Conquering Life’s Problems
By Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood
Published by The Peoples Gospel Hour
1. HOW TO OVERCOME WORRY
In a recent newspaper article a Dr. Crain remarked that 33,000 people, who need no medical care, go weekly to physicians for treatment. They are patients who worry. Many of these, sad to say, are Bible Christians.
We are living in a world that is sick with fear and worry. Worry affects every aspect of life. One doctor said: “Business men who do not know how to fight, worry; they die young.” A leading physician said: “Seventy percent of all patients who go to doctors could cure themselves if they could get rid of worry.”
My own testimony is that after finishing university, I started out in 1941 for Presbyterian College, Montreal, with only enough money to get me to Truro, 40 miles from home. I preached there, received $25, bought a ticket to Montreal and arrived in that city with only 25 cents in my pocket. I began to worry and went to bed with an ulcer and a nervous breakdown. For three weeks I lay there, taking milk and cream every hour with medicine. Then the principal arrived and gave me a good lecture on failing to trust the Lord, refusing to believe the promises of the Bible, and I saw my sin of worry. I immediately jumped out of bed and have not known what it is to be worried or mentally upset ever since. I know from personal experience that worry often causes sickness, and worry for the believer is a sin.
A passage of the Bible that has been a real help and blessing to me is Matthew 6:25-34: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?… And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…. Shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles [the unsaved] seek): for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you…”
The words “take no thought” mean to get out of the habit of worrying about food and clothing. Jesus is not teaching that we should have a reckless neglect of the future nor fail to budget and plan our lives. But He is teaching us here that we should learn to live one day at a time and to put God first in every aspect of our lives.
This is exactly the way we seek to live at The Peoples Gospel Hour where we have a worldwide faith ministry for the Lord. Our weekly budget is large, yet each morning from 8:45 to 9:30 the Staff meets for prayer that God will bless His Word and provide for the daily needs. We have learned to live one day at a time.
A farmer, whose home stood in the line of a flash flood, saw all his possessions swept away in an hour. He was almost in despair until his little daughter reminded him, “Daddy, you still have us.” Then he began to be thankful to God for His mercies, even in the flood. Returning to the ranch, he wandered out to the creek. Here all the topsoil had been washed away, and in the rock there was a glittering streak. There was gold on his ranch! So all our worries may have blessings hidden in them if we trust God to reveal them to us.
For the believer there is real joy in living one day at a time. Paul cried to God over and over again for victory over Satan’s buffeting. The Lord’s reply was: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” He gives daily grace for our needs too. We read in Deuteronomy 33:25: “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Paul lived in the midst of many tensions. We read in Philippians 4:10-12: “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your are of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Paul knew the secret of living one day at a time. He knew for sure he was saved and on his way to Heaven. But during his earthly journey, in the midst of all the cares of the churches, he experienced daily victory over worry and life’s frustrations.
The word “worry” is translated in the New Testament as “take no thought” or “be careful”. It comes from two words meaning to “divide” and “mind.” Worry means to divide the mind between that which is wholesome to our character development and that which is damaging. James says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). He is unstable in his emotions, in his thought processes, and in his decisions. Worry affects the will which often leads to “abulia” or loss of will power which is often the cause of a “nervous breakdown.”
The Psalmist knew that worry was contrary to faith in God. In Psalm 42:5 he cried: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” The words “cast down” describe a feeling of anxiety, worry, guilt, and despair. Why, he asked, had he come to this position in life? Then he realized it was because he had lost hope in God. “Hope thou in God” was the answer to his worry.
We have so many plain and wonderful promises from God’s Word to encourage us along our journey to heaven. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psa. 55:22). Philippians 4:6,7: “Be careful for nothing (in nothing be anxious or worried); but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (or guard) your hearts and mind (thoughts) through Christ Jesus.”
Praise God, we have the ministry of prayer. Dr. T. Buckley, the distinguished mental specialist, addressed the British Mental Association in these words: “As an alienist and one whose whole life has been concerned with sufferings of the mind, I would state that of all the hygienic measures to counteract disturbed sleep, depression of the spirits, and all the miserable sequels of a disturbed mind, I would undoubtedly give first place to the simple habit of prayer.”
