Chapter 12: Soul Ties, the Physical Aspect
I am constantly saying to people that it is imperative to be balanced in all of our ways. We need to be sure not to deal with only one aspect of anything, but rather both the spiritual and physical sides of matters. So many people (non-Christian and Christian alike) tend to deal with the tangible and omit the intangible or vice-versa and it is to our detriment every time. That being said, I want to cover the mental and emotional issues that linger after divorce which eventually lead to unhealthy physical connections.
Both men and women, more often than not, avoid dealing with these issues because it’s either embarrassing, or they simply deny there is a problem. Either way, it leaves us searching for relief in other people; hence, there are far too many “rebound marriages” full of misery and woe.
I have been a victim as well as having witnessed friends, acquaintances and countless others who became victims of suppression of emotional and mental distress stemming from sexual partners outside marriage, divorce, and unstable marriages. If people, across the board, would willingly recognize and accept that unwed sexual partners, bad marriages, and worse divorces do leave us battered, bruised, maimed, and emotionally and mentally fractured, we would more readily address the issues before we enter into another romantic relationship. It may not save people from rebound dating, but it would most definitely rescue people from rebound marriages.
I freely use myself as a perfect example of what not to do. After my first husband left me, in addition to being crushed, depressed, embarrassed and bitterly angry, I was determined to never be one of those (in my words then) “pathetic divorcee’s” who pine away the days. I set my cap on not doing the very thing I inevitably did. I told myself I was strong enough to handle the worst of situations; that I would not be a victim but a survivor. Looking back, all I see are the weak lyrics of some sappy country “love gone wrong” song. How foolish I was. After all, I didn’t know anyone who was divorced combined with gained wisdom, or at least no one close enough to speak intimately so as to draw from their experience and wisdom.
My purpose in writing this book is to shed some light on the subject so as to give others what I never had – insight stemming from experience, wisdom, and revelation from God. Oh, that someone, anyone, would have taken me under their proverbial wing and guided me through their Holy Spirit leading to save me from myself. If I had known the future destruction (better known now as my past) that I would cause many from my rebellion, I would have humbled myself before Almighty God, quieted my ranting about how God had obviously forsaken me, and listened before taking another step in any direction.
Ladies and gentlemen, God, and God alone through His Holy Spirit, is the One and Only Comforter, Healer, Restorer, Refresher, Reviver, and Life-giver. Only through our humility can we position ourselves to receive newness of life on any level, of any capacity. Divorce is a death, make no mistake. No matter how much divorce may be required in any given situation, death is what it is. Only God can resurrect you in your inner man and make you a new creation.
There is no surviving divorce. There is only God-granted restoration or better stated, resurrection and reconstruction. Without His life, there is only death brought from a divorce into any and every other relationship one may enter. If we are functioning in a death mentality (crushed beneath the weight of divorce), it will cross over into every other relationship, bar none. Self-will and determination do not, cannot and will not heal the wounds of divorce or any other form of a wrong relationship.
Death results in decay. As I determined in my fleshly man to “be strong,” I was still nothing more than “weakness veiled.” I took all of my pain and buried it so deeply within myself that I had actually convinced myself that I no longer had any. I lied to others because I first lied to myself. It seemed logical in my imbalanced mind to find a “good man to love me” so as to make me forget all the madness I had experienced with the first marriage and divorce. So long as I “kept moving,” I wouldn’t have time to stop and assess the damage left in the wake of my divorce. The results were my second marital train wreck; hurting an innocent bystander and his family; hurting my family; hurting myself; annihilating my testimony for Christ. I say again: Divorce is death. Death leads to more death because death is all it can breed.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” states I Peter 5:8. Although I was a Christian since the tender age of six, I did not know how to go about this instruction. I quickly became fodder for the enemy, Satan. First, by entering into an unholy covenant; secondly, by suffering divorce; and thirdly, by having no clue what to do with the remains. It is imperative for everyone to have the wherewithal to do self-analysis, whether married or divorced. God’s people need wisdom and the beginning of wisdom is the fear of Yahweh (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of Yahweh is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). Evil is defined further in that text as “pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
In the aftermath of my first divorce, nowhere was any of that and it was quite a while before they kicked in after my second divorce. Without question, I was the polar opposite of what God required of me for success. I was foolish, without fear of the Lord, prideful, arrogant – evil personified. Unfortunately, people are rarely clear-headed in bad situations. I wanted revenge, though I knew revenge to be God’s business. I wanted to reveal my first ex-husband for the coward, swindler, adulterer, pathological liar and cheat (and much more) he really was – I wanted him to die a painful death! I was consumed with hatred, unforgiveness, sorrow, shame, fear, and bitterness; all the while I knew in my brain that all of those were against the perfect will of God, yet, I did nothing to remedy my errant ways. I didn’t know how.
