Nathan Pearl shares his life testimony on love and marriage at the Great Ozark Mountain Shindig in Missouri, September 12-15, 2013. This is part one of a two-part series by Nathan; the next part is Young Love Continues.
You can also watch the video version.
Nathan Pearl: Today's message is something I am excited to talk to you about. It's something that I think is important. Mom came to me a few months ago and said, "We want you to speak, and we have this subject that we're not sure who can talk on it, and so you're going to have to do it." I said, "Great. This is the one I wanted. This is the subject that I wanted to talk about." Because there's one thing in my life that's better than anything else in this old life on the ground, and that's my wife. That is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I've been born again, and that's the best thing in my spiritual life and this life hereafter. But the single best, most exciting thing in my life is my marriage, and a lot of people can't say that. A lot of people, it's the hardest and the worst part of their life is being married.
It's sad but it's true, guys. It's true. A lot of Christian marriages end in flames, and a lot of times people go, "We don't know why. We don't know what happened. We didn't want it to be this way." I don't want that to happen to you. I don't want it to happen to anybody, because the best thing in my life is my wife. I love it. I love being married, and I want you to love being married, but it doesn't happen by accident. You won't have a good marriage accidentally. It starts with a reason, and a plan, and a purpose. It starts with a walk. It starts by you doing what you need to be doing.
That's what today is about. It's about how you can be the person you want to be in order to be the person your spouse needs you to be. Let's start with a word of prayer.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness. Thank you for establishing marriage for us. Thank you, Lord that you've provided me with a lovely wife and children and home. Lord, I pray you would open your word to us today. I pray that you would be glorified. I pray that lives would be moved, and Lord, I pray that you would establish, out of this group of people that are here, many, many lovely homes. We ask in Jesus' name, amen.
All right, if you have your Bible with you, turn with me to Proverbs chapter 12. I'm going to be jumping around a lot, but I'm going to be speaking out of the scriptures a whole lot.
Proverbs chapter 12, verse one. "Whosoever loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish. A good man obtaineth favor of the Lord, but a man of wicked devices will He condemn."
I've had people come to me and tell me that they want a great marriage, and yet they do not want to walk in truth. The Bible says, "A good man obtaineth favor of the Lord, but a man of wicked devices will He condemn." If you want to be favored of God, be a good man, be a good woman. That's where a good marriage starts.
I'm a builder. I don't take rotten lumber, and build somebody a building and tell them it's a good building. I start with good lumber. If you've got rotten lumber when you come to marriage, God may whittle away your pile of lumber until you have a good marriage, but there's a lot of whittling involved in that purpose.
I built a beautiful set of shelves out of a cherry tree. I took a whole cherry tree, and I made one small set of shelves ‑‑ a whole cherry tree. I had a shelf about this high and about that wide. I had a stack of lumber that was cut off about this high, and about that wide, and about six feet long. I had sawdust. I had piles of stuff. I made a beautiful set of shelves, but I had a lot of waste.
If you want to come to a marriage without a big pile of waste, then you start by obtaining favor of the Lord by walking uprightly. Now remember this, he says, "A good man obtaineth favor of the Lord. A man shall not be established by wickedness, but the root of righteousness shall not be moved. A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceit."
Do you see the progression here? That God will favor a good man, and a righteous woman will be a crown to her husband. But she that maketh ashamed is a rottenness to the bones. My wife is a crown to me. I love to show people, to introduce my wife to people. I love for people to get to know her, because she's a crown to me. She's a good woman. She treats me really good.
I love her being around me, but you get a mean woman, a woman that is of ill device, and she's like rottenness to her husband's bones. If you want a good marriage, young ladies, be a virtuous woman. Be a good woman. What you do now matters.
Wisdom said in Proverbs chapter eight verse 32, "Now therefore hearken unto me, oh children, for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear my instruction, and be wise and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the post of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord."
If you look for wisdom, if you seek wisdom's counsel, you'll obtain favor of the Lord. Do you want to have favor of the Lord?" But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me love death." Do you see the same progression here? If you love wisdom, if you follow wisdom, you'll obtain favor, but if you don't, you'll find evil devices.
How can you walk in untruth? How can you lie? How can you connive? How can you act in a way that is sinful to God, and then expect to have a great marriage? The fact is you may have a great marriage after years of whittling, and that hurts.
Now listen to this, Proverbs 18:22, "Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord." See the difference here, before it says that you will obtain favor if you do these things. Now it says you have obtained favor if you find a wife.