Worry, on the other hand, indicates a lack of prayer and a life of prayerlessness. It is impossible to pray and worry at the same time. “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
During a blitz on England in the last War, an elderly lady refused to move form the top front room of her London home to a safer place. Her testimony was, “I says my prayers to God every night and I goes to sleep. There’s no need for us both to keep awake.” She knew the reality of trusting the Lord in prayer each night and of casting her care upon Him.
Another way to overcome worry is to spend time in thanksgiving to God. No matter how difficult our situations, of all the peoples of the world we are truly most blessed of God. “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18).
It is also important to be practical and to show a little enthusiasm for yourself and others. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Eccl. 9:10).
The way to overcome discouragement and worry is to look away from self unto the Lord. Do not give in to circumstances. Don’t give up. You know the story of the two frogs that fell into a large cream jug. One frog croaked right away, “I’ve had it.” Down he went and he died. The other frog said to himself, “If I am going down it won’t be without a struggle.” So he kicked and paddled and churned and the next thing he knew he was sitting on a cake of butter! Which frog are you like? Paul was able to say by inspiration: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down (knocked down) but not destroyed (knocked out)” (2 Cor. 4:8,9).
Actually, if you are not truly saved, born again by the Spirit of God, you do have something to worry about because you are lost. You are separated from God and on the way to a burning Hell. In order to help you to be saved, there are four facts I would like to give you right now:
(1) You have a tremendous need, a sin need. Romans 3:23 tells us that we are all sinners. (2) You can do nothing of yourself to meet this need. Good works are of no help. Self effort is all in vain. (3) Jesus Christ met your sin need when He died upon the Cross. He shed His precious blood for you and bore in His own body the penalty of your sin. (4) You must repent and personally received Christ as your own Saviour if you are to be saved. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
2. TENSIONS AND TEMPER
The story is told of a housewife who had a nervous breakdown during a Sunday morning church service. It came on when the choir was singing, “Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve.” She had been “stretching every nerve” all week. That’s what her housework, shopping, the budget, the children, and the TV commercials had been demanding of her. Now, with the church pushing her to “stretch every nerve” it was too much and she broke under the many tensions.
Jesus said: “Take therefore no thought (no anxious thought) for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34). This simply means the we should learn to live one day at a time and stop worrying about tomorrow. We build up our tensions with anxious care. Each day has enough trouble of its own so let us concentrate on today’s tensions, not those of tomorrow.
John Henry Newman, an Anglican preacher, was traveling from Rome to England. The sailing ship was stopped for lack of wind. It was June 16, 1833. Hours passed and the ship did not move. Newman paced the deck and prayed that God would send the wind and get them on their way immediately. He went to the captain, “Can’t you do something?” The captain replied, “I am as anxious as you are to sail, but we who sail before the wind have learned to wait. We take one step at a time.” Then pointing to the sky, the captain said, “The star is shining again. If a wind rises tonight, we can chart our course by it.”
Newman was amazed, “You mean you can be guided by that one little star?” “Yes,” said the captain. “One needs the sun by day, but one little star is sufficient by night.” Suddenly Newman saw the light. “I’ve been looking for a sun to guide me and God has sent me a star. God dropped me here to teach me a lesson.” In the inspiration of that moment, Newman wrote his greatest hymn:
“Lead, kindly light! Amid the encircling gloom; Lead Thou me on.
The night is dark and I am far from home; Lead Thou me on.
Keep thou my feet: I do not ask to see
The distant scene. One step enough for me.”
One step at a time. One step at a time. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Temper is closely related to tensions. Those who do not wait upon God and rest in Him become irritable. How we need to be tempered for the Bible says: “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things” (1 Cor. 9:25). We need the reality of self-control.
When I have lost my temper I have lost my reason too.
I’m never proud of anything which angrily I do.
When I have talked in anger, and my cheeks were flaming red,
I have always uttered something which I wish I had not said.
In anger I have never done a kindly deed or wise.
But many things for which I felt I should apologize.
In looking back across my life, and all I’ve lost or made,
I can’t recall a single time when fury ever paid.