Too many people in the body of Christ are just as I once was – ignorant while sitting on the church pew. And what does the Word say in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” It’s high time that God’s holy people become educated in the ways of Yeshua.
By “educated” I don’t mean just gaining information, but gaining information combined with a heart for God; fearing The Almighty over pleasing the natural lusts of the flesh. I am not saying that everyone needs to go to church more or become more active in church functions. What I am saying is that we need to seek the face and heart of God before we do anything else. We need to know His heart and how He is for us, not against us. When we are hurting, unless we purpose to seek the Lord, the natural response is to fill the flesh with fleshly, tangible band aids – anything and anyone that makes us feel better internally or externally in the moment.
If we would stop criticizing God as to what a horrible thing He has done to us, and begin accepting that we have made poor choices all on our own, healing would come more rapidly. This does not mean beat ourselves as if everything is our fault, but rather humbly take responsibility for our part and leave the rest to God. Admit that we have been hurt and beaten, humiliated and abandoned, or whatever the issue; then take the next step and correct our wrong as Holy Spirit directs.
Wait upon Yahweh to restore us before we ever consider entering another relationship. Sex will not fix our heart. Money will not fix our heart. Busy stuff at work, home, church or anywhere else will not fix our heart. Getting married again for the sake of pretense or security will not mend our broken, wounded heart. Surrendering all to Christ alone will.
My Evil Soul Ties:
My personal experiences with evil soul ties are many, but I’ll only share a few. With my first husband, they were due to witchcraft (on his part) and ignorance (on my part). I didn’t realize at that time how deeply he was involved in witchcraft. And unless we know enough of the Word and how to properly apply it, we are easily ensnared. He wanted to marry me for a few reasons, one of which was because I would not have sex with him outside of marriage. Somehow, I became his conquest instead of someone with whom he was in love or was led by God to marry. He also wanted to get away from his parents as many young people do. He saw me as his escape route.
For me, I had made an inner vow to marry him based on, “Because I’m so ugly, I had better marry him because no one else will ever have me.” I knew in my gut that he was wrong for me, but I married him anyway. He and I had broken up for nearly two years, but when I ran into him while out and about, I felt a very strong pull to him, that to this day, I can scarcely describe. I didn’t even like him as a person. I suspected him to be a liar from the word “Go” which led me to break away the first time. Yet, somehow, I quickly became ensnared at a glance and there had been no sexual anything between us. I see now that it was an evil soul tie in play. It was a draw I could not seem to resist, though I wanted to and knew that I should. When I walked down the aisle to marry him, my stomach sank knowing it was so very, very wrong. My dad even strongly urged me to turn around immediately as the bridesmaids were sauntering down before us.
The story of my second husband is very different. I had attended a wedding at a nearby Army base with a friend. I told her that I was definitely going to meet my new husband there. Sure enough, at the reception I walked right up to the chaplain, introduced myself and proceeded to tell him what kind of man I was seeking. He said, “Oh, I have just the man for you!” I gave him my contact information and went home. I carelessly vowed to my friend that very night, “You wait and see. I’m going to marry the man with whom he connects me. It’ll be a story for the ages!”
