Toxic Ideas in Marriage

The devil uses “lies” to great effect. What helps his lies is that people want to believe them. The human heart is evil and so people want excuses to be let off their own responsibilities. The devil’s lies are often quickly taken up, to justify selfish choices in life.

The devil sows many toxic ideas into people’s minds regarding their marriage. The ideas usually appeal to human selfishness.

Devilish Wisdom

It is possible for an idea to be wrong, yet to appear to be ‘wisdom’. James, the brother of Jesus Christ, gives us insight into this situation in an important description of evil wisdom.

“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” James 3:15

You can pick the wrong ideas, even though they are propounded by experts and appear to be ever-so-wise, because they are “earthly” and “sensual”. When an idea defines reality from the earthly perspective, leaving God and godly morality out of the picture, then it is devilish wisdom. And when an idea appeals to human sensibilities, while ignoring God and godly morality, then it is devilish wisdom.

Beware of the ideas that go through your mind from time to time about your marriage. They may be devilish wisdom looking for a place to live. If you let that kind of wisdom in it leads to strife, contention and broken relationships.

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What are you Thinking?

Have you ever thought any of the following thoughts about your marriage?

“I married the WRONG person.” Maybe if you’d been more careful you could have been more happily married. Hmmm ???

“I DESERVE better than this!” You are not being treated properly and so you have the right to be angry and resentful.

“SOMEONE ELSE would make me happier.” Your heart is already lusting for something or someone better.

“EVEN GOD could not fix my marriage.” This is a great excuse to bail out.

“ADULTERY has ended this marriage.” When you’ve been wronged, why not be unforgiving and vengeful?

“God just wants me to be HAPPY.” Actually, I want to be happy, and I thought happiness was the whole purpose of life, so I’m now pinning my selfish wants onto God’s account.

“MY SITUATION is unique.” Your pain is very personal, and so surely no-one has ever been in your situation before.

Shake Up

Let me do a quick shake-up for you, and see if I can dislodge some of those “earthly, sensual” ideas that are dancing into your mind at times.

“I married the WRONG person” – You’ve got to be kidding! Your spouse only seems wrong because they rub up your selfishness and challenge your character. God did not create one “right” person for you. Instead, He created a relationship that is very resilient and able to be enjoyed with any one of gazillion spouses.

“I DESERVE better than this” – Do you really want what you deserve? I certainly don’t. When we compare you to God’s holiness, what you “deserve” may be far worse than anything you have ever been through!

“SOMEONE ELSE would make me happier” – How incredibly selfish of you! Your happiness is what you are demanding. And guess what! By being selfish you will be impossible to make happy. You are the principal obstacle to your own happiness!

Ready for More?

“EVEN GOD could not fix my marriage” – How dare you think so! Nothing is impossible to God. You just want and excuse to selfishly have your way.

“ADULTERY has ended this marriage” – That’s ridiculous! Millions of marriages survive adultery! Jesus Christ pointed to “hardness of heart” as the reason marriages break-up after adultery. When the offended party refuses to forgive, THAT is what ends the marriage. Don’t blame it on adultery!

“God just wants me to be HAPPY” – God wants you to be HOLY and that will bring happiness. If you are a happiness junkie, you will never find the joy your heart longs for. Be Holy. Happiness will follow.

“MY SITUATION is unique” – Rubbish! You don’t have a clue what other people have been through. Your situation is as fixable as anything God has to deal with.

Mending Marriages

I have drawn these points from my book, Mending Marriages – Putting Lives and Relationships Back Together. If I have offended you, then maybe I have made you think. Maybe you will open your heart and mind to some truths that will set you free from the devilish lies that have become “strongholds” in your mind.

We have a whole generation of unhappy people, simply because they believed the lie that they could pursue and find happiness. Godliness with contentment brings great gain. It is not “happiness” that you should be chasing.

When you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and be the person He created you to be, doing the things He created you to do, you will find wonder, joy, fulfilment and blessing that you cannot hope to find by throwing away your marriage.

Truth Video – Where Does Your Truth Come From

Where you look for truth will impact what kind of “truth” you come up with.
The question “Where Does Your Truth Come From?” has profound import in determining who you are and where you are going.

There are some things which appear to be “truth” or “wisdom”, but are devilish deceptions to enslave you to natural thinking and the limitations of mankind.
Chris Field presents this important question with his usual candour and easy-to-understand commentary.

