Well, I still haven't gotten to enemy #2 yet. Bummer. My time has mostly been occupied with school, spending time with Stephanie, trying to complete tax forms for the federal government as well as 3 states, with a combination of 10 W-2 forms. I am all for a simplified tax code at this point. Oh, and I also got a new second job. So I am on leave from being a server at Cracker Barrel and hopefully won't have to go back:) Serving is a hard job folks. Tip well!!
I'm not sure when I'll get a full explanation of the next 4 enemies of marriage... I have a ton of reading and schoolwork on my plate and a baby on the way... but I have the basic outlines for the 4 other enemies of Christ-exalting marriage in my head. Until I get to them in fullness, I have put a brief summary of them below. Please read them and post any comments, insights, ideas, or objections you may have. I am just a young sinner who has completed one year of marriage and is imperfectly but passionately trying figure out how to have a God-glorifying marriage.
2. The anti-children atmosphere found in the west, and even in many churches. (Its there, trust me. While Mormons and Muslims are strategically having big families in order to evangelize the world... evangelicals look at big families as weird and can't seem to find enough people to work in the nursery. Listen to what God says in Psalm 127:3-5 "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Do you believe that? My heart is full on this subject, but for now i will just say this: I believe the greatest impact I will have on the world for the Kingdom is through my children and my children's children, and so on. I truly believe that Satan has dupped many believer's into a less than Christian view of children and family. I'd better stop on this one, or i won't get to the last 3, and more importantly won't get to bed.
3. Religiousness (by this I mean going through the formal motions, without a vibrant passionate puruit of Christ in the home. This will rob much glory from God as well as do great damage to the faith of any children you my be blessed to have.)
4. TV (The goal of a Christian home should be this: that the word of God would dominate and saturate everything in it. But sadly, the family altar (if you don't know what that is, you prove my point) has been replaced by the TV in most Christian homes. Secondly, Christ exalting marriage mirrors the fellowship found in the Trinity, and between Christ and the church. But when TV dominates, communication and true fellowship are replaced by hours of staring in the same direction. Thirdly, one of the primary tasks of Christian marriages is to disciple children and to teach them to follow God. When TV dominates the home, this task is made difficult and often neglected all together.
5. Lack of Forgivness (In a marriage, there are two fallen, sinful people living under the same roof. Therefore, there are going to be countless little and sometimes big sins committed against each other; a short word, a sarcastic sigh, a lack of communication, losing of tempers, and the list could go on endlessly. But here is the point: every time a person sins against their mate, or just falls short of expectations, that is an opportunity for the husband or wife to demonstrate the grace of God. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to extend mercy, grace, and unconditional love toward the person you love most in the world. God uses this to make us more like Christ and to demonstrate what He is like to the world. So how horrible it is when a marriage is characterized by a cold war of bitter silence, or angry screaming and unforgiving spirits. It is so easy to hold a grudge, especially against the person we know will never leave us. But let us remember what is at stake; your reaction to your mate's next offense could show all those around (inclding your mate, and the principalities and powers in the heavenly places) what God's grace is like, or it could demonstrate that you haven't fully grasped the forgivness of God.
So to put it all positively, a Christ exalting marriage is one that is on mission in the world, primarily through raising and discipling children. This is to be done by parents who are passionately seeking Jesus Christ together, in an atmosphere saturated by the word of God and gracious forgiveness. Of course that is just some of the things a marriage should be. But if Stephanie and I could have that, I would die a happy man:)