People are talking about Kanye West’s recent profession of faith in Jesus. Questions like: “Is it genuine?” “Is he faking?” “When did this happen?” “How did it happen?” are swirling around some circles.
Regardless of what you think about Kanye, one thing is certain – he has people talking about Jesus! In fact, his new album is titled “Jesus is King” so whenever people talk about it, they have to declare it!
Hearing stories like Kanye’s bring home the question for each of us…and our spouse…where is Jesus in OUR lives? Is he at the center of our marriage as the King who rules everything…or on the periphery? Perhaps he hasn’t been invited into your life yet.
If you and your spouse want to build the best marriage possible, you have to put Jesus Christ at the center of your relationship. You build your marriage on the person of Jesus Christ and the truth of scripture.
A few months ago we were teaching at a conference where BOTH the husband and the wife decided to live for Jesus by surrendering their lives to him. (On average about 10% of all attendees to a Build Your Marriage conference make a spiritual decision to accept Jesus or renew their relationship with him.) For that couple their marriage is changed, their family is strengthened, and their legacy has made a difference for all eternity. To say it’s life-changing is an understatement.
So how can you and/or your spouse make a decision to become a Christ-follower? Here are four steps that spell it out. We call it the ABC’S of becoming a Christian:
1. Accept (see Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Accept God’s offer of forgiveness and grace to you based on Jesus’ sacrifice. You see, we’re all imperfect and born with sin embedded in our nature. While you can’t change how you’re born, you can change your destiny. When Jesus died on the cross, it was for all of us. He paid the death price that we owed for our sins before a holy God as the perfect sacrifice. And he conquered death for us by rising from the grave on the third day after he died.
Now God is offering to everyone the gift of eternal life. There’s nothing you do to earn this gift. You can’t buy it, you can’t get it by doing enough good deeds, you can’t receive it from performing or by giving to good causes or being a good person. Furthermore, your spouse can’t obtain it for you and you can’t give eternal life to your spouse.
You receive God’s gift by recognizing and accepting that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and your mistakes. For YOU personally. You can now live eternally with him in heaven and experience his peace, power, and presence right now in your life and marriage.
2. Believe (see Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-10)
You are making a decision to believe that Jesus is who he says he is; that he is fully God and fully man. Jesus not only died on the cross, but he also rose from the grave victorious over death. You are choosing to believe that he should be the Leader (or Lord) of every area of your life – including your marriage.
3. Confess (see 1 John 1:9)
When we make a decision to live for Christ, it’s important to confess where we have sinned and messed up. Think about your life. What things have you done wrong? Have you lied or been selfish? When have you been unkind or mistreated someone? What about entertaining a bad or lustful thought?
Confession is agreeing with God that those things are sins against him and others. Confession includes a heart of repentance with a determination not to repeat them.
We like this quote about confession by Frederick Buechner, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell God anything God doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.”
In the same vein, there can be a breach between us and our spouse due to some wrong against them. Confession to our spouse and seeking their forgiveness builds a bridge of marital healing as well.
4. Surrender (see Deuteronomy 28:9 (The Message); Psalms 119:59; Isaiah 55:8)
Surrender occurs when we decide we’re not going to live first for our spouse, our children, or ourselves anymore. Instead, we are going to structure our lives and marriage first around Jesus and his desires and teaching. It’s living with Jesus as our Leader and our Lord. The dictionary defines a lord as “Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.” This means Jesus is going to be the ruler and the final authority in our lives and home.
As a married couple, your directional source or compass will be God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is our instruction manual for how to operate our marriage. We love this verse from 2 Chronicles 20:12: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” You may not always know the steps to take, but God knows what you should do. Surrender to Jesus and then follow him as he leads you.
When you have decided to follow the ABC’S of having peace with God, simply tell God what is on your heart. Ask him for his forgiveness. Invite Jesus to come into your life as your Leader and Forgiver, or Lord and Savior. When you make that decision you will be entering the best relationship with Jesus and laying the foundation for the best marriage with your spouse as you build your marriage.