Before our beginning there was a beautiful angel appointed by God, his name was Lucifer. His heart became dark and diseased. He desired God’s worship for himself, so God cast him out of heaven along with the angels that had followed him. Lucifer was filled with murderous rage and resolved to assassinate and steal God’s glory.
His glory would be casting shame on the glory God would reflect in his good creation.
Some time later, at the beginning of our world, there was a man and a woman who lived in a beautiful garden. All things were unified in absolute harmony as the Creator had intended. The Creator came and walked with the man and woman every day. Face to face they talked and shared.
Lucifer then came to the woman. He told her, “You will not surely die if you eat the fruit. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He deceived the woman into believing that there was wisdom wiser than God. The woman ate and then handed the fruit to her husband and he ate.
Shame was born that day. The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. Desperately they took leaves and tried to sew them together so they could be covered.
God came, even though he knew what happened, he came. All those times they had shared face to face, this would be the last.
God called to the man and asked, “Where are you?” They had no answer to give but of shifting their blame.
This is the day death had its beginning. God took an animal and killed it and used it to create coverings for the man and woman. Sin had entered the world and death with it. And there would be no reversing it through the hands of man.
The man and woman were banished from the garden, it could no longer be their home. What was it like for them to go from walking with their God every day to no longer having his presence?
Before there was no shame now there was. Before there was no selfishness, now there was. Now there was jealousy…fear…disease…violence…confusion…greed…conceit…
Sin touched every fiber of creation breaking and killing and staining.
This is the world we know. This is the world that has kicked and bruised us. We have known the devastation and despair. We have felt our skin crawl with the fear of evil. We have felt our hearts crumple with unsayable tragedy, loss, failure, and pain. We have all seen suffering and looked it in its’ eyes for ourselves.
And the one the bible calls a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies, Lucifer, is still here. And we live in this broken world, where sin has set every vile and awful thing in motion, surrounded by men and women whose hearts have been hardened and darkened. And we each carry the same capacity of evil in our bones, the same capacity to disregard others for own benefit, the capacity to love ourselves more.
But He is love. And a hope blazes, because He has always been love. And we must fight the treasonous compass of our flesh that can forget and believe there is wisdom wiser than God.
Because instead of letting us stay hidden with our pathetic leafy coverings he came for us just like that day in the garden. Instead of an animal it was his Son who came and paid for our sin, banishing wrath, and covering us with his righteousness. Death is our rightful birthright, but Christ took it, and gave us his birthright, life. Then he rose from the dead defeating the power of sin and death. And death will not hold us just like it could not hold him.
And to every age, to all of creation, to you and to me the words of Jesus are echoing, “Wait, I am coming back for you.”
On that day we will hear the sound of many rushing waters singing his praise as he comes crashing to earth. The Faithful and True One will come in righteousness to judge and make war. His eyes will be flames of fire and he will be wearing a robe dipped in blood, and from his mouth will come a sword.
This will be the returning King, who comes to have the finale word of victory over every power, authority, and ruler against God. Every single knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he, indeed, has won.
When it is finished a loud voice from the throne will boom, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.” …again. He will wipe away every tear from every eye, and death and pain will meet their end.
There will be a new city of God where there will be no need for the sun or moon because God will be its light and our Lamb will be its lamp. By their light we will walk and know our way. And at last, face to face we will be with our God.
And night will be no more.
“Behold I am coming soon…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Rev 22:12
Culture would have us believe that sexual attraction is self- contained and independent. A governing force that should be listened to, respected, and weighed when we make relationship decisions. The problem is that sexual attraction is inseparably tied to our psyche. (Our working definition of psyche is the mental or psychological structure of a person.)
When we vow ‘until death do us part’ before God, we are to leave our father and mother and cling to our spouse. Something spiritual then happens, two become one. The business of two sinful beings becoming one is a work of the Spirit. I believe this is something that happens in a moment by Christ’s power. However, the fleshing out of this takes a lifetime as we are continually being made new in Christ. As we each become more like Christ, our oneness with our spouse is liberated to manifest in greater ways.
As we each become more like Christ, our oneness with our spouse is liberated to manifest in greater ways.
We have been made one in Christ, but we must work and grow to walk out and function in our oneness. “Unless the Lord builds the house the builder’s labor in vain” Prov 127:1a. The Lord is faithful to complete the work of unity in our marriage, so we can work in confidence.
