“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”—Ephesians 5:31 (NKJV)
Joined: to put or bring together so as to make continuous or form a unit; to put or bring into close association or relationship; to become a part or member of; to engage in; enter into
Synonyms: blended, coupled, interdependent, united
Flesh: the body, esp. as distinguished from the spirit or soul; the physical or animal nature of humankind as distinguished from its moral or spiritual nature; a person’s family or relatives
Synonyms: accompanying, attached, carnality, combined, humanity, inseparable, involved, morality, physicality, related, sensuality, touching, unified
Can you believe that ALREADY we are at #10?!? And, I think this one is gonna be a real ride. Buckle up (and down)…sit tight. We’re going somewhere, and I believe that by the time we are done, some of you will receive real clarity on who your future mate is…and isn’t.
First, let’s focus on the very beginning part of this verse. While this instruction is directed more at the men, ladies, please catch it. You will need it for discernment purposes. In Philippians 1:9-10 (NCV), Paul wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent.” So, ladies, look: Although, as wives, we are called to submit (Ephesians 5:22), as SINGLE WOMEN, we are not; not to a man, anyway. (James 4:7) During this time of singleness, we are to DISCERN and APPROVE THE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT (possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good; surpassing others in some good quality or the sum of qualities; eminent, in a good sense; superior; as, an excellent man, artist, citizen, husband, discourse, book, song, etc.; excellent breeding, principles, aims, action).
The man that you are all cryin’, prayin’ and travailin’ over…is he worth it? In other words, is he excellent? Does he surpass others in good qualities? DOES HE HAVE GOOD SENSE (had mercy!)? Is he an excellent man…and citizen…and potential husband? Does he live by good principles (in word and in deed?—Colossians 3:17, I John 3:18). See, the thing that I love about the Philippians verse is that it says that as your love abounds, your knowledge and discernment should be growing as well. This is just one more (of the 80 billion reasons) why you should not partake in sexual activity before marriage. (Ephesians 5:3) There are so many women I know who, before (premarital) sex, seem to have it all together. Oh, but after sex? They will take whatever crap a man dishes out. You can’t approve excellence while living in your flesh. That can only happen in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16)
OK, so back to the first line in the lead scripture. The Bible says that “…for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother.” For what reason? Well, let’s look at a few scriptures before this verse:
“The man gave names to all the tame animals, to the birds in the sky, and to all the wild animals. But Adam did not find a helper that was right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to sleep very deeply, and while he was asleep, God removed one of the man’s ribs. Then God closed up the man’s skin at the place where he took the rib. The Lord God used the rib from the man to make a woman, and then he brought the woman to the man.
And the man said, ‘Now, this is someone whose bones came from my bones, whose body came from my body. I will call her ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of man.’”—Genesis 2:20-23 (NCV)
After God created Adam’s woman…after God BROUGHT the Woman to him…after the man praised what God had brought, then God placed the instructions of what the couple was to do. But, did you catch that it spoke of what a man is supposed to leave? HIS FATHER AND MOTHER. Boys, umm, I’m sorry, men who live with their parents (unless it’s with a purpose like finishing their education or saving money and even THAT should be VERY temporary)….men who are mama’s boys…men who are financially dependent on their parents…men who still have serious parent “issues”…THEY ARE NOT YET READY FOR MARRIAGE. Ladies, for them to marry you before they LEAVE their parents is out of order. (I Corinthians 14:40) To “leave” is to “go out of or away from, as a place”; “depart from permanently”; “omit or exclude”. Words to the wise: Watch a man and his relationship with his family. You are about to become his family. And should the time come that he says you are “his rib”, also watch how he “leaves” them…there is an order to all that God does. If he can’t fully leave them, he cannot fully join himself to you.
Oh, and to the mama’s boys: Loving your mother is one thing. But just as “icky” as it is for you to hear women say they are “married to Jesus”, it’s icky for healthy women to feel like you are “married to mama”. There should be more to separate us (wife and mother) than sex. Ask God to set some boundaries for you when it comes to the difference between the love a man has for his parent and the love he needs for his companion. There is such a thing as inappropriate emotional relationships with a parent. The only solidified instructions that people are given is to HONOR (Matthew 19:19) and OBEY (as children) their parents (Colossians 3:20). However, husbands, you are called to LOVE your wives. (Ephesians 5:28) There’s something a lot of you can learn from the man that you claim to pattern your life after:
“So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’
And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”—Luke 2:45-50 (NCV)
A husband’s “Father’s business” is to love, provide for and protect HIS WIFE. At that time, your life is no longer your parent’s responsibility (Ezekiel 19), and on a lot of levels, their business. If, as a man, you are not ready to “leave and cleave”, or as the above translation says, “be joined”, then you need to remain single…ABSTINENT AND SINGLE. Colossians 3:5 says that fornication is idolatry. Why would God bless you with a wife when you treat women like idols? If you can’t submit to him (Exodus 20:3), why should he entrust you with one of his daughters to submit to you? Again, God is a God of order.
The only other thing that I wanted to stress before splitting “us” up, is the word, “joined”. You all know that I am a definitions girl. Well, I found it very enlightening that one of the synonyms for “joined” is “interdependent”. That means that BOTH people are MUTUALLY dependent. That means whoever you are entering into covenant with, the husband is to depend on the wife just as much as the wife is to depend on the husband. Whoever it is that you are praying about re: mate selection, he/she has to be someone you can rely on and trust for support, maintenance and help…mutually. Men, no matter what the world may have taught you about your “role” as a husband (I Corinthians 3:19), if you didn’t need our HELP, God wouldn’t have SENT us to you. (Proverbs 18:22) YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL BY YOURSELF. A wife is not just a woman to have “legalized sex” with. She is there to be your helpmate…someone that you can depend on. Which leads me to the points for the men and the women:
Men: The Word says that AFTER you leave your parents and AFTER we are joined to you, THEN we become one flesh with you. Now, here’s the thing that a single woman should be able to discern about you on the front end: a man can become “one” with more than his wife:
“Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! It is written in the Scriptures, ‘The two will become one body.’ So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.”—I Corinthians 6:15-16 (NCV)
OK, yes, the classic definition of a prostitute is, “a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money”. Oh, but check this definition out: “a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way”. Whatever “skills” she’s got to get your attention, if they are used in a base or unworthy way, you are being with a prostitute…a whore…a harlot. Many of you are walking in the flesh because you are sleeping/messing around with it. And, not just any flesh: base and unworthy flesh. A DISCERNING WOMAN HAS NO DESIRE IN BECOMING ONE WITH THAT! Most men that I know are always talking about how long it’s been since a woman has been with a guy. You can best believe that whenever it’s time for my mate, I will be concerned about the very same thing. If you are one with a whore and I become one with you, we are all one and a spiritual orgy is not on my life’s “to do list”. I have fought long and hard to purge that kind of filthy lifestyle out of my system. I deserve a man who has sacrificed his flesh by doing the same. A queen deserves a king. A godly king doesn’t roll over on harlots.
Three synonyms of “flesh” are “physicality”, “touching” and “sensuality”. Did you know that one definition of sensuality is, “excessive devotion to sensual pleasure”? To be devoted to you in that way, I have to trust that the spirit that resides in you is that of the Lord. I Corinthians says that in order for that to take place, you must NEVER join Christ to a prostitute. It was a LONG and HARD lesson for me to learn, but a man who loves you will not (consciously) hurt you. A man by the name of Montenegrin once said, “Where there is love, there is no sin.” You love Christ but you defile your temple? You may WANT to love him, but where sin is, love is not. You cannot love Christ in just word, but deed as well. Rockin’ a cross and carrying a Bible are not enough…not by a long shot.
Women: Now ladies, I was surprised where the Godhead was leading us on this tip. Did you catch that one of the other synonyms for “flesh” was “carnality”? Now to further illustrate this point, some of the others are “attached”, “combined”, “inseparable” and “involved”.
I have two friends right now, who, for all intense purposes are getting on each other’s last nerves and they aren’t even out of newlywed-dom. When they were dating, there was a particular issue that the wife had with her husband that I asked her (in front of him) if she was comfortable with. That very thing, they are now in therapy for. Don’t be foolish, “wives in training”. If he’s got it NOW and you can’t deal with it NOW, then he’s not the person you should consider LATER with. When two become one flesh, that means that the two are becoming one with EVERYTHING: good, bad, ugly and indifferent. Oneness isn’t just “existing, acting, or considered as a single unit, entity, or individual”…it’s also about being “of the same or having a single kind, nature, or condition.”
Why do you think the Word says not to yoke up with non-believers? (2 Corinthians 6:14) I know that as for me personally, I used to LOVE/LUST me some unsaved men and whenever people would tell me that I shouldn’t be “unequally yoked”, I was always finding myself coming to the brothas’ defense. I mean, how did they know that I couldn’t save those dudes? (Although we are not called to save anyone…we are only commissioned to lead them to the Savior.) But you see, the bigger concern I think a lot of people had was that, just as it said in Corinthians, when we have sex with ANYONE, we become one with them. If I sleep with a drug dealer long enough, I will be come “one” with his nature. If I sleep with a “man whore” long enough, I will take on the “spiritual condition” of his choices and lifestyle.
Ladies, if he’s a drunk now…if he’s a jerk now…if he’s selfish now…if he’s financially irresponsible now…if he’s promiscuous now…if he has mama/daddy/granddaddy issues now…if he’s clueless now…if he’s insensitive now…if he’s unstable now, he can be fine as wine and smooth as silk, but “oneness” is not speaking to the physicality of a person, but their SPIRIT. When you give yourself to a man in marriage, you are becoming one with their carnality as much as anything else. Romans 8:7 (NKJV) says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” You can throw a rock in any direction and hit a woman who wished she had known this tidbit of wisdom on the front end. A lot of wives right now are finding themselves in constant situations where there is jealousy, strife and division in their homes and it’s all because of the carnal nature of their husband (and the carnal minds they had in selecting him). (I Corinthians 3:2-3)
Are we perfect? No. Are we all dealing with some level of carnality (pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites) in our lives? Definitely. But the Word says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3-NKJV) NOW do you see why mama wants you with a saved man? For you to let someone lead you in the right direction, he’s gotta be lookin’ up. It was a HUGE wake-up call for me to realize that whoever I become one with (and whether he “finds” me or I am “brought”, it’s totally my choice to accept or decline), I am becoming one with ALL of him.
Shoot, sometimes I have issues even being “one” with me. No wonder the first description of love is patient. (I Corinthians 13:4) Deeper yet, no wonder we are told to be still and know the nature of God. (Psalm 46:10) I’ve said it once and I’ll probably say it a million times more. In the wise words of my mother, “God doesn’t give you someone for where you are, but where you are going and the only one who knows that is God.” LET HIM CHOOSE WHO YOU ARE TO BE ONE WITH. He knows who/what you can handle and what you cannot…who you can help to heaven and who will send you straight to hell.
Whew! Talk about a COMPLETE message. 🙂 And now, I’m off to pray about/over #11.
©Shellie R. Warren/2009