Good, Better, and Best

Series: Monday Marriage Message

November 28, 2022
Pastor Ken Brown Jr

Hi, this is Pastor Ken and I want to welcome you to the Monday Marriage Message…Good, Better, and Best. We have all seen these words used to describe things. Being a tool guy, I notice them most often when looking at new tools I would like to buy. There are the “Good” ones that will work as advertised and accomplish the task. There are the “Better” ones, usually made of a slightly higher quality material or with a few more features, and at a higher cost than the base model. Finally, there is the “Best”. This tool will generally be made of the highest quality materials available to the manufacturer. It may also be designed with even more features than the “Good” or “Better” models offered, and it will most certainly be the most expensive of the three. When it comes to how we maneuver through life, there are also three choices. Good, Better and Best. With the exception of Eve, all of us enter the world single. As I have explained in previous episodes of the Monday Marriage Message, Eve was created in a “One Flesh” condition with Adam. Setting her aside however as the anomaly, the rest of us come into this world single. In the context of this edition, we are born in the “Good” category. We are quite capable of singularly walking through life, some people are intentional about doing this. Scripturally speaking, there is much that ought to be considered before such a choice is made if it is to be decided with one’s eyes wide open. The first of these is that God determined that “It is not good (interpreted to mean it is incomplete) that man should be alone. Therefore, I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18) In the theology of marriage it is understood that God was not saying a person should never live singly. He was only noting that a man is incapable alone of emulating the totality of God’s image and likeness. As a result, God made woman to be “one flesh” with man thereby completing the process of creating humankind reflective of their Creator. With this in mind, if we choose to remain single we are accepting that we will be less capable of reflecting the image and likeness of God than we could if we marry. This does not mean we cannot speak or act in Christ like ways. It simply means our capacity for reflecting God’s attributes is diminished because we cannot personally possess all of them. Some of His characteristics were reserved for our opposite. Some attributes of God are found only in men, while others are found solely in women, and others still are not possible without the inclusion of both. Paul made the argument that for the purposes of serving God without hindrance, he concluded that remaining single as He was would offer a person the most opportunity for uninterrupted service to God. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 32-35) But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am…I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. Certainly, Paul understood the virtue and purpose behind marriage. I don’t think for a minute that He was arguing that no one should marry, that would have been absurd and obviously brought humanity to extinction. I think He simply knew that for himself, considering the challenges of his work for God in the furtherance of the gospel message, He was better suited for that particular task as a single person. I think he was also saying that others who undertook a similar ministry might also be better able to do so in a singular fashion. If remaining single is good, what is better? The obvious answer is that it is better to marry. Marriage has been the plan from the beginning. As I mentioned above, Genesis chapter 1 and 2 leave little question as to the plan of God in this respect. He created the very first couple married. They were created “One flesh” with great purpose and intent. If God would have created Eve by the same process He created Adam, it would have been successful to the extent that as He breathed the breath of life into her nostrils she would have become a living being, just as Adam had. However, God did not duplicate human life in that way. Instead, by Adam’s declaration, He took Eve out of Adam, thereby creating them in a “One flesh” condition. God was not simply showing off, and illustrating that there were multiple ways He could accomplish the same thing. He was not simply creating a female form of a human being. He was instituting the marriage of a man and a woman. If God had simply created Eve by the same process He had Adam, He would have built a weakness into their union. Either of them could have at some place in their roughly 900 year existence decided they were displeased with the other and asked God to make them a “new mate”. This was not possible however because they were more than mates, they were in fact “One flesh”. Adam could never be separated from Eve except by death, she would always be one flesh with him. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 19:8 “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted (or suffered) you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”. God had created Adam and Eve by differing methods so that their “One flesh” condition would be permanent until death. God knew that what He had done was good, in fact in Genesis 1:31 He declared it was “Very good”. God found the marriage of Adam and Eve to be so preferable to the single Adam, that He declared that He would recreate their “One flesh” condition in every married couple going forward. Genesis 2:24 records God’s own words to that effect, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh”. If marriage is good, or in God’s assessment, “Very good”, what could be better? In Ephesians 5:21-33 the Apostle Paul answers that question. Submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. What is best? According to this scripture, it is best to be “One flesh” with your spouse and “One flesh” with Christ. As Christ followers and as married people, we have more to consider than ourselves…even more than just our spouse. As a married man I am one with my wife who is also one with Christ. How I interact with Her is how I am interacting with Him. The same is true for her. When we keep this truth in mind and act accordingly, our marriage is almost seamless. In those times, we are each as perfect a spouse as our humanity allows. When this incredible truth is considered, as it should be at all times, our marriage is the best reflection of the image and likeness of God that it ever is. When we do not selflessly respond to one another in this way…well, let’s just say our marital mirror gets dirty and clouded. In those moments, God can’t see Himself as clearly as He would like and our marriage is not producing the effect He was hoping for when He made us “One flesh”. Best is when we let God have his way. Best is when we allow our marriage to meet its full potential and fulfill its God’s given purpose. Best is when we allow our marriage to be what it was created to be and together we reflect the image and likeness of our Creator. Questions to answer: • What are your thoughts about marriage in terms of Good, Better and Best? • How well are you doing as a couple at going from Better to Best? Actions to take: • Discuss how the two of you could move your marriage into Best status and together be more reflective of your Creator. • Ask God to unleash His Holy Spirit to convict you of times you are not being a good representation of His image and likeness and to suggest to you corrective measures. So now, if you are married, you have moved from Good, to Better. Go for Best and allow your marital mirror to reflect God’s fullness…and go be Awesome!

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