Honoring marriage is more than an internal, individual, and intimate issue. It is everybody’s business whether or not you honor marriage. If you are a kingdom citizen, you are accountable to the entire kingdom culture for the condition of your marriage.
That said, there are all kinds of help available in the kingdom to secure this honor and value. There is patience for the immature. There is a confrontation for the abusive. There is redemption for the unfaithful. There is a judgment about dysfunction and the causes of dysfunction. There is security for those abused. There is wisdom for those confused.
While it would seem that marriages in dishonor face complex issues, the issues are usually not complex once the hearts of those involved are turned to submission to Jesus. I do not mean that sound anything like, “Just obey Jesus, attend church services, and He will make your marriage wonderful.” I do not mean it to sound simplistic.
The complicated part is not in the marriage but the spouses. Fixing a marriage is not as complicated as you might think, but you will pound your head against the wall fixing married people. The complexity lies in the same place where all ministry leadership discovers challenges: the hearts of humans.
Kingdom Culture and Kingdom Covenants
God is a God of covenants. He established every relationship in kingdom culture to operate on a covenant basis. None is so holy, high, and honored as the marriage covenant. Nothing gets God’s attention like what is said, done, and lived in marriage.
This covenant is as new as tomorrow and as ancient as Creation itself.
Jesus says, “As it has been since the beginning of the Creation” when he discusses marriage, dysfunction, adultery, divorce, and the hearts of humans.
Kingdom Leadership Dysfunction
Civil authorities should recognize the marriage covenant, but that recognition is secondary in every way to God’s validation of the covenant. Kingdom covenant marriage is a kingdom culture principle. Kingdom covenant marriage is the beginning point for all relational dynamics in the culture of the kingdom, and the first point of kingdom dominion in the Earth.
In other words, if you don’t get it right in your marriage, everything else the kingdom makes available will be diminished by this dysfunction.
Here in our region, we have had kingdom leadership failures at critical points of kingdom momentum that have severely hindered the expansion of kingdom purpose. When we look closely, or if we have discerning insight, and we can see behind the perceptions presented in public, we realize that entire ministry have failed to reach the fullness of their kingdom assignment because of marital dysfunction in the leaders.
We can assemble great teams, preach great messages, host great conferences, carrying apostolic blueprints, and fathering thousands of believers yet fail miserably as kingdom leaders if we cannot get our marriage right.
That reality should shake us at the gut level!
In the Wesleyan revival, the second tier of leadership expanded what Wesley championed and presenting in his writings. Anointed in ministry, Wesley was a miserable failure as a husband. The Revival became Awakening and moved past and beyond Wesley, or it would have died an unfortunate death depending upon his grasp of kingdom culture.
He would allow his frustrated, angry wife to drag him around the house by his long hair to prove he was sanctified and the old man was dead. That exaggeration of “holiness” and “entire sanctification” was a fatal flaw, not a guiding principle.
Here in our region, we have suffered severe limitation, waiting for the passing of some leaders from their assigned places as David did Saul, experiencing the aftershock of revival fervor in which those near it developed disgust and disdain for the move of God because of the trainwreck of personal family life in the leaders.
Remember, looking for Jezebel in the window washer or the Sunday seats is futile. Tolerating Jezebel is always about allowing leaders to produce substitute inheritors of purpose. Dealing with Jezebel still means any cancer you cut out will be close to home, and the surgery will require you to leave a big empty place to be filled by God.
On a different note, even when the marriage of a revival leader is strong, trauma close to that leader can move that leader off course in terms of priorities of purpose. The adversary seeks leverage in what is closest to you.
Moses and His Sister
If Miriam could suffer leprosy for how she spoke about Moses, forcing her to live outside the camp to preserve God’s kingdom culture protocols for kingdom leaders, what happens among family members and marriage can undoubtedly be the open door to limitation in personal destiny for anyone who fails to honor what and who God’s honors.
If you wish to dismiss the phrase “touch not God’s anointed,” beware that all the ridiculous and obvious situations in which Pharaoh leaders who abuse leadership privileges use that phrase to cloak themselves as the exception to all the rules do nothing to diminish the Word of God! You do not want to touch God’s anointed. Period. God has His way of dealing with God’s anointed through other kingdom leaders, not through the murmur or dishonor of those assigned to follow his leadership.
Saul had the right to mess up his family’s inheritance, and God allowed him to do so.
So, we see two things: an immediate Miriam correction and a longterm Saul disintegration. What we learn from each situation relates to God’s anointed leader.
