Divorce and Remarriage: It’s Time We Listened To What Jesus Says

Divorce is a big problem in the world today.  An equally disturbing problem is the tendency so many have to divorce and remarry outside of the parameters of Scripture.

For the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.

Malachi 2:16

Divorce.  God says it’s a treacherous, violent act.  How true that is.

According to Second Chance by Judith Wallerstein, almost half of children of divorces enter adulthood as worried, under-achieving, self-deprecating, and sometimes angry young men and women.  Half of them grew up in settings in which the parents were fighting with each other even after the divorce.

According to The Great Divide by Daniel Evan Weiss, the average percentage change in a woman’s standard of living the year following a divorce is -73%.

A divorce is like an amputation:  You survive, but there’s less of you.

Margaret Atwood, Marriage Partnership

Remarriage after divorce is not without its problems, either.  One child interviewed for Tales out of High School: Marriage Partnership said, “I’m so lucky my parents have stayed together.  Unlike so many of my friends, I’ve never had to cry on a holiday.”

Rock star Art Alexis wrote a song called “Wonderful” about how his divorce impacted his song.  He wrote of the child telling the divorced parent:  “I don’t want to meet your friend/I don’t want to start all over again/I just want my life to be the same/Just like it used to be.  Some days I hate everything/Everyone and everything/Please don’t tell me everything’s wonderful now.”

Yes, divorce is a treacherous, violent act.  On top of that, many remarriages after divorce are unlawful in the sight of God, constituting what Jesus calls adultery.  So while I am very much concerned about the social and psychological effects of divorce and remarriage, I am even more concerned about the spiritual effects.  Too many do not know what the Bible teaches on this subject.  That ignorance leads to quick and easy divorces, which in turn lead to adulterous marriages which are sinful in the sight of God.  Those in turn, if not repented of, will lead to eternal condemnation (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8).

In Matthew 19:3-12, Jesus discussed divorce, remarriage, and celibacy.  The Pharisees had asked him about divorce, not because they wanted to learn from him, but because they were trying to trap him (v. 3).  Divorce was a touchy subject back then, just like it is today.  It was not uncommon either.  Jesus’ cousin John had been thrown into prison and eventually executed because he publicly condemned the unlawful marriage of King Herod (Mark 6:14ff).  The Jewish scribes of Jesus’ day were divided over the proper grounds for divorce.  One school of thought taught that a man could divorce for just about any reason, while another permitted divorce only in the case of fornication.

Thus, any answer Jesus gave to their question would offend someone.  If he took the popular liberal view that one could divorce for any reason, the Pharisees could castigate him for not being a teacher of superior morality, especially since he had taught his followers to strive a superior righteousness to theirs (Matt. 5:20).  If he upheld the stricter view, he would be unpopular with the majority of the people and his enemies could use that against him as well.

I am so thankful Jesus was not concerned with what man thought, but was concerned about pleasing his Father in heaven (Gal. 1:10; 1 Cor. 4:3).  Our primary goal must always be to please God.  We will never be able to please everyone else.  Someone, no matter what we do or say, will be displeased with us.  If we do our best to please God in every way, that will be the only things which matters in the end…and we will please and encourage like-minded souls in the meantime.

Jesus showed how his priority was to please God in his answer to their question.  First, he went straight to God’s Word (v. 4; cf. Gen. 1:27; 2:24).  He didn’t care about the opinions of the religious leaders of his day.  Likewise, we also must go to the Bible rather than to man.

In doing so, Jesus reminded them of their beginning:  “…he who created them from the beginning made them male and female…” (v. 4)  Always keep in mind where you came from, who created you, and what you are.  Friends, are we simply animals?  Compelled by instinct?  Unable to control fleshly desires?  Because if we are, divorce and remarriage ought to be free and easy.  But we aren’t.  We are God’s highest creation, made in his image, and thus able to control the fleshly lusts to his glory.  Thus, divorce and remarriage ought to reflect God’s desire for our holiness.

Jesus then attributed the institution of marriage to God, not man, when he quoted God’s statement, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v. 5; cf. Gen. 2:24).  Questions about marriage, divorce, and remarriage must be answered by God in his Word, not by man and man’s laws!

