When we think about marriage vows, the phrase “FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE” usually comes to mind.  Of course, everybody embraces the “for better” part, but the problem seems to lie with the “for worse” part.  Marriage isn’t always like a meal where the appetizer comes first, then main course, then dessert.  Sometimes we get a relationship out of order with the dessert is served as an appetizer and then when the main course is served, they’re already full and don’t want it.  That’s why many couples live together and never get married: they don’t want the responsibility that comes with the main course.  Then when hard times come, and sooner or later they always do, they bail out.  What does that have to do with Jesus?  Glad you asked.

Many Christians have been birthed into the “BLESS ME, BLESS ME” movement.  Their focus is only on the health and wealth part of the Gospel.  Indeed, it is written in 3 John 1:2,   Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. I find there is no quicker way to fill a church than to build it around that scripture.  Instead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the focus becomes the Big Three: Me, Myself, and I, feeding carnal desires is a sure way to fill seats.  Everyone wants to be blessed, warm and happy, and I guess being rich could be tolerated as well.  Am I a health and wealth Christian?  Sure, if God says He wants me to prosper and be in health, I want that too, but we are too quick to dismiss the part “even as thy soul prospereth.”  How do you get your soul to prosper?  by having a relationship with God.  You don’t “shack up” with God.  You either marry Him, or forget it.  As with any marriage, we all love the honeymoon.  But a marriage is not all honeymoon, and anyone who has been married a while knows this.  And our lifelong walk with God is not all honeymoon, even though we would like it to be.

My wife, bless her heart, brought me coffee during our honeymoon, but NOW?  Sometimes she wants me to bring HER coffee!  Can you imagine that?  Yep, the honeymoon is definitely over, time to bail out of this marriage, right?  But I also remember my marriage vows.   “For better or for worse”, is not all about what YOU want or what YOU need, or YOUR convenience.  Sometimes the “for worse” part happens, and you actually have to put forth a little effort to keep things running smoothly.  And sometimes, even though you are going above and beyond, things STILL don’t run smoothly.  Well, in our walk with the LORD, not everything goes as we would like, so what do we do?  Well, if we’re only “shacking up”, we walk away.  After all, there’s no commitment, so therefore no consequence, we stuck around for as long as the good times rolled, so now we are ready for our next new adventure.  I mean, God didn’t come through with sufficient health and wealth to suit me, so, why stick around, right?

But let’s say you “married” the LORD, and made that “for better or for worse” commitment; then what?  Well, like I said, sooner or later the honeymoon is over.  But for WHO?  Could it be it is YOU that moved ever so slightly away until the honeymoon faded and died?   A marriage consists of two, and when you bring more into it, things suffer.  Please notice I’m not talking about children here: I’m talking about bringing stuff into the marriage that doesn’t belong there, like extra-marital affairs.  Extra-marital affairs can include neglecting your mate to be involved in “me, myself, and I” stuff, or ANYTHING that consumes your time and becomes more important than your relationship.  It could be buying a boat and being gone fishing with the guys every weekend.  For another, it can be sitting in front of the TV or Facebook day in and day out while the mate feels shut out.  Now consider what GOD feels like when we do likewise to Him.  God has feelings, too, you know.  He isn’t just this genie in a bottle you take down off the shelf when you want something.  Yet, we tend to treat God like that.  You know the drill:  Hey God, I want  _________. (you fill in the blank).  And God does it for you.  Then it’s “Thank you Lord, now go away, I’ll take it from here.  Don’t call me, I’ll call you when I need you again.”

Oh, we never do that, right? ‘Scuse me.  But if we didn’t, we would still be having our honeymoon with God, because God is NEVER the one who gets distracted or tired of the relationship and walks away.  It is ALWAYS us!

Sooner or later, life takes us from the “for better” to the “for worse” part.  It’s when we are experiencing the “for worse” part that we need God the most, and yet, if we never face the “for worse” parts, we will never experience the unbreakable faithfulness of God.  Life has not been a bed of roses for me in my marriage OR my walk with God.  But I know God will neither leave me nor forsake me, even though many times in life I have deserved to be abandoned, I’m sure.  I don’t do everything perfectly, you can ask my wife.  NO!! DON”T ASK MY WIFE!!

Do you know the LORD is preparing you to be an overcomer?  How can you ever hope to be an overcomer if you never have anything to overcome?  But consider the faithfulness of God when you think you just can’t go another step.  Consider what Jesus endured to purchase your salvation.  Notice I said “PURCHASE”.  Make no mistake; what Jesus went through for you was not a cakewalk.  Sometimes we see a tidy picture of Jesus on the cross with a crown of thorns and a little drop of blood on his forehead and a drop of blood at each nail and a drop of blood at the cut where the soldier pierced Him with the sword.  No, it was nothing like that, not even close.  It says in Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

He was beaten beyond recognition, flesh torn from his bones from the stripes He took when they beat Him, bloodied, thrown down in the dirt, fell several times while bearing His cross to Calvary, ruthlessly nailed to a cross that was not polished and padded for His comfort,  left to suffer horribly for hours and die in untold agony.   He went through the “for worse” part so YOU could have the “for better” part.  Never forget that. Exactly what have you endured for HIM?  Consider if eternal life with God is worth suffering the “for worse” part if necessary, and if it is, you can be assured of being present at the marriage supper of the Lamb of God.  And if not?  Well, you can always do what the rest of the world does, and bail out when things don’t suit you.

But you’re not one of them, are you?