Spiritual, Mental, and Emotional Adultery
If you derive sexual delight from another person other than your spouse, you commit adultery in your heart. When we begin with spiritual oneness as the measurement of kingdom covenant marriage, and we establish that every married kingdom citizen must reach for oneness as the only normal condition for marriage, we recognize the presupposition behind Jesus’ words. What is evident to Jesus about marriage should be obvious to us.
If you feel that your spouse fails you in spirit, soul, or body, and you look to someone else to meet the fundaments that only oneness can provide, you engage in spiritual, mental, or emotional adultery.
Samson was meeting with Delilah for more than intimacy. He was after a woman who would allow him to lay his head on her lap. Samson had an unmet need “to be understood” in a world that lacked any capacity to understand his uniqueness.
Samson was a poor husband from the start. A dork about women. Like David, it became his fatal flaw because he did not reach for oneness in marriage. He allowed himself the luxury of gaining emotional validation for a woman who was not his wife.
That does not mean that mental validation cannot come from other people at some level or at any level except the level of oneness. It is not that you “are understood” by people of the other gender that makes this a flaw. It is any distractions from or substitutes for oneness that mental or emotional adultery enters into the frame.
It does not mean that you share the same passion for what your spouse does. You don’t. Ruthanne lacks the necessary passion for deer hunting to get into the stand with me and glass for the victims of my rifle. Her dislike for hunting doesn’t mean that we lack oneness, or that I go looking for another woman to share my tree stand.
It does mean that our oneness is a higher priority. She finds that I am a better husband after deer hunting as I understand she is a happy wife after fulfilling her passion for something I have little passion for pursuing. She can watch cooking shows much longer than I can. I can only watch for five minutes without foaming at the mouth. She enjoys it, and I enjoy her enjoying it. That is oneness. But, if she were to join a cooking club to get mental or emotional enjoyment from a male chef, I would be borrowing that chef’s knife to filet something other than his pot roast.
Spiritual adultery begins where one spouse of the other claims spiritual superiority.
If a woman says, “My husband is fleshly. His job is to support me by working hard, getting money to pay for my ministry and take care of the natural part of my superior spiritual life. I repay him occasionally with some sex,” then that woman is a pagan with a kingdom calling which should not be allowed to do more than attend an occasional Ecclesia meeting as an observer.
I have had faced several situations in which women with weak or worldly husbands wished to be fathered. I have the capacity to discern this without flinching. I have the context of marriage counseling in which to respond professionally. I have the strength of my covenant to do so without thoughts of gaining some advantage over other women through the process. I provide what a fathering leader provides to both genders. I do not provide for any woman what her husband alone can provide.
Let me say. We have suffered enough from this obvious Jezebel trickery, the situation in which a kingdom leader offers strength, encouragement, and understanding to a woman who is not receiving all that from her husband.
When the moment arrives in which you discern that a wonderful woman or man is seeking validation from you as a leader that can only correctly come from that person’s spouse, reset your posture, guard your heart, pour cold water on your personal feelings. If the situation is one of vulnerability – you enter into temptation in your mind or emotions, dreamlife or imagination in which this becomes an open door – immediately run to your trusted accountability source, a leader with a scope of kingdom leadership greater than your own. Then, reset the relationship with boundaries you refuse to breach, and reset how and the situations in which you meet.
Jack Hayford shares his own story, working on a book with a woman other than his wife, in which the moment of realization opened his eyes to a relational dynamics beyond author and editor. He immediately vocalized this to his wife, altered the relational dynamics he had with work, and finished the task with a greater distance between them.
Remember, it will not begin every time with a blatant sexual impulse or body parts analysis. It will often start with the enemy appealing to some area in your marriage covenant that gives him leverage over your feelings or imagination. Cut the enemy off at the knees with an immediate response to that weak area.
Do not commit emotional or mental adultery in the context of spiritual adultery by making comparisons about the spiritual state of your spouse. The enemy will feed you one-liners about where you would bein your ministry fame and fortune if you had married someone else, an appeal to your delusions.
Sexual Oneness and Personal Wholeness
Oneness and wholeness are fraternal twins of covenantal promise. God designed and defined marriage as the most powerful source of personal identity clarification available to human beings. You have the opportunity to face your greatest limitations and distortions of authentic identity from Christ through your marriage covenant no matter what spiritual condition your spouse embraces.