When he called me, we talked quite a while. In that conversation, I knew already he was not for me based on likes and dislikes. Against my better judgment, I set up a date. When he arrived at my door, he was an hour and a half late – always a bad sign for me. To add insult to injury, I said, “What do you think” in reference to where we should go. His response to my question was, “Well, I was hoping for a blonde, but you’ll do.” Ummm…not a good start to say the very least! We proceeded as planned and had fun. When we returned home, we sat on the sofa and talked a long time. I expressed to him that I was tired of dating and he said the same. I told him that we should agree right then and there to date exclusively; that if it worked out, great, but if not, no big deal. Sadly, he concurred.
Because he was such a nice guy, he met my check-list, and of course because of the vow I foolishly made, we inevitably married after a brief break-up. I knew that he was not for me no matter how nice and handsome he was. I was so lonely and he was such a nice guy that, again, I reasoned that the only logical thing to do was to marry him. We had also been living together and I was ashamed before God and man. I felt spiritually obligated to marry so to get me “off the hook” of living in sin (sex outside of marriage). Nowhere was God in the lead, or even present. Nowhere did I seek the holy face of God for direction. That soul tie was so strong that I could not see right from wrong; I even told my dad that I refused to say the vows because I wouldn’t mean them. My dad refused to marry us if I didn’t say the vows, so I said them. Even after our divorce, I was riddled with guilt, shame and condemnation. It wasn’t until years later that I came to understand the soulish pull that needed to be broken.
Since soul ties are a spiritual and not a physical issue, they are much harder to detect and break lest you know how and where to look. I have personally broken evil soul ties with everyone with whom I’ve had sexual encounters as well as emotional and mental such as with friends (past and present) and family members. In addition, I have asked Yahweh to enhance every good soul tie.
I have broken all evil soul ties between me and my parents, my sister, as well as with anyone I felt I perpetually needed to please, live up to their standard, or even felt the need to compete with, be jealous of, or hate. Basically, when there is a strong negative pull between you and another person and you feel you just can’t break free no matter how strong your will is to do so, go to war in the spirit realm by taking up the Sword of the Spirit and sever those ties!
Prayer: Father, I come before You humbled, broken, even shattered. I ask that You reveal everything to me, both natural and supernatural, that needs to be addressed. Without You, I am nothing and I have nothing. As I am dead, I seek Your holy face to breathe Your Holy Life into me. Show me the way from darkness into the marvelous Light that is You. O Lord, restore, refresh and renew me. Grant me supernatural ability to withstand the wiles of the enemy attempting to lead me astray.
Chapter 9: What about Love?
I believe wholeheartedly that, once you truly love someone, you will never stop though the love will transition into a different type. Otherwise, if you cease loving someone, you never loved them in the first place. Love is everlasting no matter what transpires between two people, whether in marriage or friendship. It can be tricky if we don’t see and weigh it through the eye of The Way because genuine love is everlasting. Only when we view love from a Kingdom perspective will we be able to correctly gauge relationships, the emotions thereof, and how to proceed in life.
Being twice divorced, I now have and will always have two men out there in the world with which I have loved and made covenant. Though I am divorced from both, there will always be a bond, on some level, no matter how much time and space is between us. It’s a fact that no one can deny or remove. Because I genuinely loved both, love for them will remain unending, but the love is exclusively a supernatural agape love, a love that would behoove all to seek for their ex-spouses.
John W. Schoenheit defines the four types of love as follows:
EROS: “The Greek word for sexual love or passionate love is eros, and we get English words such as “erotic.” When eros was used as a proper noun, it referred to the Greek god of love. The Greek word eros does not appear in the biblical text, so we will not spend time on it in this article, but it has had such an impact on English and our view of sexual love that it is important to mention.”
AGAPE: “The Greek word that refers to the love of God, one of the kinds of love we are to have for people, is agape. Agape is the very nature of God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-12, 16b). The big key to understanding agape is to realize that it can be known from the action it prompts. In fact, we sometimes speak of the “action model” of agape love. People today are accustomed to thinking of love as a feeling, but that is not necessarily the case with agape love. Agape is love because of what it does, not because of how it feels... God so “loved” (agape) that He gave His Son. It did not feel good to God to do that, but it was the loving thing to do. Christ so loved (agape) that he gave his life. He did not want to die, but he loved, so he did what God required. A mother who loves a sick baby will stay up all night long caring for it, which is not something she wants to do, but is an actual act of agape love.