Other Videos by Pastor Chris Field include ….

SEXUALITY VIDEO“Sacred Nakedness” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/sacred-nakedness-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“What is Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/what-is-marriage-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“50-50 Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/50-50-marriage-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“The Manhood Call” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/manhood-call-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“Sacrificial Purpose of Men” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/sacrificial-man-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Heart of a Child” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/heart-of-child-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Godly Seed” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/godly-seed-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Child Discipline” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/child-discipline-video

Pop Culture in the Bible

Here’s an interesting test for you.

We have Biblical truth, which should describe for us all that is important in our lives. We should be able to live within the bounds of Biblical revelation and be fully equipped for the moral, spiritual and personal challenges of life.

At the same time we are bombarded with Worldly ideas which are pressed upon us as if they have all the authority of holy writ.

Most Christians are so compromised on their Biblical worldview that they simply drink in the world’s concepts as if they were of equal, or even more value and relevance than Biblical truth. Many western Christians are better equipped to discuss worldly concepts than they are to expound Biblical truths.

To compound this problem many Christians keep the Biblical truths and Worldly ideas in separate baskets, never using one to critique the other. Or maybe more truthfully, holding the Worldly ideas above the Bible and assuming that the Bible either has nothing to say, or has missed this important truth.

All Truth is Not God’s Truth

One foolish idea that has been popularised to add to the confusion is that “all truth is God’s truth”. This is a ridiculous idea used to justify the ready embracing of Worldly ideas as if they have the same imprimatur as God’s truth.

The Bible clearly points out that just because something appears to be wisdom (truth is what we might call it) it can be nothing short of devilish deception.

“This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” James 3:15

God’s Biblical truth is truth. The Worldly ideas we have pressed upon us are very likely to be devilish wisdom. Many worldly ideas are deceptions, created by the devil to “steal, kill and destroy” the good things God has given us.

Try This Quiz

Here is a short list of worldly ideas which most of us have become very familiar with. Some of us have attended courses where these concepts have been central to the material. The terms crop up in many contexts.

You task is to take each of these and filter them through a few questions.

1. What does the Bible call it?

2. How does the Bible say it is to be dealt with?

3. How does the life and sacrifice of Jesus deal with it?

4. How do faith and the Christian life address it?

Here’s the List

Now that you have the questions, apply each one to the following items on this short list of worldly ideas.

Stress

Depression

Self-Esteem

Starter Thoughts

Stress is a term that picked up great impetus from about the 1980’s. Since then it has become a ready explanation for all manner of situations. Stress is seen as a medical indicator. It explains poor work performance. It justifies a person’s inappropriate behaviour. Just about everyone has their own personal load of the stuff and can refer to it to excuse their headaches, titchy attitude, lack of productivity and so on. I recently heard a radio report say “there were no injuries but one person was treated for stress”. Now, what was that supposed to mean?

People have been programmed to accept the nebulous diagnosis of ‘stress’ as if it really has meaning. This ill-defined, rubbery term is a huge basket into which all manner of things can be swept.

The technical definition focuses on the idea of people being in a situation where they do not have control over the outcome. No matter what they do they cannot change their vulnerability of take charge of their own destiny. A soldier on a battlefield cannot know when a bullet his heading toward him. An office worker cannot be sure that a whole bunch of new work won’t be dumped in their in-tray.

Biblical Stress

The Bible does not mention stress. Neither does it talk much about the concept of people not having control of their lives. Instead the Bible talks about such things as fear and faith.

David said that he dealt with fear by putting his trust in the Lord.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

Jesus instructed a father who had just been told that his daughter had died to “keep on believing”, to “have faith”.

“But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: only believe, and she will be made whole.” Luke 8:50

Life is full of uncertainty. Those who have faith can put that uncertainty aside. They can get on with life, confident that God has everything under control and will watch over their affairs.

The Apostle Paul, in prison with a possible death sentence ahead of him, was able to be completely free from stress. He resolved the stress by knowing that either way, death or life, he was happy with the outcome. His faith sustained him.

The same was true for three young men threatened with death by King Nebuchadnezzar. They told the king that they were sure that God would save them, but even if God did not save them they would not worship the king’s idol.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:17,18

Stress is a place of fear, where a person cannot find faith in God to hold them together.

Depression

Depression is another one of those rubbery terms we all know and think we have a good handle on. But finding a good working definition to “depression” is an interesting challenge.

