Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Marriage Vows

As Adam woke out of his deep sleep, he knew, without a doubt, that the person, whom God was ushering towards him, was his wife. 

In a moment of great realisation and intense joy, Adam knew that the colossal emptiness in his life was now over and he burst into spontaneous and brilliant poetry.  What Adam pronounced in that exquisite moment were the first marriage vows.  Rightly so, isn’t it?  Only the marriage vows would be fitting for that moment. 

God instituted the husband-wife marriage relationship, but it had to be the man, who had to initiate and pronounce the marriage commitment.  The relationship of marriage was a covenant built on the commitment that Adam pronounced.  It would be wise to look closely at the major themes within the marriage covenant. 

Woman is a unique creation of God, but made out of man.  The husband is made complete by the woman, whom God brings into his life.  Similarly, the wife is made complete by the man, whom God brings into her life.  This completeness consists of every element of their personalities.  It includes their physical makeup, their emotional build-up, their intellectual development, their social capabilities, their spiritual growth and their relation with the environment.  Therefore, the husband and wife, in total abandon, give themselves to each other in order to make the other complete. The husband does not selfishly seek his own completeness through the marriage relationship, but he desires to make his wife complete.  Similarly, the wife’s desire is to make her husband complete. 

For the husband and his wife to give themselves to each other in total abandon, requires for them to delink from every other previous relationship.  There remains a mandate though, for the husband and his wife to be responsible towards all of their previous relationships.  They now ensure that these responsibilities are conducted within and through the development of their own covenant relationship with each other.

To nurture the husband-wife covenant relationship, they both are always in a state of celebration and romance.  Yes, there will be differences, but every issue that causes a spark will result in them being drawn closer and growing fonder of each other.  The sexual celebration experience is looked forward to with anticipation and excitement. This experience is reserved exclusively by God for the husband and his wife.  The husband and wife therefore protect each other from falling prey to temptation in the area of sex.  They guard and nurture the sexual celebration experience within the marriage covenant. 

Marriage is instituted by God and under His authority, wisdom and strength we are bequeathed to enjoy great marriages. Let us not, foolishly, cast away our inheritance.  

Sunday, 14 December 2014


It was God who said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him”.  If this is what God decreed for the most intimate of all human relationships – marriage, between one man and one woman - then this is how human society should be knit. 
In this unique and beautiful relationship of marriage, man and woman find their fulfilment and happiness. Since this is a God-instituted human establishment, Satan is determined to do everything to attack the institution of marriage and bring it to ruin. He wants to look at God and say, “Look how effectively I have destroyed the most beautiful human relationship that You set in place!”

So, to strengthen and build the marriage relationship, mere human answers will not suffice. Spiritual solutions are required.

There were three important, interlocking principles that God put in place for a joyful marriage relationship. The first principle is to enjoy friendship and companionship between and with each other.  God saw that man was alone; and so would a woman be – alone - without a man. God knew that they needed companionship. However, man and woman cannot cultivate their friendship and companionship with each other without being God-dependent.  At no point can a man or woman take this principle for granted as it will result in a breakdown in marriage. Isn't it evident from the fact that a man and woman can be husband and wife for several years, yet be so distant from each other?

Secondly, they are helpers of each other. Neither one can insist on a superior position in the marriage relationship. They help each other to accomplish God’s purpose for them in marriage. Adam was assigned a task and Eve joined in with him to discharge God’s mission for them. To be helpers to each other, they constantly need to deal with their egos, reckoning themselves dead with Christ. Do we not see how ego clashes are destroying marriage relationships?

Thirdly, they are comparable to each other. Comparability refers to being as good as each other. Roles, therefore, are shared and supported in a marriage.  Comparability marches alongside the truth that men and women are created uniquely different and they bring their uniqueness into the marriage relationship, completing the image of God. The traditional role assignment for men and women in marriage is a fallacy. Men and women need to submit and rely on the Holy Spirit in order to shed long-established viewpoints on marriage.   

God’s heart breaks when He sees our marriages breaking up.     

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Man’s life began with God.  Man was formed from the dust of the ground and it was God who breathed His breath into the nostrils of Man and Man became a living being. This was not just physical life but Man was now, whole and truly alive.   This wholesomeness for Man included his spiritual, mental, social, physical, ecological and personal well being. All of Man’s wholesomeness lay rooted and rested in his relationship with God.