All of us came into marriage with damaged psyche’s, we were born with them. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” Ps 51:5. Not only were we born into this collapsing humanity, but we are living in a broken world.
We don’t have to go searching for our culture’s sexual influence, it is everywhere, like radiation exposure it is inescapable. Childhood sexual abuse, hyper sexualized media, the ethic of sexual freedom and entitlement, and addiction to pornography have all raked through our generation. And they are still bulldozing full steam ahead. All of these disfigure our sexuality from the original intention of God when he created us. Both spouses bring these injuries into marriage and they have great effect.
All of these disfigure our sexuality from the original intention of God when he created us.
Sexual attraction is the outgrowth of so many moving parts in a marriage. So if it is lacking or there are problems with intimacy this is symptomatic that one or more of those moving parts are in disrepair and need attention and healing.
If you are not sexually attracted to your spouse or if your spouse is not attracted to you, the root lies in the spiritual, mental, and emotional health of our inner man.
The specifics will vary. It could be a drifting away or an eroding away of our spiritual and emotional intimacy. Sometimes it’s attack from the enemy that comes through in disconnected and distracted hearts. It may be complications of past abuse, shame from past or present sin, or wrong thinking based on the world’s ideas of sexuality.
The business of two becoming one is not seamless. There are edges and corners that must be smoothed, broken, and reshaped. This is also the process of becoming like Christ, becoming one with our Savior. Our oneness with our spouse will happen in tandem to our oneness with Christ.
So will you labor hard? Will you fight to become like Christ. Will you fight for oneness with your Savior and for oneness with your spouse?
Christian there is no scenario under the sun where Christ will not show up in mighty power to heal our marriages when we seek restoration. Satan hates marriage, because each of our love stories are intended to reflect and declare the greatest love story that has ever been, Christ and his church.
Christian there is no scenario under the sun where Christ will not show up in mighty power to heal our marriages when we seek restoration.
Wherever this post may find you there is still hope to be one with your spouse for a lifetime.
Eph 5:31-32 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
This article does not address the possible biological and physiological causes that could impact sexual attraction. Please always seek medical advice from your physician.
If you understand why sleep deprivation has been used as human torture.
If you have innocently googled a question after midnight and wondered where the last two hours went.
If you have tubs of clothes that are waiting for you in storage.
If you intended to buy clothes for yourself but gave up and bought baby clothes instead.
If after meal planning, surviving a grocery-shopping trip, and cooking dinner you feel like there is actually nothing in the world you can’t do…You are basically a superhero.
If when your baby spits up on you, the question is not if you should change your clothes, but exactly what is the threshold of the amount of spit up that demands you to change your clothes.
If you have shed a tear over tiny clothes outgrown.
If you sneak into your baby’s bedroom just to check that they are breathing.
If you pray and hope for a date night and then spend a chunk of the night looking at photos and watching videos of your little one.
If you feel a kinship to a dairy cow.
If you put makeup on and think, “Oh good, I’m glad it still works.”
If you burn an extra tank of gas every month because they will only sleep in the car.
If you’ve ever wanted to raise three fingers, in Hunger Games style, to champion a mom wrangling her kids in public.
If you have ever badgered your sleepy husband about a fire escape plan in the middle of the night.
If you find yourself humming kids songs at any random moment in the day.
If buying toiletries at Target warrants the same excitement new shoe or purse shopping used to bring.
If a toothless grin, chubby cheeks, and fathomless little eyes have caused you to marvel and worship the Creator.
If despite jean size or stretch marks you feel more beautiful than you ever have before, because motherhood has called out an inner strength, a dependence on God, a persevering sense of humor, and a selfless beauty you never knew you were capable of.
I did not know I was depressed until I got married. Over time I would see that depression had been present since I was a child. When I walked down the aisle ten years ago, I had never said the words out loud. I was ashamed of my depression, and in absolute denial.
After I came to Christ as a teenager and ventured into young adulthood I had more to fight than my own rebellious sin. There was a war I would fight against the effects sin had inflicted on my heart. My heart was diseased with lies and in pain. I was broken and sick from the pain of my experiences.
There was a war I would fight against the effects sin had inflicted on my heart.
The freedom God has graciously granted in my life in the area of depression is for another time and post. But as we live in this world that has been infected with sin, everyone experiences the crossfire of sin in different ways. The crossfire showed itself in my life through childhood trauma. I know what it’s like to feel left, scared, weak, and used. I know what it’s like to stuff and stuff the pain for years believing that survival was the bookend of those years. I know the condemnation that comes when you wonder why you keep struggling. “I must not love God enough?” “My faith is too weak.” “I need to pray more. Read the bible more. Be better. Be stronger.” It was my fault that I couldn’t fix it.