The point is that agape love is not merely an impulse generated from feelings. Instead, agape love is an exercise of the will, a deliberate choice. This is why God can command us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44; Exod. 23:1-5). He is not commanding us to “have a good feeling” for our enemies, but to act in a loving way toward them. Agape love is related to obedience and commitment and not necessarily feeling and emotion. “Loving” someone is to obey God on another’s behalf, seeking his or her long-term blessing and profit.
The way to know that we love (agape) God is that we keep His commandments. Jesus, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21a). There are Christians who say they love God, but their lifestyle is contrary to God’s will. These people mistake their feeling of affection for God for true agape love. Jesus made this clear: “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching…” (John 14:24a).“
PHILEO: “The third word for “love” we need to examine is phileo, which means ‘to have a special interest in someone or something, frequently with focus on close association; have affection for, like, consider someone a friend.’ It would probably be helpful if phileo were never translated “love” in the New Testament because it refers to a strong liking or a strong friendship.”
STORGE: “The fourth Greek word we need to understand is storge, which is the love and affection that naturally occurs between parents and children, can exist between siblings, and exists between husbands and wives in a good marriage. It occurs in Romans 12:10 in the word, philostorgos, which is a compound word made up of philos (the noun form of phileo) and storge.” (end excerpt)
That being said, we must decipher what to do with feelings of love. Forever I will love both my ex-husbands. Forever they will be a part of who I am because being with them through good and bad helped shape the person I am today. So the question remains: “what do I do with the love I feel for my ex-spouses? If I love them, does that mean we should get back together?”
As for my first ex-husband, mutual love appeared to have ruled before our marriage, but it quickly shifted into hatred from him toward me, which ruled for many years post-split. Because of his hatred against me, eventually hatred formed in my heart against him. Once I came into a place of forgiveness through Christ and began to walk in agape love toward all mankind, I couldn’t help but shift from hatred back into love. However, it is not a storge love between a husband and a wife, but one of agape that allows my spirit-man to extend love where hatred would otherwise long to rule. With some folks, agape love can “feel” like love that would bring them to reunite in marriage. We must keep in mind that agape love is very different than storge, the love that would tie a husband to a wife.
Many divorced or almost divorced people come into Christ and assume that agape love dictates that they must reunite, and that simply is not so. This goes back to what I and many others have taught about not being led by the soul (mind, will, and emotions). Just because you love someone does not mean you are meant to be together and that your love can sustain a marriage.
I dearly love and respect my second ex-husband, as I always have. My love for him is now and always was both phileo as well as agape. I married him because I misinterpreted my love for him as storge. Because of this misinterpretation, our marriage failed. Many people were hurt, not excluding both of us. Much guilt and shame on my part were involved in our divorce. My phileo love for him has never wavered, and it remains until this day. Phileo love does not mean that we should remarry if we were both single.
It is of the utmost importance in our walk with Christ that we understand the different types of love and how to walk in them properly. We should not try to hide that we love our ex-spouses, nor should we misappropriate our love and attempt to remarry with the wrong love. With divorce, there is often a feeling of “because I love (agape or phileo) them, I don’t love my new spouse completely” or “maybe I am still in love (storge) with them” or “I have such strong love (eros) love for them, maybe we should have an affair and see where it goes.” All of this thinking leads one to a perpetual life of misery, pain, and guilt – often shame and remorse. God wants His people to live in peace, so much that He instructs us to pursue peace hot and heavily!
Once you have moved on in your life and have concluded through seeking God’s will that your divorce is for the betterment of all, learn to love with agape love and leave the rest behind. If neither of you has remarried and you are both continually drawn to one another, reuniting may be the correct course of action. No matter what and above all else, your relationship with Jesus needs to be your priority. When He is your all-in-all, your relationships in this life will work themselves out in time. Jumping into (or back into) any human relationship is always going to be disastrous eventually if you do not first seek the Kingdom of God, His righteousness, His will, and His plan for you.