It is God who creates a marital union, not man!  Jesus emphasized this when he said, “So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (vs. 5-6).  God wants marriage to be for life!  It is God who joins the couple, and no one has the right to tear apart what he has joined together!

Are there any exceptions to this rule?  The Pharisees thought so, and attempted to rebut Christ’s teachings on this matter by apparently alleging Old Testament scriptural authority for divorce (v. 7; cf. Deut. 24:1-4).  Apparently, they took Moses’ statement in Deuteronomy to permit divorce as long as a certificate of divorce was given to the wife (cf. Matt. 5:31a).  In actuality, Moses was forbidding the remarriage of a spouse who marries someone else.  Why?

…then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord…”

Deuteronomy 24:4

In spite of any certificate of divorce, the woman became “defiled” when she remarried.  Interestingly, this same word “defiled” was used elsewhere in the Law of Moses to describe adultery (Lev. 18:20; Num. 5:13-14).  Thus, Old Testament law showed that by remarrying the woman had actually defiled herself by becoming an adulteress because her husband was still alive (cf. Rom. 7:1-3).

How ironic that the Pharisees were appealing to Deuteronomy 24 as grounds for divorce (and presumably remarriage) when in reality Moses was actually describing how treacherous divorce really is in that it defiles the spouse!  No wonder Jesus had said in the Sermon on the Mount:

It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 5:31-32

Jesus reinforced how the Pharisees had the wrong idea when he then brought out how Moses permitted divorce due to their hard hearts (v. 8).  During Moses’ day, the Jews were a very “stubborn people” (Deut. 9:6), very hardened in their hearts.  When you think about it, doesn’t this describe the state of one’s heart when they want to divorce their spouse for arbitrary, unscriptural reasons?  Even when a scriptural reason is on the table but the guilty spouse has repented and is pleading for forgiveness and reconciliation, those with hard hearts will still push for divorce.  As Christians, we are to be different from the world…and the world has hard hearts.

Then Jesus brought out how divorce was not what God had in mind from the beginning, even though Moses permitted it (v. 8).  The Law of Moses was designed to be temporary in nature (Gal. 3:19), and thus the permission to divorce was only temporary.  It would be replaced by the gospel of Christ, a covenant designed to cure hard hearts, a law under which divorce under normal conditions is not an option (1 Cor. 7:10-11).

Jesus then settled the entire matter:

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

Matthew 19:9

According to Jesus, divorce is allowed only in the case of sexual immorality (better translated as “fornication.”)  Divorce for any other reason results in adultery when there is remarriage (cf. Matt. 5:32).

Any divorce must be on those grounds specified by Jesus because marriage was ordained by God and we mustn’t separate what God has joined (vs. 5-6).  A divorce for any other reason attempts to separate what God has joined and results in a remarriage where people commit adultery.

As you might expect, there was strong reaction to this teaching.  Interestingly, it is not revealed how the Pharisees reacted.  Instead, we are told how Jesus’ own disciples reacted:

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

Matthew 19:10

Wow.  According to his disciples, the single life would be preferable to staying with one’s wife, no matter what, her fornication being the only exception!  At least they were willing to still obey Christ’s law on the subject.  The only thing they were saying was that in view of his teaching, it was better to be celibate.  Contrast that to what many people today say:  “If such is the case with divorce and remarriage, it is better to be lost!”  Rather than submit to scriptural marriage or celibacy, many people are more likely to opt for eternal condemnation!  How foolish and sad to opt for a few years of adultery over an eternity of heavenly bliss!

How did Jesus react to what his disciples said?

But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.  For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.

Matthew 19:11-12

Friends, does the kingdom of heaven mean more to us than anything else?  Jesus said it must (Matt. 6:33).  If it does, we will be willing to do whatever necessary to enter it, even if it means making ourselves eunuchs (i.e., choosing to remain single and celibate in order to remain true to his teachings about divorce and remarriage.)  Christianity is not a religion of convenience.  Sometimes sacrifices like these have to happen in order to be faithful.  We must put Christ before all, even our spouse (Mark 10:29-30), even if it requires us to leave our spouse when we see from Scripture that we are violating God’s law by being married to them (v. 9).