If you, as a young man, act in accordance with God, if you act wisely, if you walk with God, if you're of a virtuous heart young lady, then you will obtain favor. Then once you find that wife, you have obtained that favor. Once you've been married to that godly man, you have obtained favor.
You see, it's not an accident that I found a wife that was virtuous. I looked for a virtuous wife because I wanted a virtuous wife. The reason I did is because of the way I walked. I walked virtuously. It didn't happen in a vacuum. I wasn't some nasty guy out looking for a hot, young thing. I was looking for a virtuous wife, and I found one. I'm blessed because of it. If you want a virtuous wife, be virtuous. If you want a godly husband, be virtuous, be a good guy, a good girl.
The verses that we go to, when we start talking about marriage, is usually Ephesians chapter five. Are you, guys, familiar with Ephesians five? Are you familiar with the passage? If you've read any of the "Created" series, you've heard about Ephesians chapter five. It's the famous chapter about husbands and wives, and how to get along.
Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands. Husbands love your wives. That's usually where we start when we talk about marriage. The fact is Paul didn't start there. That's not where Ephesians started. You're in 5:21 before that happens. There's a whole foundation that's laid before you get there.
I'm a builder. I had a lady come to me, and she wanted a nice, pretty bay window. That's the end thing that she wanted. She wanted this big bay window in her room. That's fine, but that's not where I start. I start by digging a hole in the ground. Then I pour concrete in the hole. Then I lay blocks on my concrete. Then I lay floor joists on my blocks. Then I put sub floors down.
I build progressively, and eventually I get the outcome that she wanted. If we come to marriage in
Ephesians 5: 21, we're trying to make a bay window with no foundation, so we'll just look at the foundation. It says in Ephesians chapter four verse 23, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore, put away lying. Speak every man the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."
If you want a good marriage, here's where you start. You start by putting on the new man. Are you born again? If you're not, this lesson's probably not for you. If you're born again, this is how you start. You start by putting on the new man. You start by walking with God.
It says, "Wherefore, put away lying. Speak every man the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." That is never more true than in marriage. If you come to marriage and you're a deceitful person. If you lie to your parents right now, if your parents ask you where you were, and you [inaudible 10:18] the truth. If your parents tell you to be back home at seven thirty, you get back home at eight fifteen and you say, "I forgot. I had car trouble," and you lie.
That's going to feed right over into your marriage. If you lie to your mom and dad, that's going to feed right over into your marriage.
Young lady, when you're 7, 8, 10 years old, it matters what you do. That's going to make a difference in your marriage. Young man, when you're 10, 11, 12, 13, your [inaudible 10:42] life, that's going to matter in your marriage. That's going to change the way that you act, the way that you respond to your wife in your marriage.
A good marriage starts when you're 10, when you're 11, 12, 13. A good marriage starts when you're two and three years old, the way your parents train you up. As soon as you can decide for yourself whether you're going to tell the truth or not, and you decide to lie, that's going to feed over into your marriage.
It says, "Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." If you get upset with somebody, don't hold that grudge. Don't carry that to bed with you. Don't seethe and carry on about what somebody has done to you.
Folks, that messes up a lot of marriages. A lot of people are miserable in marriage because they hold onto anger. When you get married, your husband, or your wife will make you mad. You will love them to death, and they will make you mad. They will do something that's really not that bad, but you'll be in a bad mood, and it'll make you mad.
How you respond to them, at that point, when you're aggravated will determine what kind of marriage you have. It's not how you act towards them when you're in love. It's not how you act towards them when you're holding hands, when you've got your arm around them, or when you kiss.
That's not what's going to make your marriage. What's going to make your marriage is when you come home, and they do something irritating to you. When you're trying to sleep and they won't shut up. That's when your marriage is decided. Those of you that are married know what I'm talking about. That's when your marriage is decided.
My wife knows better than to talk to me when I'm sleeping. No, I'm sweet. I know. Don't answer that, Debi.
It says that you need to not let the sun go down upon your wrath. "Neither give place to the devil." What do you think that means? "Don't give place to the devil." How do you give place to the devil?
The Bible says, in First Peter, chapter five, verse eight, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour."
Did you know that the devil has no power over you if you're born again? Did you know that the devil cannot make you think something if you're born again? He cannot make you act in a way if you're born again, because you cannot serve two masters. If your master is Jesus Christ, do you think the devil's going to whoop him up and take you away from him? He's not.