There is victory in Christ over proneness to anger. This frame of mind should be treated as a sin. Temper needs to be confessed and judged in the light of Calvary. In 1 John 1:7 we read: “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” The Lord Jesus knew all about tensions and burdens. He was betrayed by one of His followers, condemned by the religious leaders of his day, and forsaken by His most faithful disciples. Yet, in the end, He was exalted and given a Name which is above every name. He is now our Great High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15). Paul knew what it was to suffer, to be misunderstood, and to be under great tensions. Yet he wrote in Phil. 4:4-13: “Rejoice in the Lord…be careful (over anxious) for nothing…I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content…I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” In all his many trials, Paul learned that the greatest of all blessings is that deep and abiding relationship with the Lord.
Closely allied with anxiety and temper is grief. Who has not known it? Who has not stood by the casket of a loved one to say farewell? Grief comes from a broken heart and a suffering mind. Adam and Eve knew the first grief when they discovered the body of their son, Cain. David cried in Psalm 38:17: “My sorrow is continually before me.” Job lost his seven sons and three daughters and knew that awful inward grief of a broken heart as we read in Job 2:13: “They sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him, for they saw that his grief was very great.”
Yes, and One greater than all knew the full reality of grief. In Isaiah 53:3,4,10 we read: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:…surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…the Lord…hath put Him to grief.” The major grief of our Lord was the rejected of His salvation by the people of His own day.
When loved ones die in the Lord, our grief is overcome by the full assurance that one day we shall see them again. Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” While we grieve the passing of those near and dear to us, we know that, when they die as believers, they have gone to be with Christ which is far better (Phil. 1:23). This gives us new hope in the midst of our sorrow. We would not wish them back to this world of sin and strife and tears. We sorrow, but not as those which have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13).
Many of you today are grieving over loved ones who have died. The Lord can help you if you will lean upon Him. There are three tenses in the word “trust.” On the Emmaus Road our Lord’s heart must have been sad as He heard the two disciples speak of their grief and shattered hopes. They said, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” They were living in the past tense. Christ told them to trust Him but they spoke of Him as being in the past only and not in the present.
There is a present tense in our trust. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3). This is what the Lord wants to see in our lives – a present, daily trust in Him – not only on bright days but also when dark clouds cover the sunshine.
There is also a trust that makes the future secure. “I will trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). Fear drives away trust but trust destroys fear. The foundation of faith is strong for it is built upon a past trust that proved God’s Word to be true. Trust for the present gives peace within for we know that Christ is in charge of every detail of our lives. Trust faces the future with confidence believing that Christ will work all things out for His honour and glory.
H.G. Spafford, a Chicago businessman, received word that four of his five children had drowned in an accident at sea. He wrote these wonderful words:
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well, with my soul!”
Not only do we have anxiety, temper, and grief to cope with, but suffering itself. From the beginning of time suffering has been a frustrating human problem. It is not easy to understand. It is not easy to take. Job had grave doubts about God’s goodness in the midst of his suffering. But at the end of the journey his faith was strong in God: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Suffering is often a tremendous time of testing. How much pain can one endure? Why doesn’t God do something about it? How much longer can I stand this present situation? The answer is found in God’s promise: “He will not suffer you to be tempted (or tested) above that ye are able…to bear” (1 Cor. 10:13). Some people can bear more than others.
The secret is to live in constant touch with the Lord. An old Persian story gives us this beautiful picture. A wanderer one day, weary from the burning sun, stopped to rest under a shady tree. Evening shadows awakened him and he hurried to find shelter for the night. In a small, barren room he became increasingly aware of a sweet perfume. He searched but could not find the source. Yet the fragrance persisted.
“What are you? Where are you?” he demanded. Then his hand touched his loose robe. A small piece of clay fell from its folds. Picking it up he found the answer. That rare odour came from the small piece of clay. “I don’t understand,” the wanderer said, “you have the fragrance of a gem for Smarcand. You could be a precious spikenard or another costly merchandise. But you are only a piece of clay. From where, then, comes this wondrous perfume?”
“O Sir,” came the answer. “I am but a lump of common clay. I claim no beauty of my own, no fragrance. I am but the lowliest of substances. My secret is this, I have been dwelling with a rose.”
