Lutz, Fla. 4/08/2010 11:00 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)
There is a secret formula to a good marriage. It’s not money, good looks or even great sex. It’s the intimate relationship that exists between Christ and the two people in the relationship.
"It’s the godly person who makes a great spouse," said Stephen Kendrick. "The Holy Spirit pours out love."
Kendrick, senior associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., and co-author of "The Love Dare," joined Sherwood pastor Michael Catt and Sherwood associate pastor Alex Kendrick, co-author of "The Love Dare," as speakers at Fireproof My Marriage, an event sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention March 26-27. They shared the platform with Charles Lowery, a psychologist and speaker from Pilot Point, Texas. About 500 people attended the event held at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla.
He continued, "The fruits of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23, HCSB)] will demonstrate themselves. The closer you walk with God, the better your marriage will be."
He cautioned couples to become masters of forgiveness so their hearts would not hold bitterness.
"Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick," he said. "It does more damage in the life in which it’s stored than the life in which it’s poured. The best marriages aren’t ones where spouses don’t sin against one another, but are the ones in which both people forgive each other."
Lowery, well known for combining spiritual truths with humor, said, "Relationships are just fun, aren’t they? But, man, they’re confusing!"
He said that Scripture explains that people were made for relationships with God and with each other.
"It’s not good for people to be alone," he said. "We can get weird! Have you noticed about these people we read about in the newspaper – always described as ‘a loner.’ We need to be around other personalities to complete us."
Treating people well may be the truest form of worship, he said.
"We don’t have many records of Jesus going to church," Lowery said. "We don’t have any records of Him singing – what we tend to call worship in our churches. But, the Bible is full of accounts of Jesus treating people the way God wanted them to be treated.
"People need love most when they deserve it the least," he said. "That kind of love is worship. I think Jesus would say that we worship best with our hands outstretched, not raised up."
Alex Kendrick told the couples that Scripture says where their treasure is, their hearts will also be. He used the acronym M-A-T-E to spell out the things people usually treasure: Money, Affection, Time and Energy. "If those are your treasures, those are the things you need to be pouring into your spouse."
In addition, he listed eight attributes of true love, as opposed to conditional love:
- True love does not depend on the one being loved, but rather on the one choosing to love.
- True love is based on choice and commitment, not feelings.
- True love is willing to be initiated first.
- True love can keep loving those who don’t love back.
- True love chooses to love regardless of another’s worthiness.
- True love is selfless.
- True love will sacrificially live to meet the needs of others.
- True love can go on forever.
Catt told the couples that life can wear them down. "We’re all busy, rushing everywhere, stressing out," he said.
"We think that the only place we can really let down is at home, but that’s not true," he said. "Don’t let down at home; let down on Jesus. He told us, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.’"
He said, "When you fall in love with the Lord, you will fall in love with your spouse."
LifeWay will host one more Fireproof My Marriage event Sept. 10-11 at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga. Prior to the main conference, LifeWay will provide marriage ministry training Sept. 10 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Go to LifeWay.com/marriage for more information about that event and other 2010 marriage events.