Marriage: The Perfect Tool for Spiritual Growth

JeffKlickPhoto-138-207-06162014Marriage: The Perfect Tool for Spiritual Growth:

While earning two doctorate degrees, a foundational principle was hammered into my brain – look for presuppositions. Underneath every thought, vision, and action lay something that motivates and underpins. With every thought and action taken, each of us functions with many pre-assumptions.

For example, I operate under with the presupposition that you can read when I write this. In addition, there are assumptions regarding who will read it, how they will respond, and if they will catch the intended humor in the above sentence. We all bring many presuppositions to every thought and conversation, even if we are aware of possessing them.

I have a presupposition regarding marriage. In fact I have several. God is good, God had a plan, God knew what He was doing, and God had specific ideas in mind by creating the institution of marriage.

Here is one of my important pre-assumptions – Marriage is the perfect tool to help us mature in Christ. God knew exactly what it would take for each of His children to grow up. God decided that the vast majority of people would marry, reproduce, and fulfill His commands regarding discipleship, evangelism, and even care-taking of His creation.

While beyond the point of this article, marriage is a supernatural picture of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32), the primary evangelism/discipleship tool for reaching the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and God placed humans on earth to take care of it (Genesis 2:15).

What is the point of this writing is that marriage provides an excellent tool for spiritual growth. In fact, I believe it is one of the primary tools God uses to develop the fruit of the Spirit in His children’s lives. There is a gift of singleness, but the majority of God’s people will marry. Therefore, my presupposition is that God had a plan for this joining.

Science, along with detailed, extensive and expensive studies, reveal that men and women are different. I could have saved them a great deal of time and energy by simply asking any five-year old, but that is not the point. Men and women think differently, speak a different language and often have entirely different value systems. Is that by design or was it an oversight by the Creator? We must answer that question.

Your answer will determine your behavior. If God didn’t have a plan for the differences, then the goal becomes conforming our spouse into our image. We will spend our days and energy fighting the differences instead of embracing them. If God did create us differently, then there is another purpose for His decision to do so.

I would suggest that He did create us on purpose and fully intended for there to be major differences. We are created physically and emotionally differently. Any married couple quickly learns these facts. We tend to enjoy the physical differences and fight the emotional ones.

While not pretending to know the fullness of God’s wisdom or intent in His creation mindset, I would venture to state that He knew in advance what He was doing, and why. What we can know with certainty is that marriage provides some excellent spiritual growth potential!

For example, the fruit of the Spirit grows in the soil of marriage almost unlike anywhere else. Built right into our day by day relationship are the opportunities to walk in love, experience joy, seek peace, learn patience, demonstrate kindness, practice goodness, remain faithful, become gentle and walk in self-control. (See Galatians 5:22-23)

What better place to demonstrate agape love than in our marriage? 1 Corinthians 13 graces the walls of most homes, but do we actually put it into practice within those same walls? We can often quote it, but living it out is harder when it comes to our spouse. Yet, God placed that person right there in our lives to learn to do exactly that! We learn to walk in Biblical love through marriage.

Love is kind, patient, does not envy, boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, bears all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things. Love never fails and love is the greatest of what abides. What else besides marriage provides us with such an easy opportunity to grow in Biblical love? Who is closer to us to learn on and to actually put the love actions into practice? All of the love attributes are action words. They require an object and I would suggest that our spouse is the perfect choice.

As we look at spiritual maturity throughout the Scriptures, we will find descriptions that include such things as death to self, servanthood, esteeming someone as better than our self, humility, long suffering, patience, and overcoming all manner of sin. All of these and more are accomplished by marriage. We learn to grow in self control, we learn how to speak life not death with our tongue and we learn how to curb our anger. It is almost as if God knew (sarcastic humor) what was needed for spiritual maturity and came up with the perfect solution – the marriage covenant.

I would encourage you to read the following verses with your spouse in mind and see if my presupposition regarding marriage is true.

  • John 13:34-35 – we demonstrate the reality of Christ by our marriage
  • 1 John 4:20-21 – if our spouse is not our brother or sister in Christ I don’t know who is
  • Matthew 22:36-39 – two greatest commandments – love God, demonstrate it by loving your neighbor, again, if our spouse doesn’t qualify as our closest neighbor I don’t know who does.
  • Galatians 6:10 – is our spouse of the household of God? I think so.

We often attempt to implement these verses first towards those outside of our home. I would argue that unless we begin within the home we are missing what God intended. Frankly it is easier to love the stranger or someone across the globe, than loving my spouse, but I wonder what God thinks about that?

If my desire is to grow spiritually, then beginning to look for opportunities within my marriage is the place to start. At least, that is my presupposition. What’s yours?

Dr. Jeff Klick

About Dr. Jeffrey A. Klick

Dr. Jeff Klick has been in fulltime ministry for over thirty years (since 1981). He currently serves as the senior pastor at Hope Family Fellowship in Kansas City, Kansas, a church he planted in 1993. Dr. Klick married his high school sweetheart, Leslie, in May of 1975. They have three adult children and ten grandchildren. Dr. Klick loves to learn and has earned a professional designation, Certified Financial Planner, earned a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary, a Doctorate in Biblical Studies from Master’s International School of Divinity, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry from Trinity Theological Seminary . In addition to serving as senior pastor at Hope Family Fellowship, Dr. Klick is a consultant with The Institute for Church Management, weekly shares on two radio shows on the Alive in Christ Radio Network, and also serves on the Board of Directors for The Council for Family-Integrated Churches. Dr. Klick is a frequent blogger on several websites and has published multiple books.

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