A friend asked me recently if I could specify the difference between ‘depression’ and ‘grief’. His contention was that our understanding of depression is sufficiently shallow as to not be able to be sure that depression and grief are not the same thing.

Is a depressed person actually suffering grief? Or is it linked to “hope deferred” which we know makes the heart sick?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Self-Esteem

Now here we get into some really tricky business. It is said that low self-esteem is a major problem. Yet the Bible suggests otherwise. The Bible points to pride, too high an opinion of ourselves, as a major problem area for humans.

We are instructed not to think too highly of ourselves. We are warned against pride. We are told that God blesses the lowly. Jesus spoke highly of the “poor in spirit”.

Whose Truth?

So these notions of Stress, Depression and Self-Esteem, which have gained great currency in popular Western culture may not embody the “truth” which they are ascribed with.

So we need to question the various truths and expert opinions which are presented to us. We are told that God’s blessing rests on those who do not walk in the “counsel of the ungodly”.

“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

We are also warned that things which appear to be “wisdom” are in fact devilish ideas which will only steal, kill and destroy, rather than bring blessing and grace into people’s lives.

“This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” James 3:15

Out With Pop Culture

Christians know to be wary of pop culture, pop psychology, popular science, the latest breakthrough insights, the latest craze and concepts which simply do not stand on the authority of scripture.

Ahem….

Read that last sentence again and see if you agree with me. Do most Christians know how to be wary of those things? Is it not true that most Christians swallow the popular culture and popularly promoted ideas as if they are “God’s Truth”, when they may well be devilish ideas to harm them?

Next time you hear some concept being spouted as authoritative take the time to see if you can find it in the Bible. If you can’t, then be very wary of its deceptive and false messages.

Make sure you are Biblical, not a foolish product of popular culture.

The Heart of Your Child

It is vital that you train the heart of your children. However it is popular to ignore this essential process and give in to shallow alternatives. Since many young parents have not thought these issues through I am penning these notes as a guide to parents.

The Heart of the Matter

The most important part of your child’s development is the training of their heart. While we may not be aware of what is going on inside other people, including our children, the Bible tells us that God looks on the heart.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

God’s prophet, Samuel, did what people naturally do. He looked on external things. God accurately accused men of taking notice of external things – “man looks on the outward appearance”. That is why people have to take ‘first impressions’ seriously and why image is such a big deal for worldly people. It should not be so for those who love and follow God, but sadly appearance and image is a major focus of some churches today.

Since God looks on your child’s heart it is essential that you make it a key focus on your attention.

The Heart of Your Child is Exposed by What Comes Out

Jesus had much to say about what comes out of the heart. He said that we are defiled by what comes out of us. He then listed a bunch of things that find their source in the human heart.

“The words which come out of the mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” Jesus Christ, Matthew 15:18-19

Jesus is pointing here to both the words people speak and the motivations that lead them to do evil things. So wise parents will be attentive to the spontaneous expressions from their children and also from the behaviour patterns the children display.

A winning smile on the face of a child can be deceptive. Sweet words of promise and nicety may be a cover for wrong intentions. In the same way that adults can be expert at this level of deception, some children know how to play up to their parents’ expectations.

Key Lessons For the Heart

The heart is troubled by the presence of foolishness, which Solomon warns us is bound in the heart of every child (Proverbs 22:15). So it is important for each parent to respect the particular process that God prescribes for removing that foolishness. The prescribed process is to use the rod of correction on the child.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Solomon, Proverbs 22:15

Obedience is a key test of the child’s heart. If a child refuses to obey then they have foolishness. So getting the child to promptly obey the parent is a key heart training process. This involves them submitting to the parent’s authority. In that process they learn to fear the Lord, giving respect to God’s requirement that they obey their parents.

Games and Tricks Don’t Train the Heart

Some parents think that they are doing quite well if they get the desired action from the child. But it is not the action that is the most important. What is important, as we saw earlier, is the heart of the child. God does not look on the outward evidence but on the heart.

If you instruct a child to eat their food and the child is reluctant to obey, then a matter of the heart has been exposed. The child’s rebellious or independent attitude is a more serious matter than the nutritional value of the meal.

Many parents, however, become distracted with the external element, getting the food into the child. They can completely miss the much more serious issue of the child’s heart. Clever parents can resort to games to get the child to eat. “Let’s pretend that the spoon is a train and your mouth is a tunnel. Let the train into the tunnel.”

