'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
"To the woman he (God) said, I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband but he will dominate you" But to Adam He said, "Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded ‘you must not eat from it‘, cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return" (Genesis 3:16-19 NET)
Down through the ages these curses have laid heavily upon the human race. More than one curse is given here - one upon the man and woman, and the other upon the earth itself, and the Serpent. I would like to focus upon the curses relating to the man and woman, as they relate in their effects upon the relationship between men and women in general, and to MARRIAGE specifically. We hear about the "battle of the sexes", around which there has been much exploitation. Everything from comic strips, TV satires, countless movies and various other attempts have been made to make money from this real or imagined state of affairs. For many men and women, it is no joke. For many husbands and wives, it is not funny. The untold and often unspoken suffering by those who have experienced this battle on the front lines is almost unbelievable in its scope and its affects.
Consider the implications of the scripture above. There was to be increased labor pains in childbirth, which was a specific retribution upon the woman. The next part of the curse is a real "hot potato" for many in our society. It is denied, excused, spiritualized away, ad infinitum. To admit that there is an internal characteristic in the woman to want to control the man goes down very hard for some. The next part of the curse is just as controversial - that the man will "dominate you". This is "the way it is", generally speaking. In many different ways this is true - physical strength being only one. The battle lines were drawn. The battle goes on...
Notice the specific curse upon Adam, who is considered to be the primary breadwinner. I grew up in a rural setting, where the harsh reality of this curse was an everyday experience. It is no joke. Often it is bitter in its reality. But WHY was Adam cursed? Yes, he ate of that fruit also. That was just as serious a violation of God’s commands as Eve’s. But the SPECIFIC reason for Adams curse was: "because you obeyed your wife" AND ate of the tree. The reason for Adams’s punishment was because God HELD HIM RESPONSIBLE. He was NOT DECEIVED. (1 Timothy 2:12-14). He knew better, but gave in and compromised. This is often the scene in our world today. Ever sense "Dagwood & Blondie" from over a half century ago, we have seen this depicted, and lived out in so many marriages. Also, consider the nature of Adam’s punishment. - it was going be VERY DIFFICULT to earn a living outside the Paradise of the garden. Think of the situations and conflicts this was to impact on the marriage! It is said today that the primary reasons for marital conflict is money and sex (not necessarily in that order). The "thorns and the thistles" of earning a living are endless. This was to continue ALL of the man's life until the day he dies, and returns to the dust of which he was made. No matter how successful and rich, or how much a failure and how poor, to the dust he returns (Ecclesiastes 1:1-5).
In addition to the physical and relational consequences of these curses, there are many intrapersonal distortions set up to influence individual men and women outside of marriage. In their subconscious compulsion to act according to the curse, the man and woman live out various "sixth sense" attributes. For example, men often sense a woman’s vulnerabilities. Men often use this to take advantage of women. Also, women have a sixth sense of intuition. Then women can use their intuition to manipulate men and others. This is not always so, but there a is strong tendency due to the self and the curse (2 Timothy 3:1-7). There is this mysterious conflict, which sometimes make no sense at all - like the opposite poles of a magnet, and yet attracting each other - between man and woman. God, however, is USING the marriage relationship, and those in a singles status - curses and all! - with the conflicts and sometimes mindless confustion, for HIS MARVELOUS PURPOSE! There are things learned by Christians in marriage that contribute to their individual spiritual growth in very unique ways. Marriage is an instrument of God to develop character in His children, to bring them to spiritual maturity, as well as perpetuate humanity. God is turning Satan's treachery and trickery into HIS instrument for developing Christ in His people! God is RESTORING the creation order! In Christ, and as Jesus lives His life in us, the original tranquility, mutual love, respect and harmony that existed before the man and woman sinned is being transformed and restored (Ephesians 5:22-33). God is, through the power of the Holy Spirit, repairing the damage done in Eden, and at the same time doing something amazing in all of us.
So, struggle and conflict to varying degrees, can be expected in marriage. As Christians, we should understand. We should expect these things, realizing that we are all a "work in progress". Also, marriage from the day Adam and Eve were created was - and is - intended by God the Father to be a type of the relationship between Christ and His church which was to come. We should strive to demonstrate to the world the relationship of Jesus to His church as we grow in our marriages. But because of the distortions of marriage brought on by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, there is tension, power struggle, manipulation, abuse, and many perversions of the ideal of Jesus and the church. But even in this, marriage pictures the conditions of the church in many ways. First, because the church is made up those same singles and married couples bearing the results of the curses of Eden. This is seen in the varied conditions which Jesus addresses in the letters to the seven churches of Revelation 2,3. The church reflects the conditions of its members, when the church should reflect the IDEAL of its coming marriage to Christ.
Yes, there is a battle of the sexes going on in the world. It is in marriage and out of marriage. It has always been so, and will always be so, until Jesus returns. Until then, let this understanding of what is really going on, encourage and strengthen your commitment to learn the lessons you can learn from your circumstances. There is much dying to the SELF that must occur in marriage. Patience is a premium virtue (Luke 21:19). There can be a degree of acceptance, love, contentment, and respect between husband and wife as we grow in Christ, but never the ideal love of Adam and Eve prior the Fall and the curses. Practically speaking, God never intended, since the curses were imposed, for man and woman to find complete "happiness" in marriage. If we found real "happiness" in marriage, the curse would not be in effect, Paradise would have been restored, and we would all be perfect! COMPLETE happiness is just not possible. Both should be moving toward a CENTER, or they may move toward SELF-centeredness. That "Center" MUST BE Jesus. But God is not finished with us yet!
There are many trials and stresses unique to the lives of those who are SINGLE, also. These are circumstances which in many ways only those who are single really comprehend. But God is with all of us - regardless of our status or circumstances, if we will yield to Him. Whether married or single, do not stop BELIEVING! Keep believing, waiting and trusting Jesus Christ. So much of living as Christians is WAITING...(Mark 3:36)! God will provide a way out, in what ever that means for you, in His time, in His way. In patience, live your life. For those who are single, consider Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9. Whatever your marital state, Jesus will use the circumstances to bring you to glorious spiritual maturity, if you will surrender to His working in you (Galatians 6:9). Being single or married can be A CALLING by God upon an individual's life. There are many "callings" of God for many purposes. Paul said that he wished that all were single like him, in order to concentrate on service to Christ (1 Corinthians 7:7-9; 32-33). Marriage would have most certainly be a major distraction for him in his calling. Many callings are related to a giftedness. But regardless of our individual circumstances, we must all remember that as Solomon made so clear, all in this physical life is pure futility, less than nothing, in and of itself. We must all hold the things of this life very loosely - even those we love. For all will perish with time, or with the using. The flesh and things are only temporary. Even the universe will some day be folded up like a change of clothes, and be replaced. All will have served God's purpose...(Isaiah 51:6).
God wants all of us to look forward to being married! Whether single, or married, we are all going TO BE MARRIED - and to THE SAME ONE! It will be a perfect marriage - COMPLETE happiness. There will never be a separation by divorce, or death, or ANYTHING else. This marriage will last - forever! There will only be Jesus' love and faithfulness to His bride, and our faithfulness and joy with HIM! (Romans 8:37-39). There will be a marriage celebration, unlike any that has ever been (Revelation 19:7-9). Meanwhile, God's "work in progress" continues. God is using the legacy of the Garden of Eden to recreate the image of His Son in us (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Those curses play a large part in bringing us to spirutual maturity.
Then, there will be a final end to the legacy of marriage and gender curses of the Garden or Eden (Romans 8:18-23). As in Melton's "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained", all will be restored - ALL the curses of Eden will be transformed. There will be a NEW "Eden" in which there will never be a "fall", and there will never be another curse! (Revelation 22:1-5) The legacy of ALL the curses of Eden have ended...restoration and perfection has been completed! (Revelation 22:20)
Allow God to finish His creation work in you...(Galatians 4:19)
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