There is a direct correlation throughout Scripture between sacrifice and thanksgiving, and since today is Thankful Thursday, let’s look at how this plays out in marriage.
- Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Husbands are to love their wives in the same manner as Christ loved the church and “gave Himself up” (i.e. sacrificed Himself) for her, and His goal is to “present” the church with “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing” which were terms that would have been used in a sacrifice wherein a person hopes to present a sacrifice that God would accept (see II. Corinthians 5:21 and Colossians 1:22).
And, while there are no direct biblical requirements for a wife to sacrifice herself for her husband, all Christians are to offer themselves as sacrifices to God:
- Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Here, Paul connects God’s work in Christ with Christian behavior. The first 11 chapters of Romans discussed God’s grace through Christ, and these verses are the bridge to the final chapters which discuss how to live the Gospel. This is similar to Ephesians 5 where Paul also connected Christ’s sacrifice to the manner in which we as Christians must live.
We’ve been discussing the Garden, the Fall, and marriage. One of the main negative effects of sin was that man now wants to be a god. And, this doesn’t stop when one gets married. Romans 1 discusses false idols (as we worship that which has been created), and moves on to discuss people that live violently and immorally (in fulfilment of one’s quest to worship himself).
So, to be truly thankful to God in all circumstances, including in one’s marriage, and for one’s spouse, it all starts with sacrificing oneself. When we worship God above all else, we do so by truly demonstrating our thankfulness through obedience. This is why thankfulness and sacrifice go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other.
- We all have areas of sin that we love to hold onto, that hinder our walk with Christ. These areas of sin also expand into our relationships, often ruining them.
- What are some areas that you need to sacrifice to God today? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Evaluate how holding onto these things has magnified your selfishness and damaged/diminished the quality of your relationships: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Commit today to sacrifice these now and bring them to God to dispose of.
- Humility is the heart-orientation that we must have when thanking God or else it is not thankfulness at all (remember, there is no room for pride).
- As sinners deserving Hell, not one of use deserves:
- A relationship with a spouse.
- Physical/marital pleasure.
- Hugs and kisses.
- Think of what else we don’t deserve in our marriages: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Take time now to beg God for forgiveness of your pride, your ingratitude, and anything else that is in the way of being humble before Him.
- Lastly, your spouse is to be the most important human in your life, even before your children. You need to commit to keep other things, people, events, etc. from coming between you two. The more you sacrifice for your spouse, and are thankful, the easier this will become (despite all the hustle and bustle of life).
- What do you thank God for in your spouse? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What can you tell your spouse directly that you are thankful for about him/her? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Commit to being thankful daily, and verbally express this thanks:
- To God for your spouse.
- To your spouse.
Today’s Suggested Marital Resource: Now You’re Speaking My Language: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/now-you-re-speaking-my-language-P005610317Dr. Gary Chapman is Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC. His The Five Love Languageshas been very popular, but this book is great in that he has some chapters directly connecting what happened in Eden to why we have problems in marriage today. He has a few other marriage resources as well, so check them out.