Does Your Marriage Come Before God's Calling?

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fighting couple

"Then I would be on my feet or knees in a moment. I would forget everything but the love of God and dying souls. God seemed to speak through me to the people.

"But I had so much opposition to contend with. My people were opposed; my husband and my daughter fought against it; and my whole being shrank from going to stand as a gazing stock for the people. But the Lord was showing in many ways that I must go and perform the work He had for me to do."

MIXING MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY The devil's strategy is to hit marriages in order to spiritually immobilize married persons. If he can accomplish this in enough cases, he can effectively slow the advance of the kingdom of God in a generation.

Likewise, if Satan can deceive enough households with the "marriage first" theology, he can keep Christians so focused on home that they are AWOL from participation on the front lines of evangelism and church service.

What should you do if your ministry is being blessed by heaven and your marriage is buffeted by hell?

1. First, recognize that your spiritual effectiveness may be one reason the devil is hitting you at home. Do not assume that you are to stop serving God in order to focus all your energies at home. That is, not unless God says so!

If He tells you to do this and you continue to give your full attention to ministry activity, then your ministry has become an idol--and an excuse for disobeying God. Remember that on Judgement Day Jesus will say to Christians who spent their lives in ministry as an excuse for serving their own agendas, "Although you prophesied and worked miracles in My Name, now depart from Me you lawless ones. I never knew you!" (See Matt. 7:21-23.)

2. Seek God's solutions to the weaknesses in your marriage and begin to strengthen it without taking your focus away from full devotion to God. Don't give territory to the devil by retreating to hearth and home simply because you have conflict there.

3. Throw yourself, your spouse and your marriage on the Lord. Seek and receive His specific personal instruction for your situation and season. Sometimes this comes as daily and hourly instruction until God brings you through into His peace and blessing. Once you have His direction, obey--whatever the cost.

The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 fulfills the full purpose of God and provides for her family at the same time by active engagement of her spiritual and creative gifts in the marketplace. She delegates her responsibilities within the house while she is away and neglects neither her home nor her calling.

Man or woman, it takes a person wholly devoted to God to find the proper balance between marriage and ministry. For each one of us there will be a different equation. That is why it is so important to be led by the Holy Spirit in responding to God's call and following His lead in living it out.

The important thing to remember is that each one of us will answer to God--and no one else--for our lives and how we spent them. We will not answer to our spouses, our children, our pastor or our employer. In marriage as in single life we must individually work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

God will accept no excuses. He will not release you from accountability because your spouse didn't want you to follow the call, your pastor didn't think a woman should preach or your children complained that you were never around. He will judge you based on whether or not you did what He asked you to do.

MINISTERING IN CONFLICT Ministry in the midst of marital discord is not ideal--but it is not necessarily devoid of anointing. And it is certainly not an excuse for disobedience to heaven's call. Your marriage was never ordained by God to be a hindrance to your service or obedience to Him.

As ministers, my husband, Mahesh, and I have daily opportunities to experience the strain that ministry can place on marriage. Particularly during times when we are bringing the gospel to strategic regions we face tremendous spiritual resistance that usually results in pressure on the home front. Our personal compatibility and communication can easily become stressed to the breaking point.

The devil uses our weaknesses to try and turn us against one another or drive one of us into isolation. He knows that division between us is strength for him.

In the early days it would never fail that our weaknesses came to a head just as we were leaving for church. Once we were at the front door on the way to an important church meeting and dinner fellowship. Mahesh was carrying a huge dessert we were taking. I was rushing around tying up all the loose ends I had to handle while he waited--impatiently.

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