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Words of Life

Producing Children of God

By John and Lisa Bevere July 19, 2015 Words of Life

God, not you, made marriage. His spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what… (Malachi 2:15, The Message, emphasis added) 

Children of God. That’s what God is looking for from marriage. Does this mean that He is looking for more babies to populate the earth? Yes and no. 

Malachi 2:15 does not say that God wants marriage to produce children. It says He wants to produce children of God. God desires children – of any age – who will glorify Him and walk in His ways. Remember, we are His ambassadors. His goal is to reveal Himself to and through us. 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” We love that! Glorify isn’t a common word used in everyday speech; due to its frequent use in Scripture, it is seen as something spiritual and obscure. Glorify simply means that we make God known. God’s desire is to be made known through our lives, marriages, and legacies. And there is no catalyst like marriage for growing us into children of God. 

Even if you never raise a child, God wants to use your marriage to make you a child of God. He wants to refine you into an agent of his glory and shape you into the likeness of your Father. Sharing your life with another person creates many opportunities for you to become more like God. We’ve discovered that more often than not, godly character isn’t captured in the oceans of bliss. It’s forged in the furnace of marital fire. 

I (John) liken marriage to a furnace and our lives to an alloy, or blend, of precious metal. What does a blazing furnace do to an alloy? It exposes its impurities. My wedding ring may look like pure gold, but roughly fifty percent of it is composed of other substances. If I placed my ring inside the furnace, these impurities would be exposed. Similarly, the challenges we encounter in marriage – from trivial disagreements to profoundly difficult times – will reveal impurities in our lives. (Some impurities require more heat than others do to be revealed.) 

When marriage relentlessly reveals our imperfections, it’s easy to blame our spouses. After all, none of this was happening before we got married. When we find ourselves getting frustrated with our spouses because they are aggravating our “weaknesses,” we should thank God that marriage is making us more like Jesus. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? 

We know our furnace analogy isn’t exciting, but the journey to a happy ending is far from a fairytale. At times your story may feel less like riding off into the sunset and more like climbing Mount Everest. 

Those who brave the snowy slopes of the Himalayas to make the rigorous and challenging journey of Everest must do so with two things in mind. First, they must know that the undertaking will test the limits of their emotional and physical capacities. These daring men and women don’t know all the particulars of the upcoming perils, but they know challenges are coming. Second, they must remember their goal: to ascend the highest mountain in the world. For them, victory is clearly defined as reaching 29,029 feet above sea level. Without awareness of this objective, these sojourners would quickly turn back as soon as they encountered their first significant obstacle. 

The same applies to marriage. If we recognize that challenges are an inherent part of establishing our stories, then we will not be crushed when our emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities are tested. If we begin – and build – with the end in mind, we will not quit when we encounter major problems. 

When teaching on spiritual maturity, Jesus said that tribulation and persecution would come against those who believe God’s Word (see Mark 4:17). In the original Greek, these words are thlipsis and diogmos. Thlipsis is “trouble that inflicts distress, oppression, affliction, tribulation.” Diogmos is “a program or process designed to harass and oppress someone.” Neither sounds fun, but these forces facilitate our growth in God. Paul echoed Jesus’ words: 

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials [thlipsis], for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5) 

Paul wrote that we should rejoice in problems and trials. Why? Trials create opportunity for us to develop strength of character. Problems position us to become more like God. And we can take hope in the knowledge that God loves us and is always looking out for our best interests – so much so that he has given us His Spirit to fill our hearts with love even in the midst of our greatest struggles. 

Scripture also makes it clear that God is not the one who authors our troubles. Satan is the one behind the tribulation and persecution (see Mark 4:15 13 and James 1:12-13), but God will use the enemy’s schemes against him. In the hands of the great Redeemer, what is meant to tear us away from God becomes a tool to make us more like Him. 

Remember, the enemy hates marriage and everything it represents. He will do whatever he can to divide our unions and load them with seemingly unbearable trials. Having vision for our unions – and faith that God will bring us through difficulties – empowers us with hope to counter his assaults. God doesn’t want us merely to survive the attacks against our marriages. He wants us to grow stronger through them. The key is to remember what we’re fighting for (God’s purpose), whom we’re fighting against (Satan), and who is on our side (God’s Spirit). Our faith and hope are actually strengthened through challenges – as long as we don’t quit before He can finish His work in us.


Hear more from John and Lisa Bevere this Monday and Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from The Story of Marriage by John and Lisa Bevere. Copyright ©2014 by John P. Bevere, Jr. and Lisa Bevere. Published by Messenger International. Used by permission.

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