But as we live in this world that has been infected with sin, everyone experiences the crossfire of sin in different ways.
The heart is the well-spring of life. We are to guard it. What happens when the heart is trespassed by the sins of others and caught in the crossfire of sin in the world?
Recently one of our pastors preached on Hebrews 1:3b
“After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..”
Christ made purifications for our sins then he sat down. My pastor explained that he sat down because the work of defeating death and sin had been accomplished. Jesus sitting down at the right hand of his father declared to every being in heaven and earth, “It is finished.”
I was struck by the hope and my heart cried out “YES!” There is hope as we overcome our sin and reflect Christ more and more accurately. But there is also hope as we face the brokenness caused by this sinful world and the captives living in it. Christ won against sin. He beat the power of sin. He wins over every way sin has played out in this world, and every way it is afflicting our minds and hearts.
I limped around for years spiritually, not able to even imagine myself without the sadness of my past. I looked to the return of Christ as the finish line, trying to simply survive in the mean time. I would grit my teeth and I would limp on, truly happy for the hope of eternity.
I had befriended despair, and did not recognize the prisoner I had become.
Christians, do not believe hopelessness in anything.
My obedience required going to counseling. It felt counter intuitive to my preservation instincts to run towards the pain. But we can run towards the pain knowing it is hemmed in behind and before with the cross.
But we can run towards the pain knowing it is hemmed in behind and before with the cross.
As we behold our Savior sitting down at the right hand of the Father on high, it is a call to pursue healing and wholeness in the land of the living. It is a reminder that there is hope for our pain today. There is present healing for our afflictions.
To our finite hearts and minds this can feel complicated and wearisome. It does not matter how intricately sin has been weaved into the fabric of our psyche and soul, the power of the cross is wise enough and strong enough to separate the truth from the lies and then to heal the torn bits of us the separation will cause.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Ps 43:5
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. Ps 30:2
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. Ps 103:2-4
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps 147:3
Recently I was sitting in the back of my mini-van with my 5 month-old after a 10-hour road trip. The truth is I wasn’t thinking about my unwashed hair or the spit up (and coffee) on my clothes or the fact that I honestly couldn’t remember if I had put makeup on that morning. That is, I wasn’t thinking about it until I saw my beautiful friend walking up to say hello. For a half a second I wondered how tinted our windows were and if I should throw myself on the floor-board out of sight. Then I decided I was actually very happy to see my friend and I chuckled at life and myself as I watched her walk up with her washed hair blowing in the wind. I told my comparisons to hush and enjoyed a chat with a dear friend.
Comparison is a subtle trap and may seem innocent enough. In pre-internet days, comparisons were limited to the people that life intersected with in real time and space. Now social media provides a black hole of opportunity for comparison. Who can scroll through their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook without facing the temptation for comparison?
Who can scroll through their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook without facing the temptation for comparison?
The outgrowth of comparison is jealousy, insecurity, and discontentment. Then love, peace, and worship are choked out in the heart. Comparison, if allowed to flourish, will extinguish your worship to God.
Love instead of Jealousy: Jealousy is to isolate one characteristic or aspect of someone’s life and want it, without any of the hardship or struggle of the person’s journey.
Jealousy dethrones God’s sovereignty by feeling entitled to another person’s blessings in life. Jealousy makes everyone a thief of what you should have.
Jealousy makes everyone a thief of what you should have.
Love instead rejoices when others rejoice. Love does nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility love considers others more significant then themselves (Phil 2:3). Jealousy is greedy, reducing another person to the one dimension of the thing you want for yourself. Love gives and spends itself for others.
Peace instead of Insecurity: “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (Proverbs 14:30).
Insecurity attacks relationships by crying ‘They are more and I am less!’ Insecurity constantly measures itself up to others, always viewing people and circumstances through the lens of self.
Peace that quits the gnawing of insecurity is achieved through faith that you are who God says that you are. We must not look for rejection or shelter in the eyes of man.
We must not look for rejection or shelter in the eyes of man.
Yes, we are flawed in big ways and small. But we are God’s, purchased by him through the blood of Christ. Therefore we are new, and have an eternal hope, and a present purpose through Christ. The gospel is our only shelter from our human frailty.