But you know what? You can act in accordance with what the devil wants you to do, because you decide to do it. It's not because he made you do it. I've heard people say, "The devil made me do it." No sir, he did not make you do it, not if you're born again. You chose to do it.
The Bible says, "Don't give place to the devil." He's walking around, looking for those who he can devour. How do you do that? Be sober, be vigilant. Are you vigilant and sober, young lady? Or are you flighty? Or do you like to bob your hair, and weave back and forth for the boys?
Boys, are you sober and vigilant, or are you too caught up in how you look? Are you trying to roll your shirt sleeves up to impress the girls, or unbutton three buttons? If you want to be a godly man, if you want to have a good marriage, be sober, be vigilant, and don't give place to the devil.
The devil never comes and says, "Hey, come here and murder his guy. It'll be fun." No, that's stupid! I'm not going to do that. The devil never will come to you, as a young person and say, "Hey, come over here and fornicate." That's not what he's going to do. He's going to say, "It's OK to just sit in the back row at church, and just kind of hold hands a little bit."
Be sober, be vigilant and don't give place to the devil, because it starts there. It starts with little things, and it grows. The devil doesn't say, "Hey, look at this vile thing on the computer," because you're going to say, "No way! I'm not going to do that!" The devil's going to say, "It's only PG‑13, nobody will know. Just watch that part four times."
You listen, and you do it because you want to, not because he makes you. The devil's walking around looking at who he may devour. Young man, young lady, you're 13 years old. You think you have time to straighten out? What you do today will matter in your marriage. It will change your marriage, for good, or for bad.
"Let him that stole, steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands, the thing which is good. That he may have to give to him that needeth." If you like to sit around and talk, you're going to have problems in your marriage. If what you want to do is not to lend a hand, not to help, but to sit around and talk, it's going to be a big problem in your marriage.
Ladies, if you marry a boy that will sit around and talk with you while the rest of the guys are moving the chairs to the back of the church, or whatever? You're going to be hungry and poor, because he's lazy. Young men, if you find a girl that is too busy playing to help her momma clean the dishes? Then you're going to have a messy house. You're going to have a messy life.
If you want to be a good wife, and have a good husband, work hard. Work hard, it's so simple. Work hard. Be diligent with the things that are put before you. Men, if you want to have a good wife and a good marriage, if you don't want to live in poverty, read Proverbs. See what the wisest man that ever wrote a book says. He says, "Be wise, work hard. Be diligent. Go to the end, thy slugger." Consider his ways to be wise.
If you want a good marriage, this is where it starts, guys. It's important. Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Young guys that are going to be men, this is one of the most important things that I can emphasize to you about your marriage. You're 13, 14, 18 years old, and you're looking for a wife? The most important thing that you will ever do to prepare for your wife is learn to bridle your tongue. There's a whole book in the Bible about it.
If you like to sow discord among the brethren, you will have a lousy marriage. The reason is the number one responsibility as a man of God in your marriage is to wash your wife with the water of your words. If you neglect the brethren now, you will neglect your wife later.
Your wife will need you to sanctify her, to address her, to bless her with your words. If you cannot bless the people around you with your words, you will not bless your wife, and your wife will not grow into being the woman that you need her to be.
Husbands, it's your responsibility to present to yourself a woman that you'll want to love. That's your responsibility. Take it seriously, and you'll have a blessed marriage. It starts now. "Don't let corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." I have a good friend, who is a great saint, who loves the Lord, and he is always wrecking his marriage with his mouth.
He shoots his mouth off and it distresses his wife. Instead of edifying her, he troubles her. He stirs up the waters. The man has a sweet wife, but he needs to wash her with his words. Instead he flings mud. Not necessarily at her, at everybody else. "Did you see what so and so did down the road? I can't believe that guy! Somebody ought to straighten him out." She gets all worked up over it. It messes up their marriage, because she gets angry at that guy. Then she's stirred up and angry, and they get angry at each other.
Young men, if you want a good marriage, you start right now by the people around you. Be a peacemaker, not a war maker. Be the guy that turns the other cheek and walks away, because you're going to need to do that in your marriage. Be the guy that people want to come to, to settle a dispute. Not because you're going to win the argument, but because you're going to say, "You know what, guys, if we both love the Lord, if we're both walking with God, this is peanuts. We can work through this. This is no problem."
Then, you'll have a good marriage, men. If you don't, you won't. Look at what the scripture says,
Ephesians 5: 26, this is talking about Christ. It says, "Husbands, love your wife, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and would not blemish." Folks, that's what God's doing for you. God is presenting you to Himself, spotless.