Prayer: I desire, O God of Heaven and Earth, to walk in keen discernment to know how to love whom. I want to properly apply love as You have pre-ordained and not mix emotions with what is true and holy. I desire to keep myself pure in and out of marriage, no matter where I am in life. Reveal to me how to walk in self-discipline always. Selah.
Chapter 7: What God has Joined Together
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9, NAS).”
Then Yahweh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out the ground Yahweh God formed every beast…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. Yahweh God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out Man.” For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).
The content of this chapter will overlap chapter six, but I believe it is necessary for us to notice several key things in the above Scriptures as they have everything to do with being equally or unequally yoked.
What God has Joined Together:
First and foremost it reads, “What God has joined together…” If no other Scripture indicates that God does ordain specific marriages, this one does. I have heard many say that the Bible does not clearly indicate that God ordains, creates or chooses a mate one for another. Clearly, if God knows and places the exact number of hairs on our head, surely He would put even more consideration into which person we are to marry whether we choose correctly or not.
Also, I find it intriguing that God states in Genesis chapter two that He took a rib out Adam to put into Eve. Although obviously, she too came from the ground, the difference between her and the other created beings is that she is forever linked physically and spiritually to Adam, Eve’s life mate. God created Adam from the ground without taking anything from another creation, and He could have created Eve without taking anything from Adam, yet He did.
It is my estimation that God did this to emphasize the value and validity of “oneness.” This happened in their situation physically and spiritually. In like manner, this is how we are linked together as one in current day marriages. Physically, we are joined together by having sexual intercourse; spending our lives together eating, drinking, making memories, etc. Spiritually, we are connected through verbal vows made before God and man. Vows are sacred to God as we just discussed; they are meant to be permanent, binding, lasting.
To recap, God says we are never to make a vow haphazardly. Numbers 30:2 reads, “If a man makes a vow to Yahweh, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out his mouth.” Again in Deuteronomy 23:21, we see it written, “When you make a vow to Yahweh your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and Yahweh your God will surely require it of you.”
These are applicable to marriage vows, business vows, flippant sarcastic vows; any and all vows are a serious thing. I am reminded of Jacob and his haphazard vow to Laban in Genesis 31: “Then Jacob replied to Laban, ‘…The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.’ For Jacob did not know that Rachel (his most cherished and beloved wife) had stolen them.” Later we see in Genesis 35, Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. The vow he foolishly made in haste had to be honored.
Is Divorce Lawful?
Let’s take look at the following passage in Matthew where the Pharisees came to test Jesus:
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh, what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. “ They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it (Matthew 19:3-12).”
We must address the line where Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.” It was not that way in the beginning because the initial marriage is that of Adam and Eve – a marriage created by God. It is because our hearts have become hardened toward God, or rather, against the perfect will of God, that disobedience abounds and unholy covenants of marriage abound all the more. Notice that this is where the Lord interjected the concept of being a eunuch.
In reference to marriage, obedience to God would be to pray for the ordained, anointed mate, walk in obedience in every other area while waiting (I.E. no sex before marriage, not dating anyone you desire just because you can, and so on), be patient with God, expectantly believe that God is God and has a better plan for you than whatever you could concoct in your flesh, and above all, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6) trusting His ways above our own.
Does He or Doesn’t He Choose Our Mates?
I was just reading where a minister posed a question which asked, “There are those who believe that God chooses your mate for you and those who believe that the male is responsible for choosing his mate. Let me hear from you? What do you believe? Give Scripture if possible, please.” Many people weighed in. The majority believed that man chooses his own mate because God gives us free will; that God does not create a mate for people.
I believe 100% given all of the good and bad marriages of the Old Testament all the way to current day, including my own personal knowledge from my life experience, that God does not choose a wife for man, but He does create one just as He did for Adam. It was up to Adam to choose Eve, or not. Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, and others had women created for them and were directed to them supernaturally, but they still had to choose God’s will or their own. These God-ordained unions honored Him when they sought His will through prayer. This is the root purpose of everything God plans – to honor Him. Hosea, the prophet, was instructed specifically who to marry and why.