In order for Man to continuously affirm for himself that he needs to be in relationship with God, God placed a tree in the middle of the garden.  Man was instructed by God not to eat of the fruit of this tree.  It was a crucial dynamic for Man’s wholesomeness.   Every time Man passed the tree, they were reminded of their relationship with their Creator. They would say, ‘no’ to eat the fruit of the tree and by doing so, affirmed for themselves, creation and to the Creator, “We choose to be in relationship with God”.  Man by choice, chose to remain in relationship with God and thereby experienced and enjoyed, wholesomeness. 

We see what this meant to God.  God’s heart was pleased with Man.  He watched them rejecting to eat the fruit, every time they passed the tree.  The communication from Man to God was, “God, we love you and we choose to obey you”.  Man was in a love relationship with God and Man demonstrated his love for God by rejecting to eat of the fruit of the tree.  The result - Man continued in his wholesomeness. 

Along with the instruction to Man, not to eat of the fruit of tree, God also warned them, informing them of the consequences.  The warning was that the day they ate the fruit of the tree, they would surely die.  The death here meant that they would be separated from their relationship with God.  The result of separation from God was that Man would break down and the wholesomeness that Man experienced and enjoyed because of his relationship with His creator, would end.

Man was not ignorant of the consequences of his choice.  The choice that Man made to eat the fruit of the tree did not happen as an impulsive act. It was DELIBERATE.  Man chose and still chooses to rebel and reject a relationship with his Creator. In doing so, Man breaks down.  This is what we see in us and all around us.  We are a broken people and we resemble Humpty Dumpty. 

Sin, therefore is deep and total.  Sin is rebellion against God and Man is in sin because we are in rebellion against our creator.  There is no superficial, band-aid remedy for the problem of sin in Man, which has caused Man’s broken down state.  Man’s condition is terminal and Man by our own effort cannot restore relationship with our Creator and regain wholesomeness. 

Man is now both helpless as well as hostile toward God at the same time. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014


Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image ...”
God initiated this conversation and the other two members of the Trinity wholeheartedly joined in to complete the task of creating Man in the image of the Trinitarian God. (An important step in building fellowship - there is always the need for an initiator in the fellowship process.)
There was unity, fellowship and togetherness within the Godhead as they created us. This capability of fellowship was transferred to us when They created us in Their image. We therefore have, built into us, the capability for deep and close fellowship with one another.
We were made to come together in unity and in doing so, represent God to the rest of creation. We did not have to learn and internalise this capability of fellowship; it was built in. We see a demonstration of this capacity for fellowship, within humanity, in the construction of the tower of Babel.
Yet, this activity of constructing a tower was disapproved by God and He scattered the people. God's disapproval of the activity in Babel implies that unity and fellowship, by itself, is not what God approves. Fellowship has to be for the right purpose.
This transports us to the high mission for pursuing fellowship. The purpose of fellowship, within humanity, is to represent God, His nature and character. This would then mean that in any arena of fellowship within humanity, whether it is the family, church, organisations or even the nation, the purpose is to represent God.

When we experience conflict in any arena of fellowship, the solution is not about finding the middle ground or making every stakeholder feel happy, but to discover, TOGETHER, what is God’s character and nature and how the Trinitarian God can be represented. When we seek this purpose in our fellowship, we will find that we are able to arrive at this destination, since this capacity has been built into us.

Unfortunately we have been made to believe that this high mission is unattainable. This is a lie that has been forced on us and we live and behave as slaves to this lie. God has built fellowship into us. He not only built the capacity of fellowship into us, He also created us to, TOGETHER, be His representatives to the rest of creation. This is a double blessing that God has bestowed on us.
We can be God’s representatives to the whole of creation only when we came TOGETHER. Contrarily, if we do not come TOGETHER, there is no way that creation can know God. Instead, we can cause huge harm when we allow conflicts to continue in our families, churches, organisations and nations.
Creation is languishing, waiting for men to come together to represent God and we are losing the opportunity to experience the character and nature of God in our fellowship. We desperately need initiators of fellowship today.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Intimacy with God – Fulfilling The Creation Mandate

We received a mandate from God at creation.  This was a fivefold mandate that consisted of being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth, subduing it and having dominion over all of creation.  We not only had authority, but also responsibility over creation.  We had to steward creation through this fivefold process.

