Marriage, which is ordained by God, is an intriguing institution. It is a picture of the relationship God wants to have with man (Rev. 21:9). And it also serves the purpose of God for man to populate the earth (Gen. 1:26). In light of God’s economy, however, marriage has an additional function – it exposes our natural being so that we will allow Christ to live in us and save us in His life for the building up of the Body.
God’s central work is to work Himself into every part of our being, especially our mind, emotion, and will. However, He often encounters resistance in our being, mainly from our self. In order to deal with our self, God arranges all kinds of situations for us to be in. One of these situations, perhaps the most effective, is marriage. By yoking us together with our spouse, God is able to expose us through marriage, sometimes constantly. We are touched, aggravated, and provoked in ways we’ve never been before. Such experiences expose who we really are, making us desperate to come to the Lord for Him to live in us.
In Message 42 of the Life-study of Romans Brother Lee says, “Whenever we are exposed in our married life, we should thank the Lord. This exposing is for the Lord’s saving. The Lord’s intention is to expose us in order to save us in His life from our natural being. When we are exposed, the Lord has the opportunity to live in us” (p. 481 or Online Section 3).
This dealing with the self not only allows the Lord to live in us and thereby save us, but it also makes us buildable. As the enemy of the Body, the self is proud, independent and individualistic. It does not and cannot depend on another member. Through marriage God is able to expose that pride, independence, and individualism. Through marriage we realize that we cannot make it, do it, be it, or even fake it. This saves us to be helplessly dependent on the Lord and eventually on the other members of the Body.
In the same Life-study of Romans message Brother Lee goes on to say, “We all need to be saved in the life of Christ. For this, there is the need of a long process of exposure, especially in the matter of our individualism. In order to be built up together, we need to be exposed with respect to our natural mind, emotion, and will…As we are saved in His life, we become the Body and members one of another” (p. 482 or Online Section 3).
Therefore we should not blame our husband or wife or the Lord for a difficult situation. Instead, we should thank the Lord for our situation, not because it is perfect but because it exposes our natural being and causes us to afford Him the opportunity to live in us and save us in His life. May the Lord have mercy on us that we may see our need to be saved in His life from individualism for the building up of the Body.