For those who are set aside as eunuchs by birth, there is no mate for them. For those who chose to be a eunuch or were made so by the hands of men, God already, in advance, before the foundation of the Earth, knew this. I must say that I don’t understand such strong people of God believing in a God who knows all would just say, “Here you go. Here are a bunch of people…pick one that you like” or “ooooppps…I didn’t know you were a eunuch, so I accidentally created a mate for you. I guess the mate is just out luck and on their own!” I ask with sincerity, does that make any sense? Many make themselves eunuchs because their ordained mate married the wrong person leaving them no choice but to be celibate. One wrong marital choice throws God’s perfection way off course.
Every marriage ordained of God written in the Old Testament was preordained. It means that God strategically planned the union with great thought and detail before the foundation of the Earth. That is why the marriages were successful even though the people themselves were flawed. We do have the God-given right to choose anyone we want just as we all have the right to choose Jesus or not. That’s part of free will. Just because someone doesn’t choose Jesus, does that mean there is another way to God the Father? No. It is radically and painfully obvious to all that mankind has, generally speaking, chosen poorly in all areas of decision making, including choosing marital mates.
For those who purpose to completely seek the face of God, hear His heart for their purpose, listen to His bidding, choose patience in all matters, and trust His perfect timing, are brought together with the mate God created just for them. We see so much divorce and tragic marriages within the body of Christ, including within the leadership, because we pick according to our standard, wants, likes and dislikes and choose not to wait upon Yeshua.
Marriage on Earth is to be a reflection of our spiritual marriage to God – unfortunately, they are a disgraceful display at best. We make such poor choices because we say with our lips, “I love God” yet we don’t trust Him enough to wait for Him to bring forth into our lives that which He orchestrated.
We don’t generally have enough faith to believe that God is big enough or thoughtful enough to create someone for us or us for someone. Rather, we do our own thing because it may have the appearance of holiness, yet is altogether unholy. Worse yet, not only are our choices in a spouse not for us, but they are against us and then we want God to come and fix our unholy covenant that He never purposed from the start.
God is so intricate in His planning and timing that He creates a mate for those who are to marry. That is why the Word reads, “What God has brought together.” Old Testament to current day, unholy covenants have taken place at the hand of our foolish choices and will proceed well into the future. We are led by emotions, hormones, loneliness, even (and especially) within the body of Christ, therefore, Holy Spirit had no say in the matter. Now having new knowledge of our own personal missteps, dare we have the audacity to question God as to why our marriage is so horrific?
We all know and can quote, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NAS).’” I do wonder if we recognize and readily accept that there is a plan for every minute area of the life of every person. God is an orderly God who knows the plans He has for us. If we don’t seek His face, we miss it and make up our own plan as we go along; we usher our own demise, no fault of God. Few wait upon the Lord due to foolish fleshly desires not reigned into obedience to Christ.
Since two become one, would God so sloppily not create two specific people for one another? We conduct ourselves as if God is saying, “Yes, two become one, which is a deeply serious thing, but that isn’t my problem. I have left you abandoned and without direction. Do whatever you want, however you desire, and don’t even suggest that I (God) have time to bother with such things. Figure it out.”
In closing, remember that in our marriage to Christ, we become one entity – completely losing ourselves in Him. In human marriage, two become one – both are to lose themselves in the other creating one new entity. Is that not serious enough an issue for God to plan ahead? He ordains, but we choose.
But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of Yahweh, how he may please Yahweh; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of Yahweh, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband (I Corinthians 7:32-34).
Chapter 6: Covenant Vows
What Man Brought Together:
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9).”
The above text is far too often misquoted when trying to save marriages, therefore it is grossly misused. But, I implore us all to look at the wording: what God has brought together. In all my counseling those considering marriage or divorce, my first question is: Did God ordain (bring together) this union, or is it a manifestation of what man brought together?
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the vast majority are brought together by man, not God. Even when two people are Christ-followers, it doesn’t mean that God was anywhere in the vicinity of their decision to marry. Too often we think, “I should marry him or her because he or she is such a good Christian and so am I.” Again, it sounds good in theory, but in reality, God is nowhere in their radar.
