The Lord and the Home

Words spoken at a marriage service

In considering this great occasion four words have been much in my mind — "Only in the Lord." They were written in reference to marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, and we should ask, What do they mean? They mean, of course, that the Christian man must choose a Christian woman as wife, and the Christian woman must choose a Christian man as husband. To do otherwise would be to transgress the word of the Lord, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers."

But more is involved in them than that. "In the Lord" means that you belong to the One whom you have believed, and you own His claims over you. You are His by right of purchase, He paid redemption's great price for you that He might possess you. You belong to each other now for as long as life shall last; you are to know the joy of possession and of being possessed, but before you knew each other you belonged to the Lord Jesus your Saviour, and you will not deny Him the joy of possession, His claim must ever stand first. As to this natural life, you stand before all others in each other's affections and thoughts; but His claim is greater, it is divine and spiritual and eternal. He has given you to each other, but He has not and cannot surrender His rights in you; they are the rights of your God and your Redeemer. In putting the Lord's claim first, you will not be sacrificing your own happiness, but you will sanctify and prolong it, and guard it against that selfishness to which we are all prone and which can only spoil it.

In setting up a new home you are really adding a bit of territory to the Lord's Kingdom, for, as you own His rights over you, the Kingdom of God will be a practical thing in your home. You have often prayed and will continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It would be an inconsistent thing to pray that prayer if you did not set up His Kingdom within the four walls of your own home. Your home must be "in the Lord." As those two of old constrained the Lord to enter their house and abide there, so I know you will. Let Him be Lord there, His will be done and not yours. There was no room for Him except in the manger when He entered this world, but you will say,

"O come to our home, Lord Jesus,
There is room in our home for Thee."

Having settled the matter of His Lordship over yourselves and your home, what of the internal economy of your home? What have you to carry on with? You have your God-given love for each other — a great gift, life would be intolerable together without that — but that is not enough for a truly successful marriage; you will need to mix wisdom with your love; and not worldly wisdom, which is more often than not rank folly. You will need the wisdom which is from above, of which James speaks, which "is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits." But how can you secure that wisdom, the price of which is above rubies? Listen to this, E — , and let the words be engraved on your memory and soul, "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." "It shall be given him"; what an encouragement there is in that for prayer in the Name of the Lord to whom you have surrendered yourself and your home! What a standby that word of the Lord will be to you when in perplexity and doubt.

And you, M — , what have you to contribute to the well-being of your home? You have received many presents from those who wish you well, and they will beautify your home, yet in time they will become commonplace and lose their lustre. Time will leave its mark upon your person and all you possess, but you may have a beauty in your home that is fadeless, you may fill your home with a fragrance that will not pass away, you may adorn yourself with a garment that will never grow old, and that will become you even better than your bridal dress. What is it? It is "a meek and quiet spirit which, in the sight of God, is of great price." It may be an old-fashioned adornment, for "after this manner in old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands" (1 Peter 3:4-5). It may not be fashionable in the world, but how pleased God will be with it. Think of God looking down into your home and seeing there that which is of great price in His sight, the most costly gem the world possesses cannot rival that.

Well, it all flows out of the words, "In the Lord". And you know that He is not an austere Master; He exercises His authority in perfect love, and in divine wisdom. We all wish you well; those who love you unite this day in prayer for the best of blessing for you, but your Lord's interest in you is infinitely greater than ours. He loves you with a perfect and changeless love. His will is on your side and for your constant blessing. May you ever prove that the will of your Lord is good, and perfect and acceptable.