What a magnificent God we have, that he would do that. Men, present to yourself a wife, spotless. It's your job. It's your responsibility. It will bless you over and over again if you get a hold of that.
Then it says, in Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. But let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice." What are we talking about? We're talking about words. If you can put on the spirit of God, and walk in the newness of life, here's what you need to do. You need to not grieve the spirit of God, whereby you're sealed. You need to let all bitterness go.
That person that wronged you that you're bitter against, if you want a good marriage, drop it. Put away with malice, hate it. Say, "I'm not interested." When somebody comes to you, "Do you know what he did?" "I'm not interested. I don't want to hear it. I'm not going to carry bitterness against them."
Because, husband, if you carry bitterness against your neighbor, against a guy down the road, against the guy that elbowed you in the face playing basketball or cut you off on the highway. If you'll carry that bitterness in your heart, you'll carry it against your wife too.
You know that God said, "Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them." You'll want to, because men and women think differently, and you're going to want to be bitter against your wife. If you're a man of God, and you practice now, young men, to put away bitterness with malice, "I'm not going to be bitter," serious about it, then you'll be a good husband.
Not just bitterness, but wrath. You see angry men? You see a guy who's just angry? Sometimes they're kind of funny. I like funny, angry, little men. They get mad and they, [growls] . I don't have Little Man Syndrome, so I can laugh at them, and that makes them more angry, which makes me laugh more. But I'm not bitter when I'm laughing, I'm just laughing.
Put away with malice, wrath. You want to be a good husband? When you smack your finger with a wrench, don't throw the wrench. Do you know why? Do you know how that applies? You say, "I'm in a garage, by myself, working on my motorcycle. What difference does it make if I throw the wrench against the wall?"
Because there's going to be a day that you're going to come home, and your wife is going to say something snotty to you. You're going to be tired, and everything's going to be right. Then you're going to snap, and you're going to throw a plate against the wall. Then it's on for the next three days.
You're going to have a lousy marriage, guys. You're going to have a lot of whittling govern your life. If you're going to have a good marriage, you're going to have to let a lot of anger go. Or you're going to have to have some kind of woman, but don't depend on that. You need to be the man that God's called you to be.
Let go of that bitterness. Let go of that wrath. Let go of the anger, and clamor. Do you know what clamor is ‑‑ racket, clamor, carrying on. Men, and ladies, stop clamoring. Don't harp, nag and carry on with each other. Don't, "Do you know what he did?"
Do you see all this stuff about words? Words are ‑‑ it ‑‑ in marriage. Words are where it's at. You're going to make it, or break it with words, clamoring, carrying on. You hear of marriages that are just full of clamoring. They can make it. They can clamor, they can make it, but it sure won't be like my marriage.
My marriage doesn't have clamoring in it. My marriage has a lot of kissing in it. If you want my kind of marriage, stop clamoring.
"Evil speaking be put away from you." What's evil speaking? Speaking about evil stuff, speaking evilly to one another. Put it away from you, with all malice." What does that have to do with marriage? Something that breaks my heart is when I go to work and I hear a man talking bad about his wife. It just breaks my heart. I've heard it over and over again.
I go to work, and somebody says, "You know my wife just..." "Buddy, don't speak evil about your wife. Men, she's your other half. She's your better half, because you're speaking evil, a lot better. You're a lousy dude. I dislike men. I will not work with guys that speak evil about their wife. I really won't work with them.
I'll take a lame dude that loves and just talks great about his wife any day, over somebody that speaks evil about his wife. Men, there will always be something for you to gripe about with your wife. You will always have a reason to gripe about your wife, you'll never lack for a reason.
There will always be a reason for her to gripe about you. You just have to choose not to. You say, "It sounds like it's so bad." No, but when two people are together all the time, you're always going to step on each other's toes, eventually. Men, people have great memories when it comes to toe stepping. Two, three years down the road, "Yeah, well you remember when you...?"
If you can't put it away now, you won't put it away later. Put it away with malice. Don't speak evil. Don't speak evil about anybody. Don't talk about evil things. Just let it go. Let your words be as pure as water washing the people around you, sanctifying, edifying the people around you. You'll have a blessed marriage.
"Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them." Colossians 3:19, you can see how it fits right there. Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake had forgiven you."
Guys, if you can get a hold of these five or six verses, don'ts and dos, you're going to have a beautiful marriage. You can read every self help book, every attitude book, every, "I'm a prophet. She's a king and priest." I'm telling you, it's in the words, guys. It's in the words. If you would put away with malice, evil speaking, bitterness, wrath and anger, and instead you will live like this, and be kind one to another.
