Thursday, September 22, 2011
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It all depended on the levees. So many Americans have been watching record high flood waters rising all around them this past spring, and desperately hoping that the wall between them and all that water was high enough to hold it back.
Now, it would be crazy for some town to suddenly say, "Oh no! Man the water's rising! We'd better build a wall here fast!" No, no. See, it's too late when the waters are surging. You've got to build your walls high before the flood comes around a town, around your family, around your marriage.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "High Water and High Walls."
Now, we are living in a time when we have all seen marriages getting washed away. Couples who promised "til death do us part," who parted long before that. And let's not kid ourselves. There's a lot of high water threatening every one of our marriages: huge financial pressures, medical crises, schedules so busy that they turn lovers into strangers, sexual images everywhere, so many opportunities to look for love in all the wrong places, so many detours, and so many landmines. There's so many ways for disillusionment to set in, and disappointment and despair to come in and steal away what was once a very committed love.
But thank God it doesn't have to be that way. Our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 4:26 gives us a great example of one of the walls we need to build high around our marriage. It says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." See, harbored anger is a "bitter root" in the words of the Bible that "grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Hebrews 12:15). And if you let that resentment smolder, you let the sun go down on it, then it gets fueled by wounds that are not dealt with quickly, and that will one day be the fire that incinerates a marriage.
Flood-proof love needs another high wall that says, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing." That's Psalm 101:3. See, there's plenty of vile to look at these days. I don't have to tell you that: websites, movies, TV shows, lots of skin. We just can't afford to feed the monster of desire that has devoured so many. And then there's that wall that says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." It's in James 1:19.
Some of the floods that ravage a marriage don't come from outside. They come from feelings and needs that got stuffed inside because the one who loves that person wasn't listening. We can't be close for long if we don't take time, regular time, to know each other's hurts—to know each other's hearts.
And we've found at our house that there's no more important wall to build than the one that reads, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33). Two people living for themselves, or even for each other, honestly it just isn't enough to hold back the flood. It takes two people living together for the God who loves them. Praying together often, drawing closer to each other as they draw close to Him. He's a God whose love runs strong when our love runs low. He pours out His inexhaustible, unconditional love, so we then have it to give to the one we've pledged our life to.
There really can be a love that lasts a lifetime. That gets stronger with time. That defies the flood, if you build your walls high.