Tuesday, March 14, 2017


In all aspects of our life we have goals, or at least intentions, and the movement towards them often meets with resistance from the world. For example, many people start a new year with the intention to lose weight. We all know what that entails: eat better, and exercise. Despite the plan of action being so simple - at least in theory - year after year come February first, gyms return to near empty and comfort foods are once again the norm in many kitchens. Why is this? We have habits, and bad ones develop into ruts that over time grow increasingly resistant to change.

Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object at rest tends to remain at rest, (and an object in motion remains in motion) unless acted upon by an unknown force. This can apply to human habits as well as objects. For anything to change, the “outside force “ needs to be greater than our resistance to that change. Ironically, this “outside force” comes from within; we must decide that the result we are after is worth the work, to the point we are willing to face the discomfort caused by working to overcome the resistance.

Writing about Elijah confronting the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:1-40), John Maxwell points out three reasons the prophet was able to succeed, despite so many factors being against him.
He was greatly outnumbered, but his love for the one, true God meant that Baal had to be confronted. His resolution outweighed his reservations.
It was risky by human standards; the crowd could easily have gotten out of hand. More than anything though, Elijah sought to honor God. His desire outweighed his desperation.
Some might ask why he even bothered. The people had made their choice and turned their backs on God. Remember how Jonah sat and waited for punishment to rain down on Nineveh? So too could Elijah had waited for God’s wrath to make Israel see their error, but no. His compassion outweighed his complaints.
All these reasons put together gave Elijah the courage to do what had to be done.

In marriage, as in all of life, there will be trouble. Schedules may spiral out of control with work, activities, and children all chipping away at a couple’s alone time. A spouse may become hard-hearted, falling for the world’s lie that falling “out of love” is a thing. There could be illness or injury, or a host of other forces that rob a couple of intimacy with one another. It is up to us to work to overcome those things, and they will resist. We must be like Elijah, and not give in or give up until our union is strengthened and restored!

Darren Hardy writes in “The Entrepreneurship Roller Coaster” that no matter the job, WHAT you do will suck 90% of the time. Even the paragons of success he holds up as examples - Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk - have daily schedules full of boring meetings, tedious paperwork, and long hours travelling away from family and friends. The key to success, writes Hardy, is that your WHY must be greater than your WHAT. You have to love why you do what you do, what you are working FOR - the goal, the big picture - to get through the work itself.

You have to believe that a healthy marriage that honors God is worth the discomfort, the blood sweat and tears, the hard work of making it happen. You also have to believe that God wants the same thing for you. Elijah had faith that God would respond to his efforts to turn the hearts of the people of Israel back to their God. So too must we have faith that God will bless our efforts to improve our marriage, that even though loving our spouse is risky, leaving us open and vulnerable, that if we dive into that work with passion and conviction, it will be rewarded.

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