When you're on the volleyball court, when you're riding your bike around, when somebody cuts you off on the interstate, when you're at work, be kind, one to another. As children, be kind, one to another. My kids are kind to other kids. If they have something ‑‑ I don't make them ‑‑ but they share it with them. They have kind hearts. I love that. I see kids that don't have kind hearts. "Give me, it's mine!"
You act that way as teenagers too. "It's my turn to play volleyball! You get off the court! I don't want to play with you, you play stupid! You're not good at it." Be kind, one to another. Tender hearted, forgiving one another. Are you tender hearted, young lady? Are you tender hearted?
Are you the kind of girl that wants to cover up other people's faults? When somebody forgets to clean up the dishes, you clean them up for them, and then you keep your mouth shut. Because you don't want somebody to know that they forgot, that they messed up. Are you the kind of girl that wants to help the people around her? Are you a tender hearted girl?
I know a girl like this, that's just tender hearted. She wants to help everybody, and serve everybody all the time. She gets stepped on because of it. She's a tender hearted girl, good girl. So many aren't, so many are just vicious, just want. In our culture it's, "I'd just straighten him out!" How many times have you heard something like that?
"He stepped on my toes, but he won't do it again." that's not tender hearted. Because, you know what, your husband's going to step on your toes. Believe it. I step on my wife's toes. Your wife is going to step on your toes, because you can't live together for 50 years, and not get your toes stepped on. If you're tender hearted, forgiving one another, it's just not a big deal.
You get your toes stepped on and just say, "That's because we're dancing too close, baby. Keep it up. There's no problem here." If you're vicious, if you're not tender hearted, then it'll be a big deal.
Be kind one to another. You cannot believe how important being kind is in marriage. I cringe at listening to people that are married talk to each other. I know some people are Italians and they can't help it.
My wife is from an Italian family. We have a great time with that side of the family, but, boy, they're not kind sounding to one another. Be kind to one another. The kindness will go so far. "Thank you for supper, dear." It's so easy, but it doesn't happen a lot.
"Thank you, Mom, for driving me to soccer." That's kind. "Thank you, Mom, for taking me to the play, for taking out two and a half hours." Instead, you see the girl sitting there, "We've got to go because I'm going to be late." That's not very thankful. You're going to make a lousy wife, woman. I wouldn't touch you with a 10‑foot pole.
You're not kind. I don't want an unkind woman. Girls, if you're going to be a good wife, if you want a good husband, be kind. It's not cool to do it. Husbands don't be a gruffy snot. Be kind. Open the door for your momma. Tell her, "Mom, thank you," the next time she makes you a meal. It's good practice, and it will make a difference in your marriage. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
How many times have you heard, "I'll forgive him, when he apologizes?" Is that the way you feel in your heart? "As soon as he says he's sorry, I'll forgive him." No, you won't. If you won't forgive him right now, he can say he's sorry until he's blue in the face, and you won't forgive him. If you want a good marriage, practice forgiveness right now.
If somebody cut you up, forgive them. If someone does something to wrong you, forgive them. You say, "Well, what he did was so mean." If it wasn't, you would need to forgive him, would you? If he gave you a flower, you wouldn't have to forgive him, unless it's ugly.
But, when somebody's mean to you, that's when you forgive them. If you will forgive somebody that is mean to you, you'll have a good marriage. Men, if you'll forgive the people that hurt your feelings, that make you mad, you'll have a good marriage. There is nothing manly about a fight. It's stupid.
Forgiveness is the key in marriage. If you want to have a good marriage, practice it. Forgiving one another even as God forgave, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you. This is the reason we forgive. We don't forgive one another because we feel. We don't forgive somebody because it frees us from a root of bitterness, or it makes us somehow a better person.
Do you know why you forgive one another? Because God nailed his son to a cross, so that he could forgive you. That's heavy, guys. That's important. God killed his boy, so that he would have the right to be both just and the justifier of you, so that's the reason you forgive one another. That's your example. I don't care how you feel. I don't care how it makes you feel, or if it helps you in your life, you forgive one another because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you.
Has God forgiven you for Christ's sake? If he has, you've got a pretty big example to live up to. At what point are you going to be wronged more than you've wronged God? I'll answer that for you. You're not. Forgive one another, and you will have a blessed marriage. Hold onto anger. Hold onto bitterness. Straighten them out because they deserve it. You'll feel great about it now. You'll have a lousy marriage.