It is in situations like this where our faith is really put to the test.  Because now it’s real, friends.  All to Jesus I Surrender?  Scenarios like what we’re talking about prove whether we really mean that.

Those who put God’s kingdom first will mean it.  Those who don’t, won’t.  These are the ones about whom Jesus was referring when he talked of those who could not “receive this saying.”  However, those who value entering the kingdom of heaven will comply with Jesus teachings.  If they find themselves in unlawful, adulterous marriage, they still have hope through the forgiving power of the blood of Christ!   However, as with any sin one must repent first (Acts 3:19).  One must leave any relationship described by God as adultery in order to be forgiven of adultery.

Some do not see this.  They teach that only Christians have to obey what Jesus said in verse 9…even though Jesus said “whoever,” not just Christians.

Others say that baptism – without repentance – cleanses the sin and couples who live together in adultery can continue to do so after baptism…even though both repentance AND baptism are commanded for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

Still others try to get around the plain teachings of Jesus by attempting to re-define the term “adultery.”  They say that adultery is not only a sexual word, but also refers to the act of divorce itself.  In other words, adultery is “covenant-breaking.”

You know, the idea that divorce = adultery is very attractive.  Our sinful society would love to accept it.  However, it is directly opposed to biblical teaching, and opens wide the door of compromise and accepting into the fellowship of the church those who are out of fellowship with God (cf. 1 John 1:7; Eph. 5:11).

The facts are these.  One would have to work very hard to come up with the doctrine divorce = adultery from the Bible.  One would have to ignore some very clear Bible teaching in the process.  Granted it would be nice if it were actually possible because it would make the church more popular in our society and open the door for fellowship to be accepted with people who had been divorced and remarried multiple times.  It would certainly lower the amount of hate mail I’ll probably get from writing articles like this.

Several over the years have tried to make the Bible fit this erroneous doctrine.  For example, Tyndale’s translation of Matthew 5:32 is as follows:

But I say unto you: whosoever puts away his wife (except for fornication) causeth her TO BREAK MATRIMONY, and whosoevery marrieth her that is divorced, BREAKETH WEDLOCK…

(emphasis mine)

Tyndale uses the words matrimony and wedlock when the word in the Greek literally means adultery.  Why?  Because he’s trying to define adultery as the breaking of the wedlock or matrimony.

Here’s my question, though.  How could wedlock be broken by someone marrying someone else IF THE WEDLOCK HAD ALREADY BEEN BROKEN BY THE DIVORCE??

Not only that, but if divorce = adultery, then the innocent party who tried to keep the marriage together but who was divorced anyway IS NOW GUILTY OF ADULTERY AND SIN BY PROXY!!  

It just doesn’t add up.

It doesn’t stop there, though.  Others would try to say that divorce = adultery by denying that adultery is a sexual word.  To them, fornication is a sexual word, but adultery actually means “covenant breaking.”

Fornication IS a sexual word, true.  Strong defines it as “harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry.”  Thayer defines it as “illicit sexual intercourse” and, interestingly, includes adultery among the acts defined as that.

However, adultery is also a sexual word.  To deny that would require ignoring the unanimous consensus of Hebrew and Greek authorities and the emphasis of Scripture itself.

Adultery (moichatai in Greek) is defined by Strong as “to commit adultery.”  Thayer defines it:  “to have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife, to commit adultery with.”  I have a list in my office of seven different Greek-English lexicons, and not one of them defines adultery as divorce at any time.  They always define it as a sexual sin.

The various English translations of the Bible do the same.  Matthew 5:32’s moichatai is translated “adultery” rather than “covenant breaking,” “marriage breaking,” or “divorce” by the KJV, NIV, NKJV, RSV, TLB, ASV, NBV, NASV, and ESV.  Even Tyndale’s version, which comes the closest to calling adultery “breaking matrimony” or “breaking wedlock,” will not go so far as it call it “divorce.”

It’s the same with Matthew 19:9.  The KJV, NIV, NKJV, RSV, TLB, ASV, NBV, NASV, and ESV all translate moichatai as “adultery” rather than “covenant breaking,” “marriage breaking,” or “divorce.”

