Recently I was with a couple that I have known for many years, who are both long-time followers of Christ and active in their church. Most of their acquaintances would describe them as “happily married”, but the problem is that they weren’t. Over the past few years they have grown apart, and while appearing ok, the foundation of their marriage was crumbling, and a few months ago one of them got involved in an affair. Looking back, it is easy to see how it happened, and when it came to light, no one would have blamed the other partner for pursuing divorce, but something else happened instead. After the initial shock, and absorbing the hurt, they began to realize that they both played a role in creating the environment that lead to the adultery. While the husband and wife are both “Christians”, neither had been truly nurturing their relationship with Jesus. They had been going through the motions externally, but had let their inner life get infected by self-centeredness. If they had taken to hear the following verse, they could have avoided a lot of pain:
“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT)
This month we are focusing on the discipline of confession. Within this, we will see the huge value of living in community with others in the Church so we can challenge and encourage each other, to work hard at trusting, honoring, and obeying God. When we apply ourselves to living together in this way, we help each other to learn and grow in our relationships with God and to see Him work His power in our lives. My friends missed this earlier, but are now embracing it, and seeing God work in their lives and marriage. They are being honest and transparent while working through this with others in their church, and because of that, are receiving support and showing an example of healing and hope.