Many people suffer from weakness in key places. And that contributes to some of the Marriage Breakdown we currently see. So here is some insight that will likely help you build the right inner muscle in the right places.
I once had my right forearm in plaster for many weeks, following a green-stick fracture. The whole arm was sealed in a heavy plaster cast, from above the elbow to the top of my hand. When the plaster casing was finally removed so too were the fine hairs on my arm – quite painfully. And there, before my eyes, was a pale, skinny limb.
It took several weeks to get strength back into my arm. The muscles had atrophied and needed to be built up once again.
And that’s what happens to any part of our being if we do not exercise it with regular use. People who do not use their will, exercise their faith, maintain resolve or discipline their life end up with weak will and flabby, useless qualities.
The Empty Hero Suit
Let me use an analogy to open this up. Imagine a local hero who has dealt with the bad guys and made life safe for a whole community. He even has a lawman’s coat with a huge Sheriff Badge emblazoned on the chest as his hero costume. When bad guys see the hero in his suit they quake in their boots.
However the hero decides to go on vacation. He hangs up his suit and heads to the Bahamas for some much needed rest.
While he is away some baddies arrive in town. A deputy confronts them and shows them the super-hero suit, to scare them away. But they quickly see that the suit is empty and are unafraid. So the deputy puts on the suit, but the baddies quickly recognise that the fearful hero is not in the suit.
Eventually the lawman returns, tanned, fattened and flabby. His muscles have become soft and he is more worried about the right product for his hair than dealing with bad guys. He has gone soft. When he gets into his hero suit again he is quickly overpowered.
The locals keep the suit, since they have great memories of what it once was to them. They keep hoping that it will make a new hero for them one day. But the suit remains empty.
That suit is like our emotions. In the past we have seen people led by their emotions who end up wonderfully happy. People have employed their emotions to lead them to a happy marriage, wise choices and good outcomes.
But today, those same emotions lead people into broken relationships, broken hearts, frustration, abuse and unhappiness.
How can such a wonderful suit lead to different outcomes at different times?
The answer lies not in the suit, but in who is wearing the suit.
The answer lies not in the emotions themselves, but what is behind those emotions.
In today’s generation the emotions are ‘empty’, like that empty hero suit, because the real substance behind our emotions has atrophied. It has shrunk away, and left us with the memory of what should have been, but which we cannot seem to find.
There was a time when people’s lives had substance. That substance did not come from within them, but from the planting into them of godly morality, divine principles, the fear of God, godly character, strength of will, self-discipline, Biblical wisdom, and so on.
Those things turned men and women into super-heroes in their own lives.
That kind of substance kept people from indulging their lusts, abandoning their responsibilities, slavery to sin and shame, bad habits, addictions, fear and shame. That kind of godly substance filled out the suit we call emotions.
When emotions were backed by character, wisdom, faith, self-control, self-sacrifice, godly morality, self-discipline and so on, emotions could flourish in their place. Couples could enter into deeply rich emotional experiences, with joy, faithfulness, confident hope in the future, freedom from shame, strength to weather the challenges and every expectation of complete stability and success.
We now have a generation of people who have no substance to themselves. They have not learned to defer gratification, do what is right when it is hard to do, keep their word, deny their lusts, live by principles, obey authority, give up their rights, look out for others, serve, love their neighbour, resist temptation, die to their pride, be faithful to their responsibilities, obey God’s instructions and so on.
Consequently we have a culture full of people with atrophied lives. Their wills are dictated by impulse, pride and self. They do not have the power within themselves to make life-long commitments, suffer loss, do what is right, live for others and die for godly principles.
So now we have a collapse of marriages, due to people giving emotion credit that it no longer deserves. Emotions are only powerful and wonderful when they are backed up by the power to make worthy commitment, maintain responsibilities, live by principles and so on.
A couple come to you and say, “We’re in Love!” That should be good news. That should be cause for happiness. But it might be better for you to reply, “So What?”
Being in love, feeling sweeping emotions and falling head over heels for each other means just about nothing today. Emotion is absolutely zero guarantee that the relationship will last more than a few days. It is zero guarantee of happiness. It is zero guarantee the couple can build a life-long marriage and both enjoy their grandchildren together in years to come.
Emotion guarantees no happiness whatsoever. In fact, emotion is more likely to bring heartache than happiness. Since emotion is no guarantee of success in the relationship feelings are sure going to be sore when the relationship fails. A calculated relationship will bring less heartbreak when it fails than an emotional one will.
So what? Why should anyone be impressed by emotions these days?
You need much more than emotion. But you won’t get any more than emotion, and probably emotional disappointment, unless you make up your mind to be something more than most people are.
You must choose to become a person of godly character, living in the fear of God, confident in faith in God, disciplined to the will of God, to enjoy the blessing of God.
If yours is an atrophied life, deluded to believing that the empty suit will rescue you, then I can’t help you.
Sorry. You are heading for a life of sorrow and disappointment. End of story.
You will get what you have set yourself up for.
If you have any sense at all, you will immediately address your situation and start seeking and building the substance that you need to fill out the life God has given you.
Exercise the Muscles
My atrophied arm needed daily use to slowly build back to normal strength. Now, 45 years later, there is no sign of that childhood break.
You won’t develop into the man or woman God created you to be in one work-out session. You will need to exercise your muscles of character, will, discipline, faithfulness and so on. I challenge you to start your daily development today.