Editor’s Note: Scott & Sherry Jennings are managing editors of the website “Intentionally Yours” (www.intentionallyyours.org). They are also authors of many of the postings, including this one. Military couples understand “missions” and what it takes to complete them, so together we thought this would be good encouragement to share with you.
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“Haven’t you read,” (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”—Matthew 19:4-6
You know the movies where the operative receives the message that explains the job he’s asked to complete? Once the situation/circumstance is described, he hears “Your mission, should you choose to accept it”, followed by a summary of the mission. Then the method of conveying the message explodes and the operative is sent into action, working nonstop until the mission is complete. Kind of like a marriage, really.
Wedding vows typically come with two parts: the part where you make your promise, accepting your mission to “love, honor and obey” or “love, honor and cherish”, and then the conditions of your mission “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward until death do us part.”
At the altar, or in front of the judge, we accept our mission and the conditions. Then we walk into the potentially, sporadically explosive situation called marriage where two people, two sinners, spend the rest of their lives either choosing to become one with every decision they make—or drift toward isolation.
When married couples encounter what could be described as “worse, poorer, sickness”, the answer to the “what do you do now” question remains the same—love, honor, cherish/obey. Your mission from God remains the same, regardless of your circumstances. God’s Word does not hinge on your circumstance. When you were born, the first mission God has for you is to become Christlike, to be the man/woman He created you to be.
Then, when you marry, you accept the second mission, to be the husband/wife God created you to be, fulfilling the purposes of marriage. At our church Marriage 101 class we teach from Scripture that the purposes of marriage are: 1) Mutually Complete Each Other; 2)Multiply a Godly legacy; 3) Mirror God’s Image.
If you have children, you accept the third mission—to be the father/mother God created you to be.
How do you fulfill these missions? One moment at a time, choosing to do what God calls you to do regardless of your circumstances and how you feel about them. When God tells husbands in Ephesians 5 to “love your wife” He doesn’t follow it up with any conditions, does He? No, because He knows that husbands need to choose to love and then the feelings follow.
When God tells wives in Ephesians 5 to “submit to your husband”, He doesn’t follow it up with conditions . . . because He knows when wives choose to submit that feelings will follow.
Where is the practical “how-to” of all this? Read through Ephesians chapters 1-3 which tell you “who you are” in Christ. Then read Ephesians 4-6, the practical “how to walk out” who you are in Christ. You’ve got to know who you are in Christ before you can walk out who He has created you to be.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it, it’s great news to know that your mission is not contingent upon whether your spouse is still with you or has left home, is faithful or steeped in adultery or an addiction, etc. Once upon a time when you said “I do” you accepted your mission to love, honor and cherish, despite your circumstances. You promised to fulfill your mission until death parted you. There is a very real enemy who does NOT want you to complete your mission. Satan will use everything he can against you to stop your success in marriage.
How long do you continue your mission? Are you breathing?
Be encouraged. You have not completed your mission—there is still hope!
Questions to Share:
1. When you enlisted in the military, or were commissioned, what oath did you take?
2. On your wedding day, what oath did you take? In other words, what mission did you accept and what were the conditions? How are you doing? Read the book of Ephesians for help in accomplishing your mission.