This is the secret of the beauty found in the life of the believer who dwells with the Rose of Sharon. The lowliest life, in fellowship with Christ, becomes fragrant and lovely. Within every person may be feelings of loneliness or longings for things withheld. But with Christ dwelling within, the sweet essence of His Spirit permeates the heart and mind. There is no beauty like the life lived with the Rose of Sharon, the One altogether lovely.
3. A DEFEATED CHRISTIAN LIFE
An old recipe for chicken fricassee begins with this instruction: “First catch the chicken.” In the Christian life we must begin where the cook book starts and get the primary ingredient which is Jesus Christ. Real life begins with Christ. It is not found in church creeds nor in church membership nor in the sacraments, but real life is in Christ.
Many believers seem to live an up-and-down Christian life. When they are down they are truly defeated both in their own souls and in their service for their Lord. We are saved by grace. We are not saved by good works of any kind. Salvation is truly and wholly of the Lord. So it is with the Christian life. Your strength and power to live that life comes from the same divine source. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
As Christians we have responsibilities. We are to reach out for God and He Himself will give us the strength to do it. Paul, by inspiration said: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
We are “workers together with Him” (2 Cor. 6:1). The foundation of our life is Christ Himself (1 Cor. 3:11). Upon this foundation we are to build a life that is characterized by “gold, silver, precious stones” which will endure at the Judgment Seat or Reward Seat of Christ. It is up to us to fight a good fight, to finish our course, and to keep the faith in order that we may receive the crown of righteousness which is laid up for us in that day (2 Tim. 4:7,8).
To be a successful believer in Christ we must follow Him. Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). We must deny ourselves. We must die to self. Christ living in us must now live through us. We are to take up His cross. We must be perfectly identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. It is not an easy road. We must follow the Lord. It is a daily walk. We know not what the future holds but we know who holds the future. We commit the way to Him. We trust the unseen to Him. If our Lord is big enough to save us He is big enough to look after us.
Alfred Lord Tennyson was walking through his garden one morning with a friend. The friend asked the great poet, “What is Jesus Christ to you?” Tennyson pointed to a pansy and said, “Just what the sun is to life of that little flower.” The flower follows the sun in its transit across the heavens and receives its life from the sun. So we are to follow Christ.
Who walk with God must take His way across far distances and gray,
To goals that others do not see, where others do not care to be.
Who walks with God must have no fear when danger and defeat appear,
Nor stop when every hope seems gone, for God, our God, moves ever on.
Who walks with God must press ahead when sun or cloud is overhead,
When all the waiting thousands cheer, or when they only stop to sneer;
And naught is left but jaded powers when all the challenge leaves the hours
But he will some day reach the dawn, for God, our God, moves ever on.
One of the secrets of victory is to recognize the presence of God, every day. Jesus said: “Lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:30). “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). We draw nigh to Him in reading His precious Word. God visits us and speaks to us through His Word. We draw near to Him in prayer.
What should be the Christian’s goal in life? The first article of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” This is the main object of life. Most of the other things that occupy our attention are of minor importance. God says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
To get the most out of the Christian life we must spend it for something that outlasts life itself. Paul was able to say in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” The world does not owe us a living. We owe the world a life – the life of Christ living in us.
I remember well when Bill McChesney, a missionary in the Congo, was martyred by the rebels in the Stanleyville area. He had been beaten on a truck and his back was bleeding. Then he was speared to death by the “Simbas.” Sometime before his death he had written this poem entitled, MY CHOICE.
I want my breakfast served at “eight”, with ham and eggs upon the plate;
A well-broiled steak I’ll eat at “one”; and dine again when day is done.
I want an ultramodern home, and in each room a telephone;
Soft carpets, too, upon the floors, and pretty drapes to grace the doors.
A cosy place of lovely things, like easy chairs and innersprings,
And then I’ll get a small TV – of course, “I’m careful what I see.”
I want my wardrobe, too, to be of neatest, finest quality.
With latest style of suit and vest, why shouldn’t Christians have the best?
But then the Master I can hear, in no uncertain voice, so clear,
“I bid you come and follow Me, the lonely Man of Galilee.”
“Birds of the air have made their nest, and foxes in their holes find rest;
But I can offer you no bed; no place have I to lay My head.”
In shame I hung my head and cried. How could I spurn the Crucified?