We are to approach our relationship with God in this confidence, allowing His perfect love to banish every fear. This gospel understanding escorts the incomprehensible peace of God in to settle over our weak flesh bringing strength and rest. We then do not have to approach others through the diseased lens of self obsessesion, but can instead offer ourselves freely and generously to others. Perhaps others can find some shade and rest from their own troubled hearts, as we love in this way.
Worship instead of discontentment: This comparison leading to jealousy is unsettling to the Christian soul, because jealousy operates according to a worldly mindset, and we do not belong to this world. Comparison searches for worth by the world’s measure. If you belong to the world the measure of worth is fame, beauty, money, acclaim, and power. Self is congratulated and self is worshipped for every achievement. You cannot serve both God and man in your heart simultaneously. One crowds out the other.
You cannot serve both God and man in your heart simultaneously. Once crowds out the other.
To allow comparisons in your heart may seem harmless at first, but it leads to a dark path indeed: “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:15-16
Do not allow the enemy to steal your worship of God by entrapping you in jealousy and selfish ambition. Stealing God’s worship is the enemies oldest and strongest desire, it is the aim of his every scheme.
The purpose of our breath is to be made into the likeness of Christ for God’s glory. Do not invite comparison in to comment on this sanctification and grossly degrade Christ’s worth in you.
Instead choose love. Choose peace. Choose to worship. Choose the Incomparable Christ.
Demand that the mindset of Christ be cultivated in the secret of your thoughts: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil 2:3-8
Family stood by on Face Time, while we held our breath and stared at that ultrasound screen. “It’s a boy!” Everyone erupted into cheering. Not that the cheering would have been more or less for a girl, we were just ecstatic to learn something, anything about this long awaited little one.
I remember being struck with his newness. Untouched by sin, fear, and pain. So safe, as God’s deliberate hands knit him together.
Two weeks later with heavy hearts we stared at an ultrasound screen again. Knowing that our son’s feet were twisted with clubfoot, we waited to hear if any other commonly accompanying factors were present. I froze, wishing I could make sense of those little limbs swinging in and out of focus on the screen. “He’s healthy otherwise. No other concerns.” My fingers intertwined with my husbands, thawed, and relief washed over us.
As my heart processed in the following weeks I wrestled with the pain, discomfort, and many doctor’s appointments that would claim a piece of my baby’s infant-hood. Still, I realized in many parts of the world, with less access to medical care, my son would have known a life-long crippling.
This brought me comfort yet; even a life-long crippling would not be the end. For God’s goodness and sovereignty will always loosen the bone chilling fingers of fear that threaten to strangle our peace and praise.
But as my heart clawed it’s way towards the Solid Rock, I was struck with the reality of sin.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. – Psalm 51:5
Our son was not untouched by the effects of sin on this world. Something else was present there in his first months. Even the womb is not a sanctuary from sin. There is only one haven from sin and He is Christ.
Before sin and death reigned, creation was perfect. There was no heartache, no violence in nature, and no disease. Everything existed in perfect harmony with God. When Adam and Eve turned from God in mistrust and pride they represented humanity. For through this one man sin entered the world, and death came through sin, and so sin spread to all men (Rom 5:12).
Every departure from God’s perfect creation is the result of sin. My son’s feet are only a more obvious expression of the reality of his heart. The reality that will threaten to crush my heart and keep me fervent in prayer every day until it is untrue, he is an object of God’s wrath.
In all the chubby glory of his toothless grin and dimpled cheeks he desperately needs Jesus to save him. If not those beautiful feet can only run him perilously away from God.
But, the cross ravaged sin’s final win. Christ died for us, becoming a child of wrath in our place. He absorbed our full punishment of wrath and death once and for all. Christ shut up death’s boast through the cross as “he rendered powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
Now we groan along with creation as we await the final deliverance when Christ comes to make all things new. We will stand as witnesses as sin loses its violent hold on creation.
Yes, we were born into this fate of sin. But we were reborn as sons and daughters of God through Christ. This is the strength of our soul in a world filled with the maddening effects of sin, He is making all things new!
Wherever these words find you, I pray that he is your comfort in the bitter face of disease. That he will ready your hands for war as you battle the unsettling desires in your heart that threaten to drag you away into temptation. I pray he will remind you that all he does is perfect and good. I pray that as you wait to meet him face to face you will be assured with David that we shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living.
And may we persevere until “the saying that is written will come true ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” And all the sons and daughters of God will cry in unison, “Where O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting?”