Magnitude of Vows:
“When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow (Ecclesiastes 5:4)!”
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to Yahweh.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the Earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:33-37).”
All of that being said and understanding that there are occasions where divorce is inevitable, we need to discuss the ramifications of divorce. When you marry before God and man, you are indeed making very serious vows that are not to be taken lightly. They are not so easily broken merely with a decree of divorce. Let’s look at the next passages concerning God’s take on vows and how they affect us eternally.
God says we are to never enter vows lightly. Remember in Joshua chapter 9 where the Gibeonites, knowing that God had given their land over to His people, were so afraid of being killed by Joshua that they pretended to be from a far away land so as to make covenant with Joshua? Their actions were deceptive. In haste, Joshua made unholy covenant with a people that God had instructed him to wipe away. Because he did not seek the Lord before entering into a treaty, the repercussions lasted throughout the generations. This is what we do when we marry someone and enter unholy covenant not constructed by God.
Note what Joshua actually did at the core. God had moved mightily through this man, a man who loved Yahweh with all of his heart. He obeyed God’s commands. However, we all are flawed and are all subject to momentary lapses of sanity. Joshua had allowed pride to take root. God had been so faithful to allow him and his men to overpower every enemy that eventually he seemed to think that the power was his own. Because of this erroneous thinking, he got himself and his people into a mess.
So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of Yahweh. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land…but all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them.”…then Joshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living within our land? Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God (Joshua 9:14-16, 19-20, 22-23).”
It’s amazing how quickly Joshua laid blame on them as though he did nothing wrong. If he had only sought Yahweh as he had done every other time, he would have known supernaturally that the people were acting deceptively. It’s a common practice of the nature of the flesh that, no matter how much we love God, we place blame on others for our suffering and shame. The flesh never wants to be accountable for its own error. It is easier to point out and blame the wrongdoing of another. This is what transpires when marriages go awry; we blame God and our spouse never considering our own culpability in the matter.
Even though the punishment for the Gibeonites was to become slaves to the Israelites, the Israelites forever had to protect them because of the covenant that they entered. In chapter ten, the Gibeonites cried out to Joshua to come from Gilgal to protect them from the Amorites and Joshua was obligated to go. God did, of course, take what Satan meant for evil and turned it for good (Romans 8:28).
Joshua understood the impact of a vow no matter how much he wanted to break it. Had he broken the vow, his victory at Gibeon would not have been what it came to be. Broken vows are a very serious matter. God can turn it for good in the long run, but I implore us all to make right decisions before entering any vow. Let’s look further at Jephthah and the ramifications of his hasty vow.
Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be Yahweh’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and Yahweh gave them into his hands…when Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter…she was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to Yahweh that I cannot break.” “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to Yahweh. Do to me just as you promised, now that Yahweh has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.” “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite (Judges 11:29-40).
All I can say to this is situation is, “WOW!” It’s interesting to me that Jephthah’s response when he saw her was, “You have brought me down…” as if somehow his foolish vow was his daughter’s fault; he did much like Joshua. In this case, the daughter was innocent in the matter, unlike the Gibeonites.
I must point out something often overlooked. The daughter must have been very close to God given her response to her imminent death. She did not go into a panic, nor did she come against her father, or his foolish vow. What she did do was show respect to her father and to God; her concern was Yahweh and the vow made to Him.
Furthermore, look at her odd request. She did not want to go for two months with her friends to “party” nor did she want to go to grieve her upcoming death by fire. She simply wanted to spend two months with her friends to mourn never having the opportunity to marry. This is odd to me. Because we know she must have understood God and the intense value God puts on a vow, she equally understood the beauty and value of marriage – holy matrimony.
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to Yahweh.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the Earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:33-37).
Prayer: Father, I come before You in the name of Your holy Son, Jesus. Father, teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I will be slow to speak and quick to listen. Place a watch over my mouth that I may not sin against You. Stir discernment within me that I hear Your direction prior to making a wrong vow internally or externally. I bless You, O Lord, that You make every curse in my life a blessing through my love for You. I trust that eventually all things work for good for those who love You. I vow my love for You so that I will walk a life of blessings in the Kingdom of God instead of curses set against the Kingdom of God. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.
Chapter 5: Common Law “Marriage” part II
Happiness or Holiness:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:1-6).
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24, NAS).”
Neither immorality nor impurity should be named among God’s people. These texts are life-altering. Far too many people are concerned more with their personal happiness than holiness before God and it should not be. When seeking happiness, there’s guilt involved feeling like they’re being selfish seeking such happiness. In this state of guilt, the concept of holiness gets swept under the rug.
Imagine if you will a person completely surrendered to God. This particular person will no longer seek happiness nor will they be led by emotions of guilt, shame, fear, or anything else. They will be, on the other hand, focused solely on pleasing the Savior. In this condition, there is no room for anything other than holiness; they’ll do whatever it takes to be in direct obedience to the One who can resolve any matter. A person, such as the two men mentioned above, would be able to make clear, concise decisions concerning their own personal life. They would be able with ease to tell their girlfriends that, since they’re seeking the face and holiness of Christ, they must of necessity break union, or at the very least, stop living in sin. Their desire for holiness would cause them to surrender completely to Christ and, in so doing, do whatever necessary to follow Christ.
One must understand that commitment and surrender are vastly different things. Commitment in or to anything means that you are the one in control; you can quit whenever you want. Surrender, adversely, denotes one not in control, you can’t quit as you no longer have a say or vote in the matter; you have consigned your vote, say, and will. Countless people are “committed” to their girlfriend or boyfriend and suggest that, because of their commitment, they don’t need to marry. However, God doesn’t call people in relationship with Himself to commit, but to surrender.
Since human marriages are a reflection of our relationship with Christ, we too are to surrender ourselves to our spouse. This way, there’s no out because you aren’t controlling the relationship, God is and/or your spouse. Commitments are broken at will every day because the one committed controls how long they stay. When both the husband and wife surrender to each other, there is an unbreakable force; yet in today’s marriages, both want to do nothing more than commit so that, if they eventually want out, they can leave.
When we say marital vows, most miss the fact that this is supposed to be a form of surrender, a giving yourself to the other; two becoming one (both are surrendered into one new creation). Because people miss this, too many are committed for a season but, eventually, they check out be it with literal divorce or emotionally though remaining legally married. In living together unmarried, one inadvertently surrenders themselves to a person without covenant and that can only lead to a disaster. This is why people who are living together having taken on each other’s bills, kids, property, etc. feel trapped though they’re actually free to leave. Surrender means crucifying self; it means to lay down your life for another. We all need to stop surrendering ourselves to one without covenant because, without covenant, there is no protection and all the lines of what is right and wrong are blurred leaving everyone confused and imprisoned.
To reiterate, God doesn’t call anyone to happiness, but holiness just as He doesn’t call us to commit, but to surrender. Surrender causes us to become lost in Christ. Surrender causes us to become lost in our spouse. Surrender takes your focus off personal happiness (selfishness) and diverts it toward holiness (selflessness). Keeping this in mind, it will assist you in the quest for the correct union of marriage preordained by God. Instead of asking, “Will this make me happy?” always ask yourself, “Can I surrender to him or her? Should I surrender to him or her? Can I utterly subject myself to him or her and be in right standing with God?” These questions can literally save you from entering an unholy relationship of fornication, adultery or unholy marriage and even save you from exiting a correct marriage gone sour through divorce.
Commitment and happiness = self-focus and personal control
Surrender and holiness = God-focus and control abandonment
Prayer of Purity: Father, may I be self-controlled as Jesus was when He walked in human flesh. As I seek purity, reveal to me the weaknesses of my flesh that I will flee evil instead of deceiving myself into thinking that I have strength I do not possess. Lead me into the path of righteousness that I will not cast my foot upon a stone and stumble and fall. I choose today to crucify my fleshly man and receive Holy Spirit to take His rightful position as the ruler of my heart. I repent of all impure activity in my past and receive your forgiveness. I choose to abstain from all sexual impurity. Thank You, Jesus, for paving the way of holiness. Amen.