Counselee Testimony - Paul & Joan Wagner
We were created to worship, but what or whom do we worship? Like many, we started out with an okay marriage, but over three decades had developed habits of thinking and behaving that drove us farther and farther apart. As a last resort, we came to Biblical Counseling Center last summer in a state of hopelessness and despair. We were miserable and about ready to give up on ever having a marriage that truly honors God. We’d tried counseling before, so reasoned we already “knew the answers.”
Why then were we struggling so? Our counselor at BCC showed us that although we had tried to change our actions so many times in the past, we had missed our greatest need. Rather than giving us a list of do’s and don’ts, or a book on communica- tion, he helped us realize that the problem was right within our own hearts — but the solution was there as well.
With gentleness and humility, he challenged us to think through some foundational truths in a way we had not seen before. We learned that what we believe about God determines how we live our lives. We had not taken God and His Word seriously with reverence and awe as the Sovereign Lord of our lives. Christ alone deserves worship and obedience, to be treasured above all else. Up to that point, we had been trying to live out a Christian marriage while leaving Jesus and the principles of the gospel completely out of it.
As our counselor led us through the many pas- sages in Scripture that dealt with our identity in Christ, we began to have hope again. We began to see that it’s not a formula we need — it’s a Savior. Jesus alone gives us timeless wisdom to love one another well, and the motivation and power to carry out those biblical commands. When we contemplate all that He is and all He has done for us, we are changed men and women with all that we need to be like HIM (2Pet 1:3).
Now we see our marriage as an opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ to one another. We are learning to see each other as someone that Christ wants us to love for Him, not someone who has been given to meet MY needs. God, in His unending love for us, is showing us a better way.
As we truly worship Him instead of our false gods of comfort, security, etc., we are motivated to obey Him, to truly seek Him above all else, and then we receive His grace for what we lack. In the process, we both grow to be more like Him and He is glorified. This, after all, is the ultimate purpose and privilege of marriage.
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