Man therefore had much to accomplish.  Many have an idealised perspective of what Adam and Eve were doing in the Garden of Eden. We assume that “they were sitting under trees, doing nothing.”  Hence, conversely, our concept of work is drudgery and pain. The fault lines in our understanding of work and rest, run deep.  This flawed perception needs urgent rectification.

Man and woman had a large canvas for work and rest. They were to steward creation through the fivefold process. Contained within the larger creation stewardship mandate, man also had the specific task of tending and keeping the garden.  The task of tending and keeping the garden was not a standalone one, but was within the fivefold stewardship mandate over all of creation. 

Here were man and woman tending and keeping the garden; and as they did so they were completing the fivefold creation stewardship mandate. They were aligning themselves to the large canvas for creation by handling the specific task assigned to them. Work therefore was a joy. There was much to accomplish in tending the garden since this specific task lay within the larger fivefold creation stewardship mandate.  

The way this worked was that as they tended the garden, they constantly did their everyday work in terms of the five fold creation mandate.  They were being fruitful in all that they did, they ensured that all their efforts were multiplied, they executed their work in terms of filling the earth, they subdued the resources of creation and had overall dominion.  Each aspect of the creation mandate gave them a large width for active service. 

So, they were exploring all dimensions of creation through the fivefold mandate.  Simultaneously they had a specific responsibility over the garden, which they had to tend and keep.  We can see what a magnificent job profile they had.  There was no room for laziness, boredom or stress.  For the application of every facet of the creation mandate would only bring joy and a worshipful response to the Creator for giving them such a large canvas for their human creativity to be investigated, studied and practised, under God.

They fulfilled this task in an atmosphere of intimacy with God.  This was the ‘rest’ aspect of life. 

Rest is not sitting under trees doing nothing, but rest is intimacy with God through which man and woman leaned on God to fulfil their task.  Work and Rest were therefore never intended to be two separate experiences, but were always intended to be an ongoing continuum.  We were to be rested in God while we worked and as we worked we drew out of our restedness in God. 

Work and rest in God was our worshipful response to our loving Creator. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Intimacy with God – Administering His Authority (Part II)

In Part I, we took a look at the aspect of administering God’s authority over creation. However, there is a flip side that we must consider.
When Man sinned against God, he became a servant to Satan’s agenda. Man was still the legal, regal heir and steward of God’s creation, but because of sin, Man was in the clutches of Satan. (The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.) Satan was now able to order his plans over creation through his capitulated ally - Man.
Satan’s agenda was straightforward. It was to steal, kill and destroy everything that was God’s, beginning with Man; Man being the crown of God’s creation.
Here was the pitiful scenario. Man was the authorised regal steward of God over His creation. He ought to have been reigning with God, exercising God’s authority over creation. Instead, he found himself unable to function in the manner befitting his position and status, but functioning as a vacillating, dithering, debilitating collaborator of Satan. Satan looked at Man with mockery since Man, who ought to be functioning as the regal heir of God, now found himself a languishing slave to Satan.
Satan could now look at God and say, “Your legal, regal heir is now in my clutches. I can do whatever I want over creation, since I now have a feeble puppet, who will dance when I pull the strings.” Satan even had the audacity to actually tell the Creator, “I can give all this authority over creation to You, if You will bow down and worship me.”
However, God did not let this state of affairs linger and took action. God’s action was strong and decisive. Satan thought he had had the last laugh, but the tables were turned. On the cross, Jesus wiped out the requirements that were against Man. He undid the shackles with which Satan had bound Man by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers that Satan had used as a throttle-hold over Man. Jesus made a public spectacle of Satan's power over Man, by triumphing over them on the cross.

Let us take time to allow this sweet and overwhelming victory of Jesus on the cross, dwell in our thoughts and understanding. The victory that we received through the cross is huge! The victory not only set us free from the control of Satan, but also set us free to take our rightful position again as the authorised regal heirs of God over creation. Thank you Jesus for the cross!

