Godly Counsel vs. Wordly Counsel
I recently heard something that bothered me greatly and had to write a brief note on it. Now, I’ve known for some time that Steve Harvey is a “Word of Faith” follower, so that wasn’t shocking. Anyone that claims God is in the “career changing business” or the “dream fulfilling business”, has just exposed his/her faulty beliefs to the world! But I was appalled at the advice that he attempted to give a regarding marriage. He equated marriage to an investment or business! “If you’ve been in it for 10-15 years and you haven’t received a return on your investment then it’s time to cut your losses”! Now, it’s only fair for me to state that this was in response to a letter a young lady had written in which she stated that her spouse had been unfaithful and abusive. No, I do not agree with either one and for her safety I do feel she should remove herself from that situation, and it can be debated whether or not counseling or divorce is the answer. But, apart from this, we must realize that there are literally millions of people listening to this man any given day and some take his advice to be golden. Let’s examine why it is far from that in matters about God!
We must first evaluate whether or not a person is a believer themselves, before we can seek guidance from them. And I propose to you that merely saying God’s name and mentioning Him every now and then doesn’t prove that the person is a Christian. Ask yourself some key questions; who, what and why. Who, is the person talking about when they say “god”? Anytime that God is presented in a manner which does not reflect the solid teachings of scripture you can rest assured that you can stop listening to the person doing the presenting. What, are they associating with their reason for following the god they are talking about? If it is merely for physical and material blessings that they are so thankful and wish to acknowledge him, then I would exhort you to dig a little deeper before you take their counsel. Why, are they telling you that you need to seek the god they are presenting to you? If, again, it is no more than to seek him, because he is in the “career changing business”, or because he can “make your life better” or “make you prosperous and healthy”, then it’s safe to say that they have no clue as to WHO the real God of the Bible is, WHAT He has truly done and continues to do for His children or WHY any of us should seek Him and follow His commands!
I submit to you that if anyone continuously talks of God, but never Jesus making it clear that we are to run to Him for salvation and redemption, or that He was and is the spotless and perfect sacrifice that allows us to stand before God with imputed righteousness and serve Him how we should, that person has yet to know God as Father and Jesus as Saviour and Lord for themselves!!!
To be clear, God did not send His son and the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ to this earth in the form of a man, to live amongst us vile and wretched people for 33+ years, then allow Him to be falsely accused, beaten, scourged, spit upon, cursed and humiliated, then finally brutally murdered by crucifixion, buried in a borrowed tomb, raised from the dead after three days to be seen by over 500 eye witnesses before ascending to the Father on High……just so you could have the career you wanted, the woman you desired, the lifestyle you craved, perfect health, prosperity or favor with people! He did it to save us from the consequences of our sins and redeem us back to the Father, for God’s glory alone….period!
Now, in closing, to get back to the subject of marriage. Let’s go with the analogy that it’s like a business and after 10 years in you can just walk away because you aren’t feeling like you got a return on your investment. Well, now let’s put it in proper context. Marriage was instituted by God (not man) and we are told in the fifth chapter of Ephesians that it is a shadow of Christ and the Church. Husbands represent Christ in a marriage and wives represent the Church. So, sticking with the analogy, let’s say that Christ can just choose to walk away from His bride (the church, remember?) because He doesn’t feel He’s received a return on His investment. I think I can safely speak for all of us that we’d all justly be on our way to Hell if that were the case, since there is no way that God can ever get a return on a priceless investment! We are all a liability to God. That’s why I thank Him that I had nothing to do with my salvation and don’t play a part in His keeping me! So, no, marriage isn’t a business partnership and should never be seen as such.
Be VERY careful who you get your advice from…
I am originally from Germany and, despite this fact, do not come from a '"church going family". I, of course, was raised hearing about the happenings of the protestant movement/reformation that occurred in Germany. But I was never put in a position where I could directly hear the word or be taught about it. Being a military family, we moved around a lot until we finally settled in Birmingham, Alabama. Imagine the culture shock of going from an environment where I had no contact with professing Christians to a place that is in the midst of the southern "bible belt". Unfortunately, even this was not enough for me to make a profession of accepting Christ as Saviour. After High School, I joined the military for a brief stint. Upon my exit from the Army I joined what is know as the "Freemasons" and quickly climbed the ranks (or degrees as they are called). I was entrusted with the title of "Grand Lecturer" and my responsibilities included the instruction of old and new members in the history of the "craft". I quickly grew hostile to anything christian in nature and often attacked the validity of the bible and it's teachings. I manifested a Paul mentality if you will. One day in 2004, while attending church (yes a baptist one) with a girlfriend, I heard the gospel clearly presented and just two short months later professed a faith in Christ, the very Christ that I had condemned not long before. Shortly after this I felt a calling on my heart to defend the gospel against the very attacks that I had leveled against it. I say defend, because my area of focus is apologetics. I have never and don't envision myself ever claiming to be called into the Pastorate. I am far from perfect and am still learning how to walk this narrow path daily, but I strive to enlighten my brethren where ever I can. God graciously placed me in the church where I am a member today (Grace Covenant Baptist Church) and has put me under some loving and caring teachers of the word. I owe them more than they know. To God be the Glory. Soli Deo Gloria