Absolutely unbelievable article from John Piper. Th 15 minutes of my life that I took to read it was definitely worth it. I should read this every month. Battling the Unbelief of Lust by John Piper
The definition of a gift, according to the Random House dictionary is, “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance;” and “something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned.” I liken receiving a gift to receiving favor. Not “A” favor, but favor, as described from the same dictionary as above: “something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act” and “friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill,” and “the state of being approved or held in regard,” and “excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment,” and “a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc.”
The term gift is used in several places in the bible; many of them are rather significant. I want to touch on two or three that are rather significant to me.
The first is in Proverbs. The writer records in Prov 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Mentally I have often exchanged the phrase “received favor” with “received a gift.” And I don’t have a problem with seeing it that way. Favor is unmerited and unearned just as a gift is. Likewise, receiving a gifts is receiving favor from that person. It also says in Prov 19:14, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” That is, your wife is a gift you received that you did not get by any situation that you happen to affect. Furthermore, the way the Lord through the scripture describes the worth and value of a wife as well as how we should interact with her, treat her, protect her, and protect ourselves for her is an enormous indication of how she was given to us and is also how we should treat any gift we receive. Furthermore, look at what the Father said from the beginning “It is not good for man to be alone.” So He created woman, a co-equal with man image-bearer of God as a complement to man. Not a supplement. Adam did nothing to deserve this. He created Eve to complete Adam. What a gift!
Let’s look at another passage about a gift. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Again, wages are something we earn, and in this case because of our sin we earn death. That contrasted against a gift, something we do not earn or merit, given freely because of the beneficence of the giver, in this case eternal life in Christ.
Likewise, Ephesians 2:8-9 says,”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Whether he is saying it is grace that is a gift or faith, or both, I want to emphasize that it is a GIFT from God, not something we created by ourselves.
This is amazing, we have received from God, as a gift, eternal life and grace. Those are some awesome gifts to say the least! Likewise, it was said that a wife is a gift from God, also. The caliber of the gifts that God gives us is indicated in the things like grace and eternal life, so I take that to mean that the gift of a wife is as equally valuable (or rather invaluable).
So Guys, remember, no matter what you do, glorify God in your actions. Remember that no matter how hard you have tried, a wife is a gift from God you have received that you don’t deserve, regardless of what you have done to try to earn it.
Question: What if God designed marriage more to make us holy than make us happy?
This is a subtitle to a book name “Sacred Marriage” that I intend to read, but it is also a very challenging question nonetheless and a question I will tackle some time in the future in this blog.