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Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

Stop for a moment and think of a family that loves God and tries to serve Him in all they do. Have you ever known of that family to fall apart during a trial or split up when a disagreement arose? Now think of a family that has consistently had problems and/or has been torn apart by divorce. Did all the members of that family love God and did they show it in their daily lives? I doubt you can think of any family where God is loved and obeyed that has been ripped apart by disagreements or trials. On the other hand, you can probably trace every broken family back to instances where God's law was disregarded or overtly broken by one or more of the family members. Could it be we have disregarded God's law in favor of trying the more popular, but sinful, ways to have a happy life and family? If we look closely at many religious beliefs today and compare them with the Bible, we will find that much of the religious world has adopted a corrupted belief of how to serve God. This is nothing new. It was a problem even before Jesus came to this earth. God warns us that we may think we know a better way, but the end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25, Romans 6:21). Instead, we are to:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil" Proverbs 2:5-7

God created us and He knows far better than we do what we need to do to be happy, prosperous, healthy, joyful, and loved. It was God who created a woman to be a partner to a man. It was God who instituted the family structure and gave us guidelines and laws about how a family should operate. But Satan will do everything within his power to convince us to follow our instincts and desires rather than God's Word.

Wives, have you adopted the worldly view that being a mother is a low priority and of little importance? That a career and advancement in the business world is the only true measure of your worth? That you have been oppressed and should be able to be a church leader and the leader of the family as well? Do you seek to please your husband in the Lord? God has blessed you with the capability to give birth and nurture children. He has entrusted you with a great and wonderful responsibility and He has promised you blessings in return (Proverbs 31:10-31).

Husbands, do you regard your wife as of less importance than yourself? Husbands, do you regard your wife as of less importance than yourself? Do you demand she be submissive while you treat her as a servant? Do you make decisions for the family without consulting her or keeping her informed? Perhaps your desire for more material things has pushed her into working when she should be available for your children. Are you the spiritual leader of the home, leading prayer and study, planning and conducting worship and active service for the Lord? Wives are equal partners in Christ. We are to love them as our own bodies and be willing to give our very lives for them (Ephesians 5:25-33). We are to respect what God has given them to do and encourage them. We are to be the leaders in the home just as Jesus was a leader, always putting the needs of our family before our own desires and needs.

Children, do you rebel against discipline and resist doing what the Bible teaches? Are status, clothing, material possessions, and personal desires more important than God's law? Do you make demands of your parents and fail to show thankfulness for what you have? Do you eagerly attend worship and search for ways to serve God? Just as God promises blessings when we do what He commands, He promises curses when we resist Him (Ephesians 6:1-3). Many of these "curses" are simply the result of sin, not a punishment from God. It is critical we understand some of the decisions we make will affect us the rest of our lives. Make no mistake, there are some sins that will cause us and our families great pain and suffering for an entire lifetime, even if we repent of them. We cannot blame God for our unfaithfulness. We must remember to put God first and do what is right so we will not suffer for sin or decisions made without God's blessing.

Many of us today are seeking to be completely free of problems but the Bible tells us that will never be the case. In fact, it tells us we will be tested, and if we are faithful to God throughout that testing, we will receive eternal life (James 1:12). Unfortunately, we confuse the suffering and trials of life with that caused by our willful sin. Are you and your spouse having a significant disagreement or are you feeling unloved and unappreciated? Are you thinking of leaving him/her and finding someone who will show you affection and treat you better? The world says you should divorce them and seek personal happiness. Unlike the world, the Bible tells us God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Do you want to voluntarily do something you know God hates just because both of you are unwilling to work at the marriage? God knows divorce will cause unimaginable pain and suffering in the family. God says our vows are sacred and He will hold us to them. He expects us to work out our problems and repent of our sin. No one will ever suffer through a "loveless" marriage for long if both are truly committed to serving God. Yet, there may be a time in your marriage when you encounter trials and the only thing holding you together is your vow to your spouse and to God. If you are in a period of marital conflict, seek help from godly Christians and the Bible, not from worldly people who will encourage you to disobey God. Look inward, recognize your sin and shortcomings and be willing to repent and forgive. Turn to I Corinthians 13:4-8. Everywhere you see "love is", substitute "I am". That will tell you whether or not you are truly loving your spouse or you are just looking to blame him/her for the problems in your marriage. Seek first to correct the sin in your own life and develop the kind of love spoken about here. Godly love will conquer all!

Dwight Eppler