Ephesians 5: 1, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet‑smelling savor."
Do you describe people in this way? He walks in love. She walks in love. Isn't that a good description? If this can describe you, you'll be a good spouse. If you're a good spouse, you're likely to get another. You know why? Because you'll obtain the favor of the Lord and God will provide that for you.
You say, "I want a good spouse." Be worthy of one. Be a good son or daughter. Be a good son of God or daughter of God, and you'll get a good spouse, because God will give you one. Do you see the scriptures say, that if you do this, you'll obtain favor of God?
"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Don't let it ever one time be named among you that you're involved in fornication. I'm talking about the fine points here. I'm talking about a child of God, who walks with God, who's in church, who wants to be married in virtue, who's not messing around. That's who I'm talking to.
Now, if you fit the description, you're the cream of the crop. Most people, you write them off. They're H11. God doesn't write them off, but I do. I'm not as patient as he is. They're in public school, fornicating, doing drugs, getting tattoos, getting body piercings, disobedient to parents, all that is given. Let's go a step further.
Be kind to one another. Forgive one another. Be followers of Christ as dear children, and walk in love. Have no fornication, "Uncleanness, or covetousness be named among you, neither filthiness." He covers it all here. You say, "Well, this isn't fornication. Is it filthiness?" Don't let it be named among you. You say, "That's OK. I don't do that."
"Nor foolish talking," he's in the same vein here. Do you know what he's talking about, foolish talking? He's talking about, when you get together, and you talk about sex with each other. It's foolish talking. You don't need to be doing that. You don't need to be getting together, and talking about things that aren't pertinent to you, right now. You talk about that, when you get married with your spouse. You don't need to be talking about that.
Avoid foolish talking. I am not talking about sinful talking, now. I'm not talking about something, where you're participating in something vulgar. I'm talking about just talking about it, just talking about it. That's what the scripture says, avoid foolish talking. Don't let it be named among you. When you're together and you're hanging out with your young friends, and whatnot and one of them brings this up, "No, I'm not going to talk about that."
"Why not?" "Because my husband doesn't need me to." "Your husband? You're 13." "That's right. I haven't met him yet, but I'm going to be a good wife and I'm going to get a good husband. I'm going to obtain favor from God."
Young man, when you're hanging out with your friends and one of them goes, "Oh, I read this joke in my uncle's 'Playboy' magazine." "No, I don't want to hear it. I don't want that filth in my head. I'm going to avoid foolish talk and put it away with all malice."
If you want to be a good husband, and have a good wife, and obtain favor of the Lord, you put away foolish talking. You put away, "Filthiness, foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks." You put away jesting of that which is not convenient. Do you know what he's talking about? Homosexuality. He means, don't act like a queer and think it's funny. Now, that seems like something you wouldn't do, but you see it a lot, when people, "Oh, just making fun of the queers, the homosexuals, the gays." I know I'm not being PC. I don't care.
Don't act in a way that is vile or filthy. It's not funny. He says, "Don't do this." Don't jest, "Which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks." It says in Romans. It talks about homosexuals, men working with men that which was not convenient, and women with women, that which is not convenient. That's what he calls it. Don't jest on those things, "Which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks."
When you're out playing volleyball, and you want to be funny, don't act like a queer. Thank God for something. Thank your parents for something. Thank somebody else. Be thankful. Be filled with thanks, thanksgiving, not jesting, not foolish talking, not vile things. Don't be letting fornication, be named among you. Be filled with thanks. This is important, if you want to know God in your marriage, if you want to realize the potential that you have for a beautiful, wonderful marriage.
Be thankful. Thankfulness will cover up a multitude of problems, if you're thankful. But, if you're not thankful to your parents, if you're not thankful to your siblings, if you're not thankful for the country that you live in, for the car that you drive, for the place that you lay your head, you will not be a good husband or a good wife.
I'm not saying that you cannot be. Don't get me wrong. You can break all these rules, and still have a glorious marriage, but there will be a pile of shavings behind you and years, and years of work to get there. I've eaten dinner with people that have beautiful, glorious marriages that lived in sin, that married in sin, they've done every drug under the moon, that have fornicated, been vile and talked and everything wrong, and they have a beautiful marriage at the age of 72.
If you want to start in your 20s, then you start in your teens, walking with God, and doing these things.
"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, or unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them."
See? My virtuous wife brought me water right before I started talking. I didn't even know I'd need it yet. Thank you! See? I'm thankful.