Examine Scripture, and you’ll see the term adultery used as a sexual term (cf. Lev. 20:10-11; Jer. 29:23; John 8:1-4; Heb. 13:4).  Even in cases in which adultery is used figuratively to describe idol worship and apostasy, the term still carries sexual overtones (cf. Ezek. 16:25, 32).  In one such case, Jeremiah made an analogy of God and Israel as husband and wife, but said that the figurative adultery committed by Israel via pagan idolatry occurred BEFORE God figuratively “divorced” her (Jer. 3:6-10).  In other words, adultery had been committed before there had been a divorce.  If adultery IS divorce, how could that be?  How can one say that adultery is not a sexual word, but is instead merely “divorce” or “covenant breaking”?

One can’t.

Yes, it’s well past time we started listening to Jesus and Jesus alone about divorce and remarriage.  More preachers and teachers need to preach and teach the truth about this matter.  More elders need to stand behind preachers and teachers who do so.

Most importantly, more Christian marriages need to heed it.  Marriage is sacred.  It must be defended.  It must be fought for.  It must be a commitment.

Should One Mock God? Ask Lee Harvey Oswald…

On this particular Sunday morning, the Secret Service agent could perceive that the young man accused of murder sitting before him likes to talk about himself and express his opinions.  Perhaps this would be the key to finding the truth about the charges brought forth against him.

“What do you think about religion?” he asks the young man.

“Karl Marx is my religion,” replies the accused.

“What I mean is, what faith are you?” the Secret Service agent inquires.

“I have no faith,” the prisoner answers.  A moment later he adds, “I suppose you mean the Bible?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Well, I’ve read the Bible,” says the young man.  “Some people might find it interesting reading, but not me.  As a matter of fact, I’m a student of philosophy and I don’t consider the Bible to be even a reasonable or an intelligent philosophy.”

“You don’t think much of it?”

“You could say that.”

The Secret Service agent then asks, “As a Marxist, do you believe that religion is an opiate of the people?”

The young man is in his element, and lights up at the chance to talk about ideology.  “Most definitely so,” he answers.

The young man’s name was Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Secret Service agent was Inspector Thomas J. Kelley, flown into Dallas from Washington, D.C.  Oswald was charged with assassinating President John F. Kennedy and murdering Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit two days prior on November 22, 1963.  The above conversation between them actually took place as cited above in the third-floor homicide office of the Dallas City Hall on Sunday, November 24, 1963, at about a little after 10:45 a.m.

About thirty-six minutes after stating that God’s Word is not “a reasonable or intelligent philosophy,” Lee Harvey Oswald was fatally shot by Jack Ruby while being transferred to the Dallas County Jail.

 

Lee Harvey Oswald fatally shot by Jack Ruby minutes after denigrating the Word of God
Lee Harvey Oswald fatally shot by Jack Ruby minutes after denigrating the Word of God

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  (Galatians 6:7)

(The historical information above was taken from “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” by Vincent Bugliosi.  An excellent, excellent book that is extremely well-researched.  I quoted the participants in the same way as the author, and made only minor changes to the author’s description of the demeanor or attitude of the participants.)

Preachers, Listen Up…

This article is aimed primarily at those folks in the church who are referred to by themselves and others as preachers.  In other words, the men who are financially supported by a local congregation(s) to give either some or all of their professional lives and careers to the ministry of preaching and evangelism.

It’s ironic that this article is written for this particular group of brethren in the church, considering that:

  1. A biblical case could be made that God wants all Christians to be preachers in some form or fashion (1 Pet. 2:9).  (That’s a whole different subject, though…)
  2. The topic of this article applies in some ways to all Christians, regardless of their job or title in the church.

What is the topic of this article?  It can rather nicely summed up in something that Jesus said to the Pharisees on one occasion.

These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (Matt. 23:23b)

The topic of this article is something that most if not all preachers struggle with:  balance.  Having balance in one’s life so that one gives adequate amount of attention and work to ALL of one’s responsibilities.

Preachers, what is your job description?  Now, before you go hunt up your contract so you can see all the bullet points under “Job Description,” let me clarify.  BIBLICALLY, what is your job description?  What job description does GOD give to you?

