For many years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching the subject of marriage and family, a topic I believe is very close to the heart of God. The Bible schools where I taught were in different countries with different traditions and cultures regarding the subject, so I prayerfully asked the Lord to help me represent His thoughts and ways and not just the culture I was most familiar with or my personal experience.
The answer to this prayer is ongoing, but up to now the Holy Spirit has kindly, yet purposefully, led me to take away the trappings of culture and look away from negative—even positive—personal experience. He’s encouraged me to look completely at God’s idea of man and woman.
What was God thinking when He made man? What was God thinking when He made woman? And what do His intentions have to do with the roles they play? What did the Creator want marriage to look like? What did He want family to look like? In any culture, there may be good traditions while others run cross-grain with God’s intention, but I encourage you to strip away all viewpoints and look at the raw truth of the Bible. This is our goal: To look at the sexes and their roles from God’s standpoint and what that has to do with their roles as male and female and within marriage and family.
As we look at what the Bible says, we will be impacted most if we honestly desire to know what it says and then prayerfully accept it. A lot of times when we approach something as core as our gender, or family, and marriage, we bring with us, even subconsciously, our own experiences or what we’ve witnessed in other people.
Yet, when the validity of the apostle Paul’s ministry was being questioned and compared, he said, “Of course we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. How stupid they are! They make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and they judge themselves by their own standards!” 2 Corinthians 10:12 (GNT)
Even though this verse is addressing a different subject, what does apply is that people who measure themselves by standards that they themselves make up are not wise. We must let God and His Word be the standard of measure! Why? It’s true. Unbiased. And it works for all cultures, all ages, and for all time.