When Jesus stepped foot in the temple just days before His crucifixion, He rebuked the moneychangers who were there, saying to them, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers.” God’s people had turned a vessel designed for worship into a vessel to meet their own desires.
I think sometimes we can do the same thing with marriage by re-purposing it and pointing it at things other than Jesus. When we do this we become robbers of worship just like the moneychangers.
Let me share with you four ways we stop doing this, and as a result, cultivate a marriage that overflows with worship.
1. Be on mission together.
Have you ever been lost? In a car, in the woods, in a desert … hopefully not in a desert. If you aren’t paying attention, it’s shockingly easy to get lost. If you let your marriage wander aimlessly without a Gospel-centered mission, you can find yourself in that familiar place of panic and desperation asking, “Where are we? How did we get here?”
Without the North Star, sailors for millennia would have been desperately lost at sea. Without mission, your marriage will be tossed around by the wind and waves of this life and may go in circles or head straight for the rocks of shipwreck.
The key to avoid drifting aimlessly is to find Gospel-centered mission that you both are passionate about and can pursue together. You may not find it overnight, but faithfully pray together and ask God where He would lead you to be on mission for His glory in your marriage.
2. Be outwardly focused.
I recently heard Louie Giglio speak and he used an illustration about sin and missional living that blew my mind. Within the word SIN is the word “in.” Sin always makes you inwardly focused … me, me, me. The word GOSPEL on the other hand, has the word “go” in it. The gospel calls us to be outwardly focused — to exhale worship and missional living.
If you make the focus of your marriage having a great marriage, guess what will suffer the most? Probably your marriage.
But, when you and your spouse take your eyes off yourselves and firmly place them on the person of Jesus and His calling to love and make disciples, the Gospel is preached and God is worshiped through your marriage. How cool is that?
3. Be in community.
The next way we rob our marriages of worship goes hand in hand with turning inwardly. It’s isolation. If you’re pulling away from Gospel-centered community, chances are you’ve already turned inwardly or are in the process of doing so. When you isolate your marriage from others who can encourage you, pray for you, and help carry life’s heavy burdens, your capacity to worship God will grow stale and cold.
Jesus showed us how He preferred to live life on this earth — in close community with the 12 disciples. Even the very nature of God is community — the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So if we follow God’s lead and press into community and pursue doing life with others who love Jesus and are headed in the same direction, we will be adding fuel to the fire of worship in our marriages.
4. Be proactive about worship.
If you aren’t careful, you will let the circumstances of life write the script of your marriage.
The world around you doesn’t want your marriage to be a vessel of worship to God. Even your own hearts will struggle against it. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” When you slap together two sinners bent toward idolatry, living in a world that is an idol factory, you don’t have to wonder what’s going to happen. Worship will be stolen and given to something or someone other than Jesus.
There is a solution, though.
The power of the Holy Spirit can be coupled with being proactive. We can’t take marching orders from this world or even our own hearts. We must speak truth from God’s word into our lives and proactively pursue the worship of God in our marriage.
The heart of being proactive is this: I will operate and make decisions in my life (and marriage) based on truths and principles rather than circumstances and feelings. Sometimes we may not feel like worshiping God. Sometimes life may get “too busy” to worship God. That is being reactive.
I challenge you to be proactive, to not turn inward and isolate, and to be on mission as a couple. And by the power of the Holy Spirit as you pursue that higher calling, you will find that glorifying God through your marriage is what you were made for.