Monday, March 30, 2015

Cleaning House

     God’s temple stood as a symbol of hope and healing for the nations.  A place that beckoned everyone to come to know God.  A place of worship and community, forgiveness and grace.
     It was Monday. As Jesus walked past the temple, he knew what it was supposed to be.  He saw what it had become; a marketplace.  A place to make a profit off of those least likely to be able to afford it.  A shortcut from one side of the city to the other.  A place to live in an existence cut off from God while in the shadow of God’s temple.  In short, it had become a mockery of what it was supposed to be.  The sacrifices still went on, the priest still did their duties, and the ritual was in place, but the people and things surrounding the temple had lost their way.  The bright light of the temple was dulled and tarnished.  And Jesus couldn’t take it any longer.
     Zeal for the Lord’s temple consumed Jesus, and Jesus cleaned house.  He turned over the money-changers’ tables, drove out those selling animals and profiting off of visitors, and cracked a whip at those who couldn’t see God even though God’s Mercy Seat was just yards away.  For the holy to abide, the clutter could not reside.
     Marriage is a holy, covenant union.  Christian marriage is meant to be something more than just two people living together and generally getting along.  It is meant to be a light, a symbol, something that calls others to God.  Within their relationship, a husband and wife and how they treat each other, are to show God’s love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and goodness to the world.
     But if we’re not careful our marriages can become tainted—cluttered with distractions, short cuts, and selfishness, rather than glowing with the light of God’s presence.
     Often, the distractions are not something a couple intends, but life happens.  Work picks up, children’s schedules run rampant, distractions fill our world, and it becomes easier to take care of one’s self than to tend to your spouse.
     If left to its own ends, the distractions and lack of proper focus will eventually create distance between husband and wife.  Communication will break down, emotions will run too hot or too cold, and the marriage will take a back seat to “what I want” and “what I need.”
     When that happens, it’s time for a house cleaning.  It’s time to get radical, to get zealous for your marriage, and to get rid of the clutter that is keeping your marriage from fulfilling its Kingdom-purpose.  Whether it is something you have to do individually (listening better, being more helpful around the house, cutting out pornography or other addictive behaviors, becoming financially responsible, or whatever else), or whether it is something you have to do as a couple (start praying together again, surrender yourselves to each other, allow yourself to be transparent and authentic, talk more, be friends again, put the marriage before other relationships (including other family), etc.), clean house so that your marriage will continually point you and others toward Christ.

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