The Greatest Dangers to our Spiritual Focus

Matthew 6:11; 32-33

Barb and I arrived back here in Minnesota on September 3 from my two month Sabbatical and our son’s wedding on Labor Day weekend. We had a wonderful summer and the wedding capped off everything in the most fabulous way. The kids asked me to do the service so I was honored. But I wanted to do something unique; something I had never done before in any wedding. I also wanted to do something that would honor both families (Gabri’s family has a Catholic background) so while there are some clear differences there are ways to find common ground (having mentioned that fact some of you will immediately wonder – we are confident that Gabri has accepted Christ), I decided to use the Lord’s Prayer as my text for my message to the couple. Here is a very brief overview:

Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name– none of us has the right to call God Father. We are ungodly and sinners before Him (Rom. 5:6, 8). The only basis God considers us part of His family is through faith in Christ. It is our responsibility, as His children, to always treat Him as holy; to honor Him by the way we live. Marriage is not just about impressing people with our success for a lifetime; it is about investing in eternity.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven– It is our responsibility as His children to live according to His will and purpose. In a world where everyone is trying to tell us what to do, the voice of our heavenly Father is the most important one to listen to. Marriage and our own individual lives need to be committed to doing His will and fulfilling His purpose while here on earth.

Give us this day our daily bread– food, water, clothing and shelter are our most critical basic needs. Jesus warned us that life is far more than these things. The Gentiles have mastered the eager pursuit of accumulating these things. The danger is twofold: if we lack any of these things we can be tempted to believe God does not care. If we have a superabundance of them we can be tempted, by our pride, to think we don’t need God and can chart our own destiny. Our basic needs can be one of the greatest dangers to our spiritual focus, especially in the world we live in now. The greatest priority of marriage (or life) is about seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.It is not about how much stuff we have or how much we want.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors– regardless if our issues are actual debts (by the way money is one of the chief reason why marriages fall apart) or transgressions (6:14-15) forgiveness is a clear responsibility of God’s children. Marriage, families, friendships, work relationships and neighborhoods are falling apart all around us. While there are many extenuating factors, one of the key reasons for these crumbling relationships is because people refuse to forgive those who hurt them. While couples often get married because they feel they are compatible, the Bible tells us the one thing that make us incompatible is sin. One of the greatest keys to successful marriage will be your willingness to forgive each other when you hurt each other.

Lead us not into temptation– this is too complicated to explain all of the nuances here. But the general point is that hardships, difficulties and trials will meet every person and every marriage. God uses these to test our hearts; to see if we will learn to obey His Word when life is in chaos. We will face all kinds of temptation in life that will seek to lure us away from our heavenly Father and His love for us. The key here is not know we have a heavenly Father who cares deeply about us and know how to use the University of real-life Circumstances to help us become like Christ. Your spouse is NOT the enemy and if there is any context where a couple needs to have each other’s back – it is in the trials and hardships of life.

Deliver us from evil– we live in a harsh world and there is the reality of evil. There are all kinds of landmines in this life, often well disguised, that will seek to destroy your relationship. The one person you can unreservedly trust with hesitation, is your Heavenly Father. Trust Him, walk in His Word. Our greatest asset is God’s Word and His indwelling Spirit.

Sincerely in His grace

Pastor Brad