Could I forget the way He went, the sleepless nights in prayer He spent?
For forty days without a bit, alone He fasted day and night;
Despised, rejected – on he went, and did not stop till veil He rent.
A man of sorrows and of grief, no earthly friend to bring relief –
“Smitten of God,” the prophet said – Mocked, beaten, bruised, His blood ran red.
If He be God and died for me, no sacrifice too great can be
For me, a mortal man, to make; I’ll do it all for Jesus’ sake.
Yes, I will tread the path He trod. No other way will please my God;
So, henceforth, this my choice shall be, my choice for all eternity.
Bill McChesney lived with eternity’s values in view. He laid up treasures in Heaven. His chief end in life was to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.
There would be less failure in our lives if we dedicated them to the glory of God and to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot do this in our own strength but God has given us the power of His Holy Spirit. Let us be willing to share what we have with others.
If I have strength, I owe the service of the strong; if melody I have, I owe the world a song,
If I can stand when all around my post are falling, if I can run with speed when needy hearts are calling,
And if my torch can light the dark of any night, then, I must pay the debt I owe with living light.
If heaven’s grace had dowered me with some rare gift; if I can lift some load no other’s strength can lift;
If I can heal some wound no other hand can heal; if some great truth the speaking spies to me reveal,
Then, I must go, a broken and wounded thing, if to a wounded world my gifts no healing bring.
For any gift God gives to me I cannot pay; gifts are most mine when I most give them all away.
God’s gifts are like His flowers which show their right to stay by giving all their bloom and fragrance away.
Riches are not in gold or land, estates or marts, the only wealth worth having is found in human hearts.
4. MARRIAGE PROBLEMS
The whole problem of marriage today is that husbands and wives are not willing to live by Bible principles. Instead of the Lordship of Christ there is selfishness, sin, sarcasm, sabotage, scandal, scrapping, spatting, struggling, screeching, secularism, seduction, self-pity, self-serving, senselessness, shamefulness, shrewdness, silence, simulation, slackness, snobbery, and stinginess.
The Bible makes it clear that man and woman are not equal. The equal rights legislation of our governments is of the Devil and is being used of the Devil to break up homes. The first woman, Eve, was made of man-material – Adam’s rib. God made woman from the man. Man and woman are made for each other and to complement each other.
Adam recognized Eve as his partner but not as his property. Woman is not inferior to man. There is no Bible teaching that the man or the woman is superior or inferior one to the other. They complement one another. We read in Genesis 2:24,25: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” From the beginning of the human family a man and his wife were to be one. They were to multiply and replenish the earth. They were to work together, not separately.
Notice that man is to “leave his father and his mother” and to take full responsibility of his wife. It is his job to provide for her. He is the head of a new family. He is the head over the wife. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. They are to work together in home responsibilities. The woman’s place is in the home and her highest honour is to bear children and to be the keeper of the home. The modern woman’s liberation movement is of the Devil and is helping to break up marriages and homes.
The husband and wife are to “cleave” to one another. The man must cleave to his wife. The wife must cleave to her husband. When this God-given law is broken, a substitute will be adopted which could be a job, a friend, children, or materialism. To cleave carries with it the idea of a determined and devoted persistence to stay with a person. This is how Ruth clave to Naomi (Ruth 1:14). In relation to marriage it speaks of gluing or cementing together – not separation or divorce. Nothing will come between a man and his wife who cleave to one another as if glued together so that they can function as one.
This is what the Bible means by “one flesh.” They share a common purpose in life so that the two become a unit. The Bible speaks of one God but God is three in one. The three form a unit. The three Persons of the Godhead agree as one. The unity of the husband and wife is not only physical but also emotional and spiritual. Their oneness of purpose encourages trust between them.
When Jesus spoke of man and woman being joined together in Matthew 19:5 he used the word “cleave.” This word is descriptive of a team of oxen yoked together. They work together for a common cause. They depend on one another. They pull the same way. They have a common goal.
I know that many of you today are having family problems. No matter how difficult your situation may be, I would encourage you both to sit down quietly, talk things over, and reaffirm your marriage vows. You must cleave to each other and share a common purpose in life. Separations, divorces, and common-law marriages are not the answer. They only multiply problems. Oh, how I pray that you will do everything possible to save your home, your marriage, and your children. Give God His rightful place in your hearts.