Is it to mow the grass at the church building and fix the leak in the baptistry?

Is it to be the 24/7 on-call “catch-all” for the member’s problems, complaints, and concerns?

Is it to be the church’s sole “representative” at the hospital for all emergencies and sicknesses?

Is it to “preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”?  (2 Tim. 4:2)

Is it to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”?  (1 Tim. 4:12)

Is it to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”?  (Eph. 4:11-12)

And for those preachers who are married and who are fathers…

Is it to “LIVE WITH YOUR WIVES in an understanding way”?  (1 Pet. 3:7)

Is it to “bring (your children) up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”?  (Eph. 6:4)

I think you know where I’m going with this…

We have a problem in the church.  That problem is manifested when a member of the body of the Lord, the church for which he died, tells the preacher whom his contribution goes to financially support, “Bringing the gospel to the lost, visiting the sick, building up the brethren, growing in knowledge of the Bible, being a good example, bearing other’s burdens, taking part in the work of the church…all of those things are YOUR responsibility, not MINE, because that’s what I PAY you to do!”

A few members have actually verbalized this to preachers.  However, many more say it in different ways, through their actions.

Like when the preacher is the only one called or expected to be at the hospital for any and all emergencies…even though the Bible says that elders are the ones Christians are to call when they are sick (James 5:14).  Oh, let’s also not forget the fact that Jesus spoke of ALL CHRISTIANS visiting the sick and afflicted…as a PREREQUISITE OF GOING TO HEAVEN, NO LESS (Matt. 25:31-46).

Like when the preacher is the only one contacted when there is counseling about sin that needs to take place…even though the elders of the church are the ones cited by God to be the shepherds who are watching over the souls of the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17).  They would be the ones to whom Christians would primarily need to turn about their sin, because they are those Christian’s shepherds/pastors…not the preacher.

I could give more examples, but you get the picture.  Preachers, this is a serious matter.  Christians who do not wear the title of preacher, this is a serious matter.  Here’s why…

As shown above, God wants preachers to primarily preach the Word and always be ready to do so.  That requires lots of study of God’s Word.  That also requires lots of time every week to put in to sermon prep, Bible class prep, and one-on-one Bible study prep.  That also requires going out into the community to look for opportunities to bring the gospel to the lost.  All of this requires time.  Time which the preacher has less and less of when he runs here and there being the primary go-to guy for every church crisis and responsibility that comes along.  So that means that his sermons and Bible classes will suffer in quality from lack of enough preparation and he will not be finding as many lost souls to reach with the gospel as he should.  But preachers know this, and don’t want that to happen because they love preaching and love souls so much.  So they’ll go the extra mile if they’re worth anything.  However, what THAT means is that something else is put on the backburner…namely, their families.  More on that in a second…

First, here’s another reason.  As shown above, God also wants preachers to set a good example to their fellow Christians.  That means that the preacher will in fact visit people in the hospitals and be involved in various works of the church…but not because he’s the preacher.  Not because he’s the church’s “representative” in the ER.  No, because he’s a Christian, and as a preacher he’s to set the example for other Christians TO FOLLOW.  Notice that last part, Christians.  “TO FOLLOW.”  Church-goers, pew-warmers, examples are there for you TO FOLLOW.  In other words, get thee to the hospital thyself…if you want to go to heaven, that is.  If you do, then get there before the preacher does or meet the preacher going out as you’re coming in.  If there’s a vigil in the waiting room, be there with him.  Follow his example in growing in Bible knowledge.  Follow his example in bringing people to Christ.  Follow his example by being involved in the work of the church.

