This post is part of the Family Blueprint series.
In the beginning, we were naked and felt no shame. After sin, we experienced shame, fear, lies, and insecurity/pride.Through Jesus, we can be forgiven and begin to come out of hiding. This is the journey toward oneness.
Here’s one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons.
Lucy has figured something out that’s pretty helpful—we’re stronger together than apart.
Have you experienced the power of unity? Research has shown that one draft horse can pull an average of 8000lbs, yet two draft horses together don’t just double the amount of weight able to be pulled, they triple it to 2400lbs! Unity. Togetherness.
When you think about marriage, do you think about unity and togetherness? Jess and I have been married for eight years and in that time we have had ups, downs, doubts, fights, sickness, surgeries, moving around the country, holding on to each other through death, and lending each other faith when the other is in doubt. If there’s one thing married people will tell you—it’s hard. How do you experience unity and togetherness? Do you even believe it’s possible?
What does God expect out of us in marriage? Just how “one” are we supposed to be? These questions are more are the focus of our message today.
We now step into our new series “Family Blueprint” where we consider what God’s intentions are for marriage, parenting, and everything in between. Life is complicated, people are complicated, and so family is complicated. Yet, even in the midst of what feels incredibly emotional and complex, God invites us to look at the big picture. No matter what your starting point is right now, in the Bible we find examples, instructions, and hope for our futures. This morning we take a look specifically at God’s Marriage Plan.
Truth and Application
If you have your Bible with you this morning, we will be in two sections: Genesis 2-3 and Ephesians 5. Again, that’s Genesis, chapters 2 and 3, as well as Ephesians chapter 5. As you’re turning there, know that here in Genesis, we pick up just after God has formed the man from the dust of the Earth and brought all the animals before him. Unfortunately, nothing in all of creation was a match for Adam. Dramatically, God steps in to make a suitable helper out of the man, himself. We’ll begin in verse 18, then 20-25.
“It is not good that the man should be alone”… while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.Genesis 2:18, 20-25 NIV
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
There are four key takeaways from this passage.
First, it is not good for man to be alone. All the living creatures of the earth had a suitable counterpart, with such that life could be created. Only, Adam was without this mate, until God pulls from his very self and forms woman.
Second, the woman is like the man, but different than the man. They are two sides of the same coin. They are both a coin, bone and flesh humans, but their image is different. Together, though, they represent the image of God who made them both.
Third, there is a magnetism, a longing to return to completeness. This is meant to be conveyed in the story. Something is taken out of Adam, a piece of his side, often translated as “side” It is “for this reason” the text says, that man longs to be united to his wife. You see, there is something meant to “be missing” and in marriage, completeness and fulfillment takes place.
Finally, there is nakedness and no shame. There is perfect union, full communication, humility one toward the other… trust.
Unfortunately, this isn’t where the story ends. The woman and the man disobey the good intentions of the Father and sin against Him. In this moment, everything changes. Please turn to Genesis 3:7-13.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”Genesis 3:7-13 NIV
In this sad turn of events, we see the results of sin.
There are powerful visual illustrations throughout the narrative suggesting a spiral into disunity and chaos. Just think about how all of this works together—where there were two humans naked and unashamed, with God walking among them in the cool of the day, now there is this need to cloth themselves with leaves and hide from God behind bushes.
There are five primary outcomes from our sin.
- Shame (v.7)
- Fear (v.10)
- Believing lies (v.11)
- Pride (vv.12-13)
- Insecurity (vv.12-13)
The results of these five issues are devastating: isolation.
We don’t need to look very far to see these effects in our lives today, do we?
A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Do you feel shame in your marriage today? Are you hiding something from your spouse? Are you spending money behind your spouse’s back, having an emotional or sexual affair with someone, viewing pornography? If something came to your mind just now, that’s a great indicator that you need to bring that thing to light. When Brian and I were engaged and early in our marriage, I was terrified to be honest about my financial debt. I felt ashamed. I had about $50,000 in student loan debt. Double what he had!! And we were poor…so poor that Brian started questioning how much toilet paper I was using! Yeah, true story! Brian didn’t shame me though about my debt! We discussed a plan, read some Dave Ramsey books, took a financial peace class online. Which we completed on Valentines Day six years ago. How romantic right!?! But we were committed to each other and our marriage. And we’ve been debt free for almost 4 years now. And Brian has now taught three financial peace classes. My once felt shame is now bringing light to others. Yours can too.
Joshua 1:9 Tells us to be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” What fears are you carrying around with you today? Identify your fear. How is that fear affecting your marriage. And then don’t give up till you overcome it.
In verse 11 God calls out the lies that Adam and Eve have believed about their nakedness and eating from the tree. Have you let God call out the lies that you are believing today?
In verse 12 and 13 we see that neither Adam or Eve take responsibility for their sin. The man blames the woman and the woman blames the serpent. They have both become experts in finding fault in others. It can be so easy to point our fingers at others rather than looking in the mirror are ourselves.
We live in a competitive world and its so easy to compare ourselves or even our marriage to others. You may battle thoughts like: I’m not good enough. I’m such a failure. I’m fat. I’m worthless. Or they don’t have problems like our marriage does. Its time to take those thoughts captive and compare them with God’s truths about you. That you are loved, you are worthy, you were made in the image of Christ. You are the daughter of a king, You are the son of a King. We are all facing battles, let’s give each other a break and stop comparing ourselves or thinking our lives are harder.
There is hope for us!
A Fresh Start
Our relationship with God and one another has been broken. As the Prophet said,
your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God… Isaiah 59:2 ESV
But, the good news is that Jesus provides us with a fresh start. If our relationship with God and our marriages were originally all about unity, then the whole movement of Scripture ought to climax on this very subject. Consider some of these many promises.
my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin… Acts 13:38-39 NIV
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 NIV
You see, if you give your life to Jesus Christ, you are allowed to become united with God again. You can come out from behind the bushes. Further, in marriage or in safe relationships, you can take off the fig leaves. Only, it’s our choice whether we are going to open up or not. Paul writes in Colossians 3,
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10 NIV
We must “take off” the old self—we need to remove the fig leaves. Come out from hiding. And to do so takes work.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we need to get practical. The topic of marriage is so big and so complex, Brian and I had to really think through what was vital to share with you this morning. And here is where God kept bringing us back to, Ephesians 5:11,
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11 NIV
By “fruitless deeds of darkness” Paul means sin. To reiterate—the goal of marriage is unity, oneness, for the “hole” in Adam to be fulfilled with Eve. But, we have all of these barriers in the way. These barriers are glued to us by shame, fear, lies, pride, and insecurity.
What I want you to do for a moment is listen to Paul list of here in Ephesians 5 about several areas of sin, and consider how they affect your marriage, and for those of you not married, how they affect your close Christian relationships.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, orof greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people… Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:3, 18-20 NIV
Did you hear the sinful barriers between us mentioned here?
- Sexual Immorality (sex)
- Greed (finances)
- Drunkenness (life-controlling issues)
- Filled with Spirit (personal faith)
- Speaking to One Another… (home culture)
- Always Giving Thanks (faith-filled attitude)
So, we may want to become one again, but we cannot because there are barriers, and we cannot remove the barriers because they are glued on by shame, fear, lies, pride, and insecurity. This is why this section is titled “Hard Work” It’s because marriage is hard work—primarily, it’s the hard work of looking in the mirror, repenting of your own personal sin, and asking Jesus to heal you of that which is keeping the fig leaves up.
In our 8 years of marriage, we’ve walked some hard roads together…the miscarriage of our second child, losing Brian’s dad, financial strain, demanding medical needs of one of our Parker…and because of those things and simply because we are two broken people we’ve gone to marriage counseling, we’ve read books, we listen often to marriage podcasts, and most importantly were in God’s word. The world isn’t fighting for your marriage, YOU HAVE TOO! We need to have the courage to let go of our shame, fear, lies, pride, and insecurity so we can deal with those things which are separating us. We must learn to talk about sex, finances, life-controlling issues, personal faith, home culture, and attitude. Investing in your marriage is so important and here are some great resources to help you.
- God’s Word
- Focus On The Family Podcast
- Fierce Marriage Podcast
- Wild At Heart by John Eldredge
- Captivating by John & Staci Eldredge
- 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman – Read the book and take the quiz
- Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey –
- Friends Counseling Center
- Joy Christian Bookstore
Band, please come on up at this time.
Whether you’re married or not, we aren’t called to be separated from others by our sin. And we can’t deal with our sin until we give up our shame, fear, lies, pride, and insecurity. Especially for us married couples, this is the first step: Spending time with Jesus looking in the mirror. Then, exposing those deeds of darkness instead of hiding them, like Paul mentioned.
We’re going to take up our morning giving and connection cards at this time, but it’s also an opportunity for you to join in praying this next song: You Make Beautiful Things. The lyrics speak truth, that our God makes beautiful things out of the dust, out us. Your marriage this morning, or maybe you, yourself, may seen hopeless, dead, and gone. But, that’s not true. Jesus was dead for three days and the Father raised Him up to life. He was made new. Your life and your marriage can also be made new.
Please stand and join us in responding to God’s Word through song.