Francis and Lisa Chan sat down together and gave several awesome talks about the idea of a Jesus centered relationships. (The video is at the bottom)
I’ve certainly aspired to make that reality. But to be honest, even though I wanted to, if understanding and leading in making Christ the center in relationship was a class, I’ve probably flunked it.
So as I’ve realized this, I’m asking the question: what do I do? How should I be thinking about a relationship?
This is tough: either I can selfishly focus on marriage and relationship, or I can selfishly disregard it. For me, I’m personally more prone to the prior.
In both instances, I’ve missed the beautiful and awesome role that a relationship plays in life – when Jesus is at the center.
So what is a Christ-centered relationship?
What I’m learning is that a Christ centered relationship sees life as this: to bring Jesus glory and reflect Him to this world until eternity. Marriage exists to help us become more like Jesus and Him in our life.
What God is doing – what life is about – is way bigger than the awesomeness or difficulties of marriage and singleness.
For me, this really punched through the reality of marriage. My over-value and fantasy view of relationship and marriage has led to selfish thinking, frustration, and confusion.
Chan said something profound: the ones who are most ready for marriage are the ones who need it the least.
With a Jesus centered perspective, marriage is shown for what it is: a blessing in this pilgrimage we call life.
Our Calling In Christ – Bigger Than Marriage
They also went over 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul addresses relationships. I’ve read it before and been confused – is Paul saying that it’s better to be unmarried in life? I’m like, but I want marriage!
Paul does have a lot to say about it. But his point is this:
“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” v. 17
Paul goes on to clarify why:
“What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” – 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Chan points out that Paul’s purpose in 1 Corinthians 7 is this: if you honor Christ better through marriage, then do that. If it is through singleness, then do that.
Just live for Jesus in whatever circumstance – because that is what life itself is about completely.
“God is bigger than your marriage. This calling that we have in life to display ad model Jesus Christ to a dying world is bigger than a happy marriage. And when you get that, then the happy marriage becomes a byproduct of that.” – Francis Chan
They both stress the importance having this perspective of marriage – and out of that submission to Christ, forgiveness and peace flow.
There is no time to argue and fight or hold onto something that hurt us a long time ago. We’ve got a mission and time is short. We don’t have time to be depressed. Life can be over at anytime.
Marriage Not Eternal
There is also another notion that they addressed, about marriage being forever. We want it forever. This gets us bummin’ when we think about not being with our spouse in Heaven. I know I’ve had these thoughts. It’s kind of sad in a way.
But he brought up Matthew 22:30 where Jesus says: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.“
Marriage is not eternal, but it is for our benefit to help us become more like Jesus as we live life – walking to eternity.
Even though marriage can be incredible, it is merely a vessel that God uses in life for our refinement and journey into greater holiness.
Just One Of the Ways God Renews Us
Lisa Chan pointed out that marriage is one of the amazing processes that God uses to sanctify us and make us more like Jesus.
Her encouragement was that our identity is only in Christ. If we are married, we are a child of God. If we are single, we are His child. There is this battle waging in our minds and hearts to make us think likewise.
And that’s why we have to be in the Word, renewing our minds so that we are reminding ourselves and staying on course.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-3
I’m challenged to ask myself: what is the point of living comfortable and living for myself? Time is short and God has put us on the earth for a mission.
We are to reflect Him in whatever situation we are in – whatever He has called us to. Single, dating or married.
God will probably use marriage in my life to make me more holy – and it is awesome for us to desire marriage. But to just maintain our Jesus as our One Desire is so key.