The Kingdom of God in Your Marriage?
Recently, I felt led to dive in to learn what the Kingdom of God is all about. Seriously, it was like I was starving and could not get enough! But God can do that if he is trying to get your attention, right? If you head over to Blue Letter Bible and type in "Kingdom of God" a bunch of scripture comes up. Mainly it is Jesus talking about it.
Jesus was VERY clear that His message on earth was about the Kingdom of God. It is mentioned 63 to 69 times depending on the translation you read. It is prophesied in the Old Testament as well. So, go read. You will be amazed about how much Jesus talks about this!
In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is the King and the High Priest. He is our High Priest from the Order of Melchizedek (which means the King of Righteousness and Peace), not the Order of Levites.
Important side note--in the Old Testament times a priest could only be from the Levite tribe, more specifically a direct descendent of Aaron. They also could only be an adult male between the ages of 25 and 50 and be perfect in appearance.
Whew! That narrows it down to a handful of men.
When Jesus came, that all went away and we became priests under Jesus which is in this new order of Melchizedek (Revelations 1:6). 1 Peter 2:9 calls us a Royal Priesthood.
Going back to the Old Testament priests. They had 3 main jobs and 1 over ruling act. The 3 jobs were: To minister, teach, and pray. The over ruling act was to bless and never curse their group. Within these main jobs, there were specific jobs such as sacrificing animals, burning incense, taking care of the showbread, etc. These jobs no one else could do. Remember when King Saul took it upon himself to burn the incense offering before war and didn't wait for Samuel? God was very upset and took away the right of Jonathon (Saul's son) to being the next King.
So now that you are knowledgable about priestly things, I can hear you wondering how this relates to your marriage.
First, know that the Kingdom of God is not just about your marriage, it is about living your life in His Kingdom on earth. The following is an idea of how you can bring this lifestyle into you marriage.
Knowing who God is and being in relationship with Him will help you understand who you are so you can function well in your marriage. Your identity is a royal priest in the order of Melchizedek which is a spiritual line from the King of Righteousness and Peace.
While the Kingdom of Heaven is not a place but is of power (1 Corinthians 4:20) and can be powerful in different situations, your role in marriage is to bless your spouse, minister to them, teach them about the Bible and pray for them. The same jobs as Old Testament priests just under a new covenant.
Did you catch that? Your role is to bless, minister, teach, and pray for people, starting with your spouse. To add to this beautiful connection is that God works through you to connect to your spouse. God lives in you. His Spirit guides you into how to put these actions into your marriage and then to carry these roles to others.
I understand that the New Testament does not spell that out, but I do understand that the Israelites would know about priests and their roles. When they were told they were priests in the Kingdom of God they would have some idea of what that entailed. These actions are what Jesus did in His ministry while on earth (think about it, He blessed people, He ministered to others, He taught and He prayed for people). He commissioned His disciples to do the same. Jesus also demonstrated healing power when talking about the Kingdom of God.
These ideas of relating to your spouse and others are a glimpse of what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about. Living in the Kingdom is different than living in the world.
Let's dive in to look at what each of these roles involve.
How do you bless your spouse?
Bless in the Hebrew language is Barak. Barak literally means kneeling out of respect while giving a gift of something of value. The Hebrews would give in order to express favor or honor to someone. In the Greek it means “eulogeo” (you low gee o) which means celebrate with praises, or to consecrate a thing with solemn praise.
I like the idea of the Hebrew meaning. Blessing is a deep respect by showing how we feel rather than it just being words. Do we need to kneel in front of our spouse each time we bless? No, but the key here is to be respectful while giving them a gift. This gift is not necessarily an item. The gift may be doing a chore without being asked. Giving a foot rub, giving encouragement, etc.
Take some time now to think about if you do this now. Do you bless your spouse? If you do, how well do you do it? Can you improve? I bet most people can. I know I can.
How do you minister to your spouse?
A minister in Hebrew and Greek is a servant. So to minister to your spouse is to serve your spouse. In our modern English language it means to perform duties or services for another person.
The Old Testament priests ministered to God by doing the things He asked of them. They also ministered to the Israelites by doing the jobs they were not able to do in the Tabernacle and standing in on their behalf.
How does this relate to your spouse? God lives in your spouse, so by serving them you are serving God. Please do not misinterpret this. BOTH spouses are to serve each other, not one spouse serving the other.
One way to serve your spouse is by using their love language. Do you know these? There are 5: Quality time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch. If you do not know yours, do yourself a favor and take the test. Make sure your spouse takes it, too.
Knowing your spouses love language may save your marriage if you are stuck. You will be using your spouses love language MOST of the time. But do not forget the other ones. They are important as well.
If your spouses love language is Quality Time, then you need to focus on giving quality time to your spouse. If your love language is gifts, your spouse should be giving you little gifts to fill up your love tank.
How do you teach your spouse? The word teach in Hebrew means a few different things such as to warn, teach, shine, to flow as water, and to point out. In the Greek, teach often is referred to as Didasko which means “cause to learn” and almost always refers to teaching the scriptures.
I would argue there is more than one way to teach the scriptures. One way is to read the Bible to each other. I like that idea since Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word (not just reading it). So having a Bible study together is one way.
Another way is sharing a devotion or a summary of a Bible teaching you heard.
One last way to teach your spouse is to model what the scriptures say. This includes the action of forgiveness, tithing, loving our enemies, encouraging others and not judging or gossiping. James 1:22 says that we do not just listen to God's word, but must be doers of God's word.
Jesus said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teachings. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
This is key! We must do what the scriptures tell us.
The last role is praying. Praying for your spouse together and separate are ways to remember that God has them. Seeking first the Kingdom of God through prayer is a great way to start your day and end your day.
What does prayer do? It lifts your spouse up to God. It sets the tone of the day by remembering that God has your day laid out and to surrender it to Him.
What are some good ways to pray? We all know how to lift each other up in prayer. But what about using God's promises in your prayer or scripture in your prayer? Personalizing scripture is one way.
An example would be this for my husband: For you God have not given David a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Did you notice that? Put in the person's name you are praying for. You can do this with your spouse and away from them.
As I wrap up, keep in mind that we are intentional about getting our work done or disciplining our kids. But we are not often intentional when it comes to being a good spouse or child of God.
Now is the time to choose to be a do'er of Jesus' words by seeking first the kingdom of God and understanding our roles in our marriages in the context of being in the royal priesthood and performing our priestly duties to our spouse.
Your action plan: Put these priestly roles into practice. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see what happens when you intentionally bless, minister, teach, and pray for your spouse.
Cheering you on,