It was a year into my marriage with Tammy. Still honeymooning, all lovey dovey, and beaming with that new found boy meets girl type of romance. One day, Tammy and I were out to eat at a pretty nice restaurant, when a very attractive young lady walked past our table right in the middle of our conversation. Whatever Tammy was talking to me about, her voice suddenly changed into the teacher on the Charlie Brown cartoon.
As i sat guilty, sweaty, in fear for my life, she spoke with the quietness of a lamb, yet the authority of a soldier. She said, softly, “ Babe, I know this is new for you, being married and everything, but you’ve got to make a choice, quickly. You can either look at her backside, or mine. But you can’t look at both.” (I’m giving you the Christian, Sunday morning Easter version of the conversation. Basically, she informed me that the old man was not going to be able to coexist in the new covenant.)
I had to choose one and divorce the other.
I had old habits I developed before I understood that salvation and sanctification were two different things and took some old hurtful habits into my marriage: promiscuity, a carnal approach to putting the past behind me, childhood addictions of pornography. Of course, my wife’s shoulders were not built for my unhealthy past. I almost crushed her in the beginning of our marriage, because one woman cannot keep up the performance of several. God never intended her to.
I never realized how much renewing my mind needed until God put Godly men in my life.
Whether its sex, power, or control (which is the same as power), you can never be who the new you in Christ was intended to be until you divorce the old one. The biggest problem in the walk with the King I’ve learned is we want to take some spoils of war with us. Men talk a lot about their crusades, women hang their “children trophies” (or whatever the celebratory identity thing it may be for them at the moment) and it defines us. It gives us the aroma of identity. But the new us — waiting at the foot of the cross or at the alter after conversion — never gets to grow and mature because we value “who we were” more than “who we are.”
Mainly because “who we are” now needs nourishment, time, and development and death. Daily.
The first thing that had to change in my new relationship to Tammy is I had to
Do any of you remember the phone book? Its where you kept the numbers of those “friends” (yeah… friends.)
After I knew Tammy was the one, I had to call those “friends” and tell them things were going to change. My flesh had to submit to the truth that the calls were necessary, no matter how painful.
What is interfering with your new walk in the faith? A job, a position, a bottle? Whatever you run to first — before the lover of your soul — is your phone book. You will never get the full benefits of your new marriage if your heart still belongs to someone [or even something] else. You will only get the basic package.
The premium package cost more. You gotta go deeper into your pocket when you want the premium package. You can tell the operator all day what you want. But after you “negotiate,” you have to hand over the credit card information or the next sound you’ll hear is a dial tone.
God requires all, or nothing at all; He will NEVER negotiate. Who you were, what you’ve won, who you knew, doesn’t give you a front row seat when it’s prayer time. it boils down to:
“How bad do you want it?”
“What are you willing to give up?”
“What will you divorce?”
The sacrifices my wife has seen me make has deepened our love and our intimacy. Showing her I love her for her is what erases what I had so I can enjoy what I have. As Paul counted it all garbage for the gain of knowing Christ as his Lord, I count that girl walking past me that day at the restaurant as nothing compared to the joy of knowing Tammy, my queen. But I’m careful… my victory today can be my failure tomorrow if I don’t sign the divorce papers… daily.