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old, crippled status has gone and the new, gloriously strong position has come. We therefore march forward as God’s regal heirs over His creation. We have now arrived to execute the Kingdom rule of God over His creation. Our intimacy with God, in this new scenario is that of worshipful awe of our Creator.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory

Great things He has done!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Intimacy with God – Administering His Authority (Part I)

In creation we were also gifted with God’s authority. God blessed us and gave us the authority to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over all the earth. This was an operational, as well as an administrative authority. We had to be fully engaged and subject to God in exercising this authority. The five-fold function listed above constituted our responsibility.
In other words, this was a legal position, where we functioned under God, exercising His authority over all of creation. Creation was in our care. There were several powers and systems that were also in operation within creation; all of these were subject to our authority, as we functioned under God. This was a marvellous arrangement and an awesome status for man.
It was obvious that we would never be able to handle this grand authority without God. We had to be God dependent. God dependence came naturally to us as we were enjoying intimacy with God resulting in us expressing God’s nature. (Here is a glimpse of what sin really is. Sin is being independent from God.)
To exercise authority over creation, we needed to be close and intimate with God. We had to discern His plan and purposes. We needed to listen to Him and learn from Him. We were to be subject to God.
It’s like taking charge of the operation of a department from the CEO of the company. The CEO has plans and purposes. He has a larger mandate for the company, but he has delegated the authority of the department to an individual. How should this person, heading the department, relate with the CEO? Would it not be natural for the department head to have constant interaction with the CEO, listening to him, understanding his purpose for the department and how it fits with the larger purpose of the company? In other words, the head of the department would need to be subject to the CEO.
This is just a microscopic example of the larger mandate for mankind. We were given authority over all of creation under God. We were endued with all the needed potential to handle such a mammoth task. This was not beyond us since we were created by God for this purpose, to execute His authority over all of creation.
Hence, man must be subject to God in order to function rightly and exercise His authority over all of creation. The need for intimacy with God is mandatory for several reasons, but not being close to and in subjection to Him, has scary and frightening consequences. Man, on his own, is dangerous - a hazard and a disaster. Subjection to God is therefore the starting point for an intimate relationship with God.   

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Intimacy With God - Willing His Will

God created man in His image. Creating man in His image meant that we resemble God in His character and nature. Though there are certain attributes of God, such as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence that we do not have, we can exhibit all the other characteristics of God such as love, faithfulness, peace, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness and many more. In creating us in His image, He also gave us free will.
Giving man free will was a huge endowment bestowed on us at creation. We were free to love God by willing His will over our will and we were also free to defy, rebel and reject God. This was the extent of God’s great love for us. He trusted us and gave us the complete freedom to submit to Him or reject Him. He longed that we would remain in submission to Him. All of the beautiful aspects of God’s character and nature would flow through us as we sought Him and willed His will. This required that we were to constantly relate with Him and seek His will over ours.
The challenge was to reject our will and will His will. This was not a difficult challenge for us since we were enjoying full access to His nature and this gave us joy overflowing and peace that passed all understanding. His joy remained in us for He looked at us and said, “Behold my beloved children in whom I am well pleased.” We can now understand, why He cried out these words for Jesus, because He, Jesus, was willing His will.
God expected us to love Him and the proof of that love would be to willingly will His will over our will. This is not about just doing His will, but going a step deeper and willing His will. In the love relationship that we had with God, this should not have been difficult at all. We knew that as we fully surrendered our will to His, we expressed all of His nature. Remember ... our Lord's prayer ... "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
This was what Adam and Eve enjoyed in Genesis 1 & 2. This beautiful experience is the foundation of the Kingdom rule of God. Genesis 1 & 2 therefore, is a full blown narrative of the Kingdom rule of God on earth. God’s will was expressed through us. Man was truly fully empowered. All his potential was in full display, while he remained willing God’s will.
It also meant that while Man was willing His will, he was in constant relationship with God. This is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is not just about having quiet time, consisting of prayer and Bible study; intimacy with God is a constant relationship with our Creator, where we seek His will by submitting our will to His. Prayer and Bible study are the substances that propel us to the joy of intimacy and submission to God’s will.
Man thinks that freedom is to will his (man’s) will. This was the lie that Satan foisted on man. We can now catch a glimpse of sin. (Sin is willing our will by rejecting God's will) We will discuss the matter of sin later, but the foundation of a relationship with God is to love God by willing His will. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments.”