With that in mind, consider this.  As shown above, God wants preachers to join with pastors (elders) and teachers in using the inspired writings of the apostles and prophets in the New Testament to equip the saints for the work of ministry.  In other words, preachers, elders, and teachers (a biblical case could be made for deacons also – 1 Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6) are to get every member of the church involved in the work of serving the church.  That’s how you build up the church.  Preachers, do you want your church to grow?  Christians, do you want your church to grow?  Wonder why it’s not happening like you want it to happen?  Maybe it’s because preachers are taking on too much of the work themselves while too many members of the church are being pew-warmers instead of hard workers.  Never mind that the biblical formula for church growth is spelled out rather clearly: 

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  (Eph. 4:15-16)

In other words, church, every single one of us…not just the preacher or even primarily the preacher…must do our part.  All of us must grow in every way to become like Christ.  All of us – the whole body, the entire church, every single member – must work properly.  That’s how the church grows.  IT…the church…builds itself up, not the preacher.  The preacher just equips the church to do so (and he’s not the only one who does that, either.  Elders, deacons, Bible class teachers…pay attention.)

When that doesn’t happen, preachers…more specifically, when you ALLOW it to not happen because you decide to allow yourself to be the go-to guy for absolutely everything church-related…you and your family suffer.  Here’s what I’m talking about…

Ever hear about the stereotypical “P.K.” (Preacher’s Kid)?  You know, about how your typical P.K. is a real terror, a wild cannon, a real “prodigal son”?  Well, setting aside the fact that lots of P.K.’s are fine Christians not deserving of that stereotype, let’s concede that there are some P.K.’s out there who are some real horror stories.

Oh, and what about the stories we’ve all heard about the preacher who has an affair, usually with a woman he’s counseling?  Or the stories of the preacher’s wife who gives into the temptations and flirtations of that nice man she works with and starts an affair with him?  Or how the marriages of some preachers dissolve into divorce regardless of whether adultery was involved?

Granted, who knows all of the factors that lead into these sad states of affairs?  However, more times than not there’s one factor that keeps on popping up in each of these scenarios, preachers.  One underlying reason behind the prodigal P.K.’s, the affairs with the sisters in the church, the unfaithfulness of wives, and the breaking up of marriages.  You know what it is.

The preacher allowed himself to spend too much time away from his family by spending too much time in the work of the church.  He took on too much responsibility at church, some of it biblically legitimate but more of it illegitimate due to trying to please everyone, and so he wasn’t there to “live with his wife” and “bring his children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” as God wanted him to.  He tried to save the world and help the church all by himself and lost his family in the process…and by doing so he ended up hurting the church and not doing a thing to save the world anyway, because saving the world is not his job (it’s God’s) and helping the church is something that he can’t do by himself (God doesn’t want him to do by himself anyway).

This brings us back to the necessity of balance, preachers.  You have to have balance.  You have to realize that God wants you to be a family man in addition to a preacher.  You have to realize that even as a preacher God wants you to not do it all by yourself, but rather set the example and equip others in the church to join in the work themselves.

So you have to balance your time and your priorities.

You have to decide that every day you are going to spend time…QUALITY TIME…with your family, being the spiritual leader in the home.

You have to decide that on most days you’re going to spend time…QUALITY TIME…in the Word and prayer as you prepare lessons and sermons, and other time…QUALITY TIME…in looking for lost souls to teach.

You have to decide that you’re going to take at least one day per week to spend time…QUALITY TIME…in relaxation and recreation with your family, your friends, and even by yourself at times.  Why?  The purpose of “recreation” is to “re-create,” i.e., re-charge.  Before you go off talking about how that’s a waste of time and lazy, remember that Jesus did it (Mark 6:30-32) and the Bible teaches that there is a time for everything (Eccl. 3:1ff).  God knows better than you.  Don’t burn out.  Take some time to re-charge.

You have to decide that you’re going to set aside some time per month…QUALITY TIME…in setting the proper example to Christians by not only visiting the sick and being involved in various church works, but more importantly equipping other saints to join you in those same works for their spiritual benefit and yours, and so that the church will grow as it should.

Balance.  That’s the key, preachers.  You have to have balance.  Examine yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), and re-arrange what needs to be re-arranged.  Let go of what you’re doing that isn’t BIBLICALLY required, and put more focus onto what God DOES require of you.

It’s a constant challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking on.  Your soul is worth it.  Your family’s souls are worth it.  The souls of the brethren are worth it.  The souls of the lost are worth it.  The church for which Jesus died is worth it.

What did you say, Jesus?

These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (Matt. 23:23b)

Print that out and put it where you can see it everyday, preachers.