Sunday August 8, 2021 | Lambers Fisher
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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, 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.
This sermon employs the image of us sitting next to God in a marriage counseling session so that we might view God as our marriage partner and grow in love with each other.
In this sermon, Lambers Fisher, a marriage and family therapist, uses his experience as a counselor to help us look at our relationship with God in a different light. He provides the analogy of a therapist sitting across from a couple in a marriage counseling session where on one side sits a spouse and the other side sits God. In this analogy we explore how God wants us to be in a committed relationship with him, much like the relationship found in a healthy marriage.
Lambers paints a picture where God initiates a counseling session where each one of us is invited to sit next to God and do some work on our relationship with the help of a counselor. God is our marriage partner who is pursuing us, wanting to go deeper in the love relationship. With this image in mind, we can employ a few lessons from healthy marriages and apply them to our relationship with God.
Marriage Relationship Lesson #1: Healthy Married Couples Maintain Fidelity. In marriage, the commitment is not merely to refrain from being unfaithful. It is a commitment to drawing near in love as a faithful covenant partner. It’s not just not doing something that would cause harm to the marriage. It’s about living in love with the other in faithfulness. God says in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”
Marriage Relationship Lesson #2: Healthy Married Couples Continue the Pursuit. An absence of bad is not synonymous with great. Too many couples fall into the trap of just merely existing alongside one another, instead of pursuing each other in love in an ongoing way. This is an invitation to love not because we have to in order to maintain the relationship, but out of excess because we simply want to. In our relationship with God, we have the opportunity to do more than co-exist with Him. We can express our love for him and grow in this love as we do.
Marriage Relationship Lesson #3: Healthy Marriage Relationships Meet Mutual Needs. We all have needs and marriage partners are invited to learn to express them with each other so that they can learn to be interdependent. In the same way, we can enter into this kind of relationship with God. We see this in Matthew 25:35-40. As we serve others, we are actually serving God.
Marriage Relationship Lesson #4: Healthy Married Couples Continue to Improve Their Communication. We must work on our active listening and open communication because it does not merely happen because we want it to. These are skills that must be learned through practice as the couple works through misunderstandings and moves into deeper levels of communication. We are constantly growing in our communication with God. Some things we will understand now. Some things we will understand as we grow together. And some things we will finally understand when we meet him face to face. We must learn to be patient as we grow in communication.
God is with us, he is for us and he walks alongside us as a committed partner. With this image in mind, we can learn to go deeper in our relationship with God, and see it as more than a maintenance project, moving into more layers of love.