The covenant is more potent than the relationship itself. It is the image of God in human beings. It is “the Heavenly normal” that makes kingdom culture functional at its highest. It is the mystery of the kingdom on Earth that touches places within and without a man and woman that nothing else can touch.
And, for the singles here and listening, the exception does prove the rule. The principle is revealed in the exceptions, and this is why Paul discusses his celibacy as a charismata, a grace capacity and grace flow that reaches his highest destiny and defines his ultimate in personal purpose.
Marriage Is To Be Honored by Everyone
So, we conclude that kingdom culture reveals the purpose of marriage to the world because within the kingdom of God we lead all other cultures by the influence and example of healthy marriages.
We learn to serve the King within the kingdom of God by making His design and definition of marriage higher than our demands for personal fulfillment happiness, and comfort.
Moderns have bought the lie of hell about marriage, brought it into the church, and decimated union with narcissism, myth, romance delusion, and “I have a right to be happy” narcissism.
You do not have the right to decimate your marriage to secure your rights. You have a call to surrender those rights to the will of God and become the person who can honor marriage as a kingdom covenant! You do not have any reason to divorce or even demand that what you want is more important than your relational covenant. You have nothing from God, nor will you ever have it, that gives you rights to play a game with marriage, divorce your spouse, or dishonor marriage before the world from “I’m not happy.”
You do have the right to determine what you will do when a breach of the covenant through adultery dishonor the covenant when your spouse allows for oneness with someone else through mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical adultery. You can stay with a spouse who has pornography as a mistress or imagination partner in sexual activity, but when you make that decision, you are saying that you believe a change in behavior will occur. You are not saying that you intend to normalize “sharing my spouse” with someone else as a kingdom culture norm.
During the Lakeland Revival when the leader was being serviced sexually by a babysitter while his wife lived thousands of miles away, refusing to participate with him in life and ministry, some leaders asked for us to respect his privacy. That could be a legitimate request about sharing details of immoral acts, for certain, but it could not be a legitimate request for us to ignore adultery! For the honor of marriage, we have a right to know when an adulterer is leading a move of God. That is not a private matter at all because marriage is to be honored by everyone. It is a kingdom culture principle, process, and protocol.
Listen carefully, in the kingdom – I’m not talking about believers married to unbelievers – marriage must be honorable for everyone and the bed without defilement. If there is porn in your marriage, get it out!
I am telling you now, blending three separate stories together so you cannot imagine who I am talking about, that we have had leaders in this Kingdom Center angry that I would not commission them while bringing pornography into their marriage bed, opening the door to such perversions as desiring to bring the teenage son into the marriage bed, opening the door to such terrible abnormalities as a spouse refusing her husband intimacy until he became as spiritual as she thought she was, opening the door to adultery in which a woman claiming to have an international ministry made her husband a Jezebel witchcraft sexual slave to paying for what she demanded.
We have had spouses threatening to ruin the other spouse’s ministry if that spouse did not acquiesce to that person’s demands concerning how the money was spent. “I will ruin you with everyone if you don’t do what I want.” And, we have had perverse wickedness in the behaviors of their children covered up by some of our leaders because the leader refused to face the reality of what rebellion in the heart of a spouse does to the entire family.
I did not allow people who dishonor marriage to lead at all. I did not allow them to think that mercy covers up what should be confronted. Some found kingdom leaders who told them they were broken but accepted and positioned them as leaders to help other broken people. [Barf!] That is so obviously unBiblical that a second grader can read the Scrpitures better! That is a defilement of the kingdom and its culture! That is so Corinthian – to brag about immorality and celebrate perversion of marriage.
I am talking to you about kingdom culture. For, in kingdom culture is the redemption and restoration of all that the King designed and defined for marriage and sexuality. The kingdom culture does not limp along with the same prevailing perversions as the existing culture!
We do not have worship leaders sneaking out of the house during the night to have sex with someone else. We do not have practicing homosexuals and lesbians on the dance team. We do not have elders doing wife swaps. We do not have leaders watching porn in the marriage bed together to stimulate themselves in adultery. We do not have counseling for our singles to permit them to carry on an active sex life alone. We do not limp about on one moral leg with a “God loves me anyway” or “God knows my heart” attitude about presenting an abnormal condition of marriage to the kingdom internally or the world externally.
No, we get this right! We are the kingdom of God with the kingdom cultures principles, processes, and protocols! We have active, healthy, passionate, and satisfying sex lives in marriage, and we honor marriage and keep the bed holy.