Know this. There will be no whoremongers. There will be no unclean person, or covetous man, or idolater who have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ. Now, people take this and say, "OK. I've got to go out and I've got to stop coveting, so that I can be a Christian." That's not what this is saying. It's saying if you're Christian, you won't covet. If you're Christian, you're not going to be involved in this stuff.
You say, "That's semantics." No, it's not. If you're born again, you walk with God because you love him, because he forgave you. You say, "Well, how do you know you're saved?" Because he saves you. "But how do you know?" Because if you don't know, you go back to part one, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. Then, you walk with God.
There were problems in the church. God killed people over it. There's problems in the church today. But, if you're a child of God, you walk with God. That's who we are. That's what we do. We walk with God.
He says that the world, the people, the wrath of God is coming on the people of the world because they do this stuff, so don't let it be among you. "Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, walk as children of light."
He says, all this vile garbage that's in the world that was in the world. That's not in us. That's not how we are. That's not what we do. Walk now as the children of light because that's what you are ‑‑ children of the light. You're light and no darkness in you, so walk that way. Talk that way. Act that way. If you do, you're practicing to be a fantastic husband and father and wife and mother.
I love this stuff.
"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Do you know what the fruit of the Spirit is? The fruit of the Spirit is not, not sinning. "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." The fruit of the Spirit is in love and kindness and being tenderhearted. These are the things that God works in your heart, if you're a child of God.
He does that to you to present you to himself because he bought you, so now he's fixing you up. I bought an old car one time. The engine was blown in it. I didn't just buy an old car, and haul it in the yard and let it sit. I put a new engine in it. I drove it around and I enjoyed my new car. God has purchased you with the price of his only son's blood. That's a big purchase price.
Now, he's going to fix you up. He's going to put things in you like love, and joy, and peace, and thankfulness. If God puts those things in you, and you exercise those things, you put on those things, you're diligently seeking after those things, it comes out in your marriage. You know it's hard to be mad at somebody that's full of joy. Have you ever tried that?
Have you ever tried to be mad at somebody who's thankful and happy and full of joy? It's hard to be mad at them. As a matter of fact, you're around them for 10 minutes and you're happy and thankful and full of joy. You just can't help yourself. Guess what happens if you're happy and thankful and full of joy and you get married? Your wife is happy and thankful and full of joy. You get that way together.
But if you're angry and bitter and you're mean, it rubs off, and she'll be angry and bitter and mean to you. Put on fruit of the Spirit.
"For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light, for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." He says, put on these things, don't be like the darkness, and if you see the darkness, reprove it. If you reprove the darkness, it won't be in the darkness any more. It'll be made manifest.
Anybody who's doing that is making manifest is part of the light. If you see something going on, don't turn your back on it. Tell somebody what's happening. If you're on the volleyball court and somebody misses the ball, and they throw out a curse word, turn around and say, "Did you just say that? Did you say what I think you just said? You mean out of that mouth is coming blessings and curses? I heard you singing in church last Sunday. Now, you're going to say that on the volleyball court. That's disgusting. I don't want a husband like that."
You're going to freak people out. You really will. You'll freak them out. You know what? The one who forgave you, asked you to do that. If you're light, you're going to reprove that stuff. You know what happens? The whole culture changes. There's 16 people out there hanging around the volleyball court and one person says, "I cannot believe you just took God's name in vain! Do you know what he did for me and you? How can you do that?"
Everybody's shocked. Everybody's open. "I can't believe she said that." She's standing up for God. He's going to be mighty uncomfortable. Then, everybody else is going to be uncomfortable and then, they're not going to say it any more. They're not going to do it anymore.
I work in construction out in the world. I work around rough guys sometimes. We're talking opposite of the salt of the earth. They're the pepper. These guys, rough guys, missing teeth from doing drugs, some of them come out stoned, vile, dirty t‑shirts, nasty guys. They come out and they're cussing. A few minutes later, they notice I'm not cussing. They say a few more cuss words and they notice that I'm not cussing. As a matter of fact, I say, "Well, God died for me. I'd never ask him to damn you."
That's kind of uncomfortable. Then, there's this awkward silence, like, "Oh, he's one of those." Yes, I am. I'm one of those. Suddenly, they don't cuss any more. Then, the whole mood changes on the job site. These guys get happy. They get joyful, actually. Instead of talking bad about the wife, they talk good about their momma.
