My marriage charge

Today is our 6 year anniversary. It was quite the miracle. I thank God every day for my wife. I love my Soo, and I am glad to be married!

Matt&Soo_Wedding-9378.hi2

God has blessed us greatly. Yet, it has not always been easy and we feel like we fail often. It was somewhat a surprise when we were asked to give a charge at a wedding last summer.

We were so honored. And not only did we give the charge but Halle was the flower girl and Josiah was the ring bear(er).IMG_6063

After presenting the charge, many came up to us saying they appreciated what we shared. We were a little anxious about it, but really the charge was a reminder for us as well- and today as i approach our anniversary, i want to review the charge i gave someone else as a charge to us as well.

Many people think marriage will be easy or solve all problems. Recently watched master of none and the marriage scene was kinda  funny as they exchanged their vows and all the other couples rolled their eyes.

While the charge was personal to them, i think it could be helpful for others- i certainly think it would be helpful for me to listen to.
Here is the charge we gave:

Ben, as I have known you, you are one who loves adventure- and you are about to embark on the greatest adventure of marriage…
I also know you as one who has followed the voice & direction of the Holy Spirit. And you will need his empowerment and direction as you embark on this new journey with Sarah together.

And so I give you this charge from God’s Word

Be filled with the Spirit… Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church.

It’s simple right? Love your wife.

Not really.

You spent a year in India, and I’m from Indian decent, so I’ll share this. In America, you marry the one you love. In India, it’s love the one you marry. You have a great blessing to marry one you love, now you have a great challenge to love the one you marry.

Love you wife, as Christ loves the church.

That means you love Sarah sacrificially. You not only are willing to give up your life, you give up your life. Giving up your life  may not mean taking a bullet and dying for her- it will mean something much more difficult – dying to self, dying to your dreams, dying to your rights. You love her sacrificially by giving her time even when you don’t feel like it, when you feel like being by yourself or with your buddies or watching a movie. You love her sacrificially by investing in the things she enjoys.

Loving as Christ loves the church means being gracious, being faithful, being kind, being a servant. That is doing good to her, when she has done wrong to you. Speaking words of encouragement when you feel put down. Serving her when you feel she should be serving you.

And if you are to love her as Christ loves the church, you are going to need to continually fill yourself up with God’s love. So I charge you to walk with Christ, and look to Him to fill your needs and satisfy you.

I pray you will know the width & length and height and depth of God’s love. And that Sarah will know that as well thru you. And then you can be fruitful and multiply that love to others.

Sarah, You are a beautiful bride, and today is such a beautiful wedding. We know you love weddings and you have been looking forward to this day for a long time. But today is not the culmination but the beginning of your beautiful marriage.

You may be tempted to look to Ben to be the one who makes all your dreams come true and to satisfy every longing of your heart, but he won’t. Marriage does not bring an end to insecurity or solve all problems. Only Christ can satisfy, only Christ will bring contentment.

And so the way Matt ends, I begin: I charge you to look to Jesus to satisfy your heart, for ultimate comfort and perfect peace. Do not allow Ben to become your savior. Seek first Christ, make time with God a priority.

You are the bride of Ben, but marriage reflects the relationship of the church with Christ, so just as you prepared & planned for this wedding day, prepare your heart to meet your Savior by pursuing holiness and purity of heart for the Lord.

And thus, when you are commanded to submit to your husband, you can rest in the Lord as you respect Ben’s leadership.

Respect Ben. Respect him unconditionally. Don’t make him earn your respect by figuring out what to do for you or by doing everything perfectly. Give him your respect before he even deserves it. Affirm him and encourage him. Do things that he enjoys. Go with him on journeys that sometimes may feel uncomfortable. Be honest with him, respecting his care and love for you. Learn to show respect to him, even when you are feeling rejected. Reject opportunities to be critical and instead show grace.

You will need the power of the Holy spirit, so I charge you as you develop your marriage, rely on the power of God, rather than your own strength and intuition, which will often be your first instinct, but be filled with the Spirit.

