Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well-Married: Something to Consider

Among the many radio programs I podcast is Dr. Albert Mohler's daily show. For those who don't know, Dr. Mohler is president of Southern Seminary and was one of the courageous Christians who stepped into the gap for the Southern Baptists to halt their lurching slide into liberalism and return them to solid foundations. His program is usually a thoughtful commentary on the many social issues of the day.

On February 8, 2010, Dr. Mohler aired a program entitled, "College Campuses: Where Have All the Men Gone?" During that program, he states, "One of the main responsibilities of the people of God, that is, the local church, a local congregation, is to get its members well-married. And most churches don't even think about that.

Whoa! Now that's not something that is often heard!

When was the last time you heard a sermon exhorting the young men of your church to forego the trivialities of youth and prepare themselves spiritually, emotionally, and financially to take a wife and have a family? When was the last time you heard a sermon exhorting the young women of the church to prepare to be a wife and helpmeet to a husband and a mother to children rather than to prepare for a career? 

When was the last time the leadership of the college group expressed the expectation that the young men were to drop out of the culture of perpetual adolesence, grow in maturity, and take one of the young ladies as a wife? 

Our churches are woefully inadequate when it comes to the responsibility "to get its members well-married." The expectation isn't there. The theology isn't there. The teaching isn't there. The support isn't there. My own church is considered a beacon within the nation, an example to be emulated. And yet, even our nationally-known pastor emphasizes the fabulous things our young people should do with their singleness rather than emphasizing the normalcy of most to prepare for and to pursue marriage at a reasonably young age. This is most certainly NOT what Dr. Mohler is talking about.

If you are an elder in your church or a person of influence, consider what you can do to encourage your church to take on this responsibility.

But Dr. Mohler doesn't stop with the churches. He also states, "One of the main responsibilities of parents, even more urgently, is to get their children well-married." When was the last time you as a parent considered what you are doing as you raise your child? Is your goal a good education? A degree from a good college? Or is it something far more important, a "main responsibility"? Dr. Mohler goes on to say, " we think about how getting them raised and launching them in life is not only about education, it's also about getting them well-prepared for life, well-prepared for holiness and faithfulness, and well-prepared for marriage."

Look at what you are actually doing as a parent. Is your focus good grades, or if you homeschool, ensuring all the curriculum is completed so you can match up with your government school counterparts? Is your focus to get your child into every activity in which he shows an interest such that you are running yourself into the ground getting him to each and every one? Is your goal to get them into a good college? In other you look like every other parent on your block? Do your priorities look like those of every other parent on the block? 

Arguably, the last three things Dr. Mohler mentions in his quote rank as far more important than education. 

Most of what passes for "education" in these days in no way prepares a young person for life because it has no relation to the real world. It is jumbled facts and figures to be memorized for a test. So step one is to ensure the "education" your child is getting is one that will prepare him for life (and typically, that isn't going to happen in a group school, but that's another post and another argument).

While the right education is important, it's not nearly as important as holiness and faithfulness, both of which are indicative of true, saving faith. Both holiness and faithfulness are also critical to withstanding the temptations of popular culture and to witnessing the true power of saving faith to those with whom our children come into contact. "Education" doesn't even stand in the shadow of the importance of the sure salvation of our children's souls!!! 

Nor is it as important as preparing our children for marriage. Do we want them to be part of the divorce culture that is so rampant, even within the Christian community? Of course not. Then the assumption for all who are not gifted with celibacy (which is most) is that, properly prepared, they will spend most of their years married to a single spouse. It is critical that they be prepared to be the godly husband or godly wife that spouse needs in order to show the glory of God as witnessed in marriage. It is critical they are prepared for their Biblical role and that they know the theology of marriage so they form a family that is a safe repose from the world and a model of Christ's love to their neighborhood. This is the sort of family that avoids the snare of divorce, all the while spreading the Gospel. It's not something that just "happens," but rather is something for which there must be preparation. That preparation comes in the form of mentorship and training from parents; it isn't something that comes through osmosis!

So, Dad (and Mom)... how are you doing? Have these thoughts crossed your mind? If you have given them thought and acted upon your conclusions, bravo! If not, then take the time to consider them and strategize about them. Do what you need to do, radical though it may be, to start right now in guiding your children to become the young adults who 1) know, love, and obey Jesus Christ as their Savior, 2) are ready for life (the responsibilities of adulthood) at a young age, and 3) are ready to assume the responsibilities of marriage early in life.

Not only will your children rise up and call you blessed (moms) and sing your praises in the gates (dads), but you will be instrumental in putting one more family into the ranks of the Kingdom of God as we stand against the death-spiral of our culture.

May the Lord bless you in your efforts!