They do. We had a guy one time. He came out to the job. He's blaring rock music. It was something that was vulgar. He's smoking cigarettes, and he's cussing. One of the guys I was working with goes over and he's like, "Look, I don't want to be rude, but we're Christians, and we don't listen to this kind of stuff. I'd really appreciate it, if you'd turn it down."
"Oh, man, I'm sorry. Dude, no problem, OK." A few minutes later, he has classical music on, he's smoking a pipe.
I guess that was a move up, but it's no better than the cigarette, and he didn't cuss any more. He's laughing and joking now. He's jovial. That will happen in your marriage. If you reprove darkness in your marriage, if you get something vile and an evil spirit in your marriage, and you say, "You know what? I'm not going to be a part of that. I love God. I'm not going to return railings for railings." Then, your spouse will be uncomfortable for about five minutes.
Then, they'll say, "I'm sorry I did that. You're right," because you married a Christian. "I'm sorry. You're right." Your whole home will change. Suddenly, instead of being angry at each other, you're tickling each other. Then, just joy is pouring off of you. A good marriage takes work, takes effort. It takes preparation and groundwork.
If you want that beautiful bay window, you start with big hole in the ground, and you fill it with concrete. Right now, you're a big hole in the ground. Young men and young ladies, when you're 10, 11, 12 years old, things are pouring into your life that's determining who you're going to be.
The way that you speak, the things that come out of your mouth, changes your spirit and your soul. The things that you say to someone else will adjust the way you think about other people. The way that you think about other people will, in turn, adjust the way that you talk about other people and it will snowball.
You'll start now, just talking about your Daddy. "Well, he just doesn't understand me. He just doesn't like make‑up because he's an old fogy. He just doesn't want me to swim without my shirt, because he has big belly that hangs over his belt, so he doesn't want to see my nice abs." I have nice abs.
Ask my wife. I don't really have any abs. I'm just kidding. I'm sorry. I lied. You can stop laughing now. I can't help it. I was born like this and smiling. You heard that earlier. I was born smiling, no abs.
If you walk now with purity, with purpose, you do it intentionally. It's not an act. Most of us in here were raised godly. Your parents brought you up to walk in godliness.
You might accidentally walk in godliness until you're 10, 12, 13, but then your heart starts coming out. The things that you say, the thing that you broadcast to your friends, that's what coming out of your heart. It will start to change the content of your heart.
If you don't guard your tongue now, and if you don't guard your heart, and the things that you feel, and the way that you act, then God will not grant you His favor in marriage. You won't get that spouse that could be wonderful. Instead you'll get somebody that you deserve, and that's always scary.
If you will now be thankful to your parents, be thankful for the country you live in, be thankful for the food on your plate even if you don't like it, if you'll be thankful for the people around you, and somebody that's mean to you, you can be thankful because they're going to help you prepare for marriage, because they've been obnoxious, or rude, or mean.
If you will be tenderhearted, forgiving, and loving one another now, then when you get married, it'll seamlessly flow in your marriage. You'll just have a blessed marriage. Let me tell you, there is nothing, nothing better than a blessed marriage. It is just pure paradise.
I told my wife the other day, I looked at her and I said, "Baby, I think is happy ever after." You hear the stories, "They lived happy ever after." I think, yeah, this is happy ever after. That's where we're at now. We're just cruising through life, goodness and mercies following us around, playing with us in the creek and the river. Our kids, it's just wonderful to be married.
It almost feels selfish to be so happy. I see people that are having a rough go of it, and we're just deliriously happy. It doesn't happen by mistake. It doesn't happen just because she married me, and I married her. It happens because that's the way we were before we got married.
I was asked one time, "Why her? Why'd you pick her?" I said, "Because she talked good about her daddy." I was at a mission's conference, and someone else said something snotty about her dad. She stood up for him, like a firecracker. "Oh, you don't talk about..."
She stood up for her dad. I said, "That's a girl that will stand up for me. That's the kind of girl that I want raising my kids." She was 15 years old, ladies, 15 years old when I met her, and I heard her talking about her dad. Her beautiful red hair didn't hurt.
She is the biggest defender of me. She is thankful to me. She is so full of joy to me that I can't wait to get home every evening. I'm driving home down the interstate, and I call her on my phone just so I get to talk to her because I like her. I like spending time with her.
When we go places, we always go together because that's what we like to do. We've been married 13 years, and we've never spent the night apart. We just like hanging out with each other. If you want to have a great marriage, it starts right now, guys. It starts today. It starts last year.
You start cultivating in your heart a heart of thankfulness, and forgiveness, and tenderheartedness. It will be a beautiful marriage.