with John MacArthur.

Listen as Dr. MacArthur explains why God included the names of so many scandalous sinners in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ…

Here’s one more reason to appreciate Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus–it makes a really catchy song!  :D

Photo: Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Watch What You Eat, Pray, and Love

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Matthew 19:6

Have you lost touch with who you are? The probing question flashes across the screen of the movie trailer promoting the soon-to-be-released summer blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love. Read by millions, lauded by Oprah, printed in over 30 languages, and listed as a New York Times Bestseller for over 180 weeks, Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of her yearlong journey of self-discovery is now ready to rock the box office. With Julia Roberts in the lead, Eat, Pray, Love promises drama, romance, and international adventure–all in all, the kind of chick flick that females love to chirp about. 

Yet as enchanting and entertaining as Gilbert’s quest to become an “autonomous woman” may appear to readers and moviegoers, her tale is founded upon the deadly presupposition that a woman’s chief pursuit in life is her personal happiness. In order to obtain the happiness that eluded her, Gilbert forsook her marriage vows, obtained a divorce, and became involved in a short-lived relationship with another man before finally connecting with Felipe, her “soulmate” of sorts in Bali. After reluctantly entering into marriage with Felipe (visa issues complicated their otherwise storybook love affair), Gilbert followed up Eat, Pray, Love with a sequel entitled Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage which chronicles her journey from aversion to acceptance of life as a married woman.

Wonder why I’m telling you all of this? Because as Christian women, we have a vital responsibility to exercise discernment and guard our hearts against deceptive philosophies. The beast of discontent is easily awakened in a woman’s soul, and we must constantly ensure that this insatiable creature is starved rather than fed. Every day in our culture, juicy tidbits are thrown across our paths which if swallowed, will nourish our flesh and weaken our spirit. Instead of allowing our sinful hearts to feast upon worldly thoughts like “You need to find yourself,” “Pursue happiness at all costs,” “You deserve better,” or “Your soulmate is still out there somewhere,” we must feed ourselves on the truths of God’s Word, recognizing that deadly lies are often disguised by expressions that sound oh, so right to our itching ears (Prov. 14:12). 

If we are to be women of virtue, ladies who honor and esteem marriage, and wives who model faithfulness and purity, we need to devote ourselves to thinking God’s thoughts after Him, understanding that in the wisdom of His plan, our happiness remains inseparably tied to our growth in holiness. Instead of being women who search for everything, let’s be women who pursue only one thing–the glory of God, for it is there that we will find everything worth having.

With its glamorization of starter wives, the hook-up culture, and disposable relationships, our society incessantly hammers us with a low view of marriage and commitment. But as women of God, we must continue to stand against the tide by highly esteeming and cherishing the sacred union of marriage just as He intended. For us, the danger is not in losing touch with who we are, but in losing sight of who God is. May we never confuse the two.

 

Thoughts to help us treasure marriage as God does…

John MacArthur reminds us of the crucial distinctives of Christian marriage:

The two key attitudes in a successful marriage are self-denial and self-giving, both of which are contrary to human nature but made possible to those who trust in God through Christ.

A related truth is the Golden Rule our Lord gave in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Treat people the same way you want them to treat you’ (Matthew 7:12). You’ll never have a better opportunity to do that than in marriage. There must be forgiving love and restoring grace in a marriage. That alone makes marriage a proper symbol of God’s forgiving love and restoring grace. That is the magnificence of marriage. Its permanence symbolizes God’s permanent relationship with His people. To pursue divorce is to miss the whole point of God’s dramatization in the story of Hosea and Gomer, the whole point of our Lord’s love for His church, and thus the whole point of marriage. God truly hates divorce.

(The Divorce Dilemma: God’s Last Word on Lasting Commitment, pp. 17-18)

“Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson–a song celebrating the beauty and sanctity of marriage as designed by God

Photo: Mike Goodwin