The primary problem of the broken home is that the husband and wife are trying to have a happy marriage without the third party – the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is at the root of all unhappiness. What is your particular fault? Is it fussing? Sin is to blame for this. Is it jealousy? Sin is to blame. Is it temper? Sin is to blame. The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to save from every sin. He died upon the Cross of Calvary for you and there paid the penalty of your sins. He rose again to give you power over sin. Trust Him today as your Saviour.
Christ will be the constant companion in your home and personal lives. When problems arise and there is need for help, you will not have to go to a lawyer or an unsaved marriage counsellor. Go to Jesus. He knows all about your troubles. He knows how to solve them too! There is no greater joy than for a couple to pray together. Get down on your knees, have a little talk with Jesus about your problems and then have a talk with each other.
A pastor, in a message, once said, “A home on the rocks can be rebuilt upon the Rock. Any couple can get along together is they will take Christ into their hearts.” After he finished preaching an attractive young couple asked to speak to him privately. “Pastor,” they said, “We filed for a divorce yesterday. We love each other but we cannot get along. We disagree on almost everything. We cannot make a go of it so we are going to get a divorce. Just now we heard you say that any couple can get along if they will give Christ a chance. We love each other enough to want to make a got of our marriage. Do you really think Christ can help us to forget our differences and to be happy together?”
The preacher told them he knew it would work if they would give Christ a place in their hearts and lives. They accepted Christ as their Saviour and decided to call off the divorce. Within a few weeks they came to him with faces full of joy and said, “Pastor, we never dreamed we could get along together so well. We are truly happy. We are not going to get a divorce. Christ is the Rock of our lives and the Rock of our home.”
In order to be saved, you must first realize how you cannot be saved. You cannot be saved by good works, by reformation, by turning over a new leaf, or by doing the best you can. Salvation is not being christened, confirmed, or baptized. Going to Mass, joining the church, praying to Mary, or taking the sacraments will not save you. God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
You can never be saved until you are willing to come to the Lord as a sinner. Good people cannot be saved. Christ died for sinners, not good people. People who think they are good and are trusting in their goodness for salvation will die and go to Hell. All sinners who come to Christ Jesus, believing that He died for them and rose again, and receive Him personally will be saved.
Once you are saved, seek to live for God and for one another. One of the most remarkable laws of God’s universe is that we lose what we hold and keep what we give away. The farmer must give his seed into the ground in order to reap a harvest. Jesus said: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall find it” (Mark 8:35).
We are all selfish by nature and selfishness is a real enemy of a happy marriage. When we see a fault in a loved one, what should we do? Criticize? Nag? No, we must quietly go to the Lord.
An elderly man, after being saved, prayed for his wife who was subject to spells of jealousy. As he prayed he discovered two things: (1) that he was able to keep sweetly quiet when she lost her temper and spoke harsh words; (2) that after several months her spells of jealousy decreased in frequency and intensity. Finally they ceased. Under the blessing of daily loving prayer, her life was beautifully changed.
We all have faults. It is very important that marriage partners seek to understand each other. Such an understanding will help a husband and wife to overlook each other’s shortcomings. There are several reasons for faultfinding. (1) Physical tiredness or a run-down condition; (2) Sorrow that has turned to bitterness with the passing of the years; (3) Loneliness. The wife so often alone with the children or even without children; (4) An inferiority complex. This very common problem requires a sympathetic response on the part of the other partner.
When a disagreement arises it is important for either husband or wife to be meek and quiet in order to avoid a fight or nasty atmosphere. Loving respect one for the other is the secret of harmony in the home, irrespective of the cause of the trouble. “Love never faileth” (1 Cor. 13:8).
Both husband and wife must accept each other as being very human, – with many virtues but not faultless. God gives the proper Christian spirit to deal with every home situation. Colossians 3:12,13: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” This passage directly precedes Paul’s statement addressed to wives, husbands, children, and fathers. This ought to be the attitude of every member of the family one toward the other. Every husband and wife should meditate upon Colossians 3:12-17 until the message permeates their whole being.