Ben & Sarah we charge you to make God known thru your marriage first to one another, then to the others around you. We love you and we are so excited for how God will use you to bless each other and the community you are in.

Here’s the truth about marriage:
1. Marriage does not eliminate loneliness & insecurity.
Some may think if they just got married they would feel secure. They always have someone with them- but just as a person can be ain crowded room and feel all alone, many feel that in marriage. Furthermore, Soo has pointed out- now fear is even stronger. What is something happens to my spouse? Death is going to happen. And though Divorce is not something we even contemplate, it is all around us, so we can’t escape the fear… Especially when there is Difficulty- which will happen, and which will make the insecurities abound – is there something wrong with me? Why can’t i ever do things right? Which leads to the 2nd and third truths…

2. Marriage is not easy
One may think if i am with the one i love, with my best friend – then, well, it’s easy. But think about it- the people who have shown us the most unconditional love and care are often the ones we have the most conflict – our parents. The more we know someone, the more we see their sin- and worse, the more they see of our sin. There will be conflict, there will be trouble. It will become difficult to love sometimes.

3. Marriage does not bring satisfaction.
And often the reason we have these troubles is because we are looking to marriage to something it can’t fully do. Marriage is good, but only God satisfies. And if i make an idol out of my spouse- my sorrows will multiply(Psalm 16:4). I only burden my wife when i do this, and only frustrate myself. Surely Soo is a blessing, someone who brings much joy in my life and one who loves me and who i love deeply. But she isn’t ultimate.

Here’s another truth- Marriage is good.
Good in that we are blessed by another.
Good in that it was designed by God.
Good in that God uses it to reveal and shape our heart and to point us back to Jesus.
We need His strength and power and presence to make marriage work, to love and respect.
And marriage reflects our relationship with God – a relationship that God desires to show love and a deep intimacy He desires, and a relationship that will truly satisfy- the relationship with Him.

i thank God for Soo and thank God for these 6 years and looking forward to the next 60! i thank God that He is cord that binds us together.

We do celebrate each other and celebrate our marriage. More so we celebrate the God who gave us each other, and the God who gave us Himself.

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The thing about Commitment

Last post i wrote about starting something- it is the first step, but of course you can’t stop there. The first step may be the hardest, but if you only take one step, you’re not getting very far.

There are many people who have had good intentions, who took first steps, but didn’t make make good impact, who didn’t last. There are many who shoot up quickly, but just as quickly fade away…

Commitment is mandatory for something to continue.
Because nothing is easy, nothing is effortless, nothing comes without hiccups and problems and inconveniences.

Commitment has been a big topic among many friends and colleagues recently. It seems there is no commitment these days, or perhaps a different definition of commitment.

One friend suggested commitment has a different meaning today than it used to.

So, when you think of commitment- what do you think of? How would you define it?

Today, i think commitment means doing something with all my heart as long as i feel like it.

In essence I will do something until it gets difficult or until i don’t feel like doing it anymore or until it stops serving me. Which really seem like the oppositte of commitment to me.

It seems people only commit to something as long as they are receiving benefit from it, and then they stop.

The meaning of commitment is- while they are committed, they give a lot to it. And if they can’t give a lot to it, well, then they won’t commit.
Or if it will require a lot, they won’t commit

So many don’t commit to anything to begin with. And others give up as soon as the feeling wears off or as soon as sacrifice or difficult comes in.

i would define commitment as giving yourself to something, making sacrifices to see it through, and being there until the end with little or no exceptions.

i guess i could see how this current view of commitment has formed however.
Where do we most see commitment modeled? In marriage.
And how do we see most marriages play out?
Parents divorce when things get difficult, or when they don’t have that feeling anymore, or when it doesn’t benefit them anymore.
So, why should we expect children to act any differently?

With everything in culture being about me me me- who would commit to anything that doesn’t serve me?
The only commitments we in America seem to have is to ME and feeling good.

So, how can i commit to something, until i know it will help me, help me feel good.

