bad motive can’t achieve a good end; double-talk brings you double
trouble.”—Proverbs 17:20 (Message)
“I believe it is
unfortunate and sad when something so profound as living out an
analogy of Christ and his church is reduced to experiencing this
relationship as merely something that will help us to avoid sexual
sin, keep the world populated, and provide a cure for
loneliness.”—”Sacred Marriage”, Gary Thomas,

Meditate: to engage in thought or
contemplation; reflect; to consider as something to be done or
effected; intend; purpose; to think or reflect, especially in a calm
and deliberate manner

Synonyms: contemplate,
deliberate, consider, design, entertain idea, figure, intend, mull
over, plan, ponder, study, think deeply, view, weigh

to think or reflect, especially in a calm and deliberate manner; the
goal or object of a person’s action

Synonyms: aim,
basis, cause, drive, emotion, end, feeling, grounds, idea, influence,
intent, motivation, rationale

OK Satan, I see you. (smirk
on my face)

I have tried to start this message several times
and my PC kept locking up. I can’t remember the last time I was in
this particular program and that happened, so his must be afraid. He
must want to steal, kill, destroy (John 10:10) this revelation for
someone. DON’T LET HIM.

Now, let me say two things on the
front end: One, I’m sure I could go for days (meaning 5000 words
minimum) on this one, but I know God is going to reel me in around
1500 because he just wants me to “plant this seed” (Mark 4:8).
Many other things, based on your personal situation and season
(Ecclesiastes 3), will fertilize it. Also, I’m sure married people
are going to think this is just for singles and engaged folks. Not
so. After coming out of the “Past Fast” from last week (which
grew me up about 15 years in seven days), I have realized that now
that I have purged a lot of who I was, God is about to be on me about
the decisions I make that will create who I am becoming (2
Corinthians 3:18). I think some of us believe that if/since we are a
new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that we don’t have to drastically
change some things to remain that way. Don’t get tricked up in here.
(Matthew 12:43-45)

And so, since choices make up our character
(Romans 5:3-5, Colossians 3:12-13, I John 2:4, I John 4:20), one
theme that you may see running through the next couple of messages is
is the foundation for most of the “life buildings” that we erect.
I think the Amplified Version of Titus 2:7 states it well:

show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of
good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity
[having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with
dignity and seriousness.”

Purity of motive. No wonder the
Word says that God loves the purity of the heart (Proverbs 22:11) and
Paul wrote that one mark of ministry is purity (2 Corinthians 6:6).
Doing something from a pure place is doing something from a “clear
and true”, “innocent”, and “uncontaminated” place. Plant
pure seeds, reap pure harvests. And so, when it comes to marriage, I
wonder how many people pray (or prayed) the prayer:

Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me
a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not
cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit
from me.”—Psalm 51:9-11 (NKJV)

The Message Version puts it
this way:

“Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a
clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis
week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or
fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a
fresh wind in my sails!”

If you’re married, I especially
encourage you to focus on the Message Version. You may not have
entered into your marital union in the right head/heart space (we’ll
get to that in a minute), but at the very least, I’m sure you heard
in your marriage vows how God reverences the union. (Malachi 2:16,
Matthew 19:6) BEGIN AGAIN…TODAY. Get your motives right, right now.
Meditate on what GOD SAYS he expects of/from your union.

but if you’re not married (yet), based on the foundation laid thus
far, let me share some ill motives for getting married…ones that I
have actually heard out of people’s mouths:

“If I don’t do
it now, I never will.”

“I’m sick of waking up with an
erection.” (We’re grown folks, you can handle it.)

already sent out my invitations.”

“If I don’t marry her
now, I’ll lose her.”

“The Bible says it’s better to marry
than to burn.” (Oh, how people abuse that one!)

been dating for seven years…it’s time.” (Hmm, maybe it’s time to
break up.)

“I know I’d be a good wife.”

“My clock
is ticking.” (One of the okey dokes I used to fall for…the clock
is always ticking…so? Timing is the Father’s business, right?
Right. Acts 1:7-Message)

“I’m lonely.”

“It’s not
good for man to be alone.” (It’s not good for man to be in a psycho
marriage, either!)

Now, you and I both know that I could go on
FOREVER with this list. But when you think about the lead quote for
today, and then you read the motives for why a lot of people get
married, doesn’t it almost seem blasphemous (impious utterance or
action concerning God or sacred things)?

It’s pretty obvious
that when I come up on a book that changes the sphere of how I view
things in life, I will talk about it quite a bit. Crystal, for
planting that seed of my being ready for “Sacred Marriage: What If
God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”,
I am so thankful (and honored that you would think so because it
ain’t for the weak-minded by any stretch)! Just over the weekend, I
read this:

“We must never be naïve enough to think of
marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall….The deepest struggles of
life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the
Fall: marriage….

Husbands, you are married to a fallen woman
in a broken world. Wives, you are married to a sinful man in a sinful
world. It is guaranteed that your spouse will sin against you,
disappoint you, and have physical limitations that will frustrate and
sadden you….you will never find a spouse who is not affected in
some way by the reality of the Fall. If you can’t respect this spouse
because she is prone to certain weaknesses, you will never be able to
respect any spouse.”—pg. 68-69)

This past weekend, I
attended a wedding. It was so precious to see how PEACEFUL the couple
was. The “funny” thing is that I haven’t had a long conversation
with them in several months. Oh, but I remember the MOTIVES when we
did talk and God, personal peace, biblical standards and mutual
happiness were the top of the agenda. I had been praying for them
ever since. When I approached the bride after the wedding to give my
“Shellie advice” (those who know me can guess what that means),
she said, “Thanks for coming. I know you don’t come to many. That
means a lot.” She’s right. I don’t. But, I believe that they have
the right motives which gives me “mustard seed faith” that they
will have a blessed marriage. (Luke 17:6)

I love how the
Godhead communicates with me. Last week, I was reading about another
premeditated murder (the conscience level of mankind truly is losing
its strength). Later that day, I was talking to one of my love
brothers about the casualties of marriage and I heard myself say,
“Shoot, since premeditated murders get a longer sentence, I wonder
what would happen if people had premeditated marriages.”

shared before that in one book that I own (“Map for Life” by Glen
McQuirk), the author said that the reason why weddings go off without
a hitch is that people actually plan their weddings, but not their
marriages. I mean, ask a bride what color napkins will be at the
reception and she can rattle it right off. Ask her if she knows her
man’s deepest insecurities and she may draw a blank. Family, when
God’s Word said the he gave us the spirit of power, love and a sound
mind (that means COMMON SENSE-2 Timothy 1:7), you can best believe
that this applies to the first human relationship introduced to
mankind: MARRIAGE.

As we enter into another week, if you’re
single, make time to read the Message Version of Matthew 19. Marriage
ain’t for the kiddies. If you’re engaged, please…please, please,
please ask God to reveal your motives for decision and the timing of
it. He hates divorce…period. My motto? “Better to break up than
divorce.” And, if you’re married, especially if you’re in a
challenged marriage—well, all are challenged…troubled is a better
word—I encourage you to pray the Message Version of Psalm 51:9-11;
ask God to bring a “Genesis week” into your heart/mind/body so
that you can have a new beginning with the person that you have
become one with.

Sowing and reaping are a spiritual science,
right? (Galatians 6:7-8) Don’t act shocked because you see the
results of the seeds you have sown. Just premeditate to do better. If
you’re gonna serve a long sentence, make it a good one…filled with
happy adjectives. (You catch that play on words, Joey? Ha!)

R. Warren/2009