Such games may be fun, but they set the parent and child up for future pain. The child’s heart is left in a rebellious state, even though all the food is eaten.

The same is true when a parent tricks a child into doing the right thing, or fitting in with the parent’s plans. Games and fun, cute as they may be in the hands of clever parents, have no place in testing or training the child’s heart.

The most mature and complete heart training is evident when there is every reason to disobey or to get away with doing wrong, and yet the person insists and persists in doing what is right.

Tough Choices Make for Strong Character

When parents rescue their children from tough choices they undermine the child’s character. Tough choices make for strong character.

The child who must stand by his post, while others get to do fun things, or taunt him, or who is otherwise suffering in order to be there, will develop much stronger character than the child who is given every opportunity to cheat on their character.

False compassion can prompt some parents to remove the tough choices and hard situations from their child’s life. Such emotion is called ‘false’ compassion because it is not true love at all. It masquerades as compassion but it harms the child, so it cannot be real love.

You are Allowed to Play Games

Please note that I am not saying every moment of your child’s life should be a tough moment with tough choices. There is plenty of room for fun, games and play. You are welcome to play ‘aeroplanes’ and fly the food into your child’s mouth or to make cleaning up the room into a fun race against the clock.

The tough choices are made at strategic moments and are then built upon. But once the tough moment is past it is time for celebration and enjoyment of life. The problem will come when your child is never challenged to learn and their heart is not trained.

Insist that they Learn

Parents, be diligent to ensure that each of your children has learned to obey you, to submit to authority and to fear God. You will need to remain attentive to their heart, through what they say and how that is backed up by the attitudes and actions.

Insist that they learn the lessons. Don’t give in, just because they are crying, or complaining. There is much more at stake than their temporary responses.

The Greatest Scam

We are all aware of scams and there are many horror stories of people who have been ripped off in the most shocking ways. However there is a scam which has taken in more people than any other. The scam is based on a deceptive promise which has drawn in so many suckers that this truly is the greatest scam of all time. It is also the oldest scam. Every scam that has operated since has followed the basic model of this one.

Here’s how it works. A person is introduced to a possibility with enormous promise. The promise goes to the very heart of their deepest personal ambitions. There is no immediate guarantee, but the lure is dangled in front of the investor while they evaluate their options and weigh up the costs and risks. The cost is simply something of themself. It may be time, energy, commitment or some level of personal application. Usually, however, it involves a compromise of some kind. The investor will sense that they are crossing a line by buying in. But then there is the pay off.

The return for the investor is often non-specific. It isn’t usually in a fixed dollar amount, but a more general promise of high return. The return will usually be in terms of intangible personal benefits which are hard to put a firm dollar value on. Once the offer has been made it is usually just a matter of time before the sucker buys in. They do so out of greed, ambition, self-interest, lust for a better situation or a better life.

This scam usually bites very quickly. It bites with much the sting of a mafia entrapment. Once the investor buys in, committing him or herself to the deal they can know quite quickly that they have been caught. But, like an entrapment situation, the investors can’t quickly extricate themselves. They now have too much to lose, so they are held in the deal, even though it might be clear that they are being ripped off.

For some, the scam stays hidden a little longer. The payoff is deferred, but the sense of promise persists. The investor hangs in there, throws more of their resources into the deal, digging themself in deeper, hoping against hope that they will get a huge return, as they were promised.

When things go belly up, and they review the deal, they realise that very little was every actually guaranteed or promised. They were drawn in by smoke and mirrors, hints and suggestions, not solid empirical data. The sales pitch suddenly seems very empty, and the buyer realises that they just about talked themself into the whole deal – without anything of substance from the scammer.

Greed and ‘fear of loss’ created a whirlwind of lustful ambition and inner impulse. Hopes and fears danced as phantasms in the investor’s imagination, pushing them to the inexorable outcome. The person was duped as much by their own lust for better things than from any seduction by the scam itself.

Now, millions of people, throughout human history have been bitten and destroyed by this oldest and greatest of scams. The damage done by the Ponzi’s of this world is insignificant when compared with the scale and scope of the scam I am talking about here.

So, what is this age-old scam? Have you been taken in by this greatest of all scams? How do you know if you have been scammed?

Let me tell you what this greatest scam is. It’s what I call the “Flesh Scam”. It works like this. You were created by the Living God to live in perfect fellowship with Him, under His command, fulfilling His will and enjoying His blessings in your life. But you were built with a ‘flesh’ component. That’s your five senses, your appetites and your ability to enjoy life as a human being. Those senses are given to you so you can enjoy what God has created for you. However those very senses can become addicted to their own gratification and you can become enslaved to them.

That’s where the “Flesh Scam” comes in. Your humanity, your ‘flesh’, your natural senses, make a promise to you. The promise is a lie. It is fraudulent. It is a deceptive scam. The promise is that if you will serve your appetites, indulge your lusts and give in to your natural cravings you will delighted, happy, fulfilled, enriched and blessed. That’s the promise behind all lust – whether it’s for food, sex, pleasure, thrills, power, possessions, dominance, control, revenge, freedom of expression or anything else. Your body says, “Make an investment in me and you’ll receive a fantastic yield on your investment.” Your flesh scams you by promising to make you ever so happy, ever so blessed and ever so much better than you are.

But as soon as you choose to give in to your natural impulses they spring a trap. You become enslaved to the lusts you gave in to. You become an addict to sex, food, self-will, indulgence, anger, cursing, or whatever you gave over to. Instead of you being a better person, you are now a broken person. You are damaged goods. You are a slave.

The marketing campaign for this scam is very impressive and it pulls at the strings of everyone. Everyone has flesh and natural appetites which cry out to be indulged. So everyone is perfectly susceptible to this greatest of all scams.

The scamming comes from the fact that the flesh doesn’t pay any interest on the investment. Instead, it steals the very capital that’s invested. The very life of the person who gave over to their lusts is grabbed by that thing and made to serve the rest of its life under the demands of lust, shame, degradation, guilt, weakness, brokenness, resentment, failure and so on.

Six thousand years ago, Eve was the first to buy into the scam. The lie promised her a High Yield Return on her commitment. Instead of giving her anything of value at all, it took from her just about everything she had of value. She lost her innocence. She lost her paradise resort. She lost her close relationship with God. She lost her self-respect. She ended up with a tarnished reputation. She was powerless to undo her wrong. She was cursed for her actions. She lived out her days knowing she had blown it.

The Apostle Paul exposed this very scam with the following questions and observations… “What return did you get from that investment in your old life?” “What fruit did you have then in those things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death.” Romans 6:21

“You don’t owe the flesh a thing! The only return it delivers is Death! “Therefore, brothers, we owe no debt or obligation to the flesh, to live by the flesh’s demands. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die: but if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:12,13

Jesus Christ confirmed Paul’s observations when He said, “There is no profit in the flesh” “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I (Jesus) speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63

This Ancient Scam has been marketed in many ways. There’s the anger scam. The sex scam. The pride scam. The jealousy scam. The independence scam. And so on. Each one promises to pay a huge return but actually rips off the investor by taking their life and giving them death in return.

So the Greatest of all scams is the Flesh Scam, where the flesh promises to deliver great outcomes but only burns holes in a person’s soul. It offers itself as the sweetest wine, but it proves to be acid as it eats through the very life of the person who yields to it.

Have you been scammed? Are you one of those who has been duped by the flesh? Have you given over part of your life to the lie that you can be happier and better off if you pander to your lusts? Are you one of those who is now a slave to sin and shame?

There is hope for all those who have been scammed! A very wealthy person has paid out your iniquitous rip-off so you can be restored to your original starting point. An awesome philanthropist has given His most precious possession so He can buy you out of slavery to the scammer. He has been to the slave trader’s filthy command post and completely routed that dirty devil, so you can be set free.

There is a catch, however. In being bought back from slavery you need to return to your original destiny, of living for God. Until and unless you are willing to live that new life there is no use buying you out of your chains and rags. You will only go back to them as soon as you can.

I present to you the facts of your situation. I call you to repent from your stupid choices and the disgusting slavery that has resulted. I offer you the forgiveness and restoration that is yours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I call you to new life – not as a liberated sinner, but as a son of the Living God, fulfilling the purposes for which you were created, and living in the power of the God who created you and saved you.

I call you to be a liberator, who emancipates millions of slaves from the scam which has so readily seduced and destroyed them. I call you to build the Kingdom of God, and to fill it with liberated souls who have their dignity and freedom restored and who join us in living for God and enjoying Him forever.