Commitment tends to bring responsibility and sacrifice- how will those things make my life better or easier?

So, if my job doesn’t fulfill me, i quit. If my feelings in a relationship change, i look somewhere else. If i don’t get the same rush of emotions at church or don’t feel moved – i find a new church.
If God isn’t doing His part, i go my own way.

i used the pronoun I in those statements – for why i see predominantly in younger folks, i see it in me as well. i don’t like committing to things or to people. i’d rather be selfish. i’d like to say i am committed to something or someone, but i don’t want to put inthe work that a commitment requires.

But what is a commitment if you’re just going to give up when you don’t feel like it anymore?
See a commitment is supposed to mean sticking with something even when it is hard. Sticking with something when it requires sacrifice, time, energy, money.

A commitment is a big deal. So we need to find something worth the commitment. And we need something to help us keep our commitments.

Jesus is worth committing to. And the things He calls us to, we need to be committed too. Thru Him, persevering on our behalf, we can continue to labor. As Paul  said to the Colossians

              1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Paul  was committed to the cause of Christ. Giving everything he had, continually. And doing it with the energy Christ gave him.

We won’t make it in ministry or in marriage or in much – without a commitment to Christ or without His commitment to us.

Fortunately we know He is faithful, and He will always do His part. Will we?

Others can be a factor in helping us keep commitments. More so, God will help us. He endures with us and He empowers us to endure. We can commit to others because of the commitment Christ made for us. The Gospel empowers.

So as we shepherd others, perhaps we don’t need to challenge to less, but challenge to more, that is challenge to a deeper commitment, a true commitment – and one that will cause people to cling to Christ more.And we need to help them see the commitment of Christ going to the Cross, and how He gave us His Spirit to show His commitment to be with us and use us for His purposes.

We can commit because of Christ.

The thing about getting started

i’m terrible at starting things (Actually i’m pretty bad at finishing things too). But i’m really bad at getting things started.

i usually wait until i feel something, some source of inspiration, some overwhelming feeling to get going- which is usually panic because i have put something off for too long. i just wait and wait.

i see this as i start to blog again (Yes, i am blogging about blogging again).
See i’ve had in my mind the desire to start writing again, and even some ideas. Maybe too many. I didn’t know where to start or how to start or when to start. i didn’t want to start with a boring post or a pointless post. And then there were things in the news or on my mind- but i didn’t want to restart with that… i wanted it to be perfect.

There lies another problem. i wait to start something until i have everything figured out, until it can be perfect.

And so i lay paralyzed. i wait for a feeling, i wait for everything to be worked, i wait until perfection can happen… and this i do nothing.

i have noticed in my life, i like to take others’ ideas and help them make it a reality. But i really need people to help me do that with my ideas. i have lots of ideas, lots of thoughts- but i need someone to help me do it.

My wife and i are so opposites. She just does stuff. An idea comes to her mind, she starts working. She doesn’t think thru potential problems or better ways to do things- she just gets started. Now, sometimes that can get her into trouble, but i wish i was more like her.
i know i drive her crazy, and really i drive myself crazy too.
i am sure she is an activator. She is a doer. i am a thinker. i am too careful. And nothing gets done.

If i want something to get done- i’ve got to do something, i’ve got to start!
It’s funny how that works huh?
To get things done, do something.
(Profound deep thoughts here- you may want tweet that out).

We have to start somewhere, and it won’t be where we want to finish. I mean, if you’re already at the finish line, what are you starting? You may not have everything figured out, but you’ll learn on the way.

Starting something requires a first step, and it may be a step of faith. For me, it may always be a step of faith. I am filled with insecurities, filled with fear- and I need to lay those aside and take a step of faith anyway, and see where God takes me.

Fear will paralyze, but Faith will empower.
Sometimes to get started, i just have to start. It may not be perfect (like this post). It may not feel right. i have to take a step, i have to dive in. And see what happens…

What keeps you from starting things? What helps you start on things? How do you start things when you don’t feel like it?