- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2005

The following are excerpts from a sermon delivered last week by the Rev. John K. Jenkins, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23 … my wife and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. I wish that I could tell you that we are still together after 25 years because I was the “bomb-diggity” husband. I wish that I could tell you that I had it “going on” and that I was “the man,” but that would be far from the truth. The reality is that in the area of marriage and being a father, I have failed miserably. But God kept giving me another chance.

I asked my wife the other day, when we were celebrating, what she considered to be the top 10 reasons why we have made it. Her list was similar to mine. On both our lists, commitment was at the top. As we talked, I started to see a correlation between the 10 items on our lists and the Ten Commandments, which are found in Exodus 20 beginning at Verse 3.

As a result, my assignment today is to share biblical insights to help you understand how to make your marriage survive, how to make it endure, how to make it alive and powerful. The first insight is in Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other God before me.”

That is God’s command. God does not want you to have any other gods before Him. This principle gives insight to the fact that we need to have an element of spirituality if we want our marriages to be successful. Christ needs to be at the center. There needs to be a head, an authority that is greater than my opinion and your opinion. An authority to whom we are both submitted and committed to following and obeying. So when God says to us, “There should be no other gods before me,” He is saying, even in marriage, let there be no other word, no other voice, no other entity, no other spirit, no other person, no other thing that has greater power or say-so or pre-eminence in our life and marriage above the existence of God’s Word and His power. If God’s Word is the center of your marriage, then one of the key elements of marital survival is in place. That means you pray together, worship together, study together and talk together.

Marriage is a commitment — a lifelong commitment. This commitment is not just to your spouse; it is also to God. That is why God must be at the center of your marriage. He gives you the power to fulfill and keep the commitment. It is a vow. The Bible says, “It is better not to make a vow, than to make a vow and not keep it.” One of the reasons my wife and I are still together is due to our commitment to God and each other.

Christ has been the center of our marriage; we love Him. Even with us loving God and knowing that God put us together, we still encounter storms. In life, you are going to have troubles and trials; you can’t avoid them.

We are together today because of commitment. We determined early on, before we got married, that divorce would not be an option. We have never considered divorce. The Bible says in Mark 10:9: “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Let me give you an illustration to help further explain this very important commandment of marriage — commitment. I like to fly planes. I am a pilot. Early on in my training, I learned that while flying, if the engine failed, the plane would not go straight down. My instructor taught me that even with no power, the plane would still fly; it becomes a glider. So the safest place if the engine stops is in the plane.

Now it is going to come down if the pilot can’t get it restarted. But why would I bail out? There are several things I can do. First, I am going to try to find a road, a highway, a field or someplace to land. Secondly, I am going to figure out why the plane’s engine cut off and try to get it restarted, but I am not going to jump out of the plane.

In the same sense, don’t jump out of your marriage. Stay in the plane. You’ve got time to figure out what is wrong. Make an effort to get the passion and love restarted. That is what commitment is — sticking with your marriage no matter what.

Commitment to God means commitment to His principles. You cannot say you are committed to Christ and yet violate His truth. God honors marriage and desires to see it healthy and whole.

So, in conclusion, commandment No. 1 for a successful marriage: “Stay committed to Christ and each other.” Remember, “stick with the plane.”

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