Can You Make Grape Jelly from Briers?

THIS GUY JUST punched a bunch of us right in the face.

And it wasn’t a little, friendly, tongue-in-check “pop” across the jaw.  No, it was a big, full-handed “knock Goliath down” wallop.  He busted our chops.

Employee/husband. . .read this preacher’s next few paragraphs and see if you’re not reeling from his stinging indictment:

“Almost all of my waking hours were packed with studying, teaching, counseling, making phone calls, sending emails, attending meetings, addressing administrative responsibilities, and tending to benevolence issues.  When I was home, where I should have been an engaged…husband, I didn’t have much left for my [wife] emotionally, mentally, or physically.

Although I was failing as a husband…, I was able to convince myself I was still pleasing to the Lord.  I compartmentalized my life by saying, ‘I’m a Christian first.  I’m a spouse second…  I’m an employee third.’  Instead, I should have said, ‘I’m a Christian spouse.  I’m a Christian employee.’  The danger of seeing ourselves as a Christian first and a spouse second is we can find ourselves believing the lie I bought into at the time:  ‘If I can be a good [employee], I can please God even though I am not the best husband.’  The truth is that I was a poor husband, and I should have recognized that meant I was not pleasing the Lord.’

The reason we cannot please the Lord while failing as a husband…is that our Christianity is related directly to the way we treat our spouse.  Our marriages are an outpouring of our relationship with Christ.”1

With these thoughts and insights in mind husbands, let me encourage us to remember the following three words as we go about our day:

#1  CONSISTENCY—Jesus asked rhetorically, “Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles” (Mat. 7:16b; cf. Jas. 3:12).  The obvious answer is, “No”.  It’s inconsistent to think folks can make jelly from what they glean from a bunch of briers.  Grape vines produce grapes; thornbushes produce thorns (Mat. 7:16a; cf. Gen. 1:11; Gal. 6:7).  I’ll eat the former on a hot, buttered, gluten-free biscuit, but not the latter.

jelly

It is equally inconsistent to think that we as Christian men can labor and lead in our jobs (Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:7-9, 10; 1 Tim. 5:8) as children of the King of kings, and still please Him when we’re not also devoted to our relationships with our wives and guiding them towards heaven (1 Pet. 3:7).  Regardless of what our peers may think about our dedication, our willingness to give long hours to our professions, and our commendable ethics, we are Christians first and foremost of all—and to thrive in our careers and then flounder in our marriages as husbands is not only unbiblical (Eph. 5:25), but it says we can subdivide our hearts and legitimately produce both good as well as bad fruit in the most important, and most intimate of all earthly bonds.

TO BE CONTINUED

1 Scott LaPierre, “Your Marriage Reflects Your Relationship with Christ,” Marriage God’s Way, 3-4 (emphasis mine—mb).

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