July 10, 2013 – Allen and Diane Lake
God’s Equality in Marriage
Recently we posted an article on our state page reflecting on the recent Supreme Court decision regarding DOMA and Proposition 8. There are some, myself included, who are feeling a degree of weariness in standing for biblical marriage. And when we don’t see the outcome we hoped for we can wonder if we fasted and prayed enough, and whether we did all that we could have done.
Taking a stand for the cause of biblical marriage is not easy. Ties to this cause come at a cost, and sometimes those ties are expensive; it costs time, effort, energy and money – and quite often popularity. (See Luke 14:25-33.)
And ties to this cause are complicated. A stand against abortion is fairly straightforward – it equals a stand for life. Support of biblical marriage, however, is not so easily defined, and because it has become erroneously associated with civil rights, those who uphold it are labeled as “haters.”
Of course, God does not hate homosexuals, but loves them. (John 3:17) He is not against equality in marriage, but created it. According to God’s definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, all can equally participate in it. (1 Cor. 7:2) It can help us to stand strong when we understand from God’s perspective why defending His equality in marriage is important.
Required to Act
We have experienced first hand the lack of popularity that comes with standing for biblical marriage. Many pastors and Christian leaders are reluctant to speak out or teach biblically on this issue, and even those who believe in traditional marriage hesitate to identify with those who’ve taken a public stand.
There’s a perception in our culture that same-sex marriage doesn’t really hurt anybody –fueled by a “live and let live” mentality. It’s not hard to identify the defense of the pro-life position with the protection of innocent life; it’s much harder to defend biblical marriage without being labeled as infringing on individuals’ rights.
Those with a more complete grasp of the scriptures understand that a nation’s path affects its individuals. It was not Daniel’s personal choices that caused him to be carried off to Babylon; it was the unrepentant path of a generation. (Jer. 17:1-4, 35:17; Dan. 1:1-4) And while God is patient and long-suffering, He will eventually divinely judge when the iniquity of a nation is complete. (See Gen. 15:16.)
Matthew 25 (vs. 31-46) reveals that there will be a separating of nations, and already we have entered a season of dividing and contrast. Those who are identified as sheep nations have seen a need and responded. We who have revelation and truth are required to act – and must remain compassionately active in spite of the cost. (See vs. 14-30.)
I don’t blame pastors or leaders who shy away from this issue. My own response when I first heard the Lord ask me to preach on this topic was, “Oh no, please pick someone else!”
One of the major shifts in my attitude came after my husband and I had teamed up to successfully remove Planned Parenthood from the sex education program in our local school. More than once during the process the Lord conveyed to me that He wanted those high school kids to know there were consequences to (premarital) sex.
It genuinely touches God’s heart when people are deceived, and someone who knows the truth is responsible to make it known. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The word of God is more than just the letter of the law – it includes God’s heart, or intention behind it. (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 3:1-6)
The Gospel of Jesus
There’s a popular gospel being preached today – it’s about the path of least resistance. According to this gospel, we can avoid the topic of same-sex marriage and focus solely on God’s love for the soul of the homosexual. This gospel says that God is love, therefore and because of this, we can’t preach a message which might turn someone away.
A local pastor of a large church in our city expressed a version of this sentiment in an interview with our local newspaper. He said, “So often the church is known for what it’s against (and) I’ve been saying to our church, what are we for? Who are we for? Let’s be about who we’re for, and let’s be about the things Jesus talked about – being present in a community and moving toward people in the spirit of love.” (1)
Now, I genuinely like this pastor – he’s a good man with good intentions. His church actively partners with a local elementary school by donating classroom helpers and backpacks and supplies, and the congregation even took a collection to give the teachers a “bonus” at Christmastime.
He and a number of other pastors in our city are uncomfortable with Christians serving in places like school boards and city councils because of the potential for conflict. Yet these are the places where decisions are made and policies are shaped—the very essence, or “heartbeat” of the seven mountains.
It is because my husband was on the local school board that the opportunity came up for us to cooperate with the Lord to remove Planned Parenthood. All who were involved in this effort realized that this could never have been accomplished except that God was in it.
We must challenge the notion that the true gospel of love precludes rejection. Of course the gospel is one of love, yet love creates exclusion by its nature of choice – to love what is good is to hate evil, to love God is to forsake all other gods; we either gather with Him or we scatter abroad. (Rom. 12:9; Ex. 20:3; Matt. 22:37-40, 12:30)
The key for me is that I don’t take it (rejection) personally. If someone rejects the message you bring and that message is Jesus – remember, Jesus is used to being rejected! (See John 15:18-25.)
The gospel of Jesus forces decision; His message is deliberate and destined to separate hearts. Simeon prophesied over Jesus the child by saying to Mary, His mother:
Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many… and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34)
In this gospel, we can find comfort – find justice. The just will live by their faith, and this faith includes the strength to withstand rejection.
A Cloud the Size of a Man’s Hand
We must guard against the perception that it is too late to make a difference for biblical marriage, or that it is too late for America. I recently felt the Lord gave me a word for our nation and have been preaching this word wherever I go.
I heard the Lord speak of King Hezekiah, who when he was ill, cried out to the Lord and got fifteen more years to live. (See Isa. 38.) I heard Him say, “God hasn’t given up on America, and even if He had, there are times when you can get more sand in the hourglass, if only you ask.” (v. 8)
Lately I have been reminded of the city of Nineveh. When this city repented from their evil works, the Lord “relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them.” (Jonah 3:10) Nineveh got more time because the people responded to a prophetic message. It wasn’t too late, even though it was too late.
Prophetically, I continue to see a cloud the size of man’s hand. By the Spirit, Elijah heard the sound of rain and understood that change had arrived. He then persisted in action and intercession until he saw the change manifest in the natural realm. (See 1 Kings 18:1, 41-46; James 5:18.)
It can be a test when we don’t see what we are praying and laboring for materialize right away. Regarding delays the saints have been experiencing, I recently felt the Lord said that it was a test to see how many just (crash and) burn.
We are fighters, not in the sense of who we are, but in what we do. We can determine not to be those who just crash and burn, but who “fight the good fight of faith, (and) lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim. 6:12) And we do this as we stand strong for the principles of biblical marriage.
Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:35-39)
1. Pray that the bride of Christ would persevere in standing for the cause of biblical marriage. (Heb. 10:35-39)
2. Pray that the saints would recognize and resist a gospel of least resistance and embrace the gospel of Christ. (Luke 2:34)
3. Pray that those suffering rejection for the cause of Christ would not take it personally. (John 15:18-25)
1. Ask the Lord if you have been affected by a spirit of rejection and receive His healing if He reveals the need.
2. Determine to speak out in defense of biblical marriage in the areas of your gifting and calling – whatever they may be.