Marriage is an amazing gift of God--but as people living life in a fallen world, our marriages can be weighed down under many heavy pressures--especially those related to money.
And for those of you who are not married--the biblical principles that I will share with you today is just as applicable and important. In other words, this message is important to everyone!
Illustration: Chris P.
Key Point with Christ: For Chris, money and things became his security and satisfaction--replacing Christ with stuff. His marriage and family were in the crosshairs of destruction.
Money and things--the stuff that can help or seriously hinder any relationship--including marriages. They can be the source of many arguments and battles.
Larry Burkett, noted financial author, says, “Money is either the best or the worst area of communication in our marriages.” After years as a financial counselor and working with marriage counselors, I know that money and money fights are the #1 cause of divorce, not to mention the thing we fight about the most.
It is may sincere belief and practice that God's Word--His written revelation gives to us what we need to know how to do life God's way!
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
This includes marriage and finances.
Transition and Purpose
This morning, I want us to identify not only the problems with money and marriage, but the solutions that can bring encouragement, strength, and peace to our relationships.
Why does money cause so many problems in our relationships? I think the root can be found in a faulty view of marriage in general.
We can easily subscribe to the view that it is a "business" relationship where you have two people, who have their own individual hopes, plans, and dreams.
And, either they keep there stuff and resources separate--or they attempt to force the other to yield and surrender.
However, what does God say about who we should view marriage?
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
When a man and a women unite together in marriage--it is a holy, sacred experience. It is where two become one--unified.
It is not about one person dominating the other. It is about two working together--establishing common hopes, common plans, and common dreams.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
As followers of Christ, unity plays a critical role in our relationship with Christ. As a result, we need to work hard at finding those points of positive agreement--and build on those agreements. That is how unity can be established and maintained.
So how do we do this? It takes time--it takes conversation--and it takes compromise.
It takes time to build unity in our marriages.
We need to spend time with one another.
We need to do things together.
We need to really get to know one another.
Today, many of bought into the idea that as long as we are living in the same house, we are spending time together--we are spending time working together.
But, that is not always the case.
We can be in the same room--but miles apart emotionally. One can be watching TV and the other on Facebook with their phone.
Time is essential to build unity in our marriages!
When you spend time working on unity--you need to spend much of that time talking with one another.
Personal pet peeve: I'm not talking about texting, or emailing, or Facebooking. I'm talking about face to face conversation. Not only hearing, but seeing facial expressions and body language.
How am I going to know what my wife hopes, or her plans, or her dreams--unless I ask and listen (and not interrupt--or zone out).
We have made "compromise" into a bad word. We have equated compromise with surrender and defeat.
But, compromise is essential in building unity in your marriage.
In Acts 6, the early church was facing a near catastrophic split--between the Hebrew Jews and the Greek Jews--It required much thought and careful consideration to find a solution. It required change--adjustment--and new approaches to ministry.
Have as your goal to establish unity--and it will mean to make changes to what you want. And, that's ok.
We live in a complex world. We are required to process thousands of pieces of information everyday. We tired of the busyness of life. Sometimes we are just trying to survive--maybe even to find a hole to crawl into.
Too many are living paycheck to paycheck--without any idea how we are going to make it through.
As a result, we become frustrated, argumentative, and stressed out.
Our marriages are under so much friction.
We lack controls on our spending.
We lack an understanding on how we are going to progress from where we are to where we need to be.
We lack a process of decision making--usually relying on emotions, rather than serious thought in making financial decisions.
We live in a disorganized mess.
But, look what Jesus observed:
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Keep a record of your income and expenses.
Create and live within a budget.
Create and live within a plan to pay off your debts.
Plan for future expenses--and save.
If you do the above, you have a better opportunity to live within your means.
If you do the above, you have a better opportunity to embrace generosity and tithing.
And, when you embrace generosity and tithing--you place yourself and your marriage in the stream of God's blessings.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Early on in human history, God addressed a serious human problem: our desire for things--especially what everyone else has.
So God gave a commandment--not a suggestion--but a rule for living:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
But, we want the stuff! We have bought into the idea that stuff (things, money, activities) brings satisfaction--peace in our lives.
So, we get all the stuff we can. We buy things we can't afford. We get bigger, more impressive things. And, as a result--we are stressed and depressed--not satisfied.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Only Jesus can give you peace that lasts. This world will give you stress--people will give you stress--Jesus gives you peace.
If we embrace the truth that "only Jesus satisfies," then we are able to put this life and the resources we have in their proper perspective. We learn to become content in life.
When we are content, we resist the temptation to live beyond our means.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
When Jesus is the center of our lives, contentment should be a governing principle for our lives.
Worship Team on platform
Concluding story of Chris P.
Only Jesus satisfies. If we can grasp and live this truth--our marriages, our families, our finances, our compassion, our generosity--everything will change.
Do you need to get in a place in your life or your marriage that you can trust Jesus to lead you, guide you, and help you?
Prayer teams called to the front--and an invitation made for